Unsolved Murders in London: 2018

These 25 homicide cases from 2018 remain unsolved*. Can you help? Contact the police, or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.

Yaya Mbye, 26, was stabbed to death on the George Downing Estate in Stoke Newington at around 11.34pm on 28 January 2018. Police appealed for information about three male suspects dressed in dark clothing who arrived and left the scene in a silver car. Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes said: “I believe there was a level of planning into this murder and I am interested in hearing from anybody who may have seen or heard anything in the area of the housing estate in the late part of Sunday evening.” Contact the incident room on 020 8345 1570.

Bulent Kabala, a 41-year-old taxi driver, was shot in the head and chest in a ‘targeted hit’ in Cockfosters on 12 February 2018. He was attacked after he got out of his Mercedes while negotiating a roundabout at the junction of Mount Pleasant and Edgeworth Road at around 11.44pm. The suspects left the scene in a stolen blue Ford Transit van which was found abandoned, with a toolbox and tools in the back, in Pilgrims Close, Palmers Green, on 14 February. Contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099.

Three or four suspects got out of the van before Bulent Kabala was shot

Kelvin Odunuyi, 19, was shot dead outside the Vue cinema in Wood Green High Road at around 12.32am on 8 March 2018. Detectives said the suspect was a pillion passenger on a moped which mounted the pavement before several shots were fired. Contact the incident room on 0208 358 0200.

Russian businessman Nikolay Glushkov, 68, was found strangled at his home in Clarence Avenue, New Malden, at around 10.46pm on 12 March 2018. Police believe there was an attempt to disguise the killing as a suicide though there was no sign of forced entry. CCTV footage shows a Volkswagen van with tinted windows driving in and around Clarence Avenue between 7.30pm and 10.30pm on 11 March. Detectives appealed for help identifying the vehicle and driver. Call police on 0800 789 321.

Police appealed for information about a van seen near Nikolay Glushkov’s home

Jermaine Johnson, 41, was stabbed to death in Vallentin Road, Walthamstow, at around 9.50pm on 19 March 2018. A 17 year-old man was charged with murder on 23 March but the case was discontinued on 13 June 2018.

Abraham Badru, 26, was shot in the chest near his home in Ferncliff Road, Hackney, at around 11.11pm on 25 March 2018. He was attacked as he opened the boot of his black Mercedes to get a drink while on the phone to a female friend. Mr Badru, a personal trainer and aspiring PhD student who was awarded a police bravery award in 2009 after giving evidence as a witness in a rape trial, was pronounced dead minutes later. Police offered a £20,000 reward for information and described the suspect as a black male wearing a black puffer type jacket who cycled away on a white bike. While the motive remains unclear, detectives said Abraham had a number of girlfriends and may have been seeing a woman who was in another relationship. He may also have been targeted in a case of mistaken identity. Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Mr Badru’s family said: “We plead with any parent, siblings, extended family, friends, associates, in desperation that if you have any information to please come forward. No matter how minute or irrelevant you may think it is, it could be crucial information for the police, anything that can help move this investigation forward is welcomed, but mostly importantly information that can lead to an arrest, in which you will be rewarded for. The pain of losing a child is unbearable, we never imagined this kind of loss and we still have to come to the realisation he’s gone forever each day. SAY HIS NAME #AbrahamBadru.”

Reece Tshoma, 23, was stabbed to death in Plumstead on 29 March 2018. Detectives believe he was attacked in Nathan Way near the railway station before calling a friend to take him to hospital for treatment to a neck injury some time before 8.37pm. Contact the incident room on 0208 721 4805.

Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, 17, was shot dead in Chalgrove Road, Tottenham, at 9.35pm on 2 April 2018. Detectives believe she was hit when shots were fired from a car into a group of people gathered outside a block of flats. The car, a grey/silver Vauxhall Meriva people carrier with the registration number of KS56 NKG, was found burnt out in the Barnet area five days later. Detective Inspector Beverley Kofi said: “This crime has left a family devastated. Any information, however apparently insignificant may assist police in solving this cowardly crime.” Contact the incident room on 020 8358 0100.

