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 happened to be standing outside the bakery his family owned when shots were fired from the rear passenger window of a black Honda Civic. A woman was also injured. Erdogan’s brother Yunus Guzel, said in a statement: “My brother’s children have had to endure the pain of losing him, during what should by rights have been carefree years. The loss of their father, who was taken from them in such a cruel way, has caused serious, emotional trauma. Although I have done my best to support them in coming to terms with this, nothing can make up for what happened that day in 2015. Erdogan was a key figure in the family bakery business and as such, the family has struggled to operate effectively without him – this has resulted in heavy debt and very sadly, his children have lost their family home in Tottenham. I would like to appeal directly to anyone who has even the smallest piece of information which could assist police, whether this is about his killers or something else which you haven’t yet shared with the investigation team.” Contact the incident room on 020 8345 1570.

CCTV of gunman’s car before drive-by shooting

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.




Police refuse to release list of murder victims


The Metropolitan Police is now refusing to release full lists of murder victims under the Freedom of Information Act – making it more difficult to check their figures.

Previously requests along these lines have been successful, such as the data featured in the Guardian article ‘Five years of London murders listed‘ and on our blog The Met’s Five Year List of Murders.

Most murders are publicised in one way or the other, whether through media reports, police appeals or court cases. But often our figures do not match up to those provided by the police. So when we attempted to get a list of homicide victims for the years 2012, 2013, 2014 in an attempt to check whether we had missed any cases, our request was refused. Instead we were allowed only total figures:

2012 – 106
2013 – 109
2014 – 92

We also asked for a breakdown by nationality, but the Met were not prepared to give figures for any nationality where the number was less than 5. As a result, the statistics for the three years in total read:

UK 106
Poland 12
Lithuania 5
Somalia 5

The nationalities with less than five victims are: US, Cyprus, Russia, Spain, Nigeria, Latvia, Turkey, Jamaica, China, Australia, Pakistan, Ghana, Albania, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Kosovo, Rwanda, Hungary, India, Portugal, Italy, Bangladesh, Kenya, Algeria, Iran, Fiji, Ireland, South Africa, Bulgaria, Columbia, Vietnam.

When we asked for a review of the decision, on the basis that similar requests had been granted, we were told: ‘Every FoIA request received by the MPS is considered on a case-by-case basis and no precedent is set by previous non-disclosures or disclosures as in this case, where a public authority may have previously released similar information in the past.’

The reasons for giving only a partial disclosure are that:

  1. Disclosure of information contained within the requested information… would have a negative effect on the relationship between the police and victims or witnesses of incidents who would expect that information provided to the police would be held in confidence and that publication of information by way of a freedom of information request would damage this trust, potentially impacting on the flow of information into the MPS
  2. To disclose any additional information may harm the MPS in its ability in the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders
  3. Disclosure of the names of the victims, would be likely to cause distress to their families, as there would be no reasonable expectation that the MPS would release this information without the consent of the family.

We understand and accept the third objection, but continue to believe that the public interest is in the identity of all homicide victims being in the public domain rather than kept secret for whatever reason.

‘It is like the justice system has given up’


Sometimes the justice system fails the family of murder victims.

Five years ago Nattallie Correa, 27, was found battered to death after a fire at her flat in Dagenham. Her boyfriend, who escaped the blaze with her two youngest children, was charged but acquitted after a retrial at the Old Bailey.

Nattallie’s family are now left in limbo.

As her sister Mellissa says in a letter to murdermap:

The worst thing is the murderer is walking free right now due to the justice system. It is a disgrace and the pain my family are still going through is never going to leave us, because it is like the justice system has given up on the whole case, when really someone from outside the case should look over everything properly because my sister is too special to get forgotten about.

My sister’s case is listed as unsolved. So what does that mean that she murdered herself and set herself on fire? Please if anything at all could be re-looked in to or could be done please we will be so grateful or please let me know if I could do anything by myself to get my sister’s case open again. I need help I can’t forget what has happened and I will never give up on my sister’s memory.

Mellissa still remembers the day that she was told about her sister’s death.

On the 19th November 2009 at 4am in the morning I got a knock on my address, I answered the door it was a police constable standing there he asked if I was Mellissa Correa and could he come in I said yes his first words was could I sit down I went no tell me what’s wrong please, he’ said I’m so sorry there has been a fire at your sister’s address and the children and the male are out safe but I’m sorry your sister was inside and has been pronounced dead, my heart felt like it crushed I fell to the floor and lost my breath crying, the first words I cried out to the officer was no it isn’t true my sister has never smoked or had candles lit at night, never, I said there’s something seriously
wrong here I tell you. That afternoon the police came and informed us that my sister was murdered the family were distraught even more.

Mellissa also accuses the police for a ‘lack of effort and commitment’ during their investigation. She adds:

Hopefully my sister’s case will get looked at carefully and thoroughly like it should have been in the first place.

Anyone with new information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Is the murder rate rising again?


An article in The Times newspaper last week  (Three deaths in a weekend sends murder rate soaring) highlighted the increase in London homicides so far this year.

In January and February 2015 we counted 26 homicides compared to 12 across January and February 2015.

So does this suggest a new trend or is it just an unusual spike?

A look at the Metropolitan Police’s rolling 12 month homicide figures suggests the last two years (up to January 2015) both saw 104 homicides, suggesting this is just a spike after a very quiet summer and autumn of 2014.

It should also be noted that we counted 12 homicides in March 2014 (equal to both January and February 2014 combined). As of today (14 March 2015) we only know of two homicides this month.

We will keep an eye on the statistics over the coming months and return to this subject in a later blog.

UPDATE on 4 April: We counted six homicides in March 2015, bringing the total to 32 this year, compared to 24 over the first three months of 2014.

Detected and Undetected Homicides 2003-2013


Last month the Metropolitan Police released data on the number of homicides between 2003 and 2013 under the Freedom of Information Act.

The data also reveals the number of homicides classed as ‘detected’ and ‘undetected’.

Sanction Detections refer to ‘police generated detections’ where the accused receives a punishment or sanction (charge, caution, summons) from the police.

Non-Sanction detections (Other) are used for cases resolved through administrative means, such as when the accused dies or the CPS decide not to prosecute.

The percentage of undetected homicides during this period range between six per cent (2009 and 2011) to 14 per cent (2007).

Year Offences Sanction Other Undetected 
2003 216 181 9 26
2004 188 171 3 14
2005 181 143 20 18
2006 172 147 3 22
2007 163 134 6 23
2008 155 140 1 14
2009 130 120 2 8
2010 125 111 1 13
2011 118 109 2 7
2012 106 94 2 10
2013 108 89 4 15

Other Freedom of Information releases include:

The number of homophobic and transgender hate homicides between financial years 2007/8 and 2012/13 (four homophobic and one transgender hate)

The nationalities of murder victims in 2013 (28 UK Nationals, 29 Overseas Nationals, 37 not recorded).

The nationalities of people proceeded against for murder 2009 – 2013