Cleared Jacobs was charged with Blakelock killings 30 years after first arrest

ON TRIAL ... a court artist's sketch of Nicholas Jacobs during his murder trial at the Old Bailey in London.
ON TRIAL ... a court artist's sketch of Nicholas Jacobs during his murder trial at the Old Bailey in London.
Share this article
Have your say

NICKY Jacobs was arrested over the murder of Pc Keith Blakelock, from Sunderland, five days after the beat bobby was hacked to death by a mob on Sunday October 6 1985 – but he was not charged with the brutal crime for another 28 years.

At the time of the killing, Jacobs was just 16 years old and lived with his mother in Manor Road, Tottenham, near the Broadwater Farm Estate where Pc Blakelock was attacked.

Since June 1982 he had been the subject of a care order and as part of that was sent to stay at a school in Reading, Berkshire, between September 1983 and 1984.

In 1985, Jacobs was a member of the Park Lane gang in Tottenham and had a girlfriend called Diana Dacosta who lived in the same north London area, the court was told.

On October 11 1985, just days after the Tottenham riots, Jacobs was arrested by police “in connection with the murder of Pc Blakelock”, according to police records.

During an interview accompanied by his mother, Jacobs denied being involved in the riots, and said he was at home when Pc Blakelock was attacked.

He told police it was after midnight before he went on to the Broadwater Farm estate and saw youths with police shields on the deck of the Tangmere block near the murder scene.

He was charged with affray on October 14 1985 and remanded in custody.

Through solicitors, he later produced an alibi for the night, saying he had seen a girlfriend called Marcia Fleming, played pool, met two friends and been at a pub called the Olive Branch until 11.45pm, only going to the estate at 12.15am. Pc Blakelock was murdered around 10pm.

On November 3 1986, he was convicted of affray and sentenced to eight years in youth custody. That was later reduced to six years.

At his sentencing, Judge Neil Denison QC reportedly told him he played a “leading part” in the riots and threw at least one petrol bomb.

Police photographs showed Jacobs wielding a crate, a basket full of rocks and a petrol bomb.

His lawyer had appealed for leniency, saying that his client was out of work and came from a broken home.

It was while he was behind bars that Jacobs wrote a rap poem about the murder, which was found by a prison guard in January 1988.

In it, he wrote: “As long as I live I will remember it was 1985 the 6th October... me have de chopper we have intention to kill an police officer Pc Blakelock de unlucky f***** him dis an help de fireman. Who did an out an fire de fireman see we av come and decide to scatter but Pc Blakelock him never smell the danger but when we fly down upon him he start scream and holla everybody gather round and av pure laughter he try to head out but we trip him over he start beg for mercy but it didn’t matter him try to play super man....

“We chopper we start chop him on his hand we chop him on him finger we chop him on him leg we chop him on his shoulder him head him chest him neck we chop him all over when we done kill him off lord er feel much just wipe off me knife and go check on daughter we sit down and talk and she cook me dinner...”

The Old Bailey trial also heard that in May 2000 Jacobs, then aged 30, was arrested and told a police officer: “F*** off, I was one of them who killed Keith Blakelock.”

During the incident, Jacobs suffered a cut hand and was held down by members of the public until police arrived and arrested him for attempted burglary, police said.

Scotland Yard said Jacobs had a history of low-level “aquisitive” crime before he was interviewed again about the murder but was never regarded as an organised criminal.

In February 2010, he was produced from prison to be interviewed about the murder as part of a third Pc Blakelock murder investigation.

Jacobs issued a short prepared statement denying involvement but, after extensive investigation and disclosure, he was charged in July last year.

During the trial, Jacobs, now 45, sat in the dock and listened intently to the evidence from police officers and witnesses. A number of his supporters sat in the public gallery throughout the trial.

All three key witnesses in the trial, who gave evidence anonymously, named Jacobs as among those who used weapons to attack Pc Blakelock.

However, there were inconsistencies in their accounts, including the type of weapon Jacobs used. One said he saw him with a six-inch lock knife, another said it was a scythe or machete, while another could only say it was a “tool” of some sort.

One of them, known during the trial by the pseudonym John Brown, identified Jacobs in 11 out of 12 pictures of him taken at the riots by police photographers.

There were photographs of Jacobs before and after the attack on Pc Blakelock, but not at the actual time of the killing.

He denied murder but refused to give evidence in his defence.

On Jacobs’s criminal past, Detective Superintendent John Sweeney said: “He is not a massive organised criminal. He was into low-level aquisitive crimes. In 2000 he was arrested on suspicion of burglary having been detained by members of the public. That was an indication of the level of crime.”