NICKY Jacobs has been found not guilty of the murder of Sunderland Pc Keith Blakelock.

Mr Jacobs, who was 16 at the time, was accused of being one of the rioters who repeatedly stabbed the Sunderland officer and tried to decapitate him during disturbances in Tottenham, north London, on October 6 1985. He denies murder.

During his trial at the Old Bailey, the jurors heard from three anonymous witnesses who claim to have seen Mr Jacobs taking part in the killing.

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The 45-year-old was alleged to have written a rap poem while serving time in a juvenile detention centre in which he boasted about chopping at the officer.

And the prosecution claimed that in 2000 Jacobs told a police officer: "F*** off, I was one of them who killed Keith Blakelock."

But his defence team questioned the credibility of the Crown's key witnesses, who have received payments from police.

The judge accepted a majority verdict after two days of deliberation.

Jacobs stood up, held his head in his hands and punched the air as the verdicts were delivered.

Later he sat down and sobbed before being taken from the dock.

His supporters in the public gallery, who included Winston Silcott, whose conviction for the murder of Pc Blakelock was quashed in 1991, shouted "Yeah, yeah" and called out "Brother, brother".

Pc Blakelock's family looked distraught - one of his three sons held his head in his hands, while his widow, Elizabeth, left the court in a hurry soon after the verdicts were delivered.

Later they family issued a statement in which they said they were "extremely sad and disappointed".

However, Courtenay Griffiths QC, for the defence, said outside the courtroom: "I'm delighted, I think the jury reached exactly the right verdicts.

"Now I have to go and see my client."

Pc Blakelock's family looked distraught outside the court, with his widow sitting down and weeping.

Speaking outside the building, Mr Silcott said: "The police are bitter about what happened, that's why they brought this case.

"My conclusion is that they had promised the Blakelock family that they would get justice for him and so they were trying to get anyone they could.

"Vengeance, that's what the police were out to get.
I just hope Nicky Jacobs will be able to rebuild his life after this.

"This place is called the Central Criminal Court, and that's what it is - criminal."

It is thought that Mr Jacobs will be released from Belmarsh prison tomorrow.