Blair Peach in the press: Paul Foot’s London Diary (15 June 1979)


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Paul Foot, writing in the New Statesman, was proud to have broken the story that the pathologists’ inquiries had showed that the weapon which killed Blair Peach was probably not a police truncheon.

Professor Bowen who carried out the original post mortem investigation into Peach’s killing, and Professor Mant, who carried out a subsequent post morterm on behalf of the family, both agreed on this. Mant noted that the blow had split Peach’s skull but not his skin and indicated that a blow from a truncheon would probably have split the skin. There had been just one, heavy, blow to Peach’s head, suggesting the use of a weighty instrument, but police truncheons are relatively light. He concluded that the blow could have been caused by any of a range of instruments, such as a lead weighted rubber cosh or a hosepipe filled with lead, or potentially a police radio.

This information significant because during the raid on the lockers of the SPG officers, Constable White had been found to possess a cosh, which he claimed to have acquired either as a gift during a visit to America in 1969 or “at a road block that as unit we had been conducting and after dealing with several cars it must have been dropped by someone … I don’t know who” (Cass, enclosures, pages 1097, 1023).


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