PC Blakelock murder case timeline

PC Keith Blakelock Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption PC Keith Blakelock was stabbed 43 times, the Old Bailey has heard

PC Keith Blakelock was stabbed to death in the Broadwater Farm riot in Tottenham, north London, on 6 October 1985. The hunt to find his killer has lasted for nearly 30 years.

October 1985

5 October: Broadwater Farm resident Cynthia Jarrett dies of heart failure after four policemen burst into her home during a raid. Police say they were looking for stolen property, but found none.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Cynthia Jarrett died while police officers searched her home in Tottenham

6 October:

  • Mrs Jarrett's family meet the police to discuss her death and demand an inquiry. They make it clear they do not want any kind of public disorder.
  • The trouble starts at about 18:45 GMT when police are called to Mount Pleasant, Willan Road and The Avenue.
  • Police are pelted with bottles and petrol bombs, cars are overturned and there is widespread looting.
  • About 500 police officers with shields, helmets and truncheons battle with rampaging youths who throw objects from walkways.
  • By midnight, 58 policemen and 24 other people have been taken to hospital.
  • At about 22:15 GMT, PC Keith Blakelock is stabbed in the neck, suffering serious injuries. He later dies in hospital.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 500 police battled with rampaging youths who threw bricks and bottles from walkways in the estate


Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip go on trial for the murder of PC Blakelock and are convicted.

Three youths are also charged with murder but do not face trial after a judge rules their questioning is inadmissible.


All three convictions are overturned on appeal after scientific tests show Silcott's confession was fabricated.

Image caption Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip's guilty verdicts were overturned in 1991

Silcott receives £17,000 in compensation for wrongful conviction


Silcott begins proceedings against the Met claiming damages for malicious prosecution.


Two police interrogators - former Det Ch Supt Graham Melvin and ex-Det Insp Maxwell Dingle - are cleared at the Old Bailey of perverting the course of justice over concerns about fabricating evidence. The Independent reports they had been charged two years previously and suspended from their jobs.


Silcott is granted up to £200,000 in legal aid to sue the Met for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and abuse of position, but in 1996 the Court of Appeal blocks the action.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Winston Silcott's conviction for the murder of PC Blakelock was quashed in 1991


March: The Met says it will review key evidence in light of new forensic science methods, including DNA testing.

October: Winston Silcott receives £50,000 from the Metropolitan Police in an out-of-court settlement over false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. But the Met do not admit liability for malicious prosecution.

The three sons of PC Blakelock say they plan to sue Silcott over their father's murder. The Blakelock family hope fresh evidence will form the basis of their civil suit.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Police have revisited Broadwater Farm Estate numerous times since the murder


October: Winston Silcott, who was wrongly accused of the murder of PC Blakelock, is released from prison after serving 17 years for the killing of boxer Anthony Smith.

December: Police say new information has come to light about the murder of the officer and they could be carrying out DNA tests on exhibits. The inquiry is restarted.


September: Officers search the back garden of a terraced house on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham and recover "one item".

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Police released PC Keith Blakelock's overall in 2005 with tape marking the wounds inflicted with the knife

October: The uniform of PC Blakelock is removed from Scotland Yard's crime museum for forensic examination.


In October Elizabeth Johnson, the widow of PC Blakelock, appeals for information about the murder on the anniversary of his death. Police also release images of the policeman's blood-stained overalls with tape surrounding the holes made by the knife used to attack him.

Days later a man, from Enfield, is arrested, questioned and later bailed over the murder.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption PC Blakelock's sons (-r) Lee, Kevin and Mark, and their mother Elizabeth Johnson have appealed for answers about the officer's murder


February: A 40-year-old man, originally from Tottenham, is arrested in Suffolk on suspicion of murdering PC Blakelock and later bailed.

June: Two men are arrested on suspicion of murder and later bailed.

October: On the 25th anniversary of PC Blakelock's death the Met says they have arrested 10 people as part of the murder inquiry in that year so far.


The Met arrested a total of 14 people in 2010 on suspicion of involvement in the murder of PC Keith Blakelock or attempted murder of PC Richard Coombes who was beaten unconscious during the rioting. Nine were released without charge in August 2011.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Nicholas Jacobs has denied murdering PC Blakelock


23 July: Four of the men arrested in 2010 are released without charge due to "insufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution" police say. The only other man arrested in 2010 is, Nicholas Jacobs, 44, of Hackney, who is charged with PC Keith Blakelock's murder. He would have been 16-years-old when the officer was killed.

November: Nicolas Jacobs pleads not guilty to the officer's murder.


3 March: The trial of Nicholas Jacobs, 45, who is accused of the murder of PC Blakelock, begins at the Old Bailey. The jury is told the officer had been stabbed more than 40 times and the group tried to decapitate him.

9 April: Nicholas Jacobs is cleared of murdering PC Blakelock at the Old Bailey by a majority jury. After four hours of deliberations, Mr Jacobs was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.