Inquiry into death of Blair Peach revealed

originally published:
2nd October 2009

Scotland Yard secretly reopened an inquiry into the death of Blair Peach two decades after its officers were widely believed to have killed the anti-fascist campaigner in one of the darkest incidents in the Metropolitan police force’s history.

Relatives of Peach, the 33-year-old teacher from New Zealand whose skull was crushed at a demonstration against the far right in Southall in 1979, said tonight they had no idea the file into his death was “reviewed” in the late 1990s.

No officers were ever charged in connection with the death, although Commander John Cass, who investigated the case as the head of the Met’s complaints bureau, was believed to have produced a report that identified several officers as possible suspects in the killing and accused others of thwarting his inquiries.

The Met has said it will release the Cass report before the end of the year, bringing to an end a 30-year-old mystery. However, the Guardian has established that a second Met commander in charge of the force’s complaints bureau, Ian Quinn, reopened the Peach file around 10 years ago for a “review”. As a result, he too produced a report on the death in 1999.

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