Killing that soured relations for 16 years

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The Independent Online
WPC YVONNE FLETCHER (left) was fatally wounded during an anti- Gaddafi protest outside the Libyan embassy in London in April 1984. Eleven demonstrators were also hit by the gunfire, believed to have come from the first floor in the building on St James' Square.

Television footage showed Fletcher, 25, lying as colleagues, including her fiance, PC Michael Liddle, tended to her. Her helmet remained on the street where she fell for days after the tragedy.

She was taken to Westminster Hospital. She had suffered a single gunshot wound to the back and died on the operating table 15 minutes after arriving.

The weapon was identified as a British-made Sterling sub-machine-gun, which was standard issue in the Libyan army.

The 22 embassy officials were allowed to leave the building 10 days after the shooting and flew back to Tripoli. Britain cut diplomatic relations.

With police efforts to bring the killer to justice thwarted, there has been much media speculation about who pulled the trigger. Reports have identified a former Libyan diplomat, living in Belgium under an assumed name, and an oil executive who was then a student in London.

Yesterday's admission by Libya may have silenced the conspiracy theorists who suggested Fletcher was shot by a handgun from another building in the square as part of a CIA plot to discredit Libya.