Police say they are unlikely to ever bring to justice the people responsible for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in Westminster more than 30 years ago.
The 25-year-old policewoman was killed by bullets fired from inside the Libyan People’s Bureau in 1984.
Scotland Yard was speaking after a man arrested on suspicion of conspiring to murder WPC Yvonne Fletcher in November 2015 was released from police bail on Tuesday (May 16).
The force said “this concludes what was by far the best opportunity to solve this tragic case and provide a degree of closure for the victims and their families”.
Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley spoke of his “regret” and being unable “to deliver the justice that the victims and their families deserve”, while the family spoke of its “deep disappointment and frustration”.
WPC Fletcher was policing a demonstration outside the Libyan People’s Bureau in St James’ Square on April 17 when a number of shots were fired from an automatic weapon, from within the bureau, at 10.17am.
She was shot in the back and died a short time after at Westminster Hospital.
Ten Libyan men, who were protesting against Gaddafi that morning, were also shot and injured during the incident.
A Met statement said national security had prevented justice: “We believe our investigation has identified enough material to identify those responsible for WPC Fletcher’s murder if it could be presented to a court.
“However the key material has not been made available for use in court in evidential form for reasons of national security.
“Therefore, without this material and following a review of all the evidence that was available to prosecutors, the Crown Prosecution Service - who we worked closely with throughout - have informed us that there is insufficient admissible evidence to charge the man.
“Although our investigation has always remained open, cases like this do become harder to solve over time.
“Our judgement is that this concludes what was by far the best opportunity to solve this tragic case and provide a degree of closure for the victims and their families.
“This investigation will never be closed but the likelihood of finding further evidence, in Libya or elsewhere, is low.”
Assistant Commissioner Rowley said: “The murder of a British police officer in broad daylight, outside an embassy, provoked a powerful reaction from the public and from officers at the time, and the tragedy of WPC Fletcher’s death continues to resonate with officers today.
“I am extremely proud of the exceptional work the investigative team and the Crown Prosecution Service have carried out. I know they were incredibly determined to identify those responsible for the senseless murder of a colleague.
“I regret that we have not been able to deliver the justice that the victims and their families deserve.”
The family of WPC Fletcher thanked police for their “hard work and diligence” but said in a statement: “We are deeply disappointed and frustrated that a prosecution cannot proceed at this time.
“We had hoped that the latest turn of events would finally lead to some closure for the family.”
Police described WPC Fletcher's shooting as an act of state-sponsored terrorism which was part a brutal bombing and shooting campaign waged by the Gaddafi regime during the 80s and 90s that targeted Libyan dissidents across Europe.
It resulted in a police siege at the Libyan People’s Bureau lasting 10 days, after which 30 of the occupants of the bureau were deported back to Libya and the British Government severed diplomatic relations with the Libyan regime.
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