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131,732. I don’t want the south side of Chicago in Tottenham. David Lammy, Tottenham MP
16,033. The killing of three policemen in 1910 which led to the Siege of Sidney Street was still remembered as extraordinary. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) Great Crimes & Trials: Browne & Kennedy & Other Police Killers
16,034. On the evening of Friday 16th December 1910 a police constable patrolling in the city of London was called to investigate strange noises coming from Exchange Buildings, a small alleyway near Houndsditch. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) Great Crimes & Trials: The Siege of Sidney Street
16,035. Behind, they left Sergeants Bentley and Tucker and Constable Choate dead. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.
16,036. Among the immigrants came political refugees. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.
16,037. In the suburb of Tottenham ... Two Latvian émigrés attempted a wages snatch. Foiled, they hijacked a tram and were chased for several miles, shooting indiscriminately at the pursuers. A policeman and a ten-year-old boy were killed before the gunmen were cornered and shot themselves. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.
16,038. Two hundred policemen, some armed with shotguns, moved into the area in the late evening of 3rd January 1911. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.
16,039. Their response was to start shooting at anything that moved. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North & Churchill) ibid.
16,040. The request was sent asking for troops to be dispatched from the Tower of London. This was approved by the thirty-six-year-old Home Secretary Winston Churchill, who then hurried to Sidney Street to see the action. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North & Churchill) ibid.
16,041. The anarchists were now keeping up a steady fire. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North & Churchill) ibid.
16,042. A wisp of smoke was seen coming from Number 100. Soon the fire had taken a good hold. Churchill told firemen to stay clear until the roof and first floor collapsed. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North & Churchill) ibid.
16,043. The killing of three policemen in Exchange Buildings and the subsequent siege at Sidney Street shook pre-First World War Britain. (Murder & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.
16,651. The Broadwater Farm case was worse than all of these. At least, in the Birmingham case, an explosives test (recently discredited) had proved positive on two of the six men’s hands. At least in the Guildford case one of the defendants had apparently voluntarily, spilled out the names of the other people who later confessed. At least, in the Bridgewater case one confession led to another, and back to the first one again.
The importance of the Blakelock case is that police now know that if the press is on their side and if the crime is dramatic enough, they can get a conviction just by picking on anyone in the street and taking notes of a conversation which can be construed as a confession or a part-confession. It is the random nature of the arrests of all six people who allegedly ‘confessed’ to the Blakelock killing which has the most chilling consequences.
The power and confidence of the police has increased hugely since the case. Until the Blakelock case, a jury would have insisted on some corroboration before sentencing anyone effectively to life in prison. Now that a jury has so obliged the police, the police have responded with a renewed public relations campaign to take away the powers of the jury. (Miscarriages of Justice: Broadwater Farm Riots & Gangs UK: London North & Police & Murder Cases) Paul Foot, article 1987 ‘Confessions & Repressions’
16,652. ‘They created Winston Silcott, the beast of Broadwater Farm. And they won’t let this creation lie down and die.’ It was a defining moment of the ’80s – the brutal murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the Tottenham riots. For Winston Silcott, jailed for the killing but cleared on appeal, the story goes on. In a revealing interview, he tells David Rose about life in prison, his fight to clear his name – and what happened on the night of 6 October 1985.
‘I’m not free,’ says Winston Silcott. ‘I might be standing here posing for your photographer. But in the minds of so many, the association just goes on – Winston Silcott and Keith Blakelock.’ He twists the brim of his baseball cap against the winter sun, then unexpectedly smiles. ‘An ordeal like mine either makes you or breaks you. They tried to crush me, but I wasn’t having it. Yet sometimes I chuckle to myself. There’s just me and this huge system, and over the years, I’ve got it in disarray.’
It is 17 years since Silcott, now 44, sat with five other men in the dock at the Old Bailey accused of murdering PC Blakelock, hacked with machetes and stabbed with knives in the riot on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, north London, on 6 October 1985.
