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.

Changes to murdermap

Unfortunately parts of the old murdermap website will disappear this week after nearly nine years’ service.

The main reason for this decision is that the site was based on a content management system (created by the original developers) that is no longer being supported.

Regular users will also have noticed that the map stopped working properly after Google brought in its new pricing plan in July 2018 and effectively ended the free Maps API service.

The choices were, therefore, leave the website up to deteriorate until it goes down completely (or, worse, gets hacked), or replace it.

Sadly it is also clear that the site is no longer sustainable in terms of time and resources. There are many reasons for this, but in reality the project was hamstrung from the start because it was based on the (unrealistic) idea that it could be funded by online advertising. It has only ever earned enough money to pay for hosting fees and most of the time the site has been maintained by one court reporter (although the information it contains is based on the work of many other people).

So what next?

Since murdermap began in 2010, the site’s database has grown to include more than 1,600 victims of homicide (including both murder and manslaughter, mostly for the years 2008-2018).

This database will not be lost. It has been saved offline and is likely to return in a different form at some point. And most of the original webpages have already been archived on the Wayback Machine.

After the original site comes down, it will be replaced by the murdermap blog while other avenues are explored. Crowdfunding may be difficult because running a site like this properly, with in-depth reporting of each murder in London, would require significant annual investment (see the Homicide Watch website in Washington DC for one example). Likewise turning murdermap into a subscriber-only site might be self-defeating, given that it was originally set up with the aim of publicly and openly tracking each and every murder – not just the high-profile cases that already attract media attention – to reveal the stories behind the crime statistics.

While murdermap had many frustrating flaws from the very start, hopefully this site has helped to inform the debate around violent crime in London. And even if murdermap disappears completely, in recent years there has been a greater focus on homicides and violent crime in London. During 2018 several national newspapers maintained lists of homicide victims in the capital and produced in-depth articles using maps and charts (one example being The Guardian). The Office for National Statistics is also providing a lot more detail about homicides than it did ten years ago. Long may this continue.

List of Homicide Victims in London in 2019

Total: 39 (last updated 24/4/19)

Note: This is not an official record and may differ from any lists compiled by police etc. Some cases (e.g. suspicious/unexplained deaths) will be listed separately until they are confirmed as homicides.

