Pc Keith Blakelock (40), married with three children, was murdered by a machete-wielding gang during the Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham, north London, in October 1985. Detectives believe that now the net may finally be closing in on the killers and revealed that ten people – ages 42-52 – have been questioned in recent months.
The developments were kept secret for “operational reasons.” Fresh evidence from new witnesses who have come forward has allowed police to “build a clearer picture” of the night of the attack, Scotland Yard said yesterday. The new inquiry has run for seven years and the arrests bring new hope of possible charges in connection with the killing.
Det Supt John Sweeney, leading the murder inquiry, said: “When I was given the responsibility for re-investigating this murder, I made a personal promise to Keith’s widow, Elizabeth, and their sons. I promised to do my utmost to identify and bring to justice those responsible for killing Keith.”
Pc Blakelock and his colleague, Pc Richard Coombes were attacked as they tried to protect firefighters as violence spiralled on the estate. The unrest was sparked by the death of Cynthia Jarrett, 49, who collapsed during a police raid on her home.
Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip. were convicted of the killing in 1987 but cleared on appeal four years later. Three youths were also charged with murder but did not face trial after a judge ruled their questioning was inadmissible. None of those held were arrested or charged at the time of the murder but all lived on the estate at the time.
It was reported at the time that the attackers appeared to be trying to decapitate PC Blakelock. His police helmet has never been recovered. Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: “PC Keith Blakelock was murdered in shocking circumstances after trying to protect the fire-brigade so that they could put out a fire that was threatening the lives of residents on the Broadwater Farm Estate. “I hope that this 25th anniversary proves the opportunity for those who have information on his killing to have the confidence to come forward and help bring justice for his family and those who knew him.”
Anyone with information can either contact the incident room in confidence on 020 8733 4613 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Read more here.