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Libyan Embassy Siege

Sue MacGregor reunites five people who were at the centre of the dramatic events outside the Libyan embassy in central London in 1984.

Sue MacGregor reunites five people who were at the centre of the dramatic events outside the Libyan Embassy in central London in 1984.

At 5' 2", Yvonne Fletcher battled to fulfil a childhood ambition to become a police officer. Superfletch, as she was dubbed by colleagues, achieved her dream as a community officer with the Metropolitan Police and, in doing so, became the shortest police officer in Britain. She was due to marry a fellow officer.

On a spring morning in April 1984, she was sent to man an anti-Gaddafi demonstration outside the Libyan Embassy in London. She was gunned down during the protest and pronounced dead several hours later on the operating table.

The Embassy had recently been taken over by the Committee of Revolutionary Students and renamed the Libyan People's Bureau. They were fiercely loyal to their leader, the notorious "mad dog of the Middle East", Colonel Gaddafi, and targeted Libyan dissidents in the UK.

Sue and her guests look back on what, at the time, was the longest police siege in British history.

Oliver Miles was only a few months into his new post as British Ambassador in Tripoli.
PC John Murray was working alongside WPC Fletcher and travelled in the ambulance with her as she was dying.
Detective Superintendent Colin Reeve stepped up to run the police command centre, working 12 hours a day throughout the 11-day siege.
Adel Mansouri was a Libyan student who travelled from Manchester to what he believed would be a peaceful demonstration. He was also shot.

They discuss why warnings about threatened violence weren't passed to police on the ground, why the so-called Embassy still enjoyed diplomatic status, and whether Yvonne Fletcher's death could have been avoided.

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

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45 minutes

Last on

Fri 14 Apr 2017 09:00