Unsolved Murders

Alan Douglas

Age: 38

Sex: male

Date: 18 Jan 1987

Place: 185A Whitby Street, Eastcote

Alan Douglas was found dead in bed at his home by his mother at their maisonette at 185A Whitby Street, Eastcote on 18 January 1987.

He had died from a single blow from a blunt instrument such as a ball bearing or a hammer. His post mortem examination showed that he died from a fractured skull. However, the fatal injury was said to have been so inconspicuous that it was only discovered during his post mortem examination three days after his death.

He had been a Russian tour operator with CTC Shippers and Tour Operators and frequently travelled to Russia and was said to have led a whole series of separate lives.

He was found dead in bed the day after returning home from a sports car exhibition at Alexandra Palace. After the event he was said to have met with friends for a drink at a pub in Wood Green, the Palace Gate, however, he was not described as a heavy drinker and he returned home at about 10.30pm having had four pints, although he complained of feeling unwell and before going to bed he had a bath in which he had a dizzy spell and slipped over, which led police to initially believe that that was how he received his injury.

He was found the following morning at 6am dead.

Following his post mortem the police said that the chance of his injury being accidental was very small. A detective said:

I am treating it as a murder inquiry.

The post mortem examination showed that he had received a blow to his temple from a blunt instrument about a quarter of an inch across that had caused internal bleeding in the brain and which caused his death between 12 and 72 hours after having been inflicted.

The police appealed for anyone that knew anything of his movements between the Wednesday and the Friday to come forward. They said that they were also interested in speaking to anyone that knew him through his plane spotting, race-going and CAMRA to come forward.

The police spent a weekend putting up posters at all stations along the Metropolitan, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines asking if people had seen Alan Douglas making his way home.

Detectives found dozens of books and magazines on aircraft and he regularly travelled to airshows throughout Europe and would often vanish for days at a time, visiting destinations including Russia and Eastern Europe. He was described as a keen plane spotter and motor-racing enthusiast. He had been a member of a plane spotting club.

A detective said that they found that he had visited Farnborough, Biggin Hill and Lakenheath in the previous year.

Police first thought he had fallen in the bath but after a post mortem they found that he had a fractured skull caused by a pin hammer, ball bearing or maybe an umbrella point.

The police later 'slammed' reports that they had been probing a 'spy' angle over his death. They said:

It is absolute nonsense to suggest that. We don't think there is anything political in this at all.

However, at his inquest, a senior detective admitted that the 'spy angle' was one thing they were looking into.

The detective said:

We are completely puzzled by this man's death. At first we thought he had fallen in the bath but then we realised that was not the case we made further enquiries and discovered he had a most unusual lifestyle. He seemed to have lived a number of very different lives, almost as if he kept the separate parts of his life in different compartments. Apparently, he had a great  interest in aircraft and in motor racing. He was an active member of CAMRA. He also travelled a great deal. He was a loner who kept himself very much to himself.

He was said to have startled his friends with his 'left-wing' outbursts.

He was described as having been an intelligent intellectual type who combined 'very very left wing views', with a 'fierce hatred of blacks'.

It was further noted that the police were mystified as to how Alan Douglas had managed to travel so widely on his modest salary of less than £8,000 a year. He was said to have visited at least eight overseas locations in the previous year, including Moscow, Yugoslavia, Holland, West Germany and Australia with another possible trip to East Germany.

CTC Shippers and Tour Operators, which was based at 1 Regent Street, had been a British Subsidiary of a Russian company. His boss there said that Alan Douglas had been a reservations clerk and had been desk bound like the rest of them and didn't travel as part of his job. He was described as having been a quiet and efficient worker and to have been there for between 12 and 13 years.

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

see www.courtnewsuk.co.uk

see Uxbridge Informer - Thursday 05 February 1987

see Pinner Observer - Thursday 29 January 1987