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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Gaddafi aide found jointly liable for fatal shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher after High Court ruling

A retired police officer has won a High Court bid to hold a former aide to Colonel Gaddafi jointly liable for the fatal shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher.

PC Fletcher, 25, was killed while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country’s embassy in St James’s Square in central London on April 17 1984.

Retired police officer John Murray, 66, brought a civil claim for a nominal amount of £1 against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk as part of his decades-long attempt to find “justice” for his dead friend.

Today, a High Court judge found Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk jointly liable over the killing.

Retired police officer John Murray
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Mr John Murray said he has finally achieved justice for his friend after 37 years

In a statement following the ruling, Mr Murray – who was in tears on hearing the judgement – said “we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne”.

He said: “I am very relieved that it’s finally all over and the court has found in our favour.

“This has been a battle lasting 37 years. It is a huge weight off my shoulders. 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: “We have faced many obstacles to get here. But, 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.”

Then Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi (C) leans on the shoulders of then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (centre R) and then Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh (centre L)
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Muammar al-Gaddafi (centre) was overthrown in 2011

Mr Murray, from Chingford, east London, promised his dying colleague he would find those responsible for the shots that were fired from an embassy window, the court heard.

During a three-day trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, lawyers for Mr Murray argued Mr Mabrouk was 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.

Mr Murray, who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to the incident, was also seeking “vindicatory” damages for assault and battery.

Giving his judgment on Tuesday morning, Mr Justice Martin Spencer said that “those responsible for the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher also bear liability” to Mr Murray.

A police officer stands beside floral tributes during a memorial service held in St James Square, London, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher
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PC Fletcher was killed while policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader outside his country’s embassy in St James’s Square, London in 1984. File pic

He said PC Fletcher died as a result of “a cowardly attack” when gunmen armed with Sterling submachine guns opened fire from the first-floor windows of the embassy on “unarmed and unsuspecting lawful demonstrators”, and who were “uncaring of the risk posed to police officers going about their normal duties”.

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 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”.

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