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WATCH: UK police release shocking new video of 1984 Libyan embassy shooting

A Libyan man has been arrested in connection with the killing of 25-year-old police officer Yvonne Fletcher.

libyaembassy Protesters outside the Libyan embassy on 17 April 1984. Source: Metropolitan Police

A LIBYAN MAN has been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to murder a British policewoman who was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

Police said this was “the first significant arrest” of the investigation into the killing of 25-year-old Yvonne Fletcher, which led Britain to sever diplomatic relations with Libya for 15 years.

The Libyan, who is in his 50s, is also suspected of money laundering, along with two other Libyans who were also arrested.

Detectives today also appealed for eyewitnesses from that day and released 14 images of individuals they want to identify, as well as this previously unseen video footage of the demonstration and shooting.

(Warning: This video is not graphic, but does show a person who has just been shot, and may upset some viewers).

Source: Metropolitan Police/YouTube

“Over the past 31 years we have never lost our resolve to solve this case,” said Richard Walton, the head of counter terrorism at London’s Metropolitan Police.

Fletcher had been patrolling a small, peaceful demonstration outside the embassy in London’s St James’s Square on 17 April, 1984.

A rival demonstration of supporters of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi had also turned out.

In a statement, the Metropolitan police described what followed:

At about 10.17 am, a number of shots were fired from within the [Embassy], including some from an automatic weapon, hitting WPC Fletcher who was shot in the back.
Fellow officers ran to her assistance as she lay on the ground. She 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.

“Any information, however small, can help bring closure,” Fletcher’s family said in a statement.

Yvonne Fletcher Yvonne Fletcher Source: PA WIRE

The killing sparked an 11-day stand-off with police outside the embassy, officially referred to as the Libyan People’s Bureau.

But the killer is presumed to have left Britain among the 30 staff who were then deported under diplomatic immunity.

Police explained:

We believe that the incident was part of the so-called ‘stray dogs campaign’ being orchestrated from Libya to attack overseas dissidents and their interests during this time.

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The shooting led Britain to sever diplomatic relations with Libya until 1999, and has long been an obstacle in ties between London and Tripoli, along with the 1988 bombing of a passenger jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

In 1999, Libya accepted “general responsibility” for Fletcher’s death.

The overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 has given investigators new hope of solving the Fletcher and Lockerbie crimes.

Murdered Yvonne Fletcher remembered Police officers stand beside floral tributes during a memorial service on the 30th anniversary of Yvonne Fletcher's death. Source: PA WIRE

In 2012, Libya’s then prime minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib laid a wreath at the memorial to Fletcher, and Scotland Yard has sent detectives to Libya to continue their investigations into the killing.

Fletcher’s family, colleagues and friends laid floral tributes at the spot where she fell on the 30th anniversary of her death last year.

At the ceremony, Fletcher’s friend and colleague John Murray recalled being in the ambulance with her and telling her he would find out what happened.

I will get justice for Yvonne Fletcher. Bearing in mind that those were the last words she heard before she died, that’s a promise I made to her and a promise I’ll keep.

Contains reporting by AFP.

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Dan MacGuill

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