Unsolved Murders

John Kennedy

Age: 31

Sex: male

Date: 8 Feb 1997

Place: Railway Arms Pub, Sutton Street, Wapping

John Kennedy was stabbed during a fight at the Railway Arms pub on Sutton Street at about 5.05am on 8 February 1997.

A man was arrested soon after his murder but released without charge.

John Kennedy had been out with friends on the Friday night and had been to several pubs including Sorrell’s club in Commercial Road. It was said that he was going to then go home but that friends had persuaded him to go to the Railway Arms with them. When they arrived at the Railway Arms at about 3am it was described as being packed with about 60 people inside drinking.

It was said then that John Kennedy was approached by a man that he knew, and a heated conversation took place and that a fight then erupted, and a man pulled out a knife and stabbed John Kennedy in the abdomen.

John Kennedy then collapsed and was taken to the Royal London Hospital where he died at 8.20am.

The suspect that was seen to stab John Kennedy was seen to run off and to then get ina car with another man and drive off.

It was said that there had been 60 people in the pub at the time but that most people had refused to speak to the police and that of those that did, some withdrew their statements.

It was also said that when John Kennedy had arrived at the Railway Arms, a girl had made a call to someone, thought to have been the murderer, to say that somebody, or John Kennedy, was at the pub. It was also said that when the murderer turned up at the pub and could not find the person he was looking for he had stabbed John Kennedy.

His family say they think they know who killed him. In 2014 his sister made a statement in the newspaper saying, 'You know you did it, you’ve lived with it 17 years. The doors are closing in on you, so do the right thing and give us the closure we need and justice that John deserves'.

It was said that the man that had stabbed John Kennedy had been looking for someone else when he had got into the fight with John Kennedy.

It was also noted that in 2014 a man handed in a note to the police at St George's Town Hall in Cable Street with information about the murder but had walked off without giving his name. John Kennedy's family later appealed to the man saying, 'I would appeal to the man who wrote the note to be brave and follow it through. He is the witness we need for closure. There are others who want to do the right thing but are afraid of acting alone. But it’s time to forget about the old East End ‘code of silence’, that’s in a criminal world, not the real world'.

The note, with some parts missing, read, 'Around 2.55 - 3.00 early morning. Murder at the Railway Pub, Sutton Street. I was ... waiting for someone ... There was a fight. Knife was used by ... The other bloke Kennedy plays football for the Falstaff pub. That’s how I recognised him'.

John Kennedy was a self-employed electrician from Oban Street in Poplar where he had lived with his girlfriend and had two children.

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