Family appeal in hunt for John Kennedy’s 1997 Shadwell pub murder

John Kennedy

John Kennedy - Credit: MPS

The children of a man murdered in a pub in London’s East End when they were growing up are appealing this week for help to track down his killer after 16 years.

A £20,000 reward is being offered in the hunt for the killer who stabbed father-of-two John Kennedy.

Detectives have reopened the case with a fresh witness appeal hoping that the 60 people who were in Shadwell’s Railway Arms in Sutton Street, off the Commercial Road, on the night he died will break the wall of silence.

John—the 31-year-old brother of Jade Jones from the rock band Damage—died following a fight around 6am on February 8, 1997.

“Please help us finally get justice for our loved one who is forever missed,” his family said in a statement this week.

“There are people who witnessed this murder and have not spoken out, due either to misguided loyalty or code of silence.

“John’s life was taken away and the murderer should be held accountable for his death—please find it in your hearts after 16 years to do the right thing and help bring the person responsible to justice.”

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A man was arrested back in 1997 and charged with John’s murder, but not convicted.

John, an electrician from Poplar, was a keen footballer who played for a local East End team.

He and his pals arrived at the pub around 3am. He was approached by a man he knew, but a row that followed soon escalated into a fight. The man pulled a knife, lunged at John and stabbed him before escaping in a car with a second man.

John collapsed, then died two hours later at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel from a single stab wound.

Det Chief Insp John Sandlin said: “There were 60 people in the Railway Arms who saw or know what happened—but for whatever reason chose not to talk to us.

“It has been 16 years since John was murdered. Some of those reluctant to speak may now feel able to talk now—John’s family can’t rest until justice is served.”

Witnesses or anyone with information are being urged to call the incident room on 020-8345 3865, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.