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PC Yvonne Fletcher's colleague wins justice with claim for her killing

The retired colleague of PC Yvonne Fletcher has won his High Court civil claim over her fatal murder.

The High Court has ruled that a former aide to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi shares joint liability for the shooting of Met PC Yvonne Fletcher.

Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was ruled to have been an active participant in the shooting at the Libyan embassy in central London on April 17 1984.

The verdict came at the end of a civil case brought by former colleague John Murray, 66, who was with PC Fletcher when she died and had promised her justice.

Now retired, he had brought a civil claim for a nominal amount of £1 against Mabrouk.

The court was told Mabrouk was a member of the pro-Gaddafi Libyan Revolutionary Committee that controlled the embassy in 1984.

Although he was not in the building - he was arrested earlier in the day - the court ruled there was evidence that he had been actively involved.

Lawyers for Mr Murray had accused Mabrouk, who denied any wrongdoing, of being “jointly liable” for the shooting, arguing that, while he did not fire any shots, he was “instrumental” in the “orchestration” of a plan to use violence at the protest.

The court heard accounts from an unnamed Libyan witnesses that linked Mabrouk to a plan to use violence against demontrators.

A Libyan engineering student who had infiltrated pro-Gaddafi elements in the UK, had claimed Mabrouk had told meetings earlier in the year that Colonel Gaddafi had ordered bombings and murders in a bid to frighten the UK government away from political opponents.

Barrister Phillippa Kaufmann QC also claimed Mabrouk had told a man from the Surveyors Department of the Met who was setting up barriers ahead of the protest that “we have guns here today, there is going to be fighting”.

The court was also told that Mr Murray, who had been present at his friend’s post-mortem, had experienced a “dark period” of battling PTSD following her killing.

Giving his judgment on Tuesday morning after a three-day hearing, Mr Justice Martin Spencer said: “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there existed a common design to respond to the planned anti-Gaddafi protest by using violence.”

The judge said the evidence pointed to Mr Mabrouk being an “active participant” in a “common deign to fire upon the demonstrators”.

He concluded: “Mr Murray has succeeded in showing that the defendant Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk is jointly liable with those who carried out the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher, for the battery inflicted upon her”.

PC Fletcher was killed while deployed to deal with a demonstration by Libyan nationals opposed to the Gaddafi regime.

Gunshots were fired from two windows injuring 10 demonstrators and killing PC Fletcher.

A siege of the embassy lasted for 11 days until staff were escorted to Heathrow airport and diplomatic ties severed.

During a search of the embassy, monitored by Saudi diplomats, thousands of ammunition rounds were discovered. Two Sterling machine guns were believed to have been the weapons used.

A post mortem later revealed the bullet that killed her had been professionally modified.

Her case was taken up by MPs on both sides of the House in Parliament during the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya admitted ‘general responsibility’ for PC Fletcher’s killing and offered compensation to her family.

The case file was re-opened and Scotland Yard officers flew to Libya in 2002 as part of the investigation. A joint investigation by the two countries was launched in 2004.

The Metropolitan Police arrested Mabrouk in 2015 but charges could not be brought because the government ruled vital evidence could not be shared due to UK national security concerns.

The court also heard that in 2019 Mabrouk was excluded from the UK for crimes against humanity.

The work by Mr Murray has been widely supported by grassroots officers across the country; they also lobbied staff organisations to support the case.

In a statement after the ruling, Mr Murray said: “My promise to Yvonne Fletcher to find those responsible for the shooting and to get justice has taken a huge step forward after all these years.”

He added the trial “should not have been necessary” and condemned the government’s decision to withhold evidence that could have supported a criminal prosecution.

He added: “Today, we have proven that we were right all along. Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was responsible for Yvonne’s death. Everything we have done leading up to this verdict has been for Yvonne. Today we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne.”

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