Amaan Shakoor, 16, was shot in the head outside the Kelmscott leisure centre in Markhouse Road, Walthamstow, at around 10pm on 2 April 2018. He died in hospital the following day. Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. DI Darren Jones, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command team based in Barking, said: “We believe Amaan was the victim of a targeted attack, with the chief suspects being two teenage males. It is our understanding that Amaan was on the periphery of activity linked to gangs, and we believe his death may be linked to this.”

CCTV footage shows a suspect running across the leisure centre car park with a shotgun after the attack

Sami Sidhom, 18, was chased and stabbed to death outside his family home in Forest Gate on 16 April 2018. He was confronted by three suspects as he returned from watching West Ham United draw 1-1 with Stoke City at the Olympic Stadium. Sami, a student at Queen Mary University, suffered multiple stab wounds and collapsed in Chestnut Avenue at around 10.50pm. Detectives said the suspects may have mistaken Sami for someone involved in a fight in nearby Avenue Road. A £20,000 reward was offered for information. Sami’s father Samer Sidhom said: “Sami was a wonderful son. He was a kind young man who always tried to help his family, friends and colleagues, and was respected by everyone who knew him. He did everything right. He fought hard to win his place in society and some cowards in the dark stabbed him in the back. If you know the killers you already know they killed a perfectly innocent person for no reason whatsoever.” Contact the police on 0208 345 3715.

Kwasi Anim-Boadu, 20, was stabbed to death in Finsbury Park on 21 April 2018. Detectives believe he was attacked during a fight involving a group of people in Roth Walk at around 3am. A second man, aged 21, also suffered stab wounds during the same incident and was found in Seven Sisters Road.

Leon Maxwell, 38, was shot dead outside Queensbury tube station at 9.02pm on 1 May 2018. He was a bodybuilder and musician who had been jailed for murder in 2003. Call the incident room on 020 8785 8244.

Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, was found shot in Warham Street, Kennington, at around 6.05pm on 5 May 2018. He died at the scene at 6.56pm. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4005.

Mark Tremain, 52, was assaulted in Albert Square, Lambeth, at 5.50pm on 31 May 2018. He died in hospital of head injuries on 14 June 2018. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4868.

Ishak Tacine, 20, was stabbed to death in Cavendish Road, Edmonton, at around 6.33pm on 27 June 2018. Police said a number of young men were involved in a fight involving baseball bats. Contact the incident room on 02083453734.

Latwaan Griffiths, 18, was fatally stabbed on 25 July 2018. He was found injured after falling off the back of a moped in Denmark Road, Camberwell, at around 6.55pm. The moped driver rode off and Latwaan was taken to hospital, where he died at 12.22am on 26 July 2018. Evidence heard in another court case suggested Latwaan was a member of the Harlem Spartans gang based in Kennington, which was involved in a feud with a rival ‘150’ gang in Lambeth. Contact police on 0208 721 4205.

Seven-year-old Joel Urhie died in an arson attack on his home in Adolphus Street, Deptford, at around 3.25am on 7 August 2018. His body was found in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his mother Efe, who managed to escape with Joel’s older sister by jumping from first floor windows. Police believe the fire was started when a burning item was pushed through the letterbox. DCI Mark Wrigley said: “I do want to remind anyone with information that we are dealing with the death of an innocent seven-year-old child. He should have been able to sleep safely with his mother, but instead he died at a tragically young age due to a callous attack which was doubtless motivated by factors far behind the comprehension of any young child.” Joel’s mother Efe said: “Joel was the sweetest most caring little boy you could ever meet. He was so intelligent and always curious to learn new things. His smile and laugh would light up a room and he was so full of life and energy.” A reward of up to £10,000 is being offered by the Crimestoppers charity. Contact them on 0800 555 111 or the police incident room on 020 8345 3715.

Joel Urhie, seven, died in a house fire in Deptford

Ismail Tanrikulu, 22, was shot dead in Tottenham Cemetery at around 7.53am on 3 September 2018. The gunman is believed to have fled to Turkey after the killing. A suspected accomplice was acquitted of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey. The court heard Mr Tanrikulu had arranged a meeting at the cemetery to sort out a drugs dispute.

