A retired police officer declared he had finally secured justice for a colleague shot dead outside Libya’s embassy in London 37 years ago after a former aide to Col Muammar Qaddafi was found jointly liable for her shooting.
Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher, 25, was killed from a gun fired from a window of the embassy as she was policing a demonstration against the former Libyan leader in 1984.
John Murray, 66, promised his dying colleague that he would find those responsible and brought a civil claim for a nominal £1 ($1.34) against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk as part of a decades-long battle for justice for his former colleague.
Mr Murray accepted that the Libyan – part of a Qaddafi loyalist group - did not fire any shots but was instrumental in orchestrating the plan to use violence against the student protest.
The judge, Martin Spencer, said he was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there existed a common design to respond to the planned anti-Qaddafi protest by using violence”.
In a ruling at London’s High Court, the judge said that Mr Mabrouk was an “active participant” in a plot to fire on the demonstrators.
Mr Mabrouk, who remained in Libya for the three-day trial last week, had denied having anything to do with the shooting and claimed he had been arrested three hours before the shooting.
He was arrested in 2015 in the UK, where he owned a home, but two years later police said charges could not be brought because key evidence had been kept secret to protect national security. He was the only person ever to be arrested in connection with the case.
The 30 people inside the building at the time of the shooting were allowed to leave after an 11-day siege and were expelled from the country under diplomatic protection.
Libya admitted responsibility in 1999 and agreed to pay compensation to Ms Fletcher's family.
Mr Murray said the ruling represented a huge step forward in finding those responsible for the shooting. “The Government's interference in the judicial process was disgraceful. We have faced many obstacles to get here. But, today, we have proven that we were right all along,” he said.
“Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk was responsible for Yvonne's death. Everything we have done leading up to this verdict has been for Yvonne. Today we have finally achieved justice for Yvonne."