Unsolved Murders

Michael Johnson

Age: 27

Sex: male

Date: 4 Sep 1987

Place: Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London

Michael Johnson was shot in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton on 2 September 1987 and died in hospital two days later in King's College Hospital.

He had been attacked by two men in the street at about 5pm, the first hitting him over the head and the other then shooting him in the head at point blank range.

Two men were tried for his murder in March 1988 but acquitted.

  1. A 24-year-old unemployed man was acquitted by the jury.
  2. A 20-year-old man was acquitted by the judge who ruled that there was insufficient evidence against him.

The shooting was witnessed by several people but only one person had picked the unemployed man out on an identification parade.

The unemployed man was arrested several months after the murder in Birmingham where he had been living in Lozells Street, but had been living in Southwyck House, Somerleyton Road in Brixton at the time.

It was thought that Michael Johnson's murder had been related to the Yardies gang, a powerful gang from Jamaica that was said to have been taking over crime in the inner-cities across Britain. It was said that Michael Johnson had been a reggae singer and had been shot about two hours after he had gone to see the police where he had given the them evidence against the Yardies, it being reported that he had 'squealed' against the Yardies.

The police later said, 'The victim went into Brixton Police station and two hours later he was shot. I am not prepared to discuss what reinspired at the police station or why he came to us. Johnson had no known links with the Yardies'. However, the police admitted that a Yardie connection to his murder had not been ruled out.

It was noted at the time that his death was believed to have been one of fourteen unsolved murders linked with black organised crime.

The unemployed man was arrested in Lozells Street on Monday 2 March 1987 following what was described as a massive three day police operation involving detectives from the West Midlands and Metropolitan police forces during which plain-clothed officers had been following his movements. The unemployed man, who was born in Jamaica, was said to have recently arrived in the United Kingdom from Jamaica about a year earlier and to have spent the previous five months travelling regularly between Birmingham and Brixton.

The operation to arrest him had involved 60 police officers who surrounded his home, including eleven officers from the West Midlands elite firearms squad, regional crime squad and detectives from Birmingham and Brixton.

The unemployed man was arrested early in the morning when he stepped outside of his front door unaware of the police operation and was arrested without a struggle and with no shots being fired.  He had not been armed at the time.

It was noted that another Jamaican reggae star had almost been hacked to death in London some time before after he claimed to be the Yardies' Godfather.

The Yardies were described as a 'black Mafia group' and it was noted that Scotland Yard had just set up a new squad to smash black gangsters who were cashing in on the reputation of the Yardies. a Police Assistant Commissioner said that black communities throughout Britain were being terrorised with threats of murder or extortion from black gangsters.

Michael Johnson was from Jamaica and had lived in Penge Road, Anerley, London although he was also said to have lived in Washbrooke House, Tulse Hill Estate, Brixton. Michael Johnson was also referred to as Fitzroy Lloyd Johnson.

He was said to have been a popular figure in local clubs and an up-and-coming reggae singer who was about to give up his job in a dry cleaners to turn professional.

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

see www.courtnewsuk.co.uk

see Total Crime

see Daily Mirror - Saturday 02 January 1988

see Birmingham Mail - Monday 07 March 1988

see Birmingham News - Thursday 03 March 1988

see Birmingham News - Friday 04 March 1988