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Gaddafi loyalist WAS liable for PC Yvonne Fletcher murder

A retired police officer today won his High Court bid to hold Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s former aide jointly liable for the fatal shooting of Pc Yvonne Fletcher 37 years ago.

Pc Fletcher, 25, was killed while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country’s embassy in St James’s Square in central London on April 17, 1984.

Her former colleague John Murray, 66, brought a civil claim for a nominal amount of £1 against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk as part of his decades-long attempt to find ‘justice’ for his dead friend.

Lawyers for Mr Murray accused Mr Mabrouk, who denied any wrongdoing, of being ‘jointly liable’ for the shooting, arguing that, while he did not fire any shots, he was ‘instrumental’ in the ‘orchestration’ of a plan to use violence at the protest.

Today a judge agreed, and said the evidence pointed to Mr Mabrouk being an ‘active participant’ in a ‘common design to fire upon the demonstrators’. 

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s former aide Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was today found to me jointly liable for the fatal shooting of Pc Yvonne Fletcher in 1984

Former officer Mr Murray, 66, brought a civil claim for a nominal amount of £1 against Mabrouk as part of his decades-long attempt to find 'justice' for his dead friend

Former officer Mr Murray, 66, brought a civil claim for a nominal amount of £1 against Mabrouk as part of his decades-long attempt to find ‘justice’ for his dead friend

A three-day trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in London heard that Mr Murray, who has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the incident, was seeking ‘vindicatory’ damages for assault and battery.

The court heard that Mr Murray, from Chingford, east London, promised his dying colleague he would find those responsible for the shots that were fired from an embassy window.

‘We have finally achieved justice for Yvonne’: Slain PC’s friend reacts to verdict 

In a statement following the ruling, Mr Murray said: ‘I am very relieved that it’s finally all over and the court has found in our favour. This has been a battle lasting 37 years. It is a huge weight off my shoulders. My promise to Yvonne Fletcher to find those responsible for the shooting and to get justice has taken a huge step forward after all these years.

‘This trial over the last few days should not have been necessary. If you go back six years ago to Mabrouk’s arrest, a report was submitted by the police to the CPS recommending he be prosecuted. The CPS agreed with that report. But due to late interference from the Home Office and Foreign Office, when they refused to allow vital evidence to be used, the prosecution did not go ahead. 

‘The Government’s interference in the judicial process was disgraceful. We have faced many obstacles to get here. But, today, we have proven that we were right all along. Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was responsible for Yvonne’s death. Everything we have done leading up to this verdict has been for Yvonne.  Today we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne.’   

Giving his judgment this morning, Mr Justice Martin Spencer said that ‘those responsible for the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher also bear liability’ to Mr Murray.

He added: ‘I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there existed a common design to respond to the planned anti-Gaddafi protest by using violence.

‘Mr Murray has succeeded in showing that the defendant Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk is jointly liable with those who carried out the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher, for the battery inflicted upon her’. 

The judge described Mr Murray and Pc Fletcher, who worked together in central London’s Covent Garden, as ‘salt of the earth’ who were ‘the very best of friends’ and ‘the first port of call if anyone in the community had a problem’.

He told the court that Pc Fletcher died as a result of ‘a cowardly attack’ when gunmen armed with Sterling submachine guns opened fire from the first-floor windows of the embassy on ‘unarmed and unsuspecting lawful demonstrators’, and who were ‘uncaring of the risk posed to police officers going about their normal duties’.

The judge added that there seemed to be ‘little doubt’ that the actions of the gunmen were ‘orchestrated and sanctioned’ by Gaddafi, who ‘could not tolerate dissent or disagreement’. 

The judge’s ruling was met with applause in a packed courtroom, with Mr Murray shedding tears as the judgment was read out.

In a statement following the ruling, Mr Murray said ‘we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne’.

He said: ‘I am very relieved that it’s finally all over and the court has found in our favour.

‘This has been a battle lasting 37 years. It is a huge weight off my shoulders. My promise to Yvonne Fletcher to find those responsible for the shooting and to get justice has taken a huge step forward after all these years. 

‘This trial over the last few days should not have been necessary. If you go back six years ago to Mabrouk’s arrest, a report was submitted by the police to the CPS recommending he be prosecuted. The CPS agreed with that report. 

Pc Fletcher, 25, was killed while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country's embassy in St James's Square in central London

Pc Fletcher, 25, was killed while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country’s embassy in St James’s Square in central London

‘But due to late interference from the Home Office and Foreign Office, when they refused to allow vital evidence to be used, the prosecution did not go ahead. 

‘The Government’s interference in the judicial process was disgraceful.

‘We have faced many obstacles to get here. But, today, we have proven that we were right all along. Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was responsible for Yvonne’s death. Everything we have done leading up to this verdict has been for Yvonne. Today we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne.’    

Officers attempt first aid on PC Fletcher as she lies mortally wounded on the pavement outside the Libyan Peoples Bureau

Officers attempt first aid on PC Fletcher as she lies mortally wounded on the pavement outside the Libyan Peoples Bureau


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