Tag Archives: press coverage

Blair Peach in the press: “8000 mourn Blair Peach” (13 June 1979)

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One of those watching the mourners with little sympathy was Commander John Cass, who was charged with investigating Peach’s killing. As he wrote in his report to the DPP: “The funeral of the deceased was akin to a political demonstration with leftwing political elements most prominent … Associates of the deceased see it as a ’cause celebre’ and will endeavour to obtain maximum benefit for their purposes and whatever happened [they] would never be satisfied” (page 3).

 

 

Blair Peach in the press: “the cops and the cosh” (10 June 1979)

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The discovery that Peach had been killed by members of an SPG squad that possessed large numbers of unauthorised weapons transformed the press coverage of events in Southall.

On the morning of April 24th, and in the days immediately after Southall, the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph had all covered the story as an unprovoked attack on the police. The headlines were: ‘BATTLE OF HATE. Election Riot: Police Hurt, 300 arrested’, ‘RACE RIOTERS BATTLE WITH POLICE ARMY’, ‘300 HELD IN RIOT AT NF DEMO’ and ‘300 ARRESTED AT POLL RIOT’. The local press was if anything even more solidly hostile to the anti-fascists.

But as the realisation dawned that the police officers had acquired private weapons, apparently to use in a riot of their own planning, even papers normally sympathetic to the police, such as here the Sunday People, began to admit the previously inconceivable – that maybe the police had caused Peach’s death. As the article concludes: “No Policeman Can be allowed to become a goon in uniform”

Blair Peach in the press: “riot cop in death quiz” (7 June 1979)

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Again, Blair Peach. Today’s article is from the Mirror, on 7 June 1979. While the Anti-Nazi League was announcing details of Peach’s funeral, and the Morning Star was warning people that Peach’s killer was still at large, the police had begun to interview the 6 officers who had been on board carrier 1/1. 

Behind the scenes, according to Cass, the six police occupants of carrier U11 were interviewed: “to the extreme”. One “Officer E” said that he was refused food. Another, “Officer F”, complained of being held in custody for three days while he was interrogated.