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1991: Silcott not guilty of PC's murder

VIDEO : Court's verdict on killing of Pc Blakelock is overturned

The man who was jailed for life in 1987 for killing a police officer has been cleared of the crime.

Winston Silcott was convicted of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in Tottenham, north London, six years ago.

The Appeal Court said new scientific evidence meant Silcott's alleged confession could no longer be replied upon, but he will remain in prison as he is serving a life sentence for another offence.

He was convicted of murdering boxer Anthony Smith at a party before the Broadwater Farm riots. He has always claimed he was acting in self defence.

The other two men in the so-called "Tottenham Three" who were convicted of the murder - Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip - will have their appeals heard tomorrow.

Uncorroborated statement

The Crown said Silcott had been jailed solely on the weight of an unsigned, uncorroborated statement police took in the absence of a solicitor.

And government scientist Robert Radley testified that his analysis proved some pages of the document had been replaced at a later stage.

The court also heard the accused man had not appeared on any police photographs of the riot and his fingerprints were not found on the weapons recovered from the scene.

Long struggle for justice

Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Melvin, who interviewed Silcott, has been suspended and may face charges of fabricating evidence.

Labour MP for Tottenham Bernie Grant, who backed the appeal, said he was very pleased with the result.

"The campaign and campaigners have been vindicated after the long struggle we have had for justice," he said.

In Context
The guilty verdicts of Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite were also quashed.

Winston Silcott was paid 17,000 compensation by the Home Office and 50,000 by the Metropolitan Police.

Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Melvin and Detective Inspector Maxwell Dingle were charged with fabricating evidence against the Tottenham Three but were acquitted in July 1994.

Silcott and his family launched a second campaign to have his other murder conviction overturned but it was blocked by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 1998.

In October 2003 he was released from jail following a parole board decision that he was no longer a danger to the public.

He has vowed to overturn his murder conviction. In the meantime he is free on a life licence which means he could be returned to jail if he commits a crime.

The case of Pc Blakelock's murder was re-opened in December 2003 when police announced they had some new leads.

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