Murder appeal 16 years after John Kennedy stabbed in East End pub

John Kennedy... murdered in February, 1997, at Railway Arms

John Kennedy... murdered in February, 1997, at Railway Arms - Credit: MPS

Detectives investigating the murder of a man in a pub in London’s East End early on a Saturday morning 17 years ago are appealing to an anonymous witness who came forward in December to get in touch with them.

A £20,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to the conviction of whoever stabbed 31-year-old John Kennedy just before 6am on February 8, 1997.

John—the brother of Jade Jones from the boy band Damage—died after being attacked at the Railway Arms, just off the Commercial Road in Sutton Street.

A man nearly 17 years on, handed a note into St George’s Town Hall in Cable street nearby, where the Shadwell and Wapping neighbourhood police team is based, but didn’t leave his contact number.

“The man who left the note has vital information that could help the investigation into John’s murder,” said Det Chief Insp John Sandlin, from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command. “I urge him to contact the incident room speak to us.

“It’s been 16 years since John was murdered and people move on. Some of those reluctant to talk to us at the time may feel they’re able to now.”

The father-of-two from Oban Street in Poplar was a self-employed electrician and keen footballer who had been out with friends on the night before his death, on February 7, 1997. The pals went to several pubs and ended up at the Railway Arms around 3am the next morning which was packed with 60 people.

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John’s family have since made an impassioned plea to trace the killer and end their 17-year torment.

They issued a statement urging: “Please help us to finally get justice for our loved one who is forever missed and will never be forgotten.

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

“But 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.”

John was approached by a man he knew and an argument took place which detectives said escalated into a fight.

The man pulled a knife and lunged at John, stabbing him in the stomach, then fled in a car with an accomplice.

John collapsed and was taken to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, where he died two hours later.

A man was arrested and charged with John’s murder in 1997, but not convicted. Witnesses who were in the Railway Arms on February 8, 1997, or anyone with information, are being urged to call the incident room on 020-8345 3865, or call anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.