Libya 'will try' Yvonne Fletcher murder suspect
- 21 September 2011
- From the section UK
A suspect in the 1984 murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher will be prosecuted in Libya if caught, a member of the country's new government has said.
Abdul Hafiz Ghoga told one of PC Fletcher's colleagues, who has flown to Libya to seek justice in the case, that Matouk Mohamed Matouk was a wanted man.
Former PC John Murray witnessed the shooting outside the Libyan Embassy in London and vowed to trace who did it.
Mr Matouk, the only one of three suspects still alive, is on the run.
Mr Murray travelled to Libya this week to seek reassurance from the new authorities that there would now be justice for PC Fletcher's family and friends.
Mr Ghoga, the National Transitional Council's (NTC) vice-chairman, told him Mr Matouk would stand trial in Libya's courts over the murder.
Mr Murray told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's given me tremendous hope.
"Mr Ghoga has informed me that Mr Matouk is wanted for crimes against the Libyan people and when he is detained he will be on trial in Libya for these, but importantly for me, he will be on trial for Yvonne Fletcher's murder."
There is no agreement that allows Libyans to be extradited to Britain, but Mr Murray said he had been told there was no reason why Mr Matouk could not be extradited in this case.
"But if that doesn't happen, as far as I'm concerned, my promise to Yvonne will have been fulfilled, as someone will stand trial for her murder."
Mr Murray was standing a few feet from PC Fletcher in St James's Square when a gunman shot her in the abdomen from inside the Libyan embassy.
In the ambulance, a few hours before she died, he promised her he would find those responsible.
He told the BBC more progress had been made in the last few days than in the previous 27 years.
"My trip here to Libya has brought me closer than ever to a final conclusion, it's been so worthwhile and we've achieved so much.
"It's strange, here in Tripoli, the support from the Libyan people, the support from the NTC, they all know about Yvonne, they all know what happened, they all know the people responsible, I'm really overwhelmed by their support."
After the shooting, Mr Matouk returned to Libya and became one of the most senior figures in the regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi, and a very wealthy man.
He has not been seen by the authorities since disappearing from his home outside Tripoli in late August amid the collapse of the Gaddafi regime.
Mr Murray said he "had no doubt" Mr Matouk would soon be detained.
Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was sure the NTC would co-operate fully with Scotland Yard's ongoing investigation into PC Fletcher's murder.
His comments followed reports that Libya's interim leaders knew the whereabouts of Mr Matouk.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said in August that it remained committed to identifying those involved and detectives were still in regular contact with PC Fletcher's family.
The British government has said it intends to send police officers to Libya to continue their investigation into the killing.
Last month, rebel officials in Tripoli said one suspect, Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi, an official in the embassy at the time, had been shot in the head.
Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, a junior diplomat who was suspected of firing the fatal shots, was never traced after being deported along with other embassy officials after an 11-day stand-off and is thought to have died.