  1. Charlotte Huggins, 33, was stabbed to death in Camberwell on 1 January. Her partner Michael Rolle was charged with murder.
  2. Tudor Simionov, 33, was stabbed to death while working as a security guard at a private party in Park Lane on 1 January. Four men were charged with murder.
  3. Simbiso Aretha Moula, 39, was found strangled at her home in Rainham on 4 January. Her partner was also found dead (suspension/hanging) but his death is not being treated as suspicious.
  4. Sarah Ashraf, 35, was found dead at her home on the Isle of Dogs on 5 January. Her brother Khalid Ashraf, 32, was charged with murder.
  5. Jaden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death in Leyton on 8 January after being knocked off a moped by a black Mercedes. Ayoub Majdouline, 18, was charged with murder.
  6. Asma Begum, 31, was found dead at a flat in Poplar on 11 January. She had suffered a neck injury. Jalal Uddin, 46, was charged with murder.
  7. Kamil Malysz, a 34 year-old Polish national, was found stabbed to death at a flat in Acton on 27 January.
  8. Nedim Bilgin, 17, was stabbed to death in Caledonian Road, Islington, on 29 January.
  9. Carl Thorpe, 46, was found dead after a fire at Highgate Mental Health Centre on 3 February. Jordan Bramble, 21, has been charged with murder.
  10. Lejean Richards, 19, was stabbed to death in Battersea on 5 February. Two men, Roy Reyes-Nieves, 23, and Roger Reyes-Nieves, 18, have been charged with murder.
  11. Dennis Anderson, 39, was stabbed to death in East Dulwich on 10 February. Jahmel Michael Riley, 24 has been charged with murder.
  12. Bright Akinleye, 22, was stabbed to death in Euston on 18 February. Tashan Brewster, 30, was charged with murder.
  13. Brian Wieland, 69, was found dead with head injuries after a house fire in Chingford on 19 February.
  14. Glendon Spence, 23, was stabbed to death at a youth club in Brixton on 21 February. Two 17-year-old men were charged with murder.
  15. Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck, 19, was stabbed in Wood Green on 22 February and died in hospital at 3am on 23 February. Tyrell Graham, 18, (18.4.01) of Leyton, has been charged with murder. 
  16. David Lopez-Fernandez, a 38 year-old Spanish national, was stabbed to death in Stepney on 25 February. Jairo Sepulveda-Garcia, 36, was charged with murder.
  17. Che Morrison, 20, was stabbed to death in Ilford on 26 February. Florent Okende, 20, was charged with murder.
  18. Jodie Chesney, 17, was stabbed to death at a park in Harold Hill, Romford, on 1 March. Manuel Petrovic, 20,
    Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 18, and a 15 year-old boy have been charged with murder.
  19. Elize Linda Stevens, 50, was stabbed to death in Hendon on 2 March. Her partner Ian Levy, 54, was charged with murder.
  20. Three-month-old Jolia Bogdan died after being found unresponsive at a home in Croydon on 2 March. Her mother Kamila Bogdan, 40, has been charged with murder.
  21. David Martinez-Valencia, a 26 year-old Spanish-Colombian national, was stabbed to death in North Birkbeck Road, Leyton, on 6 March. Carlos Rueda Velez, 18, was charged with murder.
  22. The body of Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, a 34 year-old French national, was found in a shallow grave in a garden in Kew on 6 March. She had been reported missing after failing to turn up to work on 5 March. A 32 year-old man was arrested in Estonia.
  23. Mohammed Elmi, 37, died in hospital on 6 March, three days after he was found stabbed in Romilly Street, Soho. Joe Gynane, 34, has been charged with murder.
  24. Ayub Hassan, 17, was stabbed to death in Lanfrey Place, West Kensington, on 7 March. A 15 year-old boy was charged with murder.
  25. Antoinette Donnegan, 52, was found dead at her home in Este Road, Battersea, on 7 March. Kristian Smith, 41, has been charged with murder.
  26. Florin Pitic, 20, died after suffering a serious head injury in an assault at Queensbury tube station on 10 March.
    Ciprian Mandachi, 23, and Alin Mihai, 23, have been charged with murder.
  27. Nathaniel Armstrong, 29, was stabbed to death in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, on 16 March. Lovel Bailey, 29, has been charged with murder.
  28. Abdirashid Mohamoud, 17, was chased and stabbed to death in Union Lane, Isleworth, on 22 March.
  29. Ravi Katharkamar, 54, was stabbed to death in a suspected robbery at Marsh Food and Wine in Marsh Road, Pinner, on 24 March. Alexander Stephen Gunn, 31, has been charged with murder.
  30. Ramane Richard Wiggan, 25, was shot dead in Friar Mews, West Norwood, on 27 March.
  31. Zahir Visiter, 25, was stabbed to death in Cunningham Place, St John’s Wood, on 28 March. Two suspects were seen leaving the area and entering a nearby mosque.
    Kamal Hussain, 21, and Yosif Ahmed, 18, were charged with murder.
  32. Gavin Garraway, 40, was stabbed to death in his car on Clapham Park Road near Clapham Common tube station on 29 March. Zion Chiata, 18, has been charged with murder.
  33. Calvin Bungisa, 22, was chased and stabbed to death in Grafton Road, Kentish Town, on 1 April.
  34. Hubert Hall, 60, suffered a head injury during a suspected assault in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, on 2 April and died in hospital on 3 April. David Dalling, 44 , has been charged with murder and robbery.
  35. Annabelle Lancaster, 22, died after being found injured in the street in Brookbank, Turkey Street, Enfield, on 7 April. A man was arrested on suspicion of murder before being released on bail.
  36. Noore Bashir Salad, 22, was stabbed to death in Church Road, Manor Park, on 8 April. He also suffered gunshot wounds. Detectives believe he was approached by three men who fled towards Browning Road.
  37. Gopinath Kasivisuwanathan, 27, died after suffering injuries when a car was driven at him and a 21 year-old man outside Alperton tube station in Ealing Road, Wembley, on 16 April.
    Camasan Judes Emanuvel, 35, has been charged with murder.
  38. Steven Brown, 47, was stabbed to death in Matthias Road, Stoke Newington, on 17 April.
  39. A 21 year-old man was stabbed to death in High Street Harlesden on 23 April. Police believe that the suspects arrived in two cars and blocked traffic in order to carry out the attack.

