Rioting mob used ‘flame-thrower’ on police

RIOT SCENE ... the grassed area on the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham where  Pc Keith Blakelock was attacked.

RIOT SCENE ... the grassed area on the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham where Pc Keith Blakelock was attacked.

PC KEITH Blakelock’s unit came under attack with a “flame-type thrower” before he was hacked to death by a mob during the first Tottenham riots, a jury has heard.

The riots, on the night of October 6 1985, saw a group of officers trying to protect firefighters come under attack by a mob of around 150 youths on the Broadwater Farm estate.

The trial of Nicky Jacobs, 45, for the murder of Pc Blakelock heard that bricks, bottles and petrol bombs rained down on police officers.

Pc Blakelock’s widow, Elziabeth Johnson, who lives in West Boldon, has been at the Old Bailey for the hearing.

In a statement given two days after the riots, and read out in court today by prosecutor Richard Whittam QC, one of the officers said he had seen “shiny knives” and a “flame-type thrower”.

Pc Alan Tappy explained that as the officers tried to escape, he became aware of a “bundle on the grass” whom the mob were “stabbing and clubbing”.

Explaining the aftermath, he said: “Keith was lying face-down and I thought he was dead. Pengelly (the unit’s sergeant) was at the front of us, kneeling down to his left.

“We grabbed hold of Keith’s shoulders and made an attempt to move him, but couldn’t.

“I remember one side of his neck had a wound, a gaping wound.”

Pc Tappy realised that his colleague was still alive as the unit tried to drag him to safety.

The court also heard a statement from Pc Richard Coombes, who was beaten unconscious during the rioting.

Pc Coombes, who the jury has already heard was “lucky to be alive”, suffered facial injuries, cuts and missing teeth during the onslaught.

The court heard that he had “no training or instruction” to use the riot gear he was issued with on the night of the riot.

“My feeling during this riot was that those doing the rioting attacked us with such ferocity and determination that I believe they wanted to do us serious harm,” he said in a statement given days after the riots.

“It made me fear for my life. I don’t remember any other action taken by the remainder of my serial.”

In the mayhem, Pc Coombes said he lost his truncheon, shield and helmet.

Jacobs denies murder.


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