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Traumatised Colleague of Murdered WPC Yvonne Fletcher Achieves Justice

The road to justice for those who have suffered terrible wrongs can be excruciatingly long and hard, but persistence will often win the day. That was certainly so in the case of a retired police officer who was with WPC Yvonne Fletcher when she was gunned down outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984.

John Murray was a friend and colleague of WPC Fletcher and was fortunate not to be hit by machine-gun fire from the embassy during a tense stand-off between the British and Libyan governments. Her death had a profound effect upon him, triggering post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive episodes.

He launched proceedings against Saleh Mabrouk, then a senior pro-Gaddafi official. There was evidence that he had warned a Metropolitan Police employee outside the embassy that there would be shooting and violence that day. Although he was not prosecuted following the incident, he was banned from entering the UK in 2019 on grounds that his presence in this country would not be conducive to the public good.

In upholding Mr Murray's claim in 2021, a judge ruled that the shooting towards him was an assault and that he was also entitled to recover damages for injury that he sustained as a direct consequence of the battery caused to WPC Fletcher. He found that there was a coordinated, deliberate and premeditated plan to fire on protestors outside the embassy and that the incident arose from a common design which Mr Mabrouk had assisted in facilitating.

In refusing permission for Mr Mabrouk to appeal against the judge's ruling, the Court of Appeal found that his grounds of challenge were not remotely arguable. In lodging the appeal outside the normal legal time limit, he had also failed to act promptly. The Court noted that Mr Murray's claim had been brought for the purpose of vindication and that he had limited his damages claim to £1.