BLAIR PEACH – NO POLICE TO BE CHARGED! – after 31 years of cover-up

CELIA STUBBS (right) with DEBORAH COLES of Inquest and solicitor RAJU BHATT outside Scotland Yard yesterday morning
CELIA STUBBS (right) with DEBORAH COLES of Inquest and solicitor RAJU BHATT outside Scotland Yard yesterday morning

‘We always said that Blair had been killed by a policeman. I feel that we’ve really been vindicated,’ Celia Stubbs, the partner of Blair Peach, said yesterday.

Celia was reacting to the publication yesterday of the Cass Metropolitan Police Report on the death of New Zealand-born Blair Peach, who had gone to demonstrate against the decision to allow the racist National Front to meet in the middle of the Asian community in Southall, on April 23, 1979.

His family, friends and supporters said he was killed by a blow on the head, dealt by a member of the Special Patrol Group (SPG) and witnessed by 11 people, and they have been fighting ever since to expose how he died.

In spite of a 30-year delayed police investigation, carried out by Commander John Cass, who produced a report that named police suspects, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) decided there was no case to answer – and not a single police officer will face prosecution.

Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard, Celia Stubbs said the release of the report was a tribute to the decades of struggle waged by his friends and family and all the people who have campaigned for justice.

‘I want to thank them all very much,’ she said.

She said she had read 200-300 pages of a report more than 2,500 pages long and said that there were alarming parallels between what happened in Southall in 1979 and the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in the City of London 30 years later.

Solicitor Raju Bhatt said there was enough evidence to show that Blair Peach died at the hands of the Special Patrol Group (SPG), which has since been replaced by the Tactical Support Group (TSG), involved in the G20 policing in April last year.

Thousands of police flooded Southall and blocked roads after the then Tory Ealing Council allowed the National Front to hold a small election meeting in the middle of the area, ignoring the objections of the local population.

But there are to be no prosecutions for the death of Blair Peach.

Celia Stubbs said: ‘I don’t think we ever expected a prosecution.’

But she said the Cass Report confirms that Blair Peach ‘was actually killed by a policeman’ and she added ‘we’ve been exonerated’ after slurs against the demonstrators and the local community.

She said the Cass Report showed that ‘it was obvious’ police under suspicion weren’t telling the truth at the time, when they denied being at the spot ‘that everyone knew they were’.

She said it was a ‘good feeling’ to be vindicated, despite ‘some really quite unpleasant things’ said in the report about the anti-racist demonstrators who were attacked by police in Southall on that day.

Solicitor Raju Bhatt said after being kept secret for 30 years, the evidence in the Cass Report ‘shows that Blair Peach was killed by officers of the Metropolitan Police’.

He added that there were parallels between the policing of the Anti-Nazi League protests in Southall and the the policing of political protests today, as seen at the G20 and at the Gaza protests.

‘We’re still dealing with the same issues of over policing of demonstrations, of police abuse unchecked and police officers failing to answer for their actions.’

Deborah Coles of Inquest said: ‘We are hoping to have a meeting with the Commissioner.

‘The weight of evidence supports the fact a police officer killed Blair Peach.’