Christopher Lombard was shot dead while working at the Island Nightclub in Ilford High Road, east London, on 1 December 1996.

At around 3.35am the 30-year-old doorman was standing in the foyer when two men knocked on the locked glass doors to attract the attention of staff.

One of the two men then fired seven shots through the glass doors into the foyer. Christopher was hit three times, including a fatal bullet wound to the head. Two other door supervisors were injured but survived.

Dashcam footage from an undercover police car outside the club shows the suspects running around the corner to the left.

Detectives believe the suspects had been refused entry shortly before the doors closed at 3am. That night an estimated 1,600 people had been in the nightclub, a converted cinema which had hosted gigs by Oasis, Sleeper and Babybird.

The suspects then fled along Green Lane, got into a silver car parked between Connaught Lane and St Mary’s Road and sped off towards Goodmayes and Becontree Heath.

Nobody was charged during the initial investigation but the Metropolitan Police launched a new appeal for witnesses in November 2013 after a review of the case identified new lines of enquiry.

Detectives offered a £20,000 reward for information and issued efits of the suspects. The case was included on BBC’s Crimewatch programme, featuring an appeal from Mr Lombard’s 83 year-old mother Thelma.

The gunman was described as a very dark-skinned black man, aged 17-20 and 5ft 8ins with hair shaved at the sides and closely cropped on top. He had a small circular scar above his right eye and another circular scar to the right of his mouth. He wore a dark top or jacket.

A second suspect was described as of Mediterranean appearance, possibly Greek or Turkish, 5ft 9 – 10 ins and aged 18-25 with dark hair and a moustache and wearing a hat and light-coloured top or jacket.

Christopher was not meant to be working that night but had agreed to cover the shift for a friend. His sister Denise described him as a “gentle giant” because of his build and told of his love for basketball.

Christopher Lombard
Christopher Lombard

Christopher was a law-abiding citizen just doing his job that evening when he was brutally gunned down. It appears that the doormen were deliberately targeted – possibly because of an earlier incident between them and the suspects. A total of 17 years have passed and it seems unlikely that in all that time the gunman has never spoken or bragged about what he did. Allegiances change over time and I would ask anyone with any piece of information, no matter how small, to please contact us. After all these years his family deserve to know who killed him.”

Detective Inspector Robert Pack, speaking in 2013

The case remains under investigation. To provide information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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