A former aide to Muammar Gaddafi, Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, has been found jointly liable for the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, according to British media, which reported that Mabrouk is the first person to be named responsible for the killing.
Fletcher, 25 at the time, was shot in the back while on duty at an anti-Gaddafi protest outside the Libyan embassy in central London on April 17, 1984.
The judgment is unlikely to result in any criminal action against Mabrouk, who is in Libya.
Reaching his decision on the lower civil standard – which requires proof on the balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt – Mr Justice Martin Spencer said on Tuesday that although Mabrouk did not fire the shots himself, he was a “prime mover” in the killing.
In Spencer’s judgment, which was greeted with tears from Murray and applause from fellow ex-officers at its conclusion, the judge said: “The defendant, who was notably described as having possessed ‘fanatical’ pro-Gaddafi political views, in my judgment clearly assisted in the commission of the shooting, pursuant to the common design … he was a prime mover in the plan to shoot the anti-Gaddafi demonstrators and, if necessary, any police officer who was in the way.”
Mabrouk was one of four members of a revolutionary committee who had taken over the embassy in February, 1984. The judge said that although the defendant was in police custody at the time of the actual shooting on 17 April 1984, having being arrested earlier that day, he had allowed the shooter(s) into the building to position themselves to fire their guns, knowing they would do so.
The Guardian said Mabrouk insisted in a letter to the court that he was innocent of any involvement, but did not participate in the proceedings.
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 reasons of national security.