How suspect in killing of Yvonne Fletcher has never faced prosecution

As PC Yvonne Fletcher lay dying in his arms, her colleague and close friend John Murray made a promise to find those responsible.

On the 40th anniversary of her death, the retired police officer is still fighting for justice.

This is what you need to know about her murder and why no one has ever been prosecuted.


PC Fletcher, 25, was shot on 17 April 1984 when a gunman inside the Libyan Embassy in London - then called the Libyan People's Bureau - opened fire with a submachine gun.

She was one of the officers policing a protest against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, along with a counterdemonstration, which was taking place outside in St James's Square, central London.

PC Fletcher was one of 11 people hit with a bullet and she died shortly afterwards in hospital.

After an 11-day siege at the embassy, Margaret Thatcher's government allowed those inside to leave the UK unchallenged under diplomatic immunity.

The incident severed diplomatic relations between the UK and Libya.


Amid a warming of relations between Tripoli and Tony Blair's government, Colonel Gaddafi admitted Libya's responsibility for PC Fletcher's death and agreed to pay her family compensation.


Meetings between Mr Blair and Colonel Gaddafi in Tripoli in the so-called "deal in the desert" ended years of international isolation for Libya and allowed a team of detectives to fly to the North African country as part of the murder investigation.

Mr Blair later denied issues including the officer's murder, as well as Libya's involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, were put aside as part of efforts to get Colonel Gaddafi on side.


Following the fall of Colonel Gaddafi's regime and the toppled dictator's capture and killing, police again travelled to Libya in a move they hoped would pave the way for the Met and the Libyan authorities to work together to identify PC Fletcher's killer.

Read more:
Vigil for PC Yvonne Fletcher as hopes grow for prosecution


Former Gaddafi aid Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk - a senior member of the pro-Gaddafi Libyan Revolutionary Committee that ran the embassy at the time of the shooting - returned to the UK to claim asylum in London.

He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder and denied any involvement.


The Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges because key evidence had been kept secret to protect national security.


A High Court judge found Mr Mabrouk jointly liable for PC Fletcher's shooting with the unknown gunmen - on the balance of probabilities, rather than the criminal test of beyond reasonable doubt - after Mr Murray brought a civil claim for assault and battery for a nominal amount of £1.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer said although Mr Mabrouk had not fired the shots - and had been arrested earlier and was in police custody at the time - he was "a prime mover" in the plan to shoot demonstrators and any police officer who got in the way.

He ruled that Mr Mabrouk "clearly assisted in the commission of the shooting" and said the evidence pointed to him being an "active participant" in a "common design to fire upon the demonstrators".

Mr Mabrouk, who denied any wrongdoing from Libya, was "excluded" from the UK in 2019 over his "suspected involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity," the court heard.

What happens next?

The Met said there are currently no active lines of inquiry and the likelihood of finding further evidence remains low.

The force said the murder investigation will never be closed and any relevant new information that comes to light will be assessed and investigated further as appropriate.

But Mr Murray plans to bring a private prosecution against Mr Mabrouk.

"I knew that as soon as the Crown Prosecution Service said it wasn't interested, that it would be down to me. We are nearly there," he said.

"I promised her justice and with your continued help that promise will be fulfilled."

No one else has ever been arrested in relation to PC Fletcher's killing.