Blakelock was 40 when he died. he was married with three children.
Three men – Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip – were convicted in March 1987 of Pc Blakelock’s murder but all three convictions were quashed four and a half years later, after forensic tests on pages of key interview records suggested they had been fabricated.
In 2003, Scotland Yard reopened the murder investigation after a review indicated there were possible new lines of inquiry, and in 2010 14 men were arrested in connection with Pc Blakelock’s death and the attempted murder of his colleague Pc Richard Coombes.
Jacobs was 16 when Blakelock was murdered. Officer Blakelock and partner Pc Coombes were attacked by 300-strong mob as he tried to protect firefighters who were tackling a supermarket blaze at the height of the riot known as the Broadwater Farm Riots on October 6, 1985.
After stumbling, Blakelock was surrounded by a mob screaming “Kill the pig”. He was stabbed dozens of times. The machete-wielding killers then tried to decapitate him. A later trial heard the mob intended to parade the constable’s head on a pole to taunt other officers.
The riots, in which gangs attacked police, looted and set fires, were some of the worst the capital had seen for decades. The unrest was sparked by the death of Cynthia Jarrett, 49, who collapsed during a police raid on her home.
Pc Blakelock suffered over 40 stab wounds, including some that the pathologist determined came from a machete or an axe. As he was dragged off by colleagues who bravely returned to help him, a 6in kitchen knife was still embedded to the hilt in his neck. He died later at North Middlesex Hospital.
In an interview, Pc Coombes relived that night: “Richard Coombes needs only to close his eyes. When he does, his face contorts. His hands, instinctively protective, are drawn to his face; to where a deeply ingrained, ragged scar runs from his right eye to his throat.
Mr Coombes is in another place. One shrouded in darkness and shadow. One in which he, holding only his police officer’s truncheon and a short shield, is surrounded by a baying mob brandishing knives, machetes, blow torches and petrol bombs. His attackers are faceless, he sees only a swirling mass of balaclava-clad heads, their slits revealing hate-filled eyes and snarling mouths yelling: “Kill the pigs, kill the pigs.”
Before him, curled on the ground and spurting blood, lies a fellow constable. The writhing body is surrounded by the mob, battering and kicking and stabbing: reducing him to bloodied pulp. He sees one man raise a machete. He runs forward . . .
He pauses, then adds: “There is no doubt: I was next on their list. Once they’d hacked Keith to death, they were going to do the same to me. I can try to rationalise it, tell myself it was the uniform they were attacking. But I can’t convince myself of that. It was personal. That man . . . those men . . . they butchered Keith Blakelock . . . and then they wanted to butcher me.”
A few years ago, acting on a tip from a new witness, police dug up a back garden at a house near the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham. They found a rusting machete. It could be the murder weapon. If the lab found DNA on the machete, we might be able to get more answers in this case.
A possible prosecution was announced earlier in August 2012. Jacobs will appear at the Old Bailey on July 26 for a first hearing and a preliminary hearing will be held on August 1, also at the Old Bailey.
To be continued.