Unsolved Murders

David Armstrong

Age: 33

Sex: male

Date: 31 Jan 1998

Place: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, Battersea

Malcolm St Clair and David Armstrong were murdered by a gang of up to 40 Hells Angels outside the Battersea Arts Centre on 31 January 1998.

It was said that their murders were part of an ongoing battle between two motorbike gangs, the Hatchet Crew, an Essex chapter of the Hells Angels and the Outcasts.

They had been at a Rockers Reunion concert at Battersea Arts Centre which was attended by about 1,700 people when they were attacked. There were said to be about 40 Hells Angels in the area and it was described as a shark attack in which two separate groups attacked members of the Outcasts motorcycle gang in droves.

Malcolm St Clair was attacked by two men with an axe and a knife near Theatre Street and stabbed eight times in the chest, abdomen, back and hand. The man that had had the axe was said to have been the vice-president of the Essex chapter of the Hells Angels but the murder charge against him was not proceeded with by the prosecution. A witness said that they saw a man stab Malcolm St Clair and said that after the stabbing the man had walked off calmly and drove off in a Volvo car. He said that he wrote down the number plate of the Volvo car and the vice-president of the Essex chapter of the Hells Angels was arrested in the same car several days later in West Thurrock, Essex. It was heard that a married couple, both Outcasts, were prepared to give evidence if they had anonymity and were referred to as B and C but the judge denied them anonymity and they refused to give evidence.

David Armstrong was stabbed as he was parking his 1100cc motorbike. He was stabbed four times in the abdomen and left leg and his lung was punctured. A man was accused of murdering David Armstrong but was released after the prosecution offered no evidence against him at the trial. It was heard that witnesses were too scared to give evidence against the Hells Angels because of the perceived risk of retaliation. David Armstrong was from Belfast and was an ex-soldier. He had only one leg and was known as flipper because of it.

A third man was charged with both murders but was also cleared at the trial when the prosecution offered no evidence against him.

Another man was injured in the assault but survived.

Witnesses said that the Hells Angels involved in the attack had appeared calm and pleased with what they had done. One of them was heard to say 'I got the bastard. I got him. I did him'.

About twelve members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang were arrested during the investigation.

When the judge addressed the vice-president of the Essex chapter of the Hells Angels, who was convicted for organising the attack on the Outcasts motorcycle gang and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, he said, 'You took an active part in conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm, a conspiracy which led to the death of two men. In truth they were executed in a manner that was as ruthless as it was arrogant'.

The vice-president of the Essex chapter of the Hells Angels said that he had been at an anniversary meeting of the Wessex Hell's Angels at their clubhouse in Reading on the night of the attack. He also said that he had recently had a triple heart bypass operation and that he was simply incapable of taking part in violence.

The Crown said that the mere fact that the vice-president of the Essex chapter of the Hells Angels was not armed with a knife at the event and could not have inflicted the stab wounds did not absolve him from responsibility for Mr St Clair's death and that it had been part of a common design.

It was said that the relationship between the Hells Angels and the Outcasts in the United Kingdom had been quite reasonable over the years, but that the American Hells Angels had informed the UK chapters that they needed to combat the rise of rival motorcycle clubs in the country which resulted in the battle between the two gangs.

It was also heard that the battle had been ongoing since June 1997 when the Outcasts tried to integrate The Lost Tribe motorcycle gang from Hertfordshire into their numbers which would have made them equal in size to the Hells Angels gang. In response the Hells Angels had made The Lost Tribe motorcycle gang honorary members of the Hells Angels.

The prosecution said that the attack was brutal, planned and premeditated and aimed at making the Hells Angels the main bikers gang in the country.

It was said that the ringleaders that had pointed out the members of the Outcasts gang to be attacked had co-ordinated the assault using microphone headsets which they had used whilst walking through the crowd spotting Outcasts members.

Later in June 1999 it was reported that the feud between the two gangs had escalated with reports of other shootings and arson incidents. In June 1999 the Outcasts' Sergeant-at-Arms was arrested in Poole, Dorset with a Smith & Wesson .45 revolver in his trouser belt. The police also found other weapons at his house including hundreds of shotgun cartridges and thousands of rounds of 9mm ammunition as well as amphetamines, cannabis and ecstasy. The police also found hollow point ammunition, designed to cause extra damage on impact and which are banned under the Geneva Convention. It was said that although the ammunition was found, that the 9mm weapons were probably held elsewhere by some of the Outcasts' other 200 members and that the feud would reach new heights within the following months.

Violence between the two gangs continued for years and in August 2007 Gerry Tobin, a Hells Angel, was shot dead on the M40 as he rode home from the Hells Angel Bulldog Bash festival in Warwickshire. Seven members of the Outcasts were convicted in 2008 over his murder.

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