Man found guilty of John Keenan’s murder at New Year’s party in Whitechapel
PUBLISHED: 20:45 03 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 June 2015
A man who lost his ‘cool’ in a heated row about drugs at a family New Year’s get-together in London’s East End has been found guilty by a jury today of murdering his associate John Keenan at the party.
John was celebrating with his father and friends at a flat in Whitechapel on January 1.
Terry Hamer, 34, burst into the flat at Newbold Cottages in Sidney Street at about 1am after returning from a kebab takeaway and began shouting and swearing at him.
He suddenly attacked John, punching and kicking him in the head and knocking him to the floor, then left with his 26-year-old girlfriend Laura Hudson, a court heard.
Police and an ambulance crew arriving at the flat found John bleeding with severe head injuries. They tried to save him, but the 43-year-old, who came from Rounton Road in Bow Common, died from brain injury at the flat.
“This was a savage and unprovoked attack on a man enjoying New Year’s Eve with his family and friends,” Det Insp John Marriott said after the jury’s verdict.
“Justice has prevailed and I hope today’s verdict goes someway to helping John Keenan’s partner, father and loved ones begin to recover from what they witnessed on what should have been a celebration.”
Hudson was spotted by police in the street soon after the attack and was immediately arrested.
Hamer was seen later in the neighbourhood, when he walked towards officers with his hands raised before being arrested.
But he refused to co-operate with detectives, offering “no comment” during three interrogations—before finally admitting he attacked John Keenan over what he claimed was a dispute about drugs.
“Hamer did what he could to thwart our investigation,” Det Insp Marriott added. “But in the end, the evidence against him was overwhelming.”
Hamer, from Newbold Cottages, was convicted of murdering John Keenan, but acquitted of assaulting John’s partner. He is being sentenced tomorrow at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Hudson, also from Newbold Cottages, admitted being drunk and taking class A drugs, but was acquitted of assaulting John’s partner.
John’s brother said in a message to the East London Advertiser: “Terry and John were not friends, just associates—they only met each other about three or four times.”
The trial was originally meant to be held at the Old Bailey, but was switched toi Snaresbrook, Scotland Yard confirmed.
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