The trials of the murder suspects. Part 2
Winston Silcott was 26 years of age when he was arrested, born in 1959, a British citizen of African-Caribbean (Montserrat) parents. His parents were ‘Seventh Day Adventists and had arrived in England from Montserrat two years earlier. He told an interviewer that he had experienced racism all his life, particularly from the police. They were always picking on black people.
He lived in the Martlesham block on the Broadwater Farm Estate and at the time of the riots was running his greengrocer’s shop in the Tangmere block, this was the block near to where Blakelock was killed.
In 2004 he told the Observer newspaper that he had been in the Tangmere Block on the night of the death, and had stopped someone throwing a scaffolding pole through the window of his shop. Then a friend of his, Pam, had invited him to her apartment in order to keep him out of trouble. He said to the reporter, ‘and look I’m on bail for a murder. I know I am very stupid but not that stupid. There were police helicopter and police photographers everywhere. All I was thinking about at that time was not losing my bail. I first learned of the policeman’s death when I heard cheering in the apartment that he was in with Pam, in response to a news report about it.
He was arrested for the murder of Blakelock on the 12th October, 6 days after the riot. During the 24 hours he was first in custody he was interviewed 5 times by Det, Ch. Supt. Graham Melvin while Det. Inspector Maxwell Dingle took the notes of the interview. During the first 4 interviews, he stayed mostly silent and refused to sign the notes, but, during the 5th interview on the 13th October, when Melvin said he knew Silcott had struck Keith Blakelock with a machete or sword. His demeanour changed, according to the interview notes. The notes show him asking, ’who told you that?’ when the detectives said they had witnesses, he reportedly said, ’they are only kids, no one is going to believe them.’ The notes say he walked around the interview room with tears in his eyes, and saying, ’you c***s, you c***s, Jesus, Jesus.’ Then he said, ‘you ain’t got enough evidence. Those kids will never go to court. You wait and see. No one else will talk to you. You can’t keep me away from them.’ The notes show him saying of the murder weapons, ‘you’re too slow, man, they gone.’ He was at that point charged with the murder, to which he reportedly responded:
‘They won’t give evidence against me.’
Silcott was convicted in 1979 and sent to prison for 6 months for his part in a nightclub brawl.
His other convictions include, murder, burglary, malicious wounding and possession of an offensive weapon. In 1979 he was tried and then acquitted of murder,
He served 18 years imprisonment for the murder of boxer, nightclub bouncer and reputed gangster, Tony Smith, for which he was on bail when Keith Blakelock was killed. Silcott claimed that he killed Smith in self- defence. He was released from Blantyre House prison in October 2003. He also served a 6 month prison sentence for assault in a nightclub prior to his conviction for the murder of Smith.
In 2005, the police recruited Silcott to run a youth centre on the Broadwater Farm Estate, in a bid to reduce crime in the area.
In March 2007, he was found guilty of theft from shops for a second time since his release from prison. After his initial arrest he was held in police cells for two days for failing to reveal his real address.
The biggest ‘mafioso’ in Tottenham
A former detective Inspector called the Keith Blakelock murder investigation a pre-scientific inquiry. It was about how to get Winston Silcott convicted and nothing about discovering who actually had killed Keith Blakelock. By the time of the murder, the local police saw Silcott as the biggest ‘mafioso’ in Tottenham. He was running gangs of muggers and paying them in drugs, so it was being said. They wanted Silcott off their patch.