Please email us at mailbox@murdermap.co.uk if you believe any other cases should be included.

This list does not include:

Lisa McArity, 50, found dead at a house in Hobday Street, Poplar, on 30 December 2018, initially treated as unexplained, murder investigation launched after postmortem on 4 January 2019.

Death from head injuries of unidentified 43 year-old man found unconscious near Tower Hill station on the morning of 17 February 2019. The Metropolitan announced on 26 March it was not being treated as suspicious.

Unexplained death of Alan Powell, 80, who died in hospital on 22 February 2019, two days after being found with back and facial injuries in Hornchurch.

Unexplained death of man in his 40s in Northolt Road, Harrow, on 3 April 2019. Police concluded the death was not suspicious and was related to a pre-existing medical condition.

Unexplained death of 25 year-old man who was found suffering from a head injury in Dunelm Grove, West Norwood, on 9 April.

Unexplained death of a man in his 30s found at house in Hedgeman’s Road, Dagenham, on 20 April. Four men were arrested on suspicion of murder.

Cuts to the ‘Murder Squad’

The Metropolitan Police unit responsible for investigating murders* in London was cut by nearly 40 per cent between 2004 and 2017 (see table below).

Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request show the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC) reduced in total strength almost every year over that period. The sharpest fall was from 2011 onwards.

The number of Major Investigation Teams (MIT), which are responisble for investigating homicide cases*, has also decreased from 26 to 18 since 2011.

While the total number of homicides fell by 50 per cent between 2004 and 2014, there were significant increases in 2015 and 2017 (according to Metropolitan Police figures).

There are likely to be around 150 homicides in 2018, although recent months have seen lower figures than at the start of the year, possibly because of the police response since.

Although there are many possible causes for the increase in violent crime since 2014, cuts to police budgets (and public services in general) across England and Wales may well have released the pressure or created some kind of “tipping point”.

The figures also show that the HSCC is now increasing in strength, with the figures for 2018 returning to a level last seen in 2013.

NOTES: The figures provided for “strength” (in response to the request for the “number of officers and staff”) were not whole numbers and have been rounded up or down accordingly.

*The Homicide and Serious Crime Command does not just investigate murder. It also takes on (for example) high profile crimes, “critical incidents”, serial stranger rapes, work-related deaths, unexplained deaths, and high risk missing persons enquiries.

The figures cover a period involving at least two structural reorganisations of the Met. For 2004 and 2005 the figures given are the total for the units designated SCD1(2), SCD1(3), and SCD(4). For 2006 to 2012 they are for SCD1. For 2013 to 2018 they are for SCO1.

The total “strength” given for the MITs (not included in table) usually accounts for around three-quarters of the total “strength” of the HSCC.

Although the FOIA request was for 2003 onwards, no figures were provided for 2003, when there were more than 200 homicides (various figures have been given ranging between 204 and 216).

Table: Strength of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (or equivalent) 2004 to 2018

YearOfficerStaffTotalMI TeamsHomicides
20049782601238N/A188
20059312821213N/A181
2006895364126026172
2007851347119826163
2008850358120826155
2009810356116625130
2010811344115526125
2011768317108626118
201267828496225106
201365626592124110
20146212048252294
201564214678818119
201665013378319109
201759016875818134
201871517789218150**

**Estimated total for 2018, based on 100 homicides by the beginning of September.

Off The Map: Oluwadamilola Odeyingbo

The case of 18 year-old Oluwadamilola Odeyingbo has been removed from the database after the Metropolitan Police concluded it was not a homicide.

Their decision was taken after a special post-mortem gave a cause of death as multiple organ failure from a pre-existing medical condition.

The police statement reads:

The cause of death has been established for an 18-year-old man who died in Chislehurst in January.

Oluwadamilola Odeyingbo, 18, died in hospital on the morning of 10 January 2018 from injuries sustained following a reported altercation in Empress Drive just after 21:00hrs the previous evening.