Elyon Poku, 20, was stabbed to death after a fight at a house party at a flat in Wilderton Road, Stamford Hill, at around 2.50am on 22 September 2018. Two other men aged 17 and 24 were also injured. Police said there were up to 200 people at the party. Elyon’s father, Tony Poku, said: “It has been a year since we last saw our beloved son Elyon and still we have no answers. The last year has been the most difficult period of our lives and every day we ask ourselves why this happened to our son and our family. Not a day goes by when we don’t think of Elyon and what he would have been doing if he were still here today. We know Elyon is not coming back but it would be a great relief to the family if those who were responsible were identified and brought to justice. ” Call the incident room on 0208 345 3865.

Moses Mayele was stabbed to death on his 23rd birthday. He was attacked in Manford Way, Hainault, at around 10.20pm on 12 October 2018 and was pronounced dead at the scene. A black VW Golf car, which was used by the suspects on the night of the murder, was later found burnt out in Park View Gardens. Three suspects were seen walking in the area carrying a petrol can. A 19-year-old man was charged with murder but the case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service in January 2019. Call police on 020 8345 1570.

Ethan Nedd-Bruce,18, was shot dead outside Collins House in Armitage Road, Greenwich, at around 9.25pm on 22 October 2018. Two suspects were seen leaving the area on a motorbike after the attack. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4622.

John Ogunjobi, 16, was stabbed to death in Greenleaf Close, Tulse Hill, at around 10.53pm on 5 November 2018. Detectives said they believed he was “attacked by a number of suspects” and appealed for witnesses and information about a black Audi Q5 and a light VW 5-door Polo seen shortly before and after the stabbing. A man in the Audi was seen filling up the car with petrol while wearing purple latex gloves about 10 minutes before the murder. A £20,000 reward is offered for information. DCI Richard Vandenbergh said:  “I think it is quite likely that some people who were friends with John will hold vital information that they haven’t shared with police. They should think about his death at such a tragically young age, think about the misery caused to John’s family and maybe think about the reward too – and then make what is surely an easy decision – to come forward and speak with police.” Contact the incident room on 0208 721 4961.

Suspects seen in Audi and VW Golf before and after murder of John Ogunjobi

Zakaria Bukar Sharif Ali, 26, was stabbed to death when he tried to intervene in a fight taking place outside the Rolling Stock bar in Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, at around 6.29am on 24 November 2018. Police appealed for information about two suspects: 1) a male of Mediterranean appearance, aged in his 20s, about 5ft 10ins of stocky build with short dark hair; 2) a white male, about 6ft tall, of heavy build, with fair-ginger hair and a fluffy beard. Call the Incident Room on 020 8345 3865.

Maureen Whale, 77, died after a burglary at her home in Bells Hill, Barnet. She called police at 6.10am on 4 December 2018 after two men gained entry to the property and stole her bag. A third man kept look-out. Ms Whale, who lived alone, was not assaulted but collapsed while on the telephone to the police operator and was taken to hospital. She died on the morning of 5 December 2018. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as coronary heart disease, brought on by the stress of the break-in. The Metropolitan Police said they were treating the death as manslaughter and confirmed they were also investigating three linked burglaries of jewellery in Bells Hill and Sampson Avenue and an attempted burglary in Raydean Road on the same night. Contact the police incident room on 0208 785 8099.

Richard Odunze-Dim, 20, was shot dead in St Joseph’s Road, Edmonton, at arund 9.15pm on 18 December 2018. Police arrested at least six men in relation to the murder. A spokesman for Richard’s family said: “Whoever knows anything about this must come forward and assist the police. Whoever is protecting these individuals must come forward. Our circumstances are no different – too many families have gone through the pain that we are going through now. We do not want vengeance we just want the violence to end.” Contact the Incident Room on 020 8345 1570.

*Unsolved, meaning nobody has been charged, or nobody has been convicted after trial (except in cases of self defence).

‘Streets they felt they owned’: The murder of Edmond Jonuzi

What happens when groups of people, or ‘gangs’, attempt to assert control over areas of public space such as parks or housing estates? The evidence suggests that if legitimate sources of authority (e.g. the police) do not impose themselves powerfully enough, these groups may then begin to develop their own…

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Unsolved Murders in London: 2017

These 26 murders in London in 2017 remain unsolved. Can you help?

