Man Confessed to Eighties Murder at Hammersmith Police Station

John Paul told police he killed Anthony Bird

Kensington Square Gardens
Kensington Square Gardens. Picture: Google Streetview

A man has been convicted of a murder he committed in 1980 after walking into Hammersmith Police Station and making a confession.

61-year-old John Paul of Ladbroke Grove told the shocked officers that he had killed 42-year-old Anthony Bird who was found dead in his flat in Kensington Gardens Square on the afternoon of 6 June 1980 after concerns were raised by his employer when he failed to attend work at the Railway Tap pub.

After breaking down the door of the one bedroom flat with a sledgehammer, officers discovered Anthony’s body, bound with electrical cable and covered in marks and bruises. The property had been ransacked and a number of electrical items and alcohol had been stolen.

The investigation into his murder failed to turn up any evidence linking a suspect and ended in 1981 although it was subject to regular review.

Then on the morning of 5 May 2021, John Paul entered the station to admit that he did it. He was arrested that afternoon and later charged.

He told police that he had met Anthony, who worked as a porter and a barman, on the evening of 3 June 1980 and had been invited back to his flat for sex. He accepted with the intention of robbing him and, having overpowered his victim and tied him up, he beat him with it until he was unconscious. He came back later to steal more items.

The confession was confirmed by fingerprint evidence from the original crime scene.

A guilty verdict against John Paul, who had pleaded not guilty to both murder and manslaughter, was delivered at the Old Bailey on Monday 24 October.

Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command said, “It is not every day that someone walks into a police station confessing to murder decades ago. I would like to praise the officers and staff at Hammersmith Police Station who dealt with Paul in such a calm and effective manner. This was a man evidently suffering with a mental illness and they listened to what he had to say, asking the right questions to establish the truth and inevitably leading to his conviction.

“We may never fully know the reasons why on that day in May 2021 Paul confessed to the murder. However, the result of this case coming years after his death has finally brought answers to Anthony Bird’s family.

“We know it’s unlikely that police will solve every non-recent case. However, they remain under review and given the advances in technology, officers work on these cases tirelessly in hope of bringing offenders to justice."

Following the conviction, Anthony’s family issued a statement saying, “We came to terms with the death of Anthony Bird many years ago but we’re pleased that after 42 years his killer has come forward and been convicted. Sadly his brother died last year and was therefore unable to take comfort from the closure that the court case has brought.”

Paul will be sentenced at a later date.



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October 26, 2022