PC Keith Blakelock: Murder trial told armed mob killed officer

Ben Geoghegan reports

Related Stories

A police officer was killed in a "ferocious attack without mercy" when he was set upon by an armed mob during rioting in north London in 1985, a court has heard.

Nicholas Jacobs, 45, denies murdering PC Keith Blakelock in Tottenham.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam told the jury at the Old Bailey the officer had been stabbed more than 40 times and the group tried to decapitate him.

Mr Whittam said the mob was shouting "kill the pig" as they attacked.

Start Quote

Outside the flats, as they ran for safety, Pc Blakelock and Pc Richard Coombes went to ground and were set upon to shouts of 'kill the pig'”

End Quote Richard Whittam Prosecutor

Mr Jacobs, who was 16 at the time, had a bladed weapon which he used in the joint attack, the court heard.

The prosecutor said the riots of 1985 were "more sinister" than the later ones in Tottenham in 2011.

They erupted the day after Cynthia Jarrett, a mother of a police suspect, had a heart attack and died when her home was searched in Thorpe Road.

"At least some of the rioters in 1985 appeared to have as their target the death of a police officer," he told the jury.

"Whether that was their primary objective is not something that you will have to decide."

PC Blakelock was among a group of uniformed officers sent out on the night of Sunday, 6 October to protect firemen putting out blazes.

Nicholas Jacobs Nicholas Jacobs denies murdering the officer

They came across a "very large group" of rioters, many armed with an assortment of weapons, the court heard.

"Very heavily outnumbered, and fearful they may become trapped, both the police and the firefighters were forced to retreat.

"Outside the flats, as they ran for safety, PC Blakelock and PC Richard Coombes went to ground and were set upon to shouts of 'kill the pig' and the like.

"PC Coombes was very fortunate to survive. PC Blakelock did not. The attack on him was without mercy. In the ferocious attack his helmet came off.

"He was beaten and stabbed to death before his colleagues were able to force the attackers away."

Cars left overturned and burned-out in the street after rioting on the Broadwater Farm housing estate About 500 police battled with rampaging youths who threw bricks and bottles from walkways in the estate

Addressing the jury on the first day of the trial, the judge, Mr Justice Nicol, said: "Any case of murder, perhaps especially this one, may arouse strong emotions. You must set those aside."

The jury was told this was is not the first criminal trial to have taken place over this murder.

In March 1987, three men were found guilty, however their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991, leading to a new investigation in 1992-93.

The new inquiry faced a dilemma in trying to get witness accounts of the attack on PC Blakelock because the prosecution needed witnesses who were close enough to see clearly what happened.

As some of them may have taken part themselves - making them liable for possible prosecution - the police and the Crown Prosecution Service decided to pursue those who they believed had weapons as suspects and regard unarmed attackers who punched and kicked as witnesses.

The case continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

27 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the hour 11:00:

    A challenge to the Tower Hamlets mayoral election result will stand after a judge rejected an attempt to block it.

    Tune in to Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9 for all the latest reaction.

     
  2.  
    Woolwich killer continues appeal bid 10:54:

    Michael Adebolajo, who was convicted at the Old Bailey along with fellow extremist Michael Adebowale, was sentenced in February to a whole-life term, which condemns him to die behind bars.

    Adebowale, 23, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 45 years for his role in the murder, has been given the go-ahead to challenge his sentence before Court of Appeal judges.

     
  3.  
    Woolwich killer continues appeal bid 10:49: BREAKING NEWS

    Michael Adebolajo - one of the Islamic fanatics found guilty of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby - has lost the first stage of his bid to challenge his conviction and sentence.

    Michael Adebolajo

    The Judicial Office has confirmed that permission to appeal was refused by a judge who considered the case on the papers, but that Adebolajo has renewed both applications. This means that his applications will now be aired before a panel of Court of Appeal judges at a hearing in London.

     
  4.  
    Tell us what you think 10:45:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  5.  
    Cadets to lose Harrier jet 10:35:

    The Surrey Comet reports air cadets in Surbiton are to lose the iconic Harrier jump jet that has stood at their headquarters since 2005.

    The jet has been used as a teaching aid and its removal will be "devastating", one of the cadets told the paper, but the Royal Air Force reportedly said it had become a health and safety hazard due to its age and deterioration.

