Man arrested after 35 years in connection with murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher

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(London Post)    Detectives have today, Thursday, 19 November arrested a man in connection with the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in April 1984 and two others on suspicion of money laundering.

Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) carried out the arrests shortly after 09:00hrs.

A man, who is in his 50s [A], was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder in relation to the shooting outside the Libyan People’s Bureau in St James’ Square on 17 April 1984.

He was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering, along with a woman in her 40s [B] and a second man in his 30s [C] who were arrested as part of the money laundering investigation. All three were arrested at two locations in London and South East England and remain in police custody.

Searches continue at a number of addresses across the country.

Detectives have also today released fourteen images of individuals they are keen to identify as well as video footage of the demonstration and shooting.

WPC Fletcher was policing a demonstration outside the Libyan People’s Bureau in St James’s Square on the morning of 17 April 1984. A large group of anti-Gadaffi campaigners had gathered at 10am, while Gadaffi supporters held a counter demonstration nearby, which we believe was organised and coordinated by people within the bureau.

At about 10.17hrs a number of shots were fired from within the Bureau, including some from an automatic weapon, hitting WPC Fletcher who was shot in the back. Fellow officers ran to her assistance as she lay on the ground. She died a short time after at Westminster Hospital.

Ten Libyan men, who were protesting against Gadaffi that morning, were also shot and injured during the incident.

WPC Fletcher was just 25 years old when she was fatally shot. She had joined the Metropolitan Police Service in March 1977 at the age of 19.

A ten-day siege followed the shooting before 30 of the occupants of the Bureau were deported back to Libya.

We believe that the incident was part of the so-called “stray dogs campaign” being orchestrated from Libya to attack overseas dissidents and their interests during that time.

Over the past 31 years the MPS has remained committed to identifying those responsible and achieving justice for WPC Fletcher’s family. Officers investigating her murder have visited Libya several times, last visiting Libya in January 2014, and kept in regular contact with her family.

The demise of Gadaffi and regime change in Libya in 2011 has provided access to new lines of inquiry and displaced many people outside Libya.

Today’s activity is the result of new information having come to light as the team focuses on piecing together the conspiracy to carry out the attack, which led to WPC Fletcher being killed in the line of duty.

The MPS is offering a reward of up to £50,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher and the attempted murder of ten Libyans on 17 April 1984.

We are also issuing footage from the demonstration moments before the fatal shooting and reaching out to Libyan communities in the UK and other countries through social media urging anyone with information to come forward.

Detectives are particularly keen to hear from:

Those present on 17 April 1984 in St James Square outside the Libyan People’s Bureau before, during or after the demonstration and subsequent shootings.

Students at the time who demonstrated in support of the Gaddafi regime.

Anyone who has any information about those that planned the pro-Gaddafi demonstration, planned the subsequent shooting or who facilitated the escape of anyone from within the Bureau following the shooting and their current location.

Anyone with information concerning the identity of the gunman or gunmen and where they maybe now.

Commander Richard Walton, the head of the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), said: “The day Yvonne was shot remains one of the saddest and darkest days in the history of British policing.

“We have never lost our resolve to solve this case and to bring to justice those who conspired to commit this act of murder.

“The investigation is now focusing on new lines of inquiry relating to a conspiracy to murder prior to the shooting of Yvonne and we are acting upon fresh new evidence.

“I am appealing today to all those who were in the vicinity of St James’ Square on the day of Yvonne’s murder to come forward to speak to us, regardless of whether or not contact with police has previously been made. In particular, we want to speak to those who attended the Libyan People’s Bureau on the day of Yvonne’s murder to protest, either against or in favour of Gadaffi.

“There were a number of witnesses who were part of the pro-Gadaffi counter demonstration, orchestrated from within the Libyan People’s Bureau, whom we have never spoken to. We appeal particularly to these people to come forward and speak to us now even after 31 years. We reiterate there is a substantial reward being offered.

“We are making this appeal here in the UK, in Libya and globally as witnesses may now be living in other countries all these years later.

“Allegiances change and we hope with the passage of time, witnesses who have not spoken to us will examine their consciences and come forward.”

Yvonne’s family has also issued the following statement.

“It is now 31 years since Yvonne was shot and killed outside the Libyan People’s Bureau in St James Square.

“Recently we have had to come to terms with another loss through the death of Yvonne’s father, Tim. His one regret in life was that no one had been arrested in connection with the murder of his daughter and never witnessed any justice. Resolving this crime is still important to all the family.

“Any information, how ever small, can help bring closure for the family and we therefore continue to support the Metropolitan Police in their on going investigation.

“This is a difficult time for us and we will be making no further comment at this present time.”

Anyone with information that may assist the investigating team should call 0800 789 321 or email officers at LPB@met.police.uk

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