Politics

Homeless man jailed for London murder of Dublin-born waiter in 1983

A homeless man has been jailed for life after confessing to the “brutal” murder of a Dublin-born head waiter in London in 1983.

Anthony Kemp was 21 when he attacked Christopher Ainscough with a marble ashtray after they met on a night out in December 1983.

Kemp, now 59, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

The court had heard that Dublin-born Mr Ainscough (50) had invited Kemp back to his home in Kilburn, northwest London, early in the morning and was on the sofa when he was attacked.

His body was discovered by police after he failed to turn up to work at a restaurant in the city.

He had suffered devastating head injuries, including a fractured skull from being hit with a marble ashtray weighing 2.4kg, which was found at the scene.

Judge Mark Dennis QC told Kemp: “This was a wholly unjustified, brutal killing that led to the death of a harmless, well respected, good natured man who had befriended you and caused you no harm.”

The judge said the “sustained assault on the defenceless victim” arose from Kemp’s intoxication and violent temper triggered by the perceived actions of the victim.

Christopher Ainscough was killed in December 1983. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Christopher Ainscough was killed in December 1983. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

It was a “dreadful act of violence” that would have been on Kemp’s conscience ever since, the judge said.

Mr Ainscough was gay and had been warned about inviting people he had just met to his flat in the past, the court was told.

The original murder investigation was closed in 1985 after no leads were found.

On July 28th last year, however, the cold case was reopened when Kemp made a confession.

He turned up at Chiswick police station in west London and began to throw stones at the window, before an officer came out to speak to him just after 4am.

Kemp told the officer he had murdered someone 40 years ago, saying he had “bashed his brains in” over an argument.

He said: “I’m not going to live on the f****** streets, that’s a fact. I’d rather the government look after me.

“I’d rather do the last few years of my life in bang-up than sleep on the streets.”

He added: “For 40 years I got away with it and now I’m owning up to it.”

He told police he did not know what had happened to spark the row.

Before leaving the flat, Kemp spent five minutes using a cloth to wipe down everything he had touched, including the ashtray, a glass and a door handle.

Kemp, who was previously an alcoholic and heroin user, retracted his confession three days later after being released on bail. He blamed the killing on his accomplice in an aggravated burglary in 1988, who had killed himself in prison.

But police matched Kemp’s DNA to that left on a cigarette butt in an ashtray on a coffee table in Mr Ainscough’s sitting room.

The court heard that Kemp had previous convictions for burglary and possession of a knuckle duster in 1980.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, a close friend of Mr Ainscough described him as like one of her family.

The elderly woman, who asked not to be named, said: “Chris was a kind, generous, caring and funny man. We just adopted him.

“He was charming and had the extraordinary ability to get on with anybody and everybody.

“What someone did to my beautiful friend was devastating.” – PA

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