THE MISSING WITNESSES, "I came face to face with killer machette gang"

Statement of : John Malcolm Steven.

Dated: 17:12:1988.

" On Saturday 17 December 1988. At about 7.10am I was walking my dog in Foots Cray Meadow, Sidcup. As i passed near to a wooded area next to the council burning section which is a fenced area, I saw two vehicles parked. One was a white Renault 5 motor car and the other a red Vauxhall saloon. I noticed two men standing near the cars. One man was stood near the drivers door of the white case. He I'm sure was a white. Probably about 5'10" tall. I am unable to say much more about this man except to sdy he was wearing a full length blue or black mac. he second man was stood on the passenger side of the white car. All I can say about him is that he was also a white man. On seeing these two cars I realised what they were and so I turned to home and phoned the police. It is my opinion that at least one of these men must be local to this spot".

This evidence hit the Sunday paper headlines:-

"I CAME FACE TO FACE WITH MACHETE KILLER GANG" screamed the News OF The World headline on the 18 December 1988. The article underneath the headline stated "SHOCKED John Stevens told yesterday how he came face to face with the kill-for-kicks gang and escaped. He was on a 7 am walk with his dog when he came across two men with the getaway cars stolen from one of the gang's victims". Quoting Mr Stevens the article stated "They looked up at me and I knew instantly that something was wrong. I'd seen an alert for the cars on TV and I knew these blokes don't mess around".

On the 19 December 1988 Raphael Rowe and Michael Davis were arrested.

On the 19 December 1988 another statement was taken from Mr Stevens. The following is a word for word extract from that statement.

"At about 7.10 am on the morning of Saturday 17 December 1988....I saw two cars parked neatly beside each other.... although the cars were some distance away I could see that one was a Renault 5 and the other a red Cavalier.... A man was standing by the drivers side of the white Renault car. He was looking over the roof of the car at another man who was standing on the passenger side of the white Renault... I can say that the man on the drivers side of the car was about 5'8" to 5'10" tall and he was wearing ga full length dark blue or black macintosh..... I am unable to give and description of the other man whatsoever".

Why after the arrest of Rowe and Davis did this witness leave out the colour of the two men he saw and described in his original statement ?

Why wasn't Mr Stevens called to give evidence at the trial of the three black men who stood accused of the M25 Crimes so that he could answer that question ?

The two white men seen by Mr Stevens have never been caught so they have never been questioned or eliminated from the M25 Crimes, why?

The evidence from the victims of the M25 Crimes was taht two of the three robbers were white and one was black. Could it be that the two white mean who were seen by Mr Stevens were the two white men responsible for the M25 crimes ?

On the 21 December 1988 Raphael Rowe was charged and on the 22 December 1988 Michael Davis was charged with the M25 crimes.

It is important to mention here that a victim of the M25 Crimes who described two of the robbers as white, said one of them had fair hair and blue eyes !

On the 22 December 1988 a white man, with fair hair and blue eyes, by the name of Norman Duncan was arrested in Sidcup by the same two police offices who had charged Rowe, DC James Gallagher and DC David Manhire. After Duncan had been brought back to the police station these two officers organised an interview with him which they did not record or keep any form of note.

Why did these officers organise the unrecorded interview with Duncan ?

Why did these officers fail to record or keep notes of the conversation that took place in the interview ?

The fact that Duncan fitted the description given by the victim of the crime, and the fact that Rowe did not, must have played heavy on their minds. Did the officers organise the unrecorded interview to coach and induce Duncan into implicating Rowe and Davis in the crimes ?

Norman Duncan became a chief prosecution witness at the trial of the three black men accused of the M25 crimes. One aspect of his evidence was that he admitted that he and two other white men, Shane Griffin and Mark Jobbins, were responsible for unloading property stolen from the robberies out of the white Renault 5 and the red Vauxhall Saloon cars into the flat of Jobbins girlfriend before dumping the cars at the spot Mr John Stevens described.

However, Duncan, Griffin and Jobbins claim they dumped and attempted to burn the two cars at about midnight on the 17 December 1988.

Could it be that Duncan, Griffin and Jobbins were lying about the time they claim they dumped the cars ?

Could it be that Mr Stevens saw two of these men standing by the cars at 7.10 a.m. ?

During the judges summing up he said, " Bernadette Roberts had given evidence about this. As you know, Jobbins' evidence was that she was out at the same time when they unloaded the property into her flat... she said when she came in ! she did not notice any property left there.... she went to bed on her evidence, apparently unaware of the presence of any property in the flat that was not her own.... Jobbins told you that (after dumping the cars) they made their way back on foot, took a cab to Bernadette Roberts flat, where by this time she was in, and in bed..... he maintained that he said nothing to Bernadette Roberts that night about the property and you will have to ask yourself whether that is likely.... So what do you make of that evidence members of the jury ? If Duncan, Jobbins and Griffin are telling the truth and the property was left on the floor of the living room, Bernadette Roberts could not have failed to see it, could she, and could not have failed to have her suspicions or at least some interest or anxiety as t why it was there? .....May it be that she is lying when she said she came in and was unaware of the property?"

Had Mr Stevens evidence been presented at the trial the jury would have had another question to consider. Namely were the three white men lying about the time they left the property at Miss Roberts flat ?

If the three white men were dumping the cars at 7.10am when Mr Stevens saw at least two white men it further undermines their discredited and unreliable evidence and raises questions about why they lied, where they were and what they were really up to ?

If Duncan and one of the other two white men were involved in the M25 Crimes and the dumping of the cars at 7.10am they would have every reason to lie !

After the convictions of the three black men Raphael Rowe made a complaint to the Police Complaint Authority about the organised, unrecorded interview with Duncan. An investigation was carried out by a sub division of the same police force.

At the conclusion of the investigation a report was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. However, the Crown Prosecution Service felt there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers.

The defence were denied access to this report due to Public Interest Immunity Certificates, so called gagging orders.

Why did the officers organise the unrecorded interview with Duncan ?

What was discussed during the interview ?

Why didn't the officers record or keep record of the interview ?

Was Duncan promised a slice of the 25,000 reward that had been offered for the robbers responsible for the M25 Crimes ?

The failure to record what took place during the interview was a clear breach of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, so why were the officers not held accountable ?

The two officers responsible for breach of conduct were interviewed by the defence solicitors on this issue. They told the solicitors that they had a "general" conversation with Duncan to put him at ease. However, during cross examination Duncan admitted on oath that they spoke to him about crucial issues in the case.

The conflicting accounts of what was discussed during the unrecorded interview between the officers and Duncan establishes one or the other is lying, but who and why ?