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Libyan aide loses appeal in PC Yvonne Fletcher case

A former aide to Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi has lost a High Court bid against a ruling that he was involved in the shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher.

A former Libyan official has lost his appeal against a verdict that he “clearly assisted” the killers of a Met police officer in 1984.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the case brought by retired officer John Murray against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was correct in ruling that he was involved.

The court ruled Mabrouk was jointly responsible for the fatal shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984.

Pc Fletcher, 25, was shot while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country’s embassy in St James’s Square in central.

Gun shots were fired from the embassy into a group of anti-government demonstrators and PC Fletcher was hit in the back.

She died shortly after of her injuries.

Her former colleague and close friend John Murray, last year brought a civil action at the High Court in London against Mabrouk who was a senior member of the pro-Gaddafi Libyan Revolutionary Committee that ran the embassy at the time.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer had ruled in November that Mabrouk – who denied any wrongdoing – “clearly assisted in the commission of the shooting” and was jointly liable with the unknown gunmen.

And Mr Murray was awarded a nominal sum of £1 as part of the historic judgement.

Lawyers for Mabrouk had asked Court of Appeal judges for permission to challenge the ruling at a hearing on Wednesday.

But Lords Justice Coulson and Warby refused to grant permission. They will give their full reasons at a later date.

Mr Murray, who cradled PC Fletcher as she lay dying, has spent the years since campaigning to meet his promise to her to find the responsible.

In an interview with Police Oracle, he revealed that the two men understood to have fired the shots from the embassy window are now believed to be dead.

He is also planning to prosecute Mabrouk as the final stage of his battle to get justice.

But he has also raised questions over Mabrouk’s movements in the years after the killing which included being allowed to study in the UK.

Mabrouk was arrested in the UK in 2015 in connection with PC Fletcher’s death, but two years later the Metropolitan Police said charges could not be brought because key evidence had been kept secret to protect national security.

In 2019, he was excluded from the UK over his “suspected involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity”, the court was told.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Murray said justice for his friend and colleague was “finally achieved”.

“I am obviously pleased with what has happened today, my faith in British justice has been restored again,” he said. “Now we will be fighting very hard for the costs to be recovered.”

Mabrouk’s barrister, Samantha Kane, said outside court after the hearing that he may try to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Ms Kane said: “My client asked me to say how appalled and how sorry he is and how much sympathy he has with the deceased… and Mr Murray and her colleagues.

“But justice cannot be achieved without a fair trial, which he would like to have and he will continue fighting.”

He has claimed he is unable to attend in person or by video link due to the damaged electrical and internet infrastructure in the country.

But Mr Justice Martin Spencer said in his judgment that “those responsible for the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher also bear liability” to Mr Murray.

He added: “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 design 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”.

The judge added that Mr Murray, who said he blamed himself over his colleague’s death, should be “proud” and feel “no guilt” over the incident.

Hailing the “incredible bravery” of officers who rushed to help her, the judge added: “No-one could have foreseen the cowardly shooting of a police officer in the back and the sad fact is that Yvonne Fletcher was, in every sense of the phrase, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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