ANTI-FASCIST protester Blair Peach died 31 years ago from a blow to the head and “a police officer is likely to have struck the fatal blow” according to a new police report published last Tuesday.
Blair Peach died aged 33 when police clashed with anti-fascist protesters against a planned National Front march in Southall, West London.
Police had prepared an “independent” report into the death after an inquiry by Commander John Cass but had refused to publish it. But last week, after decades of pressure and a sustained campaign led by his former partner Celia Stubbs and his family, Scotland Yard relented and published their findings.
But although it admits the killer was a riot squad officer who was defended by lies and collusion from his colleagues, the report does not name the chief suspect, nor those who have shielded him.
The Cass report does not name any of the implicated officers, but said six were on board a van belonging to the now disbanded Special Patrol Group identified as carrier U11.
It said there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone over the death but recommended action for perverting the course of justice for three officers, including “Officer E” – the chief suspect.
The 1979 report said: “Whilst it can reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow, and that that officer came from carrier U.11, I am sure that it will be agreed that the present situation is far from satisfactory and disturbing.”
It went on: “The attitude and untruthfulness of some of the officers involved is a contributory factor.
“It is understandable that because of the events of the day officers were confused, or made mistakes, but one would expect better recall of events by trained police officers.
“However, there are cases where the evidence shows that certain officers have clearly not told the truth.”
Last year, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the report should be published after being reviewed by lawyers.
The Crown Prosecution Service completed that review and advised Scotland Yard that charges could only be brought if there was sufficient new evidence, such as a confession.