Cold case detectives link baseball bat assault to unsolved 1984 murder as they appeal for witnesses

6 December 2023, 00:03

Police have linked an assault that took place hours before Anthony's murder to the investigation.
Police have linked an assault that took place hours before Anthony's murder to the investigation. Picture: LBC

By Fraser Knight

A lot has changed around East Finchley, North London, over the past 40 years - but for police officers investigating a decades-old murder, they’re determined to jog the public’s memory.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Anthony Littler, who was 45 in May 1984, was brutally murdered as he walked out of the Underground Station, and detectives have never been able to solve the case.

But they’ve now linked another assault in the area to their investigation, which happened just hours earlier.

DCI John Neil, from the Met Police, returned to the scene this week and told LBC: “Literally the day before, a member of the public - unidentified - went into Galleon Wine Stores (now Express Mart) and said to the shop keeper he was assaulted by two youths with baseball bats outside the tube station.

“Potentially they are witnesses and we’d very much like to identify that male who was assaulted.

“Obviously, it’s been 40 years in May since it happened. There have been advances in technology, science, and policing methodology. 

“But there is no forensic evidence in this case and while a modern-day murder investigation would revolve around CCTV, there was none around this, so it’s very much the old-fashioned way of knocking on doors and speaking to people.”

Read more: Woman, 42, dies and two others rushed to hospital after east London shooting as murder investigation launched

Read more: Man arrested after 'heavily pregnant' woman stabbed in the street while taking child to school in Aberfan

Anthony Littler was murdered nearly 40 years ago.
Anthony Littler was murdered nearly 40 years ago. Picture: LBC

Anthony Littler was found dead, shortly after midnight, on 1 May 1984 with severe head injuries, just a few hundred yards from East Finchley Station entrance.

He’d turned left, after returning from a night out, and walked up a path named ‘The Causeway’.

At the time it was surrounded by shrubbery and just a few smaller buildings; now houses and a large McDonalds are in the place of the original path.

Jagdish Patel, who owns the Express Mart on High Road, opposite East Finchley Station, and has lived next door to it since the 1970s, told LBC he thinks the police have missed their chance and failed to investigate fully in the 1980s.

“It wasn’t very well publicised. Most of the neighbourhood, we knew them, and people used to come to the shop and there was never much discussion of that,” he said.

“I think it’s why the police have never found the killer. I don’t think they did much then.

“There’s not much hope of them finding them now - the whole estate has changed, and people have moved on.”

The scene where Anthony was murdered.
The scene where Anthony was murdered. Picture: LBC

Jagdish Patel owned two other stores on High Road and bought over Galleon Wine Stores in 1985, where detectives now say the other man who’d been assaulted had gone in to with severe facial injuries and a black eye on 29 April 1984.

The victim was described as around 6ft tall, with short brown hair with a medium build.

Detectives know the 999 call alerting them to Anthony Littler’s murder came from a telephone box in the area - some of which no longer exist.

The person who made the call didn’t leave a name or any other details and was never spoken to again by the police.

DCI Neil added: “We don’t know a lot about that call, but we know it was made by a male shortly after midnight and I would suspect he was very close to the incident and maybe even witnessed.

“If you were the person who made that call, please reach out to the police.”

Unsolved cases are often reviewed by police forces, but DCI Neil said he’s determined to make the current one the final review of this case, to provide justice for Anthony Littler’s family.

His cousin, Tricia McClure who lives in Manchester, and is the only known relative of Mr Littler, said: “Anthony was a lovely, kind and gentle man who wouldn’t 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.”

Anyone with information can contact 0208 358 0100 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Sloan Mattingly died in a 'freak accident' on the beach

Horrifying final moments of girl, 7, buried alive in sand when hole she was digging on family beach trip collapsed

Russia Ukraine War

Ukraine’s defence minister says supply delays are costing lives

Donald Trump said Prince Harry betrayed the Queen

'Harry betrayed the Queen': Donald Trump says prince's behaviour is 'unforgivable' as he wades into royal row

Nasar Mohammed Hussein

Urgent manhunt for violent criminal on the loose in London after he took off his ankle tag while out of jail on licence

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for an investigation into institutional Islamophobia in the Conservative Party

Conservatives must investigate 'institutional Islamophobia' in the party, Muslim Council of Britain says

Oliver Dowden said Lee Anderson 'didn't mean to be Islamophobic'

Deputy PM says Lee Anderson 'didn't intend to be Islamophobic' by saying that Khan was controlled by Islamists

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty says he 'was healthier on heroin' as he reveals life-changing diagnosis after saying he's a 'sick man'

Donald Trump

Nikki Haley vows to fight on after Donald Trump wins in her home state

Biden Governors

Calls to ‘disagree better’ as US state governors meet at White House

Grant Shapps

Vladimir Putin 'wants to kill again with Novichok poison in the UK', warns Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Israel Palestinians

Mediators seeking Israel-Hamas ceasefire and release of hostages

Curtis Arnold made videos about Nicola Bulley's disappearance

TikTok sleuth accused of filming Nicola Bulley’s body 'still making money' under fake name 'investigating' migrant hotels

Portugal Election

Populists hope to make impact in Portuguese election

Donald Trump

Donald Trump claims fourth straight primary win in South Carolina, as he marches towards Republican nomination

Keir Starmer called Lee Anderson's comments Islamophobic

Starmer says Sunak is harbouring 'extremists' among Tories as Lee Anderson suspended following Islamist claim

Exclusive
Met Police urged to expand deep dive for rogue officers after multiple rape and kidnap conviction for cop

Rapist Met PC wasn’t included in search for rogue officers as campaigners call on force to expand cleanup efforts