Jonathon McPhillips, 28, was stabbed in the chest during a fight between two groups of youths in Upper Street, Islington, in the early hours of 25 February 2017. The father-of-two died four days later in hospital. Michael Dyra, 22, (29.12.95) of Hoxton, was charged with murder but the prosecution dropped the case on the day he was due to stand trial. Police offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3775.

CCTV footage shows Mr McPhillips colliding with a bystander as he tried to escape.

David Adegbite, 18, was shot in the head in St Ann’s, Barking, at 7.09pm on 19 March 2017. The former college student was attacked as he cycled through the housing estate. Call the incident room with information on 020 8345 3715.

Malachi Brooks, 21, was stabbed to death in the street in a revenge gang attack on 28 March 2017. He was walking home along Surrey lane in Battersea when a car pulled up and three masked men got out and attacked him shortly after 1am. Mr Brooks, a carpenter from Battersea, suffered a fatal stab wound to the heart and was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.55am. The stolen Red Nissan Micra used to drive the killers to and from the scene was abandoned and set on fire. Evidence heard in court proceedings suggested Mr Brooks was targeted by members of the Tooting Trap Stars (TTS) gang as part of a long-running feud with the Battersea-based Stick-em Up Kids (SUK) which also claimed the lives of Lewis Elwin and Mahamed Hassan. On 2 September 2017 Joel Preddie, 20 (29.08.97) of Chantry Way, Mitcham, was charged with murder and arson but the charge of murder was later dropped.

Bjorn Brown, 23, was stabbed in Kelling Gardens, Thornton Heath, at around 8.33pm on 29 March 2017. He died in hospital five days later. No one has been arrested and detectives are trying to trace two suspects seen running away from the scene of the attack.

CCTV footage shows two male suspects with Bjorn – who was riding his bike – on Bensham Lane before they double back into Kelling Gardens. The two suspects then run back out onto Bensham Lane, followed shortly afterwards by Bjorn on his bike.

Ahmed Deen-Jah,  21, was stabbed to death at the BJ Wines off licence in Freemasons Road, Canning Town, at around 3.30pm on 2 April 2017. Six men were arrested on suspicion of murder but noone has been charged. Detectives appealed for information about a black Mercedes CLK220 registration KJ106 CCZ which was found burnt out later the same day. Contact the incident room on 020 8345 1570

Sixteen year-old Karim Samms was shot in the chest in Pier Parade, off Pier Road in North Woolwich at around 10.44pm on 7 April 2017. He was with friends in when two suspects approached the group and opened fire. Police believe the suspects were taken to and from the scene in a Nissan Juke, which was captured on CCTV.
contact the incident room on 020 345 3715.

Two suspects arrive at the scene in a Nissan Juke

Abdullah Hammia, 24, was stabbed in the heart in Melody Road, Wandsworth, at around 7pm on 25 April 2017. Police said he was attacked during an altercation with a group of males. Two men were charged with murder but the case was dropped before trial.
Call the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

Seun Isaiah McMillan, 23, was stabbed in the chest in Cowper Gardens, Southgate, at around 7.15pm on 2 May 2017. Detectives believe he was the victim of a targeted attack by a group arrived at the scene in cars as he sat on a wall with friends. A man was charged with murder but the case was discontinued before trial. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4205.

Joao Ricardo Gomes, 18, was stabbed to death in Enfield on 13 May 2017. Police were called to a fight involving a large group of youths in Hertford Road shortly after 10.30pm. Two other teenagers were also injured. Contact the incident room on 020 8217 6582.

Satnam Singh, 45, died in hospital on 23 May 2017, two months after being hit with a baseball bat in the street in Hayes. He had been walking with a friend along Atlee Road when he was attacked near the junction of Ayles Road at around 10.20pm on 6 March. The suspect was described as a white man who arrived at and left from the scene in a silver car. Call the incident room on 0208 358 0200.

Mohanna Abdhou, 20, was hit by a ricocheting bullet during a suspected gang shooting in Kilburn at around 8.54pm on 26 May 2017. She was talking to friends near Dickens House in Malvern Road when two men approached the group on bicycles and opened fire. Three suspects were charged with murder but were cleared of all charges at trial. The prosecution claimed that Mohanna was shot by members of the Harrow Road Boys (HRB), who were involved in ‘tit for tat’ violence with the ‘Killy’ or ‘SK’ from the South Kilburn Estate.