Once he had entered his plea of ‘not guilty’ Silcott did not speak, but he dominated the two-month trial that followed. Reporters who covered the case thought we saw a tall, bearded, well-built Afro-Caribbean man who always dressed immaculately. The police and prosecution urged us to believe we were looking at a monster, the ringleader of a savage mob, which had planned to sever Blakelock’s head and mount it on a pole, like a medieval trophy.
Atavistic racial imagery lay close to the surface. According to statements taken by detectives, Silcott had brandished a machete, dripping with blood, and proclaimed to cheers: ‘This is bullman’s blood.’ He had, they claimed, thrust a sword into the hands of a 13-year-old white boy, Jason Hill, and forced him, on pain of death, to slash Blakelock’s prostrate form to ‘make my mark’ and then told him: ‘You cool, man.’
In the third week of March 1987, after two months of evidence and three days’ deliberation, the jury returned to court. Silcott, Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite, known from that day on as the Tottenham Three, were pronounced guilty. Silcott, said the judge, must serve at least 30 years: he was ‘a very vicious and evil man’. (Miscarriages of Justice: Broadwater Farm Riots & Gangs UK: London North & Murder) The Observer online article David Rose 18th January 2004
16,653. For the past 17 years Winston Silcott has been an infamous figure in the media – still linked to a murder the courts now say he did not commit.
Twice convicted of murder, and cleared of one of the killings on appeal, he has long been a symbolic figure for campaigners who believe his jailing had more to do with prejudice than justice.
Silcott, 43, was released from prison on Monday.
But to this day he remains infamous for the murder he was wrongly convicted of (a white policeman), rather than the one for which he has served almost 18 years in jail (a black nightclub bouncer).
His conviction for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock was ultimately overturned by the Court of Appeal but he remained in jail for the earlier murder of Anthony Smith, an incident which he claims was self-defence. (Miscarriages of Justice: Broadwater Farm Riots & Gangs UK: London North & Murder) BBC online article 20th October 2003
18,454. When I’m going to Tottenham, I have to pull out my shank. Obi, cited Gang Life, BBC 2012
18,455. It’s Post-Code War. Obi
21,067. Mate, Tottenham’s due north. Are you lost or just fucking stupid? (GBH Films & Gangs UK: London North & Football) Green Street Hooligans 2005 starring Elijah Wood & Charlie Hunnam & Claire Forlani & Leo Gregory & Claire Forlani & Marc Warren & Ross McCall & Rafe Spall & Kieran Bew & Geoff Bell & Terence Jay et al, director Lexi Alexander, opening scene on Underground platform
36,016. The cold-blooded murder of twenty-nine year old Mark Duggan who was shot by a police officer for no reason whatsoever. (New World Order & Gangs UK: London North) Ian R Crane, interview Richplanet TV 2012 Global Control
79,771. Good God in Heaven above. I must have taken the wrong turning. We seem to have driven into a place called – Tott-ten-ham ... We’re all going to die! (London & Gangs UK: London North) The Catherine Tate Show, The Aga Saga Woman
86,809. The police were to blame for what happened on Sunday night and what they got was a bloody good hiding. (Riot & Gangs UK: London North) Bernie Grant, speech 8th October 1985
86,817. Simmering resentment about police treatment of black people; it was a demonstration in response to Mark Duggan’s death in Tottenham that sparked the riots. (Riot & Gangs UK: London North) Riots: The Aftershock, BBC 2012
86,822. On 6th August last year about 120 people gathered outside Tottenham Police Station in London. They had marched from Broadwater Farm Estate to protest at the shooting by police of local man Mark Duggan. (Riot & Gangs UK: London North) The Riots: In Their Own Words I: The Rioters BBC 2012
86,835. Tottenham High Road becomes an inferno. (Riot & Gangs UK: London North) The Riots: In Their Own Words II: The Police BBC 2012
95,383. This is Tottenham: on the surface an unremarkable suburb in north London with a famous football team. But for the last thirty years this place has been rarely out of the news. (London & Gangs UK: London North) This is Tottenham, BBC 2015
95,384. More than 70% of people are from an ethnic minority. (London & Gangs UK: London North) ibid.