UK ambassador took Libya threat 'seriously' despite bet

Oliver Miles said he thought Libya's warning of possible violence was an attempt to stop a rally outside the People's Bureau in London.

The former British ambassador in Tripoli has told ITV News he took a threat of violence on the eve of the shooting of WPc Yvonne Fletcher "seriously" after it was revealed he bet a Libyan diplomat that nothing would happen.

Oliver Miles was summoned to the Libyan foreign ministry shortly after midnight on April 17 1984 to receive a warning of possible violence if a planned demonstration by opponents of Colonel Gaddafi went ahead that day outside the Libyan People's Bureau in London.

Mr Miles filed a telegram to the Foreign Office (FCO) reporting the warning, one of a number of documents released under the 30-year rule by the National Archives.

Other papers show two officials from the People's Bureau also telephoned the FCO to express concern about the demonstration the next day.

"I did take it seriously and that's why I reported it to London," Mr Miles told ITV News. "I didn't know, of course, that there was going to be a shooting. I thought they were simply trying to have the demonstration stopped."

Read: WPc Fletcher was placed in front of 'firing squad'

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WPC Fletcher 'placed in front of firing squad', claims colleague

Unheeded warnings of violence at the Libyan embassy in London meant WPC Yvonne Fletcher was placed in front of a "firing squad", her ex-colleague has told ITV News. Libya twice warned the UK of potential violence, newly-declassified files show