A post-mortem examination conducted on 12 January failed to establish a cause of death. A special post-mortem has now concluded gave a cause of death as multiple organ failure from a pre-existing medical condition.

Officers from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, having consulted with the CPS, are satisfied that no offences of murder or manslaughter have been committed.

There are ongoing enquiries in relation to other offences not linked to the death of Mr Odeyingbo.

 

Here is our original case summary for the record:

Oluwadamilola Odeyingbo, 18, died after being assaulted in Chislehurst.

He was found collapsed in a garden in Empress Drive at around 9pm on 9 January 2018.

Mr Odeyingbo died in hospital the next morning.

An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder on 10 January before being released on bail.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Wright, said: “We understand that neighbours and people passing through the area witnessed the incident on Tuesday evening. We are keen to speak to all witnesses and would encourage them to come forward as soon as possible.

“A young man has lost his life and we are doing everything we can to piece together what took place.”

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the incident room on 020 8721 4961 – you can also tweet @MetCC. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.

Homicide in London 2017

We counted 128 homicides (murders and manslaughters) in London in 2017 – a 24 per cent increase on the 103 homicides of 2016.

These are not official figures but we have done our best to track every case that is either publicised by the police or comes through the courts.

The Metropolitan Police’s own figures (according to their hate and special crime dashboard) are 134 homicides for 2017, a 22 per cent increase on the 110 in 2016.

However the 2017 statistics include the 13 victims of the Westminster and London bridge terror attacks.

There are several possible reasons for the discrepancy between our figures and the police (see the FAQ on the About page), but it often takes several months for some cases to be confirmed.

 

Off the Map: Gregory Peake

The death of 26 year-old Gregory Peake in Shoreditch in March 2017 was initially investigated as a murder.

Two months later the Homicide and Major Crime Command announced that the death was no longer being treated as suspicious.

As a result the case has been deleted from the murdermap database, although the police press releases relating to the case can still be found on our news page: https://www.murdermap.co.uk/pages/news/index.asp?NewsID=1719

Unsolved Murders in London: 2016

Thirteen murders in London in 2016 remain unsolved*. Can you help?

Harjit Singh Dulai, 44, was stabbed to death after meeting a drug dealer in Rosedale Park off Albion Road in Hayes at around 6.40pm on 27 January 2016. A 16 year-old boy was acquitted of murder in July 2016 but police continue to appeal for information.
Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The skeletal remains of Junior George Nelson, 52, from Kilburn, were discovered on an overgrown embankment in Rabournmead Drive, Northolt, on 13 March 2016. He had been reported missing in August 2015. A postmortem was inconclusive and it is not known how long his body had been there. Detectives believe his death was connected to the supply of drugs. Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson said: “One of our lines of enquiry is that he met his death as a result of a violent act and his body was deposited in the area that his attackers may be familiar with.” Call the incident room on 020 8355 0400.

Lewis Elwin, 20, was stabbed to death in Tooting on 18 April 2016. The trainee electrician collapsed near a primary school in Penwortham Road at around 3.47pm. His murder remains unsolved and police continue to appeal for information about a silver five-door Peugeot 307 registration KP03 ZTD seen in the area at the time. Call the incident room on 0208 721 4005.

Rukevwe Tadafe, 21, was stabbed twice in the chest during a fight with three men in Molesworth Street, Lewisham, at around 8.40pm on 30 April 2016. He died in hospital five days later. A 23 year-old man was acquitted of murder in November 2016 after telling jurors at the Old Bailey that, while he fought with the victim, he was not responsible for the fatal stab wounds. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3775

Abdi Gutale, a 24 year-old minicab driver, was shot dead as he drove his Vauxhall Zafira near the junction of Melbourne Road and Capworth Street in Leyton at around 3.15am on 14 May 2016. A friend in the car suffered a gunshot wound to the foot. A man was charged with murder but the case was discontinued before trial. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3865.

Matthew Kitandwe, 18, was stabbed to death outside his home in Wayford Street, Battersea on 21 June 2016. He was a student at South Thames College who had played football for the Ugandan youth team. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

Mohammed Hassan, 35, was stabbed to death on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea at around 6.06pm on 3 August 2016. Two other men, aged 33 and 35, also suffered stab injuries. Police described it as “a violent attack in broad daylight.” Call the incident room on 020 8721 4005.

