Shortly after midnight on 1 May 1984 a civil servant was found seriously injured in an alleyway behind East Finchley tube station in north London.

Anthony Littler, a 45-year-old single man who worked for HM Customs and Excise as an executive officer, had suffered “catastrophic” wounds to his head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He lived lived just a short distance away from the station and detectives believe he was walking home after a night out when he was attacked on a pathway known as ‘The Causeway” at around 12.15am.

Photo of the Causeway, where Anthony Littler was attacked in 1984
The Causeway, where Anthony Littler was attacked in 1984

The killer has never been identified and the motive for the murder remains unknown.

However detectives believe Anthony was likely picked at random and are investigating a possible link to an attack in the same area two days earlier.

The victim of that earlier attack has never been traced but he told a shopkeeper at Galleon Wine Stores on High Road, East Finchley, that he had been assaulted by two young people with a baseball bat outside the tube station on 28 April 1984.

He was seen to have severe facial injuries including a badly bruised black eye when he spoke to the shopkeeper the next day. The shopkeeper described him as being 6ft tall and of medium build with short brown hair.

The case was reviewed in 1993 and 2013 but remains unsolved.

In a renewed appeal in December 2023, detectives asked for witnesses to come forward with information about either incident.

Anthony Littler
Anthony Littler

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, who is leading the investigation, said: “We understand that this murder took place almost 40 years ago and that people’s memories will have diminished over time.

“However, this witness statement suggests the man who came into the shop was subject to a particularly vicious attack. We believe that the victim would not have forgotten what is likely to have been a traumatic event in his life.

“If you think this may have been you, or you believe you know who was attacked or even who the attackers were, we would ask you to come forward and speak to us now.

“The length of time passed has not diminished our efforts to get justice for Anthony and his family. No piece of information will be considered too small.”

Another mystery surrounding the case relates to the person who dialled 999 to report the attack on Anthony Littler. Police believe it was a male caller but they did not leave their name or any other details.

Anthony was a lovely, kind and gentle man who wouldn’t have hurt anyone. It is heart-breaking to our family that this happened to him. After all this time, we hope this new investigation puts those responsible behind bars. It won’t bring Anthony back, but it will give us some closure.”

Tricia McClure, Anthony’s cousin, speaking in 2023

Anyone with information should contact police on 020 8358 0100 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

UPDATE 14/12/23: Two men aged 54 and 58 were arrested on suspicion of murder following the renewed appeal. Both were released on bail pending further investigation.

UPDATE 21/3/24: Two further men aged 56 and 57 were arrested on suspicion of murder.

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