The trials of the murder suspects. Part 3
Engin Raghip was 19 years of age when he was arrested, of Turkish-Cypriot descent. He was arrested on the 24th October, this was after a friend mentioned his name to the police. This was the only time anyone had linked him to the murder. During his trial, the court heard from an expert that Raghip was ‘in the middle of the mildly mentally handicapped range, although this testimony was withheld from the Jury. His mental impairment later became a key issue during his successful appeal in 1991.
Raghip was born in England in 1968, ten years after his parents had immigrated to Cyprus. He left school at 15 years of age and was illiterate. By the time of the murder he had already got 2 conviction, one was for stealing a car and the other for burglary. He was living with his common –law wife, Sharon Daly, with whom he had a 2-year old son. He worked occasionally as a mechanic. He had little connection with Broadwater Farm Estate, although he lived close by in Wood Green. He had gone to the Broadwater Farm Estate with two friends on the day of the rioting to watch. One of those friends, John Broomfield gave an interview to the Daily Mirror on the 23rd October, he was apparently boasting about his involvement in the rioting. He was arrested and he implicated Raghip in the rioting too. Broomfield was later convicted of an unrelated murder.
At the time of Raghip’s arrest he had been drinking and also smoking cannabis over a period of several days, during this time he had not slept or eaten properly, and his common-law wife had just left him and taking their son with her. Raghip was held for two days without representation. He first spoke to a duty solicitor on the third day. The solicitor reported to the police that he found Raghip distressed and disoriented. He was interviewed by Det. Sgt. Van Thal and Det. Insp. John Kennedy ten times over a period of 4 days. During these interviews he made several incriminating statements; at first he admitted to the officers that he thrown stones at the police, then during the second interview saying that he had witnessed the attack on the policeman. Then during the next interview he said that he had spoken to Winston Silcott about the murder, and that Silcott owned a hammer with a hook on one side. After the then 5th interview, it is alleged that he was charged by the police with affray, and during the sixth he went on to describe the attack on Blakelock. He said,’ it was like you see on a film, a helpless man with dogs on him. It was just like that, it was really quick.’ Raghip did not sign this interview, after it he vomited.
The following day, the 7th interview, he described the noises that he said he heard Blakelock had made during the attack. During the 8th interview, he said that he had armed himself that night with a broom handle and had tried to get close to what was happening to Keith Blakelock, but there were too many people around him. He said,
‘I had a weapon when I was running towards the policeman, this broom handle. I might have kicked or hit him had I been able to get close enough but I couldn’t.
He then offered the exact order in which Blakelock’s attackers had launched the assault on him. Raghip was held in custody for another two days and then released on bail. Six weeks later he was charged with the murder. This was under the doctrine of ‘Common Purpose.’