The trials of the murder suspects. Part 1
Mark Pennant was aged just 15 when he was arrested on the 9th October, interviewed over a two day period. Then on the 11th October he was charged with the murder of Constable Keith Blakelock. The police knew that many were involved with the murder and was sure they had one of them.
He was the first person of those arrested to be charged with murder. Pennant was born in England to West Indian parents. He had been raised in the West Indies until the age of 9 years, after that he returned to England. He suffered learning difficulties and attended a ‘Special School.’ He was arrested at school and handcuffed and taken to Wood Green Police Station. During the course of his 2 days there he was interviewed on at least six occasions. On these occasions he was allowed to have a teacher present of his choosing. During these various interviews he admitted that he had cut Pc Blakelock and he had also kicked him twice, which made him shout. He also blamed Winston Silcott as the ring-leader and a few others he named, who were actively involved, one of these named was a juvenile. This is exactly wanted the police wanted to hear.
Jason Hill was a juvenile at this time, aged 13 years and was one of the residents of Broadwater Farm Estate. He was seen looting a store in the Tangmere Block during the riot itself. This was near to where Blakelock was killed. He said he had no dealings with the murder. He was arrested on the 13th October and taken to Leyton Police Station where he was in custody for three days. During this time he wasn’t allowed access to a lawyer and also very little access to his family. It was widely reported that he was kept in a cell in a very hot cell, this made sleeping very difficult as well as affecting his breathing. His clothes and shoes were taken from him and allegedly sent for forensic examination. He was interviewed just wearing his underpants and a blanket around his shoulders. By the 3rd day this blanket was heavily stained with Hill’s vomit.
Hyacinth Moody of the Harringey Community Relations Council sat in as an ‘appropriate adult.’ Later she was severely criticised by the Judge at the trial for failing to intervene.
Over the course of several interviews, Jason Hill told the police that he had witnessed the attack on Constable Blakelock and named Winston Silcott and others, which included Mark Lambie. He went on to describe that it was almost a ritualistic killing and said that Silcott, whom he called ‘Sticks.’ He had forced him to make his own mark on the officer with a sword, which he handed to me. At another of these interviews he described the injuries to the policeman’s body but they did not match the injuries of the autopsy report. He said that after he had used the weapon to cut the officer, he said Silcott told him that he (Hill) could was cool and then asked him exactly what he had seen? Jason Hill said, ‘nothing absolutely nothing. He was then told by Silcott that he could go. After a short pause as he looked around, he continued ’the aim of the attack had been to decapitate the policeman and then put his head on a pole, just like a trophy.’
In 1991, in a private interview he said that the police kept saying, ‘go on admit it, go on admit it then; go on you had a stab and it was also ‘Sticks, wasn’t it? He said the police threatened him too.’ They had threatened to keep him at the station for 2 weeks and said you will never see the family again.
He was 14 years old and became the 3rd juvenile to be charged with the murder. He had been named by both Mark Pennant and Jason Hill. He was interviewed with his father and a solicitor. Lambie admitted to taking part in the rioting but vehemently denied anything to do with the actual murder During the trial one witness said that he had definitely see Lambie force his way through the large crowd to reach the policeman. However, later this evidence was discredited. The witness was caught in several lies and later admitted he had offered evidence only to avoid a prison sentence.