Mahad Ali, 18, was stabbed to death at a party in East Acton on 29 June 2017. Police were called to reports of a fight at the ‘West Wednesday’ Eid celebration in a warehouse in Coronation Road at 2.35am. Mr Ali, a college student and boxer from Crouch End, was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead at 4.33am. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was stab wounds to the chest and abdomen. A man was charged with murder but the case was discontinued before trial.

Joshua Bwalya, 16, was chased by a groups of youths on bicyces and stabbed to death on a traffic island at the junction of Movers Lane and Ripple Road in Barking at around 1am on 2 August 2017. He was about to study business at college and played football with Barking FC’s youth team. Two teenagers were charged with murder but the case was discontinued due to lack of evidence in October 2017.

Cafer Aslam, a 54-year-old cafe owner, was found shot dead at the junction of Westminster Road and Bounces Road in Enfield at around 9.10pm on 23 August 2017. The suspect is believed to have used a stolen Grey Audi Q5 which was burnt out in the Forty Hill area of Enfield forty minutes after the murder. Detectives are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction and have appealed for information about a man seen carrying petrol cans in the area. Contact the incident room on 020 8345 3985.

Police want to identify this man in relation to the murder of Cafer Aslam

Patrick Oyeri, 29, was stabbed to death during a fight in Rosebery Road, Hounslow, at around 3.35pm on 4 September 2017. Two men were charged with murder but the case was dropped before trial and they were convicted and jailed for the lesser offence of violent disorder. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

Corey Junior Davis, 14, was shot dead at a playground in Forest Gate on 4 September 2017. The teenager was attacked as he socialised with friends in Moore Walk at around 3.08pm. He was shot in the head at close range and a 17 year-old boy suffered potentially life-changing injuries to his leg. Corey, who had been staying at his grandfather’s flat nearby, died in hospital at 10.01pm the following day. Detectives said Corey was being targeted by ‘older, hardened gang members who wished to draw him more fully into their world.’ They appealed for information about a stolen a metallic grey 2011 Range Rover Sport HSE TDV6 seen leaving the scene at around 3.15pm. Contact the incident room on 020 8345 3775

Jude Gayle inside the shop

Jude Gayle, 30, was stabbed to death in an alleyway off Dunelm Grove, West Norwood, at around 5.39pm on 24 September 2017. The father-of-two had been preparing an evening meal for family members before driving to a nearby corner shop on the junction of Dunbar Street and Norwood High Street. He was stabbed as he left the shop. Three men were acquitted of murder by an Old Bailey jury in April 2018 after a trial. Their defence to the charge was that they were innocent bystanders. Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Jude’s mother, Pett Roach said: “The past two years have been very difficult for us. I have just accepted that Jude will not be coming back from the shop. He is gone. No one can bring him back. We are left to pick up the pieces and continue with our lives. All I can hope for and all I want is justice, no more, no less. I want those responsible for killing my son, convicted and served the maximum penalty.” Jude’s partner Rachel Goodchild said: “Through the careless actions of others I’ve been forced into bringing up our children alone and I owe it to them and to the memory of Jude to get justice. So I am pleading from the deepest part of me please if you or anybody you know has any information no matter how big or small please help with the ongoing investigation. We need new compelling evidence, help us get JUSTICE FOR JUDE!” Call the incident room on 020 8721 4961.

Adetokunbo Jordan Ajobo, 21, was stabbed to death in North Woolwich on 8 November 2017. Police and paramedics were called to Pier Road at around 8.10pm. Jordan was pronounced dead at hospital at 9.30pm. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was a stab wound. The Metropolitan Police is still appealing for help tracing Cristiano Filipe, 21, in connection with the murder investigation.

