Date: 7 Jul 2010
Kester David was found burnt to death under the arch of a road bridge near Bloomfield Lane in Palmers Green.
His cause of death was given as being from burns and inhalation of fumes.
Police initially stated that his death was non-suspicious and that he had committed suicide but they later re-opened his case and concluded that his death was unexplained and an open verdict was returned.
They said that there was no evidence of any third-party involvement or any evidence that he had been murdered.
They noted that it was initially thought he had committed suicide after losing about £20k in a business deal and that he had used petrol that he had bought earlier at a nearby petrol station.
His family said that he had been murdered because he was a police informant and had been found out.
When he was found he was not wearing any shoes although a pair of white Reebok trainers were found nearby. However, it was later claimed that they were not his trainers. It was heard that the police had claimed that his relative's DNA was found on the trainers but his family disputed that saying that two sets of DNA were found, the dominant DNA being that of a white man from the traveller community.
He was last seen at the Texaco Service Station on Lordship Lane getting petrol in a jerry can at 9pm. He then returned about 20 minutes later in his white Ford Transit van and put petrol in it. However, the van then broke down and he called out the RAC who came out and fixed it. It was later stated that the CCTV footage of the RAC van showing up, which indicated that he had run out of petrol, was not discovered in the initial investigation that had concluded that he had committed suicide.
Later at 3:23am on the Wednesday 7 July 2010 a black man was seen to enter the same petrol station with a jerry can and buy some petrol and then later at 3.55am a man with similar clothing was seen on CCTV to be walking north along Green Lanes, toward Bloomfield Lane with a jerry can. The police said that they thought that both siting’s were of Kester David.
He was later found dead at about 4.20am.
Earlier, at 2.30am, two men were seen in an alleyway near to Maple Leaf Court where Kester David was found, squeezing through a fence although police said that they did not think they were involved in his death.
A while later at 3:45am two men were seen walking across the Morrisons' car park near to where Kester David was found. However, it was said that even if they had gone over the fence there they would have had to have crossed another padlocked fence which would have activated motion CCTV cameras to have got to the arch where Kester David was found.
Kester David's Blackberry Curve 8520 mobile phone was missing and police said that they were looking for it. However, they said that he had only used it a few times in the past days and that it had been switched off for most of the time. They said that it had been switched on on 14 and 15 July 2010 near to the Wood Green shopping centre and again on 22 July 2010 near to the Whittington Hospital area. However, it was also noted that two days before his death a relative of Kester David had called his phone and had said that the person that answered was not Kester David.
The police later said they received an email two weeks after his death from a woman that said she knew Kester David well and knew who had killed him, but they were not able to contact the person.
Kester David had just turned 53 the day before his death. He was a part-time bus driver with Arriva at the Wood Green depot and was described as being of a good character with no links to criminality. He was also a DJ.
Police initially said that rumours that he was a police informant could not be commented on. However, it later appears that he was a police informant.
Kester David's family later made a complaint against the police, some parts of which were upheld. The police later stated that they would then change their policy such that in cases where someone had died as a result of a fire their deaths would from then on be investigated by the Homicide and Major Crime Command from the outset. In January 2016 his family said they were planning on suing the Metropolitan Police for their short comings in the investigation. They said that the police had spent most of their time during the initial investigation covering up. They also said that the police had failed to carry out a proper investigation because he was black.
The complaints against the police investigation included claims that a DNA report had gone missing and that two calls from witness's to 999 claiming that his death had been the result of foul play were not followed up. One of the men said that he had been feeding his baby when he had heard two screams of 'no' by a man who sounded panicked, frightened and in pain at 4.20am. The other was a Morrisson’s supermarket night shift worker who had seen the two men near to the fence at 3.45am near the railway arch which would have activated motion-sensitive CCTV to get through. He had also said that he had seen a white Mercedes van in the car park which he had never seen before.
Kester David was from Grenada.