Ipswich mother of police officer killed by Libyan-supplied explosive backs MP over compensation

James Cartlidge on Lavenham Church roof

James Cartlidge on Lavenham Church roof - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich woman whose police officer daughter was killed by Libyan-supplied explosives in an IRA bomb attack 33 years ago has said the middle-east country should pay for its deeds.

PC Jane Arbuthnot of Chelsea Police Station, a victim of the Harrods car bomb attack

PC Jane Arbuthnot of Chelsea Police Station, a victim of the Harrods car bomb attack - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

Susan Arbuthnot, 87, believes the loved ones of the six people who died in the Harrods attack in December 1983 should receive compensation from Libya.

Her 22-year-old daughter Jane was one of three police officers killed as a result of a car bomb left outside the Knightsbridge store.

Mrs Arbuthnot spoke out as South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge told Parliament victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism should be compensated.

This morning Mr Cartlidge said it was a reality for the victims families that: “Throughout the decades of IRA terrorism murdering people in this country that the weapons and explosives supplied were done so willingly and knowingly by the regime of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.”


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He added compensation should be sought and paid in the interests of justice and fairness.

Libya paid compensation to Pc Yvonne Fletcher’s family in 1999. The police officer was fatally shot while on duty outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

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After Mr Cartlidge’s speech Susan Arbuthnot said: “I never thought money would compensate for a life until I heard Yvonne Fletcher’s family had been compensated.

“I thought ‘they were both WPCs, Jane is as dead as Yvonne’ I don’t see any reasoning to be against it now.”

“I think they (the Libyans) should pay for their deeds. I think all of us should pay for our deeds one way or another.

Jane Arbuthnot had joined the police in 1981, training at Hendon before going out on the beat in London.

“Jane was fun. She was quite a character. She was quite a character. She rang me when she passed the interview and said ‘I was so pleased and proud of myself when I got in’.

“(After her death) we met somebody once and he said she would have gone far.”

Mrs Arbuthnot said she was told her daughter was off-duty when the call come in about a warning of a bomb at Harrods.

“She hurried towards the bomb scare. Being young she decided to go and join the police who were looking for it.”

At the time of the explosion Pc Arbuthnot’s mother was at a garden centre in Fulham looking for a Christmas wreath.

She said: “We heard the awful ‘crump’ in the distance. I don’t know we even thought that much about it.”

Although more than 30 years have passed Jane is still firmly in her thoughts.

Mrs Arbuthnot, who moved to Ipswich in 1987 said: “I still think about her.

“To begin with it was hell on earth. I missed her acutely, but life goes on. You can’t live in the past.”

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