‘No suspects’: The unsolved murder of Andrew Oteng-Owusu in 2016

A 19-year-old student was stabbed to death 50 yards from his home minutes after receiving a phone call, an inquest heard It was just after 11pm on 3 August 2016 and Andrew Oteng-Owusu was at home with his mother Tina Ababio when he received a phone call. Whatever was said…

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‘He did nothing wrong’: The unsolved murder of Sami Sidhom in 2018

The 18-year-old student was walking home from watching a West Ham football match when he was chased and stabbed to death by at least three people. Was he unwittingly caught up in a gang dispute and targeted by mistake? His family are still waiting for answers and justice.

Going to watch West Ham play at the London Stadium was normal for Sami Sidhom and his friends. The 18-year-old football fan, who was in his first year studying history and law at Queen Mary’s University, set off from his family home in Chestnut Avenue in Forest Gate, Newham, at 6pm on Monday, April 16, 2018. It was the last time his father saw him before he was fatally stabbed just yards from their front door.

After watching the match between West Ham and Stoke (which ended 1-1), Sami took a bus to Romford Road and walked towards his home, via Sebert Road, although he did not appear to take the most direct route. After turning left into Cranmer Road, he turned then left again on to Capel Road before crossing into Chestnut Avenue. He then walked down Chestnut Avenue towards his home.

CCTV cameras recorded a silver car approaching the junction of Chestnut Avenue and Capel Road at this time, shortly before 11pm, before three men chase Sami into Chestnut Avenue followed by the silver car.

The stabbing appears to have taken place near the junction with Horace Road, not far from the Sidhom family home. It was not captured on CCTV.

Part of the attack was overheard by witnesses (who are not named in this account). “We were sitting in the upstairs front room watching TV, we had the windows open, we were watching Newsnight,” one witness said in a statement to the inquest into Sami’s death. “I could hear raised voices coming from outside. The main voice was “Help, help me”. I looked out the window in to the street, I saw an argument between two guys, on the other side of the road. Both of the males are facing towards Horace Road. I saw the male behind the victim punch him in the left side of the lower back. I was also aware there was another person on the street to my left. After the punching motion I saw a silver car pull up, the doors of the rear of the car opened, and the person who threw the punch [moved] around the back of the car and got into the driver’s side of the vehicle. I saw he had a black-bladed knife… another man got into the rear passenger side door… and the car drove off.”

Another witness, who was also walking home from the West Ham match, heard male voices, one in anger and one in fear saying “Help me I’ve been stabbed”. This witness saw two cars appear and drive away, and then saw Sami moving towards him near the junction with Horace Road. “I saw his eyes roll… I slowed his fall to the ground.”

Both those witnesses and nearby residents attempted to help Sami, giving first aid, providing towels and calling the emergency services. The police arrived first, followed by paramedics.

Sami’s father also came out of their home on Chestnut Avenue after seeing blue lights outside his window at around 11pm. “I called Sami but he didn’t answer his phone,” Samer Sidhom said. “I then walked outside and saw a male outside on the flaw with police and paramedics around him. I could see this was my son.”

Sami Sidhom

Doctors opened Sami’s chest at the scene in an attempt to save his life but he was pronounced dead at 11.27pm.

The postmortem revealed he had been stabbed twice in the back, to the right side, causing a wound to his liver. He had also been stabbed several times in the buttocks – a type of injury sometimes described as a “punishment” wound that has been used by gangs in London. The pathologist, Dr Ben Swift, concluded death was caused by blood loss. He also found evidence that more than one knife was used, based on different dimensions of some of the wounds, though most appeared to be similar in size. There were no marks or injuries of a defensive or offensive nature, suggesting he was taken by surprise and did not fight back.

By the time of the inquest in March 2022, nearly four years later, nobody had been charged with the murder.

The Metropolitan Police told the hearing they had arrested ten suspects and wanted to arrest a further suspect who had left the country shortly after the murder and was believed to be in Somalia.

DI John Marriott described this suspect as “very much a person of interest” but suggested it would be difficult to bring him back to the UK to face trial.

The motive for the attack also remained clear, the detective said, with one possibility being that Sami – who was of good character and had never been involved with the police – may have unwittingly been caught up in a gang or drug dispute.

DI Marriott told the inquest: “There has probably been some sort of incident in Avenue Road previous to this which I believe is some sort of gang or drug dispute which has ended in violence. Whether Sami has seen that occurring and has taken a strange route towards his own home to avoid trouble, I can’t say. Unfortunately trouble followed him.”

The inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Assistant coroner Ian Wade said: “Sami was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a determined attack, all the injuries were to his back, he was unarmed and fleeing for his life and was set upon criminally, wickedly, and maliciously. I am quite satisfied that it was deliberate and unlawful.”

In October 2023 a further appeal was issued, in which detectives urged an anonymous person who had supplied several tip-offs about the case to speak directly to the police.

DCI Mark Rogers said: “I believe people in the Newham community know who was responsible for the murder. I understand how daunting it can be to come forward after such a terrible crime, but, hopefully now some time has passed, someone will be brave enough to come forward and tell us what they know. Sami’s family have been devastated by the senseless loss of their son. They have had only questions, but no justice. I urge anyone who has information about Sami’s murder, but in particular the person who has reached out anonymously before to provide key information, to contact us.”

A £20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the conviction of those responsible. Call detectives on 020 8345 3715 or, if you want to remain anonymous, contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

My son’s life was taken away for no reason whatsoever. It’s so cruel, he did nothing wrong. If you’re out there, and you know who these people are, I plead with you to do the right thing. Sammy didn’t deserve this and we need to have justice. If these killers continue walking free, they can just do it to someone else. There is a reward of £20,000 being offered and you can provide information anonymously. Please contact anonymously, we need your help.

Sami’s father Samer Sidhom, speaking in 2023

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‘We fear he may have been murdered’: The disappearance of Lee Boxell in 1988

The parents of a missing boy from south London are appealing for help locating his remains so they can finally say goodbye to their son. Crimestoppers are offering a £20,000 reward for information.

Lee Boxell, a 15-year-old high school pupil and keen football fan, was last seen alive on 10 September 1888.

That morning he left his home in Cheam, Sutton, to meet a friend and go shopping. His friend last saw him at around 1pm.

The final confirmed sighting of the teenager was outside a shop in Sutton High Street at around 2.20pm.

His disappearance has remained a mystery and the investigation has been complicated by rumours, speculation and conflicting accounts given by witnesses and suspects.

One theory – apparently based on a comment that Lee made to his friend – was that he was going to Selhurst Park to watch the Charlton vs Millwall football match that afternoon. However police have said there is no evidence to prove this was the case and last confirmed sighting suggests he would not have been able to get to the stadium in time for kick-off.

Lee Boxell

In 2012 police received information that Lee visited an unofficial youth club at St Dunstan’s Church, known locally as ‘The Shed’. The club was visited by many local children and teenagers and was run by the graveyard digger, William Lambert, who had been convicted in 2011 of sexually abusing four girls between 1985 and 1987.

One of the girls who visited the club claimed that she had been told that Lee was dead two days after his disappearance. Another witness said she believed Lambert was involved.

Police also received anonymous tip offs that Lambert had bragged about burying Lee in the churchyard.

This prompted the Metropolitan Police to undertake its largest-ever archaeological dig in the hope of finding Lee’s remains. It concluded in 2013 without finding any trace of the teenager.

The following year Lambert, then aged 78, and two other men aged 52 and 41 were arrested on suspicion of murdering Lee. They were all later released without charge.

In 2019 detectives said they believed that Lee was killed after he witnessed a teenager being sexually assaulted at the club that afternoon and either intervened or threatened to expose the suspect.

I believe that Lee was assaulted by one person who then had help from one or more others to dispose of his body and/or cover up the death. I would appeal to those people to come forward and confirm this and help us to locate Lee’s body. I accept and wish to make it clear that it may not have been the intention to kill Lee and that your role in assisting the main attacker will be taken into account. But you have to take responsibility for your actions and face the consequences before it is too late for Lee’s family.

DCI John McQuade, speaking in 2019

Lambert, who died of Covid-19 in 2021, is also said to have told associates that he saw Lee a year after his disappearance and that Lee was living under an assumed name. Police said that this version of events was “found not to have been credible”.

In a further appeal in 2023, on the 35th anniversary of Lee’s disappearance, the Metropolitan Police admitted that they had been unable to find “conclusive evidence that Lee came to harm”. However the nature of his disappearance and the lack of sightings or credible information since 1988 has led detectives to believe he is no longer alive.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn said: “Lee was a boy with a very happy family life. He was a good student who loved football. The story that he had run away, started a new life and was living under an assumed name was absolutely not viable.

“My hope is that someone who didn’t feel they could speak to us in the past may now feel that they can come forward and share what they know.

