Yvonne Fletcher’s former colleague asks Boris Johnson to reopen criminal case

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John Murray stands in front of a memorial with a sign saying 'Justice for Yvonne' - Julian Simmonds
John Murray stands in front of a memorial with a sign saying 'Justice for Yvonne' - Julian Simmonds

Boris Johnson is being urged to order his ministers to release key evidence to allow prosecutors to resume a prosecution of a Libyan found by the High Court to be "jointly liable" for the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

In a landmark ruling last month, 37 years after the police officer was gunned down outside the Libyan embassy in London, Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was ruled to have been behind the "cowardly attack".

Mr Justice Martin Spencer awarded "valedictory" damages of £1 to John Murray, a fellow police officer who had cradled the 25-year-old as she lay dying and vowed to obtain justice.

Mabrouk, who had been living in Reading, Berkshire until 2019, was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of conspiracy to murder WPC Fletcher.

However, a criminal investigation against him was dropped in 2017 after evidence was withheld on grounds of "national security", prompting fury among rank and file police officers and leading Mr Murray to bring a civil claim in the High Court.

Now, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Murray has asked Mr Johnson to "direct the Home and Foreign Secretaries to reconsider their decision; thereby allowing the CPS to resume its prosecution of Mabrouk".

A memorial to murdered police officer Yvonne Fletcher with photographs and flowers - Julian Simmonds
A memorial to murdered police officer Yvonne Fletcher with photographs and flowers - Julian Simmonds

In the letter, sent on November 29 and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Matthew Jury, Mr Murray's solicitor, said: "The original decision by Her Majesty's Government to withhold key materials was arguably a manifest and improper interference with the due course of justice.

"In any event, it is reasonable to say that this decision must now be revisited; if only because any prior interference is harder to justify – if it could ever be justified at all – in light of the High Court’s ruling."

Mr Murray reminded Mr Johnson in the letter that he had described WPC Fletcher's killing as "cowardly" and had told MPs in the House of Commons last year that this was "a very important subject".

Prime Minister Johnson had also committed to "see what we can do to take the matter forward" in the Commons, and then agreed in a private meeting with SNP MP Allan Dorans to look again at the Crown Prosecution Service's original decision.

Mr Murray also asked in the letter to confirm whether Mabrouk had been handed "a ‘comfort letter’ equivalent to those given by the Blair government to IRA ‘On-TheRuns’ following a secret agreement with the IRA/Sinn Fein in 2000".

The letter added: "Mr Murray respectfully asks if Her Majesty's Government would now confirm whether the Blair Government did indeed issue Mabrouk with any form of comfort letter and, if so and as with the IRA comfort letters, has this now been rescinded?"

It concluded: "It was recently reported that the US and Libya were working together to extradite a suspect in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. It is not too late to do the same for the suspects in Yvonne Fletcher’s murder." Mabrouk is understood to be currently living in Libya, the letter added.

Senior counter terrorism detectives visited Libya to investigate the murder of WPC Fletcher at the end of last month's trial "to discuss how to proceed with the investigation", Libyan television said.

John Murray and his supporters outside the High Court after the judgment was made in his favour - Lord Ashcroft
John Murray and his supporters outside the High Court after the judgment was made in his favour - Lord Ashcroft

The news raised hopes of a breakthrough in the 37-year-old murder inquiry. The Metropolitan Police also sent an observer to the court during the case.

Police have stressed that the murder inquiry remains ongoing but sources have accepted that the case had not been progressed since 2017, when the prosecution of Mabrouk was effectively blocked.

The Daily Telegraph revealed details of a full prosecution file as long ago as 2009, suggesting Mabrouk could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Number 10 was approached for comment. Mabrouk has declined to participate in the civil trial and has denied any involvement in the shooting.

Mr Dorans – a former Metropolitan Police officer – told The Sunday Telegraph on Saturday night: "The Government is clearly and deliberately withholding information which could assist in the criminal prosecution of Saleh Mabrouk for his involvement in the murder of WPC Fletcher.

"This is not only an insult to the memory of Yvonne but to the commitment, dedication and bravery of police officers, past and present, who put their life on the line on behalf of us all, daily."

A Government spokesman said: "WPC Fletcher’s murder is one of the most notorious crimes of the last 40 years, representing an act of state-sponsored terrorism which resulted in the murder of a serving police officer on the streets of London.

"We want to acknowledge the hard work and commitment the Metropolitan Police have shown over many years to bring to justice those involved in the murder of WPC Fletcher."

A Government source said that officials do not routinely comment on individual cases, and it would not be appropriate for the Home Office to comment on a civil claim.

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