Unsolved Murders

Rodney Lockwood

Age: 29

Sex: male

Date: 7 Jul 1988

Place: 126 Kingsland High Street, Hackney, London

Rodney Lockwood died in a fire at 126 Kingsland High Street.

He died from asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation whilst trying to escape. The fire had also completely gutted the building.

It case was known as the Cludo Killing because only one of seven people could have done it.

A 34-year-old warehouse packer was tried for manslaughter at the Old Bailey but acquitted.

When the prosecution presented their case to the jury, they told them that they would have to solve the puzzle by a process of elimination, as in the game of Cluedo. They added, 'It is like a game of Cluedo. You will hear evidence from one of the seven people involved. Then you will have to make up your minds whether or not they had anything to do with it'.

The fire had started at 126 Kingsland High Street, a clothing store, in the early hours. There were several flats above the shop.

There was no sign of a break in and as such it was said that the only people that could have been responsible were the keyholders to the building.

Rodney Lockwood had been a tenant on the top floor of the building.

The warehouse packer had lived on the second floor. He had been rescued from the fire by the police and another man that had lived in the flats.

The man and woman that owned the shop lived elsewhere, but it was said that they had suffered the most in the fire because their entire stock had gone up and they were not insured.

The three other suspects were all tenants that had lived in the flats above the shop.

The warehouse packer became a suspect after he was found to have lied to the police about certain things. It was heard that he had said that his bedroom door had been shut at the time of the fire, but it was later shown that there was scientific proof to show that it was open. It was also heard that the warehouse packer had been seen near the shop by three youths shortly before the fire broke out, but he denied being out.

In his statement he said that earlier in the day he had been out drinking in a pub and playing pool. He then said, 'I went home in the afternoon after buying a bottle of whisky and watched some television and slept'. He said that when he woke up later in the afternoon he went back out to the pub and then later went back home to watch the television programme 'Cats Eyes'. He said, 'I got everything ready to watch the television but then I fell asleep. I remember waking up to go to the toilet and my head was in smoke when I stood up. I thought about smashing the window because it was hard to breathe and all I could hear outside was shouting, shouting, shouting. People were yelling for the keys to get in. I shouted to the people outside that there was an old boy living downstairs, and then I went back to see if I could try and help him'.

The court heard that shortly after the warehouse packer and another person were overcome by smoke and that it was only through the bravery of two policemen that had been on foot patrol at the time and who had noticed the fire that they were saved. They had backed a police van onto the pavement and then put a ladder on top of it and climbed up to get in and rescue the warehouse packer.

The seven people that the prosecution said were the only possible suspects as they were the only people with keys were:

  1. The warehouse packer who lived on second floor.
  2. Man who lived in flats.
  3. Husband who had been asleep elsewhere with his wife but who lost all their uninsured stock.
  4. Wife who had been asleep elsewhere with her husband but who lost all their uninsured stock.
  5. Tennant.
  6. Tennant.
  7. Tennant.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.