the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher

The murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher

Libyan Embassy siege - 11 days

Protest and Siege of the Libyan Embassy in London


last interview

Final interview

on home ground at last

On British soil - at last.

"A Brush With Madness" by Robin Plummer


WPC Yvonne Fletcher slid silently to the ground. The clatter of machine gun fire echoed in her ears. A pool of blood ran towards the gutter and drained away, along with the echo of gunfire and her existence on this planet. Her mother would be destroyed. Colonel Gaddafi would later apologise.

*** *** ***

Less than a quarter of a mile away, Robin's lunch was superb but getting cold. Could the waiter heat it up for him? The chef had no time to reheat food, not even for favoured customers. So he sent a new meal instead.

Finishing the second steak with a matching bottle of red, Robin took the receipt, the stairs two at a time, and the fresh air, as he walked to the Tube.

There was yet one more piece of business to do before taking the train home to his beloved wife - a pint of Directors at King's Cross station.

As the Indian served an impeccable pint, Robin's thoughts of the morning's meeting with Chris Wright remained undisturbed.

Chris had told Robin that he could have his old London job back - provided that he returned from Libya in August as scheduled - or they would give the job to someone else. Chris, himself, had been an expatriate in Saudi Arabia for five months and had been given the option to stay there. Chris had told his bosses back in the UK that he would only return to the UK if they promoted him. The blackmail had worked. But Chris knew to watch for others trying the same trick. They shook hands and Robin left.
The train pulled out of King's Cross and the inevitable wifely welcome was a little over an hour away.

Robin slept.

*** *** ***

High over the Mediterranean, the second and last British Caledonian flight of the day to Libya was midway to Tripoli when the order came to return immediately to London. With more than faint relief, the pilot turned the aircraft around.

*** *** ***

The Six O'Clock News brought the story that a woman police constable, patrolling a demonstration by dissident Libyans outside the Libyan High Commission in St James's Square, London, had died after being shot by bullets fired from, what is believed to have been, within the Libyan High Commission.
"Shit!" thought Robin, and turned to his wife. "And we've got to go back there. I hope to Christ nobody looks too closely at my passport and asks if I was in London that day. Christ alone knows what they'll think."

"Don't be ridiculous," said Pat. "You were only having a meeting." And got on with cooking dinner.
"Yes," said Robin. "Less than a quarter of a mile from where this happened."
She tutted. "I don't want to go back to Libya."

*** *** ***

The news of the return to Gatwick was relayed to British Caledonian's airport manager at Tripoli Airport, Doug Ledingham. Doug understood by the message that there had been technical difficulties of a nature that he knew were incapable of being resolved at a place such as Tripoli Universal Airport. Nevertheless, it wouldn't go down too well with the Libyans that a prestige foreign airline had turned a ship around in mid-flight, no matter what the reason.

But Doug had spent long enough in Africa to expect the unexpected, so when he registered loud footfalls on the marble floor outside his office, he took no real notice and continued packing his brief case for the end of another day. After cracking his change of shirt to get the sand off it, he placed it neatly inside the case, on top of the day's reports and B-Cal's, three hundred Libyan Dinar float money, and closed the lid.

He picked up the case and was turning to leave when the door flew open and in strode what looked like half the Libyan army.

"You can't come in here! This is B-Cal property! Get out! What the hell do you think you're doing?" he demanded.

"Ledingham?" asked an NCO.

Doug's eyes narrowed. He was expecting trouble, but not like this.

"Batentis!" barked the NCO.

Doug produced his identity card. The NCO unfolded the pink card and turned to the soldiers.

"'Ere! Give me back my briefie!" bellowed Doug. "You can't do that!" The soldiers dragged him, fighting for his case, his balance and his breath, out of the office. The door rocked quietly to a halt.

*** *** ***

Over the next few days, the Metropolitan Police wanted to arrest the occupants of the Libyan High Commission.

The Libyans claimed diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign Office protested.

The Libyans claimed diplomatic immunity.

Sooner or later the food was going to run out.

The Libyans claimed diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office broke off diplomatic relations with Libya.

*** *** ***

Over the same few days, Robin called his Main Office in Tripoli. The only person in any authority was the Financial Officer. Robin suppressed a groan.

"The FCO is advising Brits who do not have to be in Libya to get out, and those who do not absolutely have to return to stay out," Robin told the Financial Officer. "All the indicators are that we should not return to Libya, at least not until this mess has died down. I have tickets for the 28th April. What is your view?"

"Don't come back for a day or two, until the situation is clearer," replied the Financial Officer.

"What do you mean clearer? Do we have to come back or not?" said Robin.

"If you've got tickets for the 28th, call us when you get to Malta and we will see what the situation is from there," said the Financial Officer.

"Why can't we just wait 'til the dust has settled and then get a later flight?" said Robin.

"There's no guarantee that you'd get on a later flight," said he.

"Why?" said Robin.

"Libyan Arab probably wouldn't let you on, and B-Cal has suspended all flights to Tripoli for the moment," said he.

If for any reason, Robin had asked more in hope than expectation, he flew his family to Malta and it proved impossible to carry on to Libya, what provision would be made to fly them home again?

"There'll be some monies available," was the response that Robin finally managed to bleed out of the Financial Officer.

A few minutes later Robin got off the phone, having been told, "It would not go down well on your records if you refused to come back."

Robin was annoyed by the threat. He had already decided to go back anyway. He had a job to do. It was just a question of when. But, there was nothing to be done immediately so he decided to just watch the diplomatic deadlock and see where things were going.

*** *** ***

Colonel Gaddafi could see exactly where things were going.

One of his closest aides, probably a Lt. Col., had been responsible for placing the precise persons in the diplomatic mission in St James's Sq. in the first place.

"Sort it out," had said Col Gaddafi. And in the Arabic pronunciation, "Find The One Who Killed The Bolice Woman. Either he dies or you die. Go to London. Tell me the result when you get back."

A single minded aide flew to England.

What followed next is not altogether clear.

What is certain, however, is that within seconds of the aide's arrival at the Libyan High Commission, in St James's Sq., one voice was heard to do a great deal of shouting.

The story has it that the aide took an automatic pistol out of the Diplomatic Bag, and threatened to blow out the brains of anyone who did not quickly contribute to the solution of The One Who Killed The Bolice Woman. Shots were heard within the first minute.

To the amazement of the watching public, the entire Libyan Diplomatic Mission was seen on the Six O'Clock News, in Indian File, expensive suits, bare feet, and silence, to exit from the Libyan Diplomatic Mission, without a gun or a gesture in sight.

The ten day standoff was over.

The Libyans were allowed to board a Libyan Arab Airlines flight back to Tripoli.

Everyone breathed a momentary and mournful sigh of relief, including the Libyan Diplomats. Among these, of course, was the standard bearer of the revolution, whose task it had been to scare off the Stray Dogs demonstrating against Col Gaddafi outside the Libyan Embassy in London, and whose efforts had resulted in the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

According to contemporary accounts, the flight back to Tripoli can't have been a joyous one, and any joy upon arrival at Tripoli would have been short lived as, upon disembarking from the aircraft, The One Who Killed The Police Woman was immediately driven to a distant corner of the airfield and shot dead.

*** *** ***

Then someone tried to assassinate Col Gaddafi...


A brush With madness book cover
Buy the book


before the madness

Before the madness, family on the beach enjoying a day's scubadiving.

First interview: How to get the message out and keep safe?

The truth of Libya, 09/84

The truth of Gaddafi's peaceful intentions.

Take your oppertunities where you can.