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Unsolved Murders

Lee Boxell

Age: 15

Sex: male

Date: 10 Sep 1988

Place: High Street, Sutton, Surrey

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Lee Boxell was last seen on the High Street outside the Tesco supermarket in Sutton at 2.20pm on 10 September 1988.

It was thought that he had been abducted and murdered. In 2012 the police said that there was no evidence that Lee Boxell was alive anymore, either under his own name or any other name.

It was first thought that he had gone missing after going off to a football match, but it was later thought that he had gone to an informal youth club known as The Shed at St Dunstans in Croydon where teenagers would gather to drink and smoke and that his disappearance was connected with some event that happened there.

In 2014 several men were arrested for his murder. Three men aged between 41 and 78 were arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to pervert justice, and indecency with children, but they were all released without charge. A 42-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert justice and indecency with children but was similarly released without charge.

It was suggested that he might have been killed after witnessing a sexual assault on another person at The Shed, details of which only came to light in 2012.

When he was last seen he had said that he might go to watch a football match at Selhurst Park in north Croydon between Charlton and Millwall. It was also thought that he might have instead gone to Plough Lane to watch Wimbledon play West Ham or even gone to a local match between Charlton Athletic and Bromley in Colston Avenue, Sutton. However, no one ever came forward to say that they had seen him at any of the games. Further, it was thought that if he had been outside the Tesco supermarket at 2.20pm that he probably wouldn't have had time to have got to any of the matches which would have kicked off at 3pm.

Lee Boxell was described as:

  • White.
  • 5ft 5in to 5ft 6in tall.
  • Slim build.
  • Light brown hair.
  • Quietly spoken.
  • Wearing faded black jeans, a white Flintstones t-shirt and brown suede shoes.

In 2012 a witness came forward to say that Lee Boxell had been at an unofficial youth club in the annexe of St Dunstan's Church in Cheam, which was known locally as 'The Shed'. It was said that the existence of The Shed was previously unknown to the police but that upon further inquiries they determined that there was substance to the claim. The police said that following their investigations they determined that there had been paedophiles operating in the area at the time that Lee Boxell vanished, including a 52-year-old grave digger at the church who was said to have run The Shed. The grave digger was himself convicted of sexually abusing four girls aged 11 to 15 years old that had attended The Shed in 2011 when he was 75 years old and sentenced to 11 years. The grave digger was a former soldier.

It was said that the grave digger would convince the teenagers to have sex with him by convincing them that he had supernatural powers. It was said that he had told the children that he was a warlock and that he could pass on his supernatural powers by having sex with them. At his trial in 2011 it was heard that he would have sex with the children on a tombstone, stating that the girl would get their power from a 'black floating monk' that haunted the church. It was also heard at the grave diggers trial that one girl that he had had sex with had told him that she thought that she was pregnant and said that he had told her that if he had sex with him again that she would no longer be pregnant.

Following the conviction of the grave digger, the police excavated parts of the graveyard but found nothing. The police carried out excavations twice, once between June and September 2012 and then again in April 2013.

Following a later appeal on the television program Crimewatch in 2013, another person came forward to say that they had been abused as a child at The Shed and the police said that they were working on the theory that Lee Boxell had been trying to stop the sexual abuse and that he had been murdered because of that or that he had seen something that had resulted in an incident in which he had lost his life, either intentionally or accidently.

The police said that they thought that The Shed had been targetted by a number of sexual predators because it was a gathering place for teenagers who would go there to drink and smoke. The Shed was described as a dilapidated hut on the church's grounds. The Shed later burned down.

It was thought that Lee Boxell might have gone there after leaving his friend outside Tesco’s and the police later said that they thought that he had been murdered there. A detective Inspector said, 'I believe that Lee was assaulted by one person and that they had help from one or more others to dispose of the body and/or cover up the death. I would like to appeal to that young person who was sexually assaulted to come forward. Your evidence would confirm Lee’s presence at the shed and help to identify his assailant. I accept and wish to make it clear that it may not have been the intention to kill Lee and that your role in assisting the main attacker will be taken into account. But you have to take responsibility for your actions and face the consequences before it is too late for Lee’s family. Someone knows what happened to Lee and where his body is buried'.

The police said that they thought that Lee Boxell had been at the Shed on Saturday 10 September 1988 and that he had seen someone being sexually assaulted and that in the following course of events he was killed and that the person that was sexually assaulted might have been involved in either causing Lee Boxell's death or disposing of his body and appealed for that person to come forward.

It was said that on the morning that he disappeared that he had wanted to see his team Sutton United play, but that they were playing away in Blackpool and that he had instead gone off to Sutton High Street with a friend where they had window shopped. His friend said that when he last saw Lee Boxell at 2.20pm he had told him that he might go to watch Crystal Palace play.

It was noted that there was no CCTV evidence found that covered his movements after he was last seen.

His parents said that they first became worried at about 5pm after he failed to contact them as he normally would have done so.

Lee Boxell had lived in Cheam and was last seen in Sutton High Street which was about a mile away. St Dunstan's Church was closer to his home in Cheam. Selhurst Park, where the football game Lee Boxell said he was going to watch was in Croydon which was about five or six miles away.

It was noted that following his disappearance his parents kept his bedroom exactly as it was when he left including his maths homework that he had left out on his desk.

Lee Boxell had been a pupil at Cheam High School and was an only child.


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


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see Staffordshire Sentinel - Monday 20 February 1989