     
  6.  
    Crossrail's oldest tunnel 10:26:

    Crossrail has completed its overhaul of the 135-year-old Connaught Tunnel in Docklands, a 550m long passage that runs below the Royal Docks close to London City Airport.

    Connaught Tunnel

    Disused for passenger travel since 2006, the tunnel survived a hit from a bomb during WWII and is the only pre-existing tunnel that will be used in the Crossrail project.

     
  7.  
    Spurs close in on pair 10:16:

    Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and forward Jay Rodriguez are close to joining former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.

     
  8.  
    Police ads on piracy sites 10:08:

    The City of London police has started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally.

    City of London warning adverts
     
  9.  
    News on the hour 09:58:

    The capital's diesel drivers could be charged £10 to enter the low emissions zone by 2020.

    For all the latest reaction, tune in to Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9.

     
  10.  
    10,000 potential homes 09:48:

    Disused sites across 13 London boroughs could be used to build 10,000 homes in the next decade, according to an action plan launched today by the London Assembly's conservative group.

    A hundred derelict spaces among the 4,500 disused sites could be used for self-build schemes, says the group.

     
  11.  
    Arsenal sign Chambers 09:38:
  12.  
    Romford college wins grant 09:28:

    A Romford college will host state-of-the-art engineering facilities from September after it won a grant to open the Siemens Mechatronics Academy, reports the Romford Recorder.

    Barking and Dagenham College has secured a £96,000 grant from education charity Edge Innovation to open the academy which will run specialist classes.

     
  13.  
    On this day 09:12:

    In 1948 The first post-war Olympic Games opened in London and, in 1981, the Prince of Wales and 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer were married at St Paul's Cathedral.

    The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
     
  14.  
    News on the hour 08:59:

    London's diesel drivers will be charged £10 to enter the low emissions zone by 2020, as part of the mayor's clean air initiative.

    Listen live to BBC London 94.9.

     
  15.  
    Vanessa Feltz 08:51:

    On Vanessa's show on BBC London 94.9 from 09:00, she'll be talking about:

    • £10 charge for London diesel drivers by 2020
    • Cameron's immigrant crackdown
    • Should criminal bankers be jailed?

    If you want to share your views, call 020 7224 2000 or text 81333, starting the message with 'London'.

     
  16.  
    Assault MP to retire 08:45:

    Conservative MP David Ruffley, who had been criticised after receiving a police caution for common assault in London, is to retire from Parliament at the next election.

     
  17.  
    Gemili wins silver 08:37:

    Southwark-born sprinter Adam Gemili took Commonwealth Games 100m silver behind Jamaica's Kemar Bailey-Cole to seal his first senior international medal in style.

    Kemar Bailey-Cole and Adam Gemili

    Gemili, a member of Blackheath & Bromley Harriers and who was once a Chelsea junior footballer, said: "My first time representing England - I'm so happy," he said. "That's something I'm never going to forget in my life."

     
  18.  
    Top headlines
     
  19.  
    Road disruption 08:22: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    On the A406 North Circular, a lorry has broken down on the Beckton Roundabout. Expect delays while it's recovered.

    For the latest information go to BBC London's travel page or on Twitter @BBCTravelAlert

     
  20.  
    Road disruption 08:14: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    The A503 Seven Sisters Road is closed westbound at Manor House after a car overturned - queues are going back to Amhurst Park.

    On the M25, traffic is queuing clockwise from J5 (M26) to J9 (Leatherhead) after a break-down near J6 and a collision near J9 earlier on.

    For the latest information go to BBC London's travel page or on Twitter @BBCTravelAlert

     
  21.  
    Warm and sunny 08:09:

    A dry, very warm and mostly sunny day but cloud thickening again over some western areas from late afternoon onwards. Highs of 27C (81F).

     
  22.  
    08:00: Matthew Bell BBC News, London

    Morning. I'll be guiding you through BBC Local Live today, bringing you the latest news, travel, weather and sport from across London.

    Get in touch with your comments and photos by emailing london.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StuntmanStuntman to the stars

    Driving dangerously and falling off buildings are all part of the day job for Bobby Holland Hanton

Programmes

  • A digger operated via an Oculus Rift and a controllerClick Watch

    Why controlling a heavy digger with a virtual reality helmet might improve safety

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.