RIOTERS passed a police helmet around “like a trophy” after a North East policeman was killed in the Broadwater Farm disturbances, a jury heard yesterday.
A key witness, known as Rhodes Levin to protect his identity, told the Old Bailey that he had seen Nicky Jacobs, 45, attacking Pc Keith Blakelock on the estate in Tottenham, north London, on October 6, 1985.
Levin, who himself admits kicking PC Blakelock “a few times”, said he saw Jacobs kicking and punching him during the onslaught.
He also claimed he had seen the defendant, who denies murder, carrying a lock knife at the scene with a brown handle and blade of around six inches.
He also said that immediately afterwards, Jacobs had told him that he had “got a couple of dukes in” on the policeman, whose widow, Elizabeth Johnson, lives in West Boldon.
Levin told the court that at that point he saw a police helmet but could not remember who was holding it. “They were passing it around, showing it,” he said. “Like I say, it was like a trophy.”
The witness said that days after the attack he had met Jacobs, who again boasted of getting “a couple of stabs” in on the officer.
Levin, who has convictions relating to Class A drugs, was sentenced for affray and handling stolen goods in relation to the riots, the court heard.
He was paid about £5,000 and given immunity from prosecution after providing information to a renewed investigation into Pc Blakelock’s killing in the 1990s.
Police approached him again in January 2008 and since then he has received money for a deposit on accommodation and expenses, the court heard.
Under cross-examination by Courtenay Griffiths QC, for the defence, Levin admitted that he and the prosecution’s two other key witnesses had grown up together. After being arrested in November 1985, he was kept in custody for five days without the assistance of a lawyer, the court heard.
But Levin denied that officers had suggested names that they wanted him to “put in the frame”.
During the interviews, he told police that Winston Silcott had been orchestrating the attack on Pc Blakelock and was the only one he saw with a “large machete” – a claim he now admits was a lie.
Mr Silcott went on to become one of three men who had their 1987 convictions for allegedly murdering the officer quashed in 1991.
Asked why he had accused Mr Silcott, Levin told the court: “Because it seemed like him. It looked like him.”
The court heard that Levin had also placed Jacobs’s cousin – who was remanded in custody for robbery at the time of the riots – at the murder scene.
After the disturbances, the witness started using cocaine powder, then crack cocaine and eventually heroin, the court heard.
n The trial continues.