Date: 28 May 1987
Edward Roberts was shot seven times outside the Canterbury Arms Pub in Croydon after being lured there by a telephone call on 28 May 1987.
A 30-year-old man was tried for his murder but found not guilty on Friday 5 August 1988. The judge said, 'He may be involved in some way and may know who the gunman is. But that doesn't make him guilty of murder'. It was reported that he was acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The man had spent 13 months on remand. After his acquittal he said that he was going to sue the police for wrongful arrest. He had maintained his innocence throughout.
Edward Roberts was a scrap metal dealer and was described as a wealthy businessman. His murder was described as a 'cold blooded assassination'. He was described as being well known in gipsy circles and to have traded in scarp cars and horses.
He had gone to the pub after receiving a phone call at his yard in London Road, Croydon, and had taken £3,500 with him but when he was found dead, he only had a few pounds on him. He had stuffed the £3,500 into his trouser pocket when he left. The call was said to have been from someone with a deep gipsy voice.
It was said that Edward Roberts was soon after seen outside the Canterbury Arms Pub in Sumner Road waving and gesticulating to someone in the street and that moments later a man with olive skin, designer stubble and wearing dark glasses, shot him five times at close range and then shot him twice more at point blank range in the head.
The man that was tried for his murder was arrested after the police found eleven of his fingerprints on a newspaper in a stolen van that was found near the murder scene. He also had olive skin. The man admitted driving the van to Croydon but denied murdering Edward Roberts. It was also heard that five eyewitnesses to the shooting said that the man tried was not the man that he had seen shooting Edward Roberts after which the judge decided that there was not enough evidence to convict him. He said that it would be dangerous to convict the man on the evidence that they had heard.
The defence submitted that there was nothing connecting the van with the murder saying that the prosecution needed to prove that the van driver was also the murderer. It was heard that an eyewitness said that he had seen a man jump out of a blue Ford Transit van and shoot Edward Roberts, but the judge noted that the witness was 'a little bit simple minded'. He said that the man that he was seen was about 50 years old and had been wearing a brown wig and the judge observed that that description could not have been true.
It was further noted that most of the eye-witnesses had said that the man that they had seen shoot Edward Roberts had had stubble, but it was stated that the man tried for his murder could not grow stubble. The judge then said that what was left was that the man's age was about right and his height was approximately right, which he said could have been the man tried, but added that it could also describe thousands of other people.
Following the trial, the police said, 'We are no longer looking for the gunman. Our files are now closed. We are still hunting the man who ordered the assassination'.
Edward Roberts had two children. He was described as being financially well off and that at the time of his murder was expecting to move to a more expensive home.
see Daily Mirror - Saturday 06 August 1988
see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 06 August 1988