Date: 27 Apr 1988
Place: Epping Forest, Essex
Abdur Rashid was found dead in Epping Forest, Essex on 27 April 1988. He had been murdered and set on fire.
He was murdered during the Muslim festival of Ramadam which began in April 1988
He was found by some school children that had been following a nature trail.
His body had been wrapped up in a bedspread, tied up with a sash cord and burnt. It was noted that certain parts of the Whitechapel area were being redeveloped and it was thought that the sash cord might have been taken from a local building site where the material was commonly being used and easily obtained.
He was a Bangladeshi Muslim teacher and was well known in the East London area. He had arrived in the United Kingdom in 1979 and had worked part time in the mosque.
It was thought that he was murdered in the East End of London before being taken to Epping Forest and set on fire. It was noted that for Muslims, the burning of a body was the ultimate disgrace.
Abdur Rashid had lived in the Whitechapel district of the East End of London which was said to have contained a tightly knit Bangladeshi community that was centred around the East London Mosque.
It was thought that he had been murdered by a sharp knife such as a dar, which was often used to peel onions.
It was noted that he had worked at the East London Mosque after arriving in the United Kingdom from Bangladesh but had left in 1983 after which he tried to make a living by teaching the Koran in people’s homes. After his employment at the East London Mosque was terminated he was still known in the community as the Holy Man. It was noted that he was highly respected in the community and known as a good man.
The police said that they didn't have a motive and did not know why anyone would want to kill him.
The police said that he had had several arguments over debts. He was also noted has having had sent money back to his family in Bangladesh. It was noted that on one occasion a contact of his from Birmingham took the money for him.
It was also noted that he had been selling sarees and trinkets to women throughout the Tower Hamlets area, including times when their husbands were not at home which the police said might have caused some resentment.
On the evening of Tuesday 26 April 1988 at about 9pm he asked the family that he had been living with if he could make a phone call, but he told them that the number he was trying to call was engaged. The family that he had been living with said that they remembered seeing Abdur Rashid looking through a blue book at the time, possibly for a telephone number. However, the book was never found, and the police later said that they thought that the book likely contained the telephone number of Abdur Rashid's murderer and as such a was a vital clue. The family said that when Abdur Rashid finally got through, they overheard the end of his conversation in which he said, 'Alright brothers, I'll come now'.
Abdur Rashid then left the house at about 9.30pm.
He usually attended the East London Mosque for prayers at 10pm, but it appeared that no one saw him there that night.
It was known that Abdur Rashid later visited a friend at a flat in Romford Street at about 11pm at which time he was said to have seemed nervous. He left soon after and was seen shortly after by a friend at about 10.30pm going down a set of stairs in a different block of flats, Block 25, in Romford Street.
He was next seen at about 11.30pm round the corner in Fordham Street by the Sillet Cash and Carry. The person that saw him asked him what he was doing there and said that Abdur Rashid replied, 'I'm waiting, I have something to do'. However, it was not known who he was waiting for or why and no further sightings of him are known.
It was thought that he was murdered sometime later.
It was thought that his murderers might have bought some petrol in a can from a local petrol station, but it was not known where.
After he was murderer his body was taken to Epping Forest. It was thought that his murderers had driven him north along the A11 and had then taken the Epping New Road towards the M25 and then passed the Robin Hood roundabout where they then went left towards High Beach and onto Fairmead Road close to where his body was later found. It was noted the High Beach car park was a popular area for courting couples. It was thought that the car had pulled in about 200 yards along Fairmead road in the early hours and that Abdur Rashid's body was then dumped just inside the wood and set on fire.
It was thought that the flames from the fire would have easily been visible to any passing car. It was also thought that courting couples in the High Beach car park would have been quite likely to have seen the flames and the police urged anyone that saw anything to come forward.
The police later released a picture of the bedspread pattern in the hope that anyone that recognised it might come forward. The police said that they had not otherwise traced the origin of the bedspread. They described it as cream with a green pattern. The police said that they were confident that if they could trace the source of the bedspread that it would lead them to Abdur Rashid's murderer.
At the time Abdur Rashid had a 14-year-old son.
see Derby Daily Telegraph - Thursday 06 October 1988