Andrew Oteng-Owusu, 19, collapsed on his front doorstep in Sharratt Street, New Cross, after being stabbed at around 11.41pm on 3 August 2016. He died in hospital the next morning. Friends described him as a “gentle giant” who cared for his mother. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4961.

David Robinson, 25, was shot four times at the Big House 101 recording studio in Sunnyside Road, Hornsey Rise, shortly before 9pm on 20 August 2016. Firearms experts concluded the weapon may have been a Smith and Wesson revolver. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3775.

Kacper Latuszek, 31, was found dead at a house in Forest Road, Walthamstow, at arund 10.35pm on 8 October 2016. A post-mortem revealed the cause of death was internal bleeding. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3715.

Ziggy Worrell-Owusu, 19, was stabbed at an 18th birthday party at the Basement Lounge Shisha bar in Goodmayes Road, Ilford, at around 12.40am on 27 October 2016. Police said there were around 100 people at the party when Ziggy was stabbed in the groin during a fight. Witnesses said he was trying to break it up. Call the incident room on 020 8345 3865.

James Owusu-Agyekum, 22, was shot five times on his doorstep in Tynsdale Road, Harlesden, at around 10.45pm on 2 November 2016. Police said the motive was unknown but it was likely that James was mistaken for someone else as part of a gang feud. Call the Incident Room on 020 8785 8244.

Mohamed Kakay, 33, was stabbed to death in the gardens of St Giles Church in Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, at around 9.15am on Saturday 19 November 2016. Police said Mr Kakay had spent the night at a flat in Wilson Road before entering the gardens at the rear of the church with two suspects shortly before he was stabbed. The suspects were seen leaving via the front of the church as the congregation were coming out. Call the incident room on 020 8721 4961.

*unsolved cases are defined in this case as those where nobody has been charged with murder or manslaughter, or nobody has been convicted.

Unsolved Murders in London: 2015

These seven cases of murder in London in 2015 remain unsolved*. Can you help?

Redwan El-Ghaidouni, 38, was shot dead in a suspected ‘hit’ outside his home in Vine, Lane Uxbridge on 3 February 2015. The father-of-three was sat in his Audi A3 on the driveway when he was approached by a lone gunman who fired eight shots through the car window shortly before 7pm. Police described the killer as a man in a dark hooded top with a large motif on the front, light bottoms, dark gloves and dark shoes. Call the incident room on 020 8785 8099.

Terry Isaacs, 56, died in hospital from multiple head injuries five days after he was found injured in Bannister Close, Tulse Hill, at 7.44am on 19 February 2015. He was last seen in Christchurch Road at 12.51am, when it is believed he was heading home to Brixton. Police appealed for information about a missing blue bag, a wallet, a metal tobacco tin, an Alcatel mobile phone and a Samsung mobile phone. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

Ola Raji, 20, was shot dead as he cycled in East Surrey Grove, Peckham, at around 10.30pm on 21 April 2015. He was also stabbed after he fell to the ground. Detectives appealed for information on two suspects seen running towards Sumner Road. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4205.

Lukey Maxwell, 22, was stabbed in the back in Northumberland Park, Tottenham, on 5 June 2015. Police charged Arthur Gorol, 36, with murder but the case was discontinued due to insufficient evidence on 17 August 2015. Contact the incident room on 020 8358 0200.

Erdogan Guzel, 42, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Lordship Lane, Wood Green, on 10 July 2015. Police said he was an innocent father-of-two who happed to be standing outside the bakery his family owned. Contact the incident room on 020 8345 1570.

Marvin Couson, 39, died in hospital on 8 August 2015 from a brain injury he suffered as a result of being shot in the chest outside the Lime in London bar on Curtain Road, Shoreditch, at 3.40am on 12 May 2002. Contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099.

Tadas Jarusevicius, 29, was found beaten to death under a flyover near Plumstead Railway Station at around 2pm on 23 September 2015. The Lithuanian national had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and neck. It is believed he had been living under the bridge with a group of other homeless men. Contact the incident room on 020 8721 4205.

*Unsolved as in no suspects are awaiting trial for murder or manslaughter, or have been convicted.