Justice Minister Hughes joins 17-year fight for justice for John Kennedy

John Kennedy, murdered in Railway Arms pub in February 1997

John Kennedy, murdered in Railway Arms pub in February 1997 - Credit: Gaynor Kennedy

The Justice Minister of State has joined the family fighting for justice for father-of-two John Kennedy in London’s East End whose killer is still on the loose 17 years on.

Gaynor Kennedy today, sister of John Kennedy who was murdered in Shadwell puib in 1997

Gaynor Kennedy today, sister of John Kennedy who was murdered in Shadwell puib in 1997 - Credit: Gaynor Kennedy

Simon Hughes addressed a rally of 200 supporters on Saturday at St George’s-in-the-East in Shadwell, calling for police action.

Family and supporters held a procession along Cable Street to a vigil where Shadwell’s Railway Arms once stood in Sutton Street—the scene of the stabbing which left John dying on February 8, 1997.

A man was arrested after John’s murder, but later released and never convicted.

Hughes pledged to bring the long-running case to a conclusion within a year and was contacting the Met Police to push it forward, he told the family.


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“We can promise justice,” he said. “If not sooner, by this time next year.

“There are other cases where witnseses have been intimidated and I’ve worked on it and got justice. I’ll do same for John Kennedy.”

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Supporters turned up from all over Britain who have been following the Kennedy family on Facebook.

His sister Gaynor told the Advertiser: “We hope support from the Justice Minister will encourage people to come forward and end their code of silence.

“The police must take action after all this time. It won’t bring John back, but will get him justice and draw a line under it for family.”

They are appealing to the 60 people who were in the Railway Arms the night John was stabbed 17 years ago to “do the right thing” and come forward.

A reward of £20,000 is on offer by Scotland Yard for evidence leading to conviction.

Also leading Saturday’s procession was John’s brother, the singer singer Jade Jones from the original boy band Damage.

John, a self-employed electrician living with his partner and two young children in Oban Street in Poplar, went on to the Railway Arms with friends at 3am on February 8, 1997, where he was stabbed. He was rushed to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, but died two hours later.

The family have 17,000 nmes so far on their online petition calling for Justice for John Kennedy.

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