Date: 10 Oct 1990
Erich Tahler was found injured at the foor of some stairs and was taken to hospital where he later died.
It was initially thought that he had fallen down them after a night out drinking, but whern his cheque book in the possession of a fraudster it was thought that he might have been attacked and robbed.
An open verdict was returned at his inquest.
Erich Tahler worked as a clerk at ICI and was a heavy drinker. He went to the pub straight after work on 5 October 1990 as he did most nights and stayed there drinking until 11.30pm before leaving the pub with some friends. They then walked off together but Erich Tahler left his friend to make the last five minutes of his journey home alone.
He was later found injured at the bottom of some steps in Erica Court flats, Binfield Road, Clapham, near to his home with a fracture to the back of his skull. He was taken to Kings College Hospital five days later on 10 October 1990.
There were no obvious sign of foul play and his injuries were consistent with a slip on the stairs and so it was thought to have been an accident.
However, on 18 October 1990 a man was arrested in possession of Erich Tahler's cheque book and credit card, saying that he had bought it on 6 or 7 October 1990. As such, the police opened a full scale investigation into Erich Tahler's death.
When the police questioned the man they found that he had little to do with Erich Tahler. They also questioned the man that had sold the man the cheque book and credit card, but the police said that he too had nothing to do with Erich Tahler and added that they didn't thik that they had spoken to the person who was responsible for taking them from Erich Tahler.
The police later said that they were interested in speaking to anyone who knew anything about what happened to Erich Tahler in the five minutes from when he left his friends and the time that he was found at the foot of the stairs.
The police said that there were various possible scenarios:
That he was mugged on the way home.
That he was followed and mugged on the stairs.
That he had fallen down the stairs and then had his chequebook and credit card stolen from him afterward.The inquest also heard from Erich Tahler's widow who said that Erich Tahler would not have handed over his property without a struggle. She said that Erich Tahler had been mugged in the past and that he was an amateur boxer in his youth. She said, 'Erich was not a fireside man, he was a social man who would like to talk football and politics to his friends'.
After the coroner recorded an open verdict, he said, 'There is every likelihood that he was attacked'.