Still seeking justice

Former WPC friends and colleagues form a guard of honour
Former WPC friends and colleagues form a guard of honour

On the day a policeman was stabbed in London, there was a certain poignancy to the news that a further effort is to be made to bring to book the killers of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. She was shot dead 40 years ago while patrolling outside the Libyan embassy in the capital. Ever since, her family and colleagues have sought justice, but to no avail.

A few years ago, the High Court ruled that a former diplomat, Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, an aide to the late leader Col Gaddafi, was jointly responsible for the fatal shooting. That case was brought as a civil action because prosecutors declined to lay criminal charges.

Although the gunman is dead, the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer, said he was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that Mabrouk had been an “active participant” in a “common design” to fire on the protesters outside the embassy. But nothing has happened since. Mabrouk, who for a while lived in the UK, is now back in Libya but no attempts have been made to seek his extradition.

WPC Fletcher’s colleague that day was John Murray, who vowed to bring her killers to book and has ploughed a heroic lonely furrow ever since to do so. He is now launching a private prosecution for conspiracy to murder against Mabrouk. The Libyan faced a criminal prosecution in 2017, but the case was dropped after the Metropolitan Police was prevented from using key evidence on grounds of national security. The refusal of the Government to help Mr Murray is shameful.

A police officer was killed in the capital in broad daylight and one of the perpetrators has been identified. The powers that be could at least make an effort to call them to account.