Man charged over brutal 1985 murder of London policeman

LONDON (AFP) - A man appeared in court on Wednesday charged with the notorious murder of British police officer Keith Blakelock, who was hacked to death by a mob in London in 1985.

Nicholas Jacobs was 16 when the policeman was attacked and stabbed dozens of times as he tried to protect firefighters during riots on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham.

Now 44, Jacobs appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Wednesday to be formally charged with murder.

Wearing a grey tracksuit, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey criminal court on Friday.

Blakelock and his colleague Richard Coombes were attacked on October 6, 1985, during riots sparked by the death of a local woman, Cynthia Jarrett, when police raided her home.

Three men were found guilty of murder in 1987, but their convictions were quashed four years later, after forensic tests suggested key witness statements had been fabricated.

Police re-opened the investigation into Blakelock's killing in 2003. In 2010 they arrested 14 men, including Jacobs. The others have since been told they will face no further action.