A former minister in Muammar Gaddafi’s government was jointly and severally responsible for the shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, a Supreme Court judge has ruled.
When he reached his decision on the lower civilian standard – which requires proof of the balance of probabilities rather than raising any reasonable doubt – Judge Martin Spencer said on Tuesday that although Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk did not fire the shots himself, he was a “prime mover” in the murder of 25-year-old Fletcher.
John Murray, a close friend who was on duty with Fletcher on the day of the shooting and rocked her while she was lying dying, filed a civil claim against Mabrouk for assault and violence after frustration over the lack of charge against the accused.
In Spencer’s verdict, which was met with tears from Murray and applause from other former officials at its conclusion, the judge said: “The accused, who was particularly described as having ‘fanatical’ pro-Gaddafi political views, after my verdict clearly assisted in the execution of the shooting, according to the joint design… he was a prime mover in the plan to shoot anti-Gaddafi protesters and if necessary any police officer who was in the way. ”
Mabrouk was one of four members of a revolutionary committee that had taken over the embassy in February 1984. The judge said that although the accused was in police custody at the time of the actual shooting on April 17, 1984, after being arrested earlier the same day , he had allowed the shooter (s) to enter the building to position themselves to fire their weapons, knowing that they would do so.
He also recruited volunteers to “deal with” anti-Gaddafi protesters, instructed counter-protesters to stay away from the firing line and tried to bring a soldier into the embassy that day to instruct people in firing and dismantling weapons.
The verdict is unlikely to result in any criminal act against Mabrouk, who is in Libya.
Spencer said Mabrouk’s comment to a police officer who put up barriers before the protest was “critical” in the case. The defendant had said, “We have weapons here today, there will be fighting. We will not be responsible for you or the barriers.”
During his sentencing, Spencer appeared to be overwhelmed with emotion as he told Murray, who has spoken out about his guilt, that he could not save Fletcher, that he should feel proud of his behavior on the day of the shooting, including rushing to the aid of his friend in spite of danger to himself.
After the verdict, Murray, who was awarded £ 1 in nominal damages, he had applied for, said: “This has been a fight that has lasted for 37 years. It is a huge weight off my shoulders. My promise to Yvonne Fletcher on “Finding those responsible for the shooting and getting justice has taken a big step forward after all these years.”
Mabrouk insisted in a letter to the court that he was innocent in any involvement, but did not participate in the case. He was arrested over Fletcher’s murder in 2015, but in 2017, Scotland Yard detectives dropped the investigation, saying key evidence could not be used in court for national security reasons.