PC Keith Blakelock murder trial: Key evidence that led to verdict

Riot police at Broadwater Farm Estate Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The police have been heavily criticised for how they handled the riots

The latest trial over the murder of PC Keith Blakelock, who was stabbed to death during the Broadwater Farm riots in the 1980s, has concluded.

The jury found that Nicholas Jacobs, 45, was not guilty of inflicting some of the many fatal blows to the helpless officer who was attacked after he fell to the ground.

Prosecuting was always going to be difficult, as many of the witnesses had been given immunity after they admitted that they had kicked the officer.

Here is some of the horrific evidence which was put to the jury at the Old Bailey.

'Kill the pig'

3 March 2014

PC Keith Blakelock was killed in a "ferocious attack without mercy" when he was set upon by an armed mob during rioting at Broadwater Farm in north London in 1985, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam told the jury 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.

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

'A terrifying scenario'

4 March

The sergeant in charge of PC Keith Blakelock's unit said his team of 10 officers were attacked by youths armed with iron bars and a machete.

He described how two groups of youths started to encircle his team and "effectively outflank us and cut off our retreat".

He saw a group of people in a "cluster or circle" at the grass verge on the ground level, facing inwards and attacking someone.

At first he thought it was one of the firefighters at the scene, he told jurors.

He then realised that the man who had been surrounded was one of his officers, he told the court.

Mr Jacobs' poem

4 March

A rap written by the defendant about the attack was found in his jail cell.

Mr Whittam said the poem, found when Mr Jacobs was serving a prison sentence for affray at a youth custody centre in 1988, included phrases such "we have intention to kill an police officer" and "we chop him all over".

It started: "As long as I live I remember it was 1985 the 6th October..."

It continued: "We chop him on him finger, we chop him on him leg... we done kill him off, lord er feel much better."

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Nicholas Jacobs denied murdering PC Blakelock

PC Blakelock's injuries

4 March

The jury was told about PC Blakelock's injuries.

Mr Whittam said a knife was lodged in the policeman's neck when his body was recovered and he had suffered 43 stab wounds caused by different weapons including single and double-bladed knives.

The most devastating wound was to the side of his face, caused by a machete or an axe, the court was told.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe prosecution said the police officer had sustained more than 40 injuries, as Daniel Boettcher reports

'Planned manoeuvre'

5 March

A written statement from fire station commander Graham Holloway, who attended the estate to deal with a fire at a supermarket inside one of the blocks, was also read in court.

After coming under attack Mr Holloway ran outside and saw "about 10 machetes" being thrust towards a man who had fallen to the ground.

"I am convinced that this was a planned manoeuvre," he said in the statement.

'Impossible to police'

6 March

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman had put together a list of "symbolic areas" police needed to keep an eye on at the time, which included the estate.

But Ch Supt Colin Couch, who worked in the area's police station, told the court the estate was not on the list because of crime, but because anyone could cross it from one side to another without descending to street level, making it "impossible to police".

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Broadwater Farm estate was on the Met's list of difficult places to police

Curled in a ball

10 March

PC Keith Blakelock curled up in a ball and screamed for help as a mob hacked him to death during the riots, a witness told the Old Bailey.

The witness used the pseudonym John Brown and had his voice distorted by a modulator to protect his identity.

He said he saw Nicholas Jacobs stab the 40-year-old police officer between two and four times with a machete in Tottenham in October 1985.

"Did he [PC Blakelock] say anything?" asked Richard Whittam QC, for the prosecution.

"I just heard screams of 'Help, help, help'," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A knife was found near to where PC Blakelock was murdered

'Like a trophy'

17 March

Rioters passed a police helmet around "like a trophy" after PC Keith Blakelock was killed in the Broadwater Farm disturbances.

A witness, known as Rhodes Levin to protect his identity, said he had seen Mr Jacobs, 45, attacking the officer on the estate in Tottenham, north London, in October 1985.

Mr Levin told the jury at that point he saw a police helmet but could not remember who was holding it.

"They were passing it around, showing it," he said. "Like I say, it was like a trophy."

Police radio

31 March

Police radio messages from the riots were heard in court.

The most senior officer there was heard saying PC Blakelock had stopped breathing and police were trying to resuscitate him.

The recordings which were played featured confused messages from officers calling for "urgent assistance", before one officer is heard saying: "We have a PC who I think is dead, can we get an ambulance?"

Case to answer

1 April

After the prosecution laid out its case, the defence asked the judge for the case to be thrown out from lack of evidence however Mr Justice Nicol said there was a case to answer and the trial continued.

Refuses to take the stand

2 April

After the prosecution closed its case, Mr Justice Nicol asked defence barrister Courtenay Griffiths QC whether he had advised his client if he chooses not to give evidence "the jury may draw such inference from his failure to do so".

Mr Griffiths replied: "I have advised him and the defendant chooses to exercise his right not to give evidence."

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