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1999: Police award Silcott damages

VIDEO : Scotland Yard reluctantly agrees a settlement with Silcott

The Metropolitan Police Force (the Met) has announced a 50,000 out-of-court settlement to Winston Silcott, wrongly convicted of leading the murderous attack on Pc Keith Blakelock during the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot.

The father of three was beaten and hacked to death with a machete by a mob after he became separated from colleagues on Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, north London.

In 1987 Silcott, along with Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip, was convicted of the Pc's murder but all three were cleared in 1991 when their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal. At the time, Silcott received 17,000 in compensation.

Silcott, who is still in prison serving life for the murder of boxer Anthony Smith, was in the process of suing the Met for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution when the award was announced.

Forensic tests suggested evidence against Silcott may have been fabricated by police officers.

But former Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Melvin and ex-Detective Inspector Maxwell Dingle were cleared at the Old Bailey in 1994 of fabricating evidence.

Siclott 'pleased'

Silcott's solicitor, Clive Romain, told Channel 4 News said Silcott, who is currently in Maidstone prison, was "naturally pleased".

But in a statement, the Met, made clear it would not accept any responsibility for the wrongful conviction.

It said: "After careful consideration and detailed legal advice from senior counsel the Metropolitan Police Service has reluctantly decided to settle out of court the civil action brought by Winston Silcott.

"In settling this action for 50,000 we have not admitted liability."

The announcement has provoked an angry reaction from the Police Federation, opposition MPs and Pc Blakelock's widow, Elizabeth.

In Context
In June 2002, Silcott was moved from Maidstone Prison to an open prison, Blantyre House, in Kent.

Since his conviction for the murder of boxer Anthony Smith at a party weeks before the Broadwater Farm riots, he has been growing what he calls a "freedom beard" that is now more than six feet long (1.8 metres).

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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