Unsolved Murders

Richard Henvey

Age: 20

Sex: male

Date: 2 Apr 1987

Place: Empire Ballroom, Leicester Square, London

Richard Henvey was stabbed at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square during a fight between black and white people and later died in hospital.

Several people were tried for their involvement in the murder, including a 23-year-old unemployed man and a 20-year-old painter and decorator who were charged with affray, but the murderer was never identified.

He had gone the Empire Ballroom on 2 April 1987 where there was a Radio London Soul Night hosted by the BBC DJ Tony Blackburn. It was estimated that there had been about 1,700 people at the event

Richard Henvey was white and had been out for a night out with his other white friends. They were all wearing Hawaian style shirts and had gone somewhere else for drinks before going to the disco at the Empire Ballroom.

The fight started soon after Tony Blackburn came onto the stage.

When they got there, they all went up to the balcony and one of Richard Henvey's friends went forward to an open place where a black person had been standing to look over. However, when the black person returned, he started shouting at Richard Henvey's friend and then hit him in the face to which Richard Henvey's friend responded by hitting the black man back. There was then a free for all fight between the black and white people during which Richard Henvey was stabbed. It was said that there had been about half-a-dozen youths involved in the fight.

A witness said that they saw the flash of a knife blade and a pushing motion that involved Richard Henvey and another youth said, 'People were fighting each other on the floor and in effect a free-for-all developed', adding that the two men that were on trial at the Old Bailey were involved in.

After it was discovered that Richard Henvey had been stabbed, he was taken to Westminster Hospital but he died shortly after.

The two black men that were on trial for lesser offences at the Old Bailey were arrested soon after.

The painter and decorator admitted that he had kicked somebody that had been on the floor but noted that he had been struck in the eye but denied having stabbed Richard Henvey. He was convicted of affray and sentenced to six months youth custody. The court heard that the unemployed man had not started the fight and that his initial reaction was one of self-defence.

However, the unemployed man denied having been involved in the fight at all although he had been picked out as one of the people involved in the fight on the balcony by a witness. He was acquitted of affray.

Richard Henvey had lived in Ripple Road, Barking.

It was later reported that another man was murdered at the Empire Ballroom in Leicester Square on 10 August 1988, but nothing more is known about the incident.

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

see courtnewsuk.co.uk

see Kensington Post - Thursday 27 October 1988

see Kensington Post - Thursday 29 September 1988

see Reading Evening Post - Friday 03 April 1987

see Sandwell Evening Mail - Friday 03 April 1987