“At this stage of our investigation my priority is to find Lee so that he can be returned to his parents. Lee’s parents deserve answers and they deserve the opportunity to bury their much-loved son.

“Your information could help end the suffering for Lee’s family. If you can help, anonymously or otherwise please do get in touch.”

Lee’s parents, Peter and Christine Boxell also urged witnesses to come forward to give them closure “before it’s too late”.

We have not seen or heard from our dear son Lee since he went to Sutton, thirty-five years ago on 10th September 1988. He was only 15 when he disappeared. We fear that Lee may have been murdered. We are still hoping that someone will come forward to help find his remains, so that my wife and I can say goodbye to our beloved son before it’s too late for us (we are in our late 70s).

If you can help us and his sister finally know what happened and have some closure – please, do what’s right. If you know where he may be, or have any information about what happened to Lee, please contact the police Investigation team on 0208 721 4005, or if you prefer you can tell the charity Crimestoppers what you know, anonymously. Once you’ve given your information you need never have any further involvement with anyone about the case. Crimestoppers can’t identify who you are and will never ask or take any personal details from you. So, this really does give someone a chance to do the right thing and help ease our years of pain. We can then see Lee finally laid to rest.

Peter Boxell, speaking in 2023

A reward of £20,000 has been offered by Crimestoppers for information that leads to the recovery of Lee’s remains. Contact them via the website or on 0800 555 111.

Lee Boxell
Lee Boxell

Unsolved: The disappearance of Lisa Pour in 2013

Police launched murder investigation ten years after mother-of-three vanished without trace

Lisa Pour was 40 years old when she was reported missing on 16 January 2013.

The mother-of-three was last seen by a probation officer in the Willesden Green area of northwest London that afternoon.

Lisa, who was around 5ft 2ins tall and of slim build, was devoted to her family and had never gone missing before. She had grown up in Queens Park and was often in the Brent and Camden areas.

In January 2023, after ten years without any contact, Lisa’s family offered a £10,000 reward for significant information that helps uncover what happened to her.

Lisa’s children Lauren-Holly, 25, and Jack Saffery, 23, said: “These past 10 years without our mother have really affected our family. She is a light that is missing in our lives and there’s not one day we don’t think about her. It would mean the world to us if one day we’ll be able to see our mother again. Every day that goes by we miss her and it is upsetting that we may not be able to see her again. Please help find our mother.”

For 10 years I have not believed my daughter has died. I always believe I’ll see her one day, and I’ll put my arms around her and give her a kiss. She was the most wonderful loving child. I miss her every day.

Lisa’s mother Linda Pour, speaking in January 2023

On 21 July 2023 the Metropolitan Police said the investigation had been passed to homicide detectives after officers concluded she had come to harm.

The force revealed that Lisa had been dealing with a drug addiction at the time of her disappearance and was staying at a flat in Kilburn High Road which was popular with drug users.

Over the years police have spoken with a variety of people with connections to the address who have repeated ‘rumours’ they have heard, but that information has never resulted in any concrete evidence.

Metropolitan Police statement in July 2023

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rawlinson of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “Lisa was a mother-of-three children that she adored, she was close to her parents and while her lifestyle could be described as somewhat chaotic, she would not have broken contact with her loved ones.

“Every day that has gone by Lisa’s family has hoped that she would walk through the door and put an end to the agony of not knowing what happened to her. I am hoping that now, with the passing of time, someone who knows what happened to Lisa may feel that they can come forward and share what they know. If you can help us please don’t hesitate to get in touch, either directly or anonymously through Crimestoppers, but please do make the call.”

Lisa’s absence in our lives has been a daily struggle, but we always held onto the hope that she might still come back to us. To think that her last moments may have been filled with fear and pain is something that we cannot get over. Someone out there knows what happened to our beloved Lisa. Please come forward and help us find justice for her and find her body so she can properly be laid to rest.”

Lisa’s father Reza Pour, speaking in July 2023

In November 2023 a £20,000 reward was offered by the independent charity Crimestoppers for information leading to a conviction. Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

To provide information directly to the police call 101, contact the police incident room on 020 8358 0200, or tweet @MetCC.

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London Gangs and Murder: Waltham Forest and the ‘Mali Boys’

Gang conflict in the London borough of Waltham Forest is believed to be responsible for at least five murders since 2016. A series of murder cases including the targeted stabbing of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie have resulted from a cycle of ‘tit-for-tat’ or revenge attacks involving a group known as the…

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