Moosakhan Nasiri, 20, was stabbed to death at a park in East Ham on 15 October 2017. Mr Nasiri, who came to the UK in 2015 as a refugee from Afghanistan, was attacked in Plashet Park at  around 4pm.Police and paramedics were called to the scene near the Shrewsbury Road entrance at 4.07pm but he was pronounced dead at the scene.The post-mortem gave the cause of death as a stab wound to the heart. Jurors heard the evidence indicated that the fatal stab wound was inflicted by Javid Ahmadzai, who fled the country after the attack and is still wanted by police. Four men aged between 16 and 25 were cleared of murder in May 2018 following a trial at the Old Bailey. The prosecution claimed Moosakhan was attacked because he owed £10 for some drugs.

Michael Jonas, 17, was chased and stabbed to death in Penge on 2 November 2017. He was attacked by a group of males on bicycles as he walked through Betts Park at 7.22pm. Michael, from Penge, was pronounced dead at the scene just after 8.15pm. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death as stab wounds to the chest and haemorrhage. The case remains unsolved after murder charges against six suspects aged between 14 and 18 were discontinued on 15 January 2018. On 2 May 2018 the Metropolitan Police launched a fresh appeal for witnesses and offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of those responsible.

Kacem Mokrane, 18, died four days after being stabbed during a fight in Walthamstow. He was attacked in Mount Pleasant Road at around 11.15pm on 16 November 2017 and died in hospital of multiple organ failure on 20 November. Seven men were arrested but noone has been charged. Call the investigation room on 0208 345 3775.

Piotr Woroniecki, 32, was found lying dead on Parma Crescent, Clapham Junction, at around 5am on 23 November 2017. A special post-mortem established that the cause of death was compression to the neck, consistent with being held in a headlock for a prolonged period of time. CCTV captured several men trying to gain entry to his flat in Clapham Common Northside both before and after the discovery of his body. Police believe the murder is linked to organised crime. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

Noel Brown, 69, and his daughter Marie Brown, 41, were found dead in Deptford on 4 December 2017. Police forced entry to Mr Brown’s home in New Butt Lane at 2.45am after Marie’s family reported she had failed to return home after checking on the welfare of her father. Their bodies were found at the scene. Postmortem examinations confirmed that both Noel and Marie died of strangulation. On 10 May 2018 police revealed that they had forensically linked suspect Nathaniel Henry, 37 (26.07.80), to the offence. Henry was reported missing by his family on 12 December 2017 and was found dead at a residential block in the borough of Southwark near to his home on 31 December 2017. His death was deemed non-suspicious. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4205.

Alex Vanderpuye, 23, was stabbed in the chest in Christie Road, Hackney, at around 4.45pm on 7 December 2017. Witnesses said he was attacked by a man – who appeared to know the victim – suddenly after a short conversation. The motive is unknown. An inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Taofeek Lamidi, 20, was stabbed in the heart in the street in Memorial Avenue, West Ham, at around 7.37pm on New Years Eve 2017. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4005.

Joseph Davis: Death by natural causes?

The death of Joseph Davis could not be directly linked to an assault he suffered several hours earlier, an inquest heard. Mr Davis, 68, collapsed unconscious after a fight in the street in Parnell Road, Bow, at around 8.45pm on 3 April 2017. Police and paramedics were called to the…

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The Waterloo Bridge Mystery

London: 11.30pm, 8 October, 1857. Out of the darkness shuffled an elderly woman carrying a large, heavy bag. The toll keeper on the Strand side of the Thames, Henry Errington, watched as she laid a halfpenny on the iron plate and struggled to push through the stile. The bag was…

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Fingerprints: The murders of Thomas and Ann Farrow

The first British murder case to be solved using fingerprints took place in Detpford, south London, on 27 March 1905. At 7am shop manager Thomas Farrow, 71, had not yet got dressed to open up for the day when there was a knock at the door. Not wanting to pass…

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Joseph Cullimore: The story of a fatal stabbing in east London

The 999 call came in at 4.37am on 17 August 2018. The caller said he had stabbed a man in the neck and ribs at a flat in Flaxen Road, Chingford. The caller said this man was now lying face down in a pool of blood in the living room.…

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Murders up or murders down? The strange world of homicide statistics

Did the number of murders in London increase or or decrease last year? It depends whether you mean calendar year or financial year.

