The Murder of Police Constable Keith Blakelock. Part 3

Stapleford block, Broadwater Farm, Tottenham
Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
A picture of the Broadwater Farm estate which was shown in court [PA]
Broadwater Farm Estate seen from Lordship Recreation Ground
Trainwalkslondon's Blog
The Broadwater Farm riot 6 October 1985. Photograph: ITN/Rex
The Guardian
PC Blakelock was attacked on a grass verge on the Broadwater Farm Estate
BBC News

Broadwater estate

At 6.45pm the meeting broke up and the youths began to make their way to the police station, they were perfectly well-behaved, taking among themselves as they walked along in small groups. There was no indication at that stage of what was about to happen in just a few short hours. Soon the youths found that a there had been a build-up of a police presence in the area. There were also a number of numbered riot vans that was filled with police officers from the SPG (Special Police Group.) which were parked in various places within the Broadwater estate. This angered the youths who proceeded to rush to these vans and started banging on the sides of them demanding they withdraw from the estate. The youths who had been by and large peaceful up to then started to change their attitude. They demanded the police vans withdraw from the estate. The police response was immediate and emphatic, within seconds the police were out of the vans wearing their riot gear, more police arrived and it became similar to an invasion. It was quite a frightening sight as the police entered the estate from every entrance making a very loud cacophony of noise by shouting and using their long truncheons to bang on their shields. It was obvious this had been planned with a lot of thought beforehand. The police yelled at the youths, ‘get back into your bloody holes, you’re not leaving until we allow you too!’ This was followed up with ‘Nigger Nigger Nigger! Oi Oi Oi.’

They then blocked all the entrances only allowing a few white residents and their friends to leave. When a senior Youth Association member approached to talk to the police about being ‘kettled’ and demand why they were not allowing a peaceful demonstration, the police officer said ’F*** off back with the rest of them.’ Then adding. ‘This isn’t f***ing Brixton you black c***, go and f*** off.’

The last few people who had managed to get back onto the estate talked about the hundreds of police officers in vans who were on the estate perimeters. There was a rumour that was circulating about that the police having dogs in the Lordship recreation ground, which bordered the estate.


The youths became enraged as the same police who had murdered a black mother in her own home were now there to deny the youths their legal rights to protest against this terrible act. The youths now were feeling threatened by the real menacing stance adopted by the police. It was the first time they had ever been ‘kettled’ and they didn’t like it, this really added to their anger.

This demonstration commenced about 7pm and ended about 1am the following morning. Although this was a relatively short space of time, around 6 hours, the damage done and injuries caused by both sides ran into millions of pounds.

During this 6 hour period 243 police officers were injured, there were two police officers and 3 members of the media suffered gunshot wounds and one officer, Constable Keith Blackelock was murdered.


The riot began with a modest group of young black men demonstrating outside Tottenham police station as a result of the death of Cynthia Jarrett, As matters then started to escalate, two home Beat officers were seriously injured by a brick throwing crowd, one of the home beat officers had his spleen ruptured by a paving slab thrown at him and striking him in his back when he had fallen and was laying on the ground.

A protest meeting was horridly arranged where responsible community leaders proposed a motion of complaint was shouted down. By this time the meeting was far from being orderly as it was at the beginning. A police inspector who was driving past was attacked for no other reason apart from being a police officer, all the windows in his car was smashed. A police van answering a 999 call was surrounded by youths and violently attacked and severely damaged. This gang was armed with large knives and machetes. This was fast becoming a very serious riot. The police quickly deployed units to try to quell the riot. They were sent to protect some fireman who were trying to deal with a house fire. These firemen were being attacked by an armed group of black youths.

Constable Blakelock loses his footing

The sergeant deployed his men giving the best protection to the firemen. However, more and people crowded the area and the policemen and fire men were forced to retreat in a hurry. A number of black youths had a vicious array of weapons and were threatening the firemen as well as the police. During the retreat constable Blakelock lost his footing and fell down. That was the signal for the youths to attack him, the officer was defenceless, and his colleagues tried to get back to help him but were driven off by sheer weight of numbers. It was estimated that this particular gang was between 30 and 50 black youths, mostly armed with the deadliest of weapons. The constable suffered one stab would and then another, the attack got more vicious. Constable Blakelock didn’t stand a chance. There was no doubt in anyone’s minds they were out to kill the policeman. In all he suffered at least 40 stab wounds. This included a very serious wound to the neck where a 6 inch knife had been buried in him up to the hilt. He was very badly injured with blood pouring from his many wounds. He was placed in an ambulance ready to be taken to hospital but he died in the ambulance.

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