London police probably killed protestor 30 years ago: report

27th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British police officer is likely to have killed an anti-racism campaigner 31 years ago, a long-secret report into one of the most controversial incidents in Scotland Yard's history said Tuesday.

Blair Peach, 33, was taking part in a protest against the far-right National Front in west London in 1979 when he was hit on the head with what is thought to have been a lead-filled cosh or a police radio, the report said.

It was released after years of campaigning by the New Zealand-born teacher's loved ones -- but key details including the name of an officer under "grave suspicion" over the killing have been blacked out.

After the release of the internal police report, which also details how officers obstructed the investigation, London's Metropolitan Police indicated that nobody will be prosecuted.

Peach's partner Celia Stubbs said she felt "vindicated" after years of saying that he had been killed by a police officer.

"It says in the report that it was an officer that struck Blair," she said.

"I never really expected a prosecution. I don't regret that, I am just pleased that we have the report so we can see what happened on the day.

"We have heard all sorts of rumours, especially at the inquest, including that he was hit by a cricket ball. We have been exonerated for what we have been fighting for."

Metropolitan Police chief Paul Stephenson, who agreed last year to publish the document following the death of a man hit by a policeman at protests against the G20 London summit, said it made for "uncomfortable reading".

"It's a matter of deep regret and I have to say really that I'm sorry that over 31 years since Blair Peach's death, we've been unable to provide his family and friends with a definitive answer regarding the terrible circumstances that he met his death," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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