Breaking Kilburn LONDON

A man has been jailed after confessing to a murder that took place nearly 40 years ago

Anthony Kemp, 59 of no fixed address was sentenced to 15-and-a-half years’ imprisonment at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 14 October for murdering 50-year-old Christopher Ainscough in 1983.

He had pleaded guilty to Christopher’s murder at an earlier hearing on Friday, 24 September.

Christopher’s body was found inside his flat in Shoot-Up Hill, NW2 after police forced entry on 5 December 1983 – he had suffered a significant head injury.

An investigation was launched but no suspect could be identified.

However, in February 2021, Kemp attended Chiswick Police Station and confessed to the murder.

He later told officers that he had met Christopher by chance in the early hours of the morning at a date earlier in December 1983. Kemp had been out at a nightclub and was walking home when he met Christopher – they decided to go for a drink in Christopher’s flat.

After being there for around an hour, Kemp stated that Christopher said something that made him angry, although he couldn’t recall what it was. He then picked up a stone ashtray and hit Christopher over the head several times.

After the attack, Kemp left the flat and went home. He washed his clothes – which had some blood on them – and then kept his dark secret for nearly 40 years.

Following his confession, the forensic examination was carried out on items that had been retained as part of the original investigation. On one of them, a cigarette butt found at the flat, was a conclusive DNA match for Kemp.

Despite initially trying to retract his confession, the weight of evidence left Kemp with little choice but to plead guilty.

Detective Inspector Maria Green, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “No unsolved murder investigation is ever closed and this case demonstrates that despite the passing of nearly four decades, justice can be attained for the family and friends of those who have been killed.

“Anthony Kemp kept his secret for nearly 40 years, despite knowing that Christopher’s friends and family would have been distraught that the person who had violently attacked him remained at large. He has finally done the right thing and confessed to his crime and now will face the consequences of his actions.”

A close friend of Christopher’s who knew him for around 17 years, said: “Losing Chris in the way that we did was something that I have struggled to come to terms with over the years. He did not die of natural causes, nor from an accident, but at the hands of someone to whom he meant nothing. They took a very special person from us and then went on living their life like it mattered not at all.

“Our lives were all brighter for having Chris in them, and his loss has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. I think of my friend often and miss him as much now as I did the day he was taken.”