Most headlines last week focused on the increase in UK murders to their highest level in a decade (or alternatively, lower than they were in 2007). Other reports went on the record level of knife crime offences (since comparable records began in 2011).

This fits in with the general picture in London, which saw an increase in the number of homicides (both murder and manslaughter) to around 130*, the most since 2008. The Metropolitan Police recorded the most knife offences (14,660, a one per cent rise since 2017).

But then another perspective was offered by the Metropolitan Police themselves, who released their latest financial year statistics (April 2018 to April 2019), which showed a significant drop in homicides from 163 in 2017/18 (or 154 not including terror attacks) to 122 in 2018/2019. The force was also able to highlight a reduction in knife injuries by 9.6% from 4,732 to 4,277, although there was a 0.5% increase in total knife crime offences (which would include possession offences).

The police say this is evidence that they have made progress in “tackling and reducing violent crime in the capital”. Perhaps it is also evidence that putting more effort and resources into policing, as a result of the outcry at the sharp spike in murders in early 2018, can affect the crime rate. We can only hope it points towards a significant reduction in murders in 2019.

Then again, it may simply be a reflection of the variation in the number of murders every day, week and month. The sharp rise in murders in February and March 2018 (19 and 20 respectively**) were enough to prompt headlines stating that the London murder rate had overtake New York’s (but you only looked at those two months, ignoring January 2018 or the year as a whole etc). The figures for the rest of the year, and the start of 2019, were significantly lower, although there were 15 homicides in March this year.

This variation in the number of murders over short periods is one reason why most murder statistics are analysed by year rather than by day, week or month. For example, in July 2008 there were four murders in London in one day. You could have viewed this as a sign of increasing violence in society, or you could have concluded that having four murders in one day was highly likely to happen once every three years.

Conclusion: Statistics are useful, as long as you know what you are looking at and can see how they vary over different time periods.

*we counted 129, the Metropolitan Police say 136, and media reports give figures varying between 132 and 135. It depends which cases you count as homicides.

**our figures, the Met say 18 for both months, but they can record cases differently depending on when they declare a case a homicide (rather than when the victim died).

Alex Vanderpuye: A ‘swift and unexpected’ attack

Update (17 June 2019): Police have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. The case remains unsolved. Report from inquest in April 2019: Detectives investigating the murder of Alexander Vanderpuye nearly 18 months ago are hoping to charge two suspects later this month, an inquest heard. The…

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New Project: Full reporting of a murder trial

The sentencing of murderer Frederick Henry Seddon at the Old Bailey in 1812

The decline of court reporting over the last 25 years has been described as a “threat to justice”.

Local newspapers may not have the staff or resources to cover a trial in depth and the national press, TV and radio are naturally interested only in the most important or topical cases. Most court reports in the media will either be the start of a case (the prosecution opening, a summary of the evidence against a suspect) or the end (conviction and sentence).

But what about the witness evidence and the defence? Juries make their decisions based on all the evidence put before them (or at least they are supposed to do so), not the summaries provided by the prosecution, the defence or the media. If the public do not hear all the evidence (or at least the most important parts of it), it is perhaps not surprising that some jury verdicts are greeted with dismay (or even anger).

That is why we want to fully report a murder trial from start to finish to give the public a better idea of what happens in court. It will not be a verbatim transcript with ever umm and err – that would take too long to read, let alone write up – but it will be an in depth report of what happened with the most important parts quoted as accurately as possible.

Most murder trials last between two to three weeks. Sending a reporter to cover one trial all day would potentially cost (depending on the reporter or their employer) between £70 and £200 per day. We have therefore set a rough minimum of £950 to support full coverage of a short trial. If possible, the case chosen will be one that would otherwise receive very little coverage at all.

If the target is met, we will commit to providing daily coverage on the blog. All donors will also receive a long-read summary of the entire case upon its conclusion and an option to take part in consultation on the next project.

All of the above will be subject to legal restrictions such as the Contempt of Court Act and the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, for example. Explanation of the effect of these will, if possible, be provided.

You can donate to our one-off project here.

We are also trying to build a more long-term solution, which involves funding regular court reporting with a monthly subscription via Patreon.

A further appeal would support the development of the new website. Please email us at mailbox@murdermap.co.uk for if you have any further questions about the project.