THE family of Pc Keith Blakelock have never given up hope that they would get justice for his brutal murder.
On the 25th anniversary of the Broadwater riots, they actively encouraged fresh witnesses to come forward to the renewed investigation.
In 2010, Pc Blakelock’s widow, Elizabeth Johnson, went on the BBC’s Crimewatch with her sons to make a moving appeal.
She said: “I know it was the uniform that they were attacking that night, but there was a father and a husband inside that uniform and they killed him.
“He didn’t stand a chance. He was armed with just a small truncheon and a shield. He was a home beat officer; he wasn’t a riot officer. But he was called on to do a duty and he did it and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for doing that.”
The couple’s sons, Mark, Kevin and Lee, were 13, 11 and eight when their father was killed on October 6 1985.
Speaking on the same programme, Mark said: “The reason as a family we have decided to speak for the first time collectively is because we realise that this is probably our last opportunity to get what we want, which is a conviction for what happened to dad.’’
Mrs Johnson has also spoken of her pride in her sons after one of them followed in his father’s footsteps and was hailed a hero for disarming a knifeman in the line of duty.
Pc Blakelock’s youngest son, Lee, who joined Durham Police in 2000, received an official commendation from his chief constable after he and a colleague managed to subdue the man as he held his ex-partner at knifepoint in front of their seven-year-old son.
Mrs Johnson, who remarried and has another son Jordan, said at the time: “Even when his dad was alive he wanted to be a policeman.
“It was not because of what happened to his dad that he joined the police. It was following in his father’s footsteps but not because of what happened. I am extremely proud of Lee as I am of all my sons.’’
When Nicky Jacobs was charged last year, the family issued a brief statement saying they had “never given up hope in getting justice” and expressing “our eternal gratitude to the Metropolitan Police Service’’.
Throughout the Old Bailey trial, Mrs Johnson sat in dignified silence and was supported by her sons as they heard harrowing accounts of the mob attack nearly 30 years ago.
The family, who did not want to speak to the press during the case, attended court every day and were given seats in the courtroom away from Jacobs’s supporters in the public gallery.