Socialist Worker

Jury in PC Blakelock trial retires to consider its verdict

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2398

The Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, north London

The Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, north London (Pic: Matt Wi1son on Flickr)

Jurors in the murder trial of PC Keith Blakelock have been told to set their emotions aside as they left court to consider their verdicts on Tuesday of this week.

Mr Justice Nicol summed up the case at the Old Bailey. He told the jury of five women and seven men not to rely on their feelings about the killing that took place during riots on Broadwater Farm in 1985 when considering whether defendant Nicky Jacobs is guilty of murder.

Mr Justice Nicol told the jury, "Before the trial started, I told you that you would have to set emotion aside.

"The killing of PC Blakelock was a dreadful act, but that cannot help you decide whether the Crown has proved the defendant is guilty of his murder."

Nicky Jacobs was 16 years old at the time. He denies the murder.

On Thursday of last week the court heard how the prosecution of Nicky for the murder of Blakelock was described as a “bleak and dismal story”.

Nicky’s lawyer Courtenay Griffiths QC said pursuing him so many years later was “deplorable”. 

“In my mind, the investigation in 1985-86 had more in common with the witch hunt of the 17th century than an orthodox attempt to solve a murder,” he told the jury.

“If the evidence really suggested this man, Nicky Jacobs, has a case to answer, I have to repeat the question—why has it taken so long to bring it?”

He then asked, “Do the prosecution really believe in the case they have brought?


“Otherwise, why take so long because, to our minds, there are a great deal of deplorable aspects of this case but the most deplorable thing is the fact that you have now been asked to achieve the result not achieved in 1987 because of police malice and corruption.”

On the evidence in the case, Griffiths said police had known about a rap, in which Nicky allegedly described the murder, since 1988.

By that time, officers also had evidence he was on the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham, north London on the night of the riots.

Five years ago witness Q—who has given evidence at the trial— came forward, Griffiths said.

“Why have we had to wait so long?” he asked.

He described the three key witnesses who gave evidence in Nicky’s trial as “vulnerable” people.

And evidence they gave was “bereft of coherence, riddled with lies, incoherent and contradictory,” he said.

Of how the jury should consider the rap, Griffiths said, “Bob Marley wrote I Shot The Sheriff but I have not heard of him being put on trial for murder.”

Nicky also declined to give evidence in his defence on Tuesday of last week. Griffiths said, “Why should he answer?”

On Monday of last week the court also heard police radio messages from immediately after Blakelock was stabbed.

 The most senior officer present was heard saying Blakelock had stopped breathing and police were trying to resuscitate him.

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