Unsolved Murders

Alvin Burke

Age: 27

Sex: male

Date: 22 Feb 1987

Place: Fleet Court, Emlyn Road, Shepherds Bush, London

Alvin Burke was stabbed to death on Sunday 22 February 1987 at about 1.20am to 1.30am outside his girlfriend’s flat in Fleet Court, Emlyn Road, Shepherds Bush.

He had been a photographer and a part time worker for Kensington and Chelsea council and had at the time been working on a local history project for the them.

He had been stabbed 54 times and kicked and it was thought that the attack on him must have lasted for several minutes in a car park at the flats. It was said that he had first been attacked in the tower block foyer.

He had telephoned from a call box in Ladbroke Grove at 1am on the Sunday to say that he was on his way home but was murdered shortly after. His girlfriend had lived in Fleet Court and he had been on his way to see her.

The police said that they thought that Alvin Burke might have taken a minicab from Ladbroke Grove to Fleet Court and appealed for any cab driver who made a pick up at that time in the area to come forward.

It was thought that his murder might have been a contract killing over a drug deal or that he had been murdered in a row over women. It was also considered that his murder had been a case of mistaken identity.

The police said that they had discovered that he had been involved with several girlfriends and that he might have died following an argument with one of them. A detective said, 'The only line we have so far is that he was something of a ladies man. We think he could possibly have got into a dispute over a girlfriend'.

The police released a description of the main suspect along with a photo-fit:

  • Black man.
  • Aged about 20.
  • 5ft 4in to 5ft 6in tall. He was also described as 'very short'.
  • With dreadlocks and a goatee beard.
  • Wearing a pillbox hat with a peak and a grey ski jacket with blue shoulders. He had also been wearing dark tight trousers with a bright horizontal stripe on one leg.

The police later criticised the lack of help from the black community over the investigation, stating, 'It's about time the black community became responsible enough to support the police against the bad elements in their community'. A detective said, The amount of co-operation we have received from the black community is minimal. From the stories and street talk we hear it is known who did this attack. All it takes is a phone call, even anonymously, to put us on the right track. It is my opinion that the person who committed this attack is a dangerous man who should be in custody'. The police added that black leaders in Notting Hill and Shepherds Bush had refused to help the police with their inquiry.

Alvin Burke's inquest was held at Hammersmith Coroner's Court on Thursday 25 June 1987 and returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

The post mortem revealed that Alvin Burke had been stabbed through the heart and had multiple stabbing injuries and that his cause of death had been due to serious internal bleeding.

It was heard that the police had had 20 officers working on the case and spent 25,000 man hours.

The project that Alvin Burke had been working on at the time had been looking at the involvement of local people in world events and later opened as an exhibition at North Kensington Library in Ladbroke Grove in June 1987 following his death. The history project display featured such diverse subjects as the part played by local people in the Spanish Civil War, the Caribbean contribution to the Allied war effort and the work of two photographer, including Alvin Burke. The project, which had been in its third year and been paid for by the Community Project scheme and most of the research into North Kensington's history was done by interviewing pensioners who would meet in reminiscence groups around the borough.

Alvin Burke had been born in Jamaica.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette - Friday 19 October 1990

see Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette - Friday 06 March 1987

see Kensington Post - Thursday 26 February 1987

see Kensington Post - Thursday 18 June 1987

see Kensington Post - Thursday 25 June 1987

see Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette - Friday 27 February 1987

see Acton Gazette - Thursday 18 June 1987