Date: 20 Apr 1990
Dick Owen Sidney Johnston died from a heart attack after he was tied up in his caravan during a robbery.
His hands and feet had been tied up with a necktie and a piece of rope.
He was found in a caravan near his stables in Lyne Lane.
The police asked for people in the equestrian world who regularly visited horse auctions and shows to buy tack to help identify tack that had belonged to Dick Johnston that was stolen when he was murdered. He was known at the time of his murder to have had tack worth hundreds of pounds that was later found missing.
The police operation to solve his murder was called Operation Lynx.
He had recently moved to Lyne from Crowborough in Sussex four years earlier and lived on two acres of land there. He owned a number of ponies and donkeys on his smallholding and also looked after other people’s animals.
He was known as the last farrier to have worked for Southern Railways.
He was also known as Owen 'Dick' Johnson. However, the woman who lived at Lynwood Farm who sold Dick Johnston his land said that he used to receive mail under different names. The woman said, 'He was an odd man, but he did not deserve to die like this'.
Another neighbour said, 'There were some very funny people who used to visit his home'. The neighbour added, 'He was really a very nice man. Only the Sunday before his death he was out with six local children on the back of his horse and trap'.
Dick Johnston was last seen in Shepperton on Palm Sunday when he took two donkeys that had been donated to the church to the service. He kept the donkeys for the church on his land.
The police said, 'Mr Johnson regularly brought the donkeys to the church and gave children rides on them'.
The police noted that Dick Johnston was not a wealthy man and that his capital was all tied up in terms of his land, stables, horses and expensive tack.
see Open University
see Staines & Ashford News - Thursday 26 April 1990