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…

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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,…

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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

Detectives investigating the murder of Alexander Vanderpuye nearly 18 months ago are hoping to charge two suspects later this month, an inquest heard. The 23 year-old victim was stabbed in…

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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.

Changes to murdermap

[UPDATE: The new website is still tracking homicides (for 2019 at least) and is testing a new, improved map. We are hoping to raise money to continue the site through donations and monthly subscriptions. Please consider donating to one of the projects on our Help Us page or signing up for membership via Patreon. Or both.]

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: 49 (last updated 23/5/19)

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.

See also: Map of homicides in London in 2019

  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, and Yusuf Dubbad, 21, were 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, Sheareem Cookhorn, 20, and a 17 year-old man were 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. Meshach Lee Mitchell Williams, 21, 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. Dominic Calder, 18, was charged with murder.
  40. Joshua White, 29, was stabbed to death in Frampton Park Road, Hackney, on 26 April. Police said the attackers arrived in a white Ford SUV-type vehicle. A 16-year-old boy and
    Taylar Isaac, 18, were charged with murder.
  41. Amy Parsons, 35, was found beaten to death at a flat in Crowder Street, Whitechapel, on 26 April. Her partner Roderick Deakin-White, 37, of Crowder Street, was charged with murder.
  42. Mihrican Mustafa, a 38-year-old mother-of-three, was found dead in a freezer at a flat in Vandome Close, Canning Town, on 26 April. A second body was also found (see below). Both had suffered multiple injuries but a postmortem was unable to establish a cause of death.
  43. Henriett Szucs, 34, was found dead in a freezer at a flat in Vandome Close, Canning Town, on 26 April. Zahid Younis, 34, was charged with two counts of preventing a lawful and decent burial.
  44. Tashaûn Aird, 15, was chased and stabbed to death after a confrontation with a group of youths in a park near Somerford Grove, Hackney Downs / Stoke Newington, on 1 May. Romaine Williams-Reid, 18, was charged with murder. Tashaûn’s family said: “Tashaûn was family orientated, he loved his family and we loved him dearly. He was passionate about his music and he loved drawing. He was a loving, caring boy with an infectious laugh. He was a talented young boy and worked hard in his studies, particularly with his English. We are deeply shocked and saddened by our loss.”
  45. Constantin Sin, 51, died after being hit by a car in High Road, Leytonstone, on 5 May. Police said it appeared to be a deliberate act by the driver following an altercation in the street. Riyaz Adam, 25, was charged with murder.
  46. McCaulay Junior Urugbezi-Edwards, 18, was chased and stabbed to death in Tiverton Street, Southwark, on 5 May.
  47. Barrington Davis, 54, was found dead at his flat in Torridon Road, Catford, on 16 May. Police forced entry to the address at 7am after neighbours said he had not been seen for some time. A postmortem found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.
  48. A woman in her late 60s was found dead at a flat in Adair Tower, Appleford Road, North Kensington, at 6.40am on 23 May. Her partner was also found dead (see below).
  49. A man in his late 60s was found dead at the flat in Adair Tower, North Kensington. A man in his late 40s has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

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

This list does not include:

Linda 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.

Unexplained death of Erik San-Filippo, a 23 year-old Italian national whose body was found in a wheelie bin in Islington on 11 May. Gerardo Rossi, 52, was charged with preventing a lawful burial.

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.