After Stephen Lawrence: the other unsolved racist murders

Jan 5, 2012

Now will police revisit three of the most high-profile unsolved racist murders in the UK?

UNTIL this week, the murder of Stephen Lawrence was the most high profile unsolved racist killing in Britain. But, as The Independent reports today, there are many other unsolved murders thought to have been racially motivated. Here are three of them:

1. Surjit Singh Chhokar
The 'Scottish Stephen Lawrence' was stabbed to death in November 1998 outside his white girlfriend's house near Motherwell by a white gang who apparently wanted to prevent him reporting the theft of his £100 benefit cheque. Three men - Ronnie Coulter, his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery - stood trial for the Indian waiter's murder. Ronnie Coulter was tried first and found not guilty after blaming the other two. Andrew Coulter and Montgomery then stood trial and blamed Ronnie Coulter. They were also acquitted.

2. Kamal Raza Butt
The 48-year-old Pakistani was visiting family in Nottingham when he was beaten to death immediately after the 7 July 2005 suicide bombings in London which killed 52 people. A gang of youths shouted "Taliban" and attacked him after he refused to give them cigarettes. In 2006, Mardell Pennant, 17, was sentenced to 18 months after pleading guilty to manslaughter, but any racial motive had been removed from the charge sheet. Nathan Williams, the man thought to have thrown the punch that killed Butt, was acquitted after witnesses refused to testify. He himself was shot dead four months later.

3. Lakhvinder 'Ricky' Reel
The body of Reel, 20, was found in the Thames in 1997 - a week after he had disappeared following a night out with friends in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Police believe Reel fell into the river by accident, but friends who were with him on the night of his disappearance say they were racially abused and attacked by two white youths. While the friends ran away, Reel would never be seen alive again. Those who believe Reel was murdered say the police never took allegations of a racist attack seriously.

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