PC Keith Blakelock murder: Dead PC's helmet used 'like trophy'

PC Keith Blakelock Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption PC Keith Blakelock was stabbed 43 times, the Old Bailey has heard

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

A key witness said he had seen Nicky Jacobs, 45, attacking the officer on the estate in Tottenham, north London, in October 1985.

The witness, known as Rhodes Levin to protect his identity, was giving evidence at the Old Bailey.

Mr Jacobs, 45, denies murdering the officer, who was repeatedly stabbed.

Mr Levin, who himself admits kicking the police officer "a few times", said he saw Mr Jacobs kicking and punching PC Blakelock during the onslaught.

He also claimed he had seen the defendant carrying a lock knife at the scene with a brown handle and blade of around six inches.

Image caption Nicholas Jacobs was arrested following a renewed police investigation

He said that immediately afterwards Mr Jacobs had told him that he had "got a couple of dukes in" on the policeman.

Helmet 'a trophy'

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."

The court heard that after being arrested in November 1985, Mr Levin was kept in custody for five days without assistance from a lawyer, and he said that during interviews with the police he was assaulted.

However, he denied that officers had suggested names that they wanted him to "put in the frame".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption PC Keith Blakelock was among a group of uniformed officers sent to protect firefighters

During police interviews, Mr Levin had said that Winston Silcott had been behind the attack on PC Blakelock and was the only one he saw with a "large machete", which he now admits was a lie.

Mr Silcott was one of three men who had their 1987 convictions for allegedly murdering the officer quashed in 1991.

Asked why he had accused Mr Silcott, Mr Levin told the court: "Because it seemed like him. It looked like him."

Courtenay Griffiths QC, for the defence, asked Mr Levin: "So, on a belief, you were willing to put someone's name forward for the murder of a police officer - that is something you are capable of doing?"

Mr Levin answered: "I believed it was him at the time."

Party 'assault'

Mr Levin, who has convictions relating to Class A drugs, was sentenced for affray and handling stolen goods in relation to the riots, the Old Bailey heard.

He was paid around £5,000 and given immunity from prosecution after providing information to a renewed investigation into the policeman's murder in the 1990s.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Nicholas Jacobs was 16 at the time of the murder

Police approached him again in January 2008 and since then he has received money for a deposit on accommodation and expenses, jurors were told.

Mr Levin said that two or three months after he was interviewed by police in 1985 he was assaulted at a party in Tottenham and warned not to get involved.

"One of the guys smashed a bottle over my head," he said.

The trial continues.

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