Private prosecution to be launched over Yvonne Fletcher’s murder

WPc Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot and killed by a bullet fired from the Libyan Embassy as she policed an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in April 1984
WPc Yvonne Fletcher was shot and killed by a bullet fired from the Libyan Embassy as she policed an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in April 1984 - PA

The police officer who cradled Yvonne Fletcher as she lay dying is launching a private prosecution for conspiracy to murder against the Libyan official who plotted her shooting.

John Murray says that he is determined to keep the promise he made to his friend and partner to bring her killers to justice.

The retired policeman has instructed private prosecution experts and is using today’s 40th anniversary of WPc Fletcher’s murder to launch a campaign to fund a case against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, a former close aide of the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The move comes after the High Court in 2021 found Mabrouk to be “jointly liable” for WPc Fletcher’s death along with those who carried out the shooting from the Libyan Embassy in St James’s Square.

The ruling was the first time in 37 years that anybody had been found culpable for her murder.

WPc Fletcher was shot and killed by a bullet fired from the embassy as she policed an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in April 1984.

‘I promised Yvonne I would get justice’

Mabrouk was arrested in 2015, but the criminal case against him was dropped in 2017 after the Metropolitan Police was prevented from using key evidence on grounds of national security.

He is now understood to be living freely in Libya after being barred from the UK in 2019, and a private prosecution would involve Mr Murray seeking a request for his extradition.

Mr Murray told The Telegraph: “The terrorist murder of Yvonne Fletcher 40 years ago, on April 17 1984, was one of the worst atrocities executed by Gaddaffi. To this very day, the quest for justice for Yvonne continues, and although we have had historic victories in both the High Court and Appeal Court, the man who allegedly orchestrated Yvonne’s murder continues to live freely.”

Urging the British public to back his private prosecution, Mr Murray added: “If the Crown Prosecution Service cannot or will not proceed with criminal charges, the only option available is to embark on our own legal action in the criminal courts. In order to achieve this, I ask for your support.”

He added: “I promised Yvonne that I would get justice for her and I hope the end is in sight. It means the world to me to get to the point where we are going to issue criminal proceedings against Mabrouk.”

Mr Murray, who was today taking part in commemorative events being held in St James’s Square today [Wednesday] to mark the murder of WPC Fletcher, has instructed private prosecution experts Edmonds Marshall McMahon, along with Barnaby Jameson KC and solicitors McCue Jury & Partners to pursue the case against Mabrouk.

WPc Fletcher’s case is thought to be the only murder of an on-duty police officer in British history that the state has failed to prosecute.

Crowdfunding for private prosecution

Matthew Jury on behalf of McCue Jury & Partners, and Andrew Marshall on behalf of Edmonds Marshall McMahon said: “It is a stain on the nation’s conscience that WPc Yvonne Fletcher’s alleged killer, Mabrouk, continues to live freely in Libya. This private prosecution should mean that Mabrouk will face a criminal trial and Yvonne will finally get the justice our country owes her.”

Mr. Murray is crowdfunding the private criminal prosecution.

WPc Fletcher was shot in the back by a bullet from an automatic weapon fired at 10.20am by a gunman from the first-floor window of the Libyan Embassy towards the anti-Gaddafi demonstrators.

Despite the danger to himself, Mr Murray rushed to help the stricken officer and was later present at her post-mortem.

The High Court trial in 2021 was told that Mabrouk was “one of only three people who were able to organise and direct the shooting” after members of Gaddafi’s Libyan Revolutionary Committee took control of the embassy.

Mr Murray’s lawyers said that the “orchestration” of the shooting “was entirely consistent” with Mabrouk’s “official functions … under the Gaddafi regime”.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer ordered Mabrouk pay the costs of the case of several hundred thousand pounds, following the three-day trial.

Before losing the landmark legal case, Mabrouk had transferred ownership of his house in Reading, Berks, to his wife, Kamila Otman.

Mabrouk was not represented at his High Court trial and did not stage any defence, but writing to Mr Murray’s lawyers in September 2020, he denied ordering WPc Fletcher’s shooting, stating that he “cannot be held liable for something I didn’t do”.

He added: “Nor did I instruct anyone to kill her, nor did I encourage anyone to kill her.”