Unsolved Murders

William McAllister

Age: 53

Sex: male

Date: 1 Jul 1989

Place: Flora Close, Poplar, East London

William McAllister was beaten to death in a flat.

Two men were arrested for his murder, one of them allegedly making a full confession, but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges against one before the trial and the other man was acquitted after it was heard that the two detectives that took his confession had failed to comply with the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. It was heard that the policeman who wrote down his confession wrote it down in his notebook and not on the appropriate form for such matters. As such, it was concluded, after a lengthy legal argument lasting two days, that the confession had been recorded illegally and could not be put before the jury. After the ruling the prosecution said that under the circumstances that they had no option but to drop the charges.

It was noted that if the other man had not been discharged before the trial on the murder charge that both men could have then been tried on the grounds of joint enterprise  and the eligibility of the other man's confession would have been irrelevant.

William McAllister was beaten to death at a flat with an iron bar the day after he had been released from serving a prison sentence at Leicester Prison.

He had suffered 22 skull fractures. When his skull was examined at the post mortem it literally fell apart due to the injuries.

It was said that the two men had been seen by a motorist walking along Flora Close with William McAllister in a suspicious manner on the night of 1 March 1989, and that one of them, the man that went to trial, was seen to have an iron bar concealed behind his back, and that they were then seen to go into the flat with him. The motorist, thinking it suspicious, then called the police.

It was heard then that when the police arrived and went into William McAllister's flat they found him sitting in a chair with blood pouring from his head and the two men standing beside him and an iron bar lying nearby on the floor.

The first man, who was discharged before the trial, said that the flat door had been open and that he had just walked in and said to the policeman, 'There appears to have been an accident'.

When the police questioned the two men the second man was said to have made a full confession in which he was alleged to have said that he killed William McAllister because he had made a homosexual advance towards him. However, he later retracted it and pled not guilty at the trial.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that it was their case that the second man had armed himself with the iron bar in order that one of them should use it against William McAllister and that they had planned together to rob him in the flat. It was further noted that both men had originally been charged with plotting to rob William McAllister.

It was heard that if the Crown Prosecution Service had not dropped the charges against the first man at the magistrates court that they could have tried them both for murder on the basis of a joint enterprise, with or without the confession, on the basis that the jury would be able to infer that one of them had murdered William McAllister with the iron bar. However, it was noted that that option was, after the man had been discharged at the magistrates court, no longer open to them.

It was not openly known why the first man was released at the earlier magistrates hearing. The prosecution said, 'The decision, which seems to us a somewhat strange one, was taken that the first man should be discharged, and joint enterprise went out of the window as far as the prosecution is concerned. That is the difficulty we find ourselves in now'.

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

see www.courtnewsuk.co.uk

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 24 November 1989