We demand an apology for the negligent investigation into Kelso Cochrane's murder

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Kelso Cochrane’s daughters and other members of his family demand an apology from the British Government for the Metropolitan police’s failure to adequately investigate his murder; his family continue to seek the justice they have been denied as a result of the the British justice system's negligence.

On May 17, 1959, Kelso Cochrane, a 32-year-old African Caribbean man from Antigua, was attacked by a gang of white youths on the corner of Southam Street and Golborne Road, North Kensington. One of them stabbed Kelso in the heart. No-one was ever charged for this unprovoked racist murder.

The police investigation was littered with failings motivated by institutionally racist practices including for example placing the two key suspects in adjacent prison cells at Harrow Road police station, which enabled them to straighten the contradiction in their first statements to the police. A witness saw one of Kelso’s attackers attempt to grab an iron railing to use as a weapon against him, yet the police failed to take fingerprints from the railing (an officer from the period later observed that this was “a serious missed opportunity”). There’s no evidence that the police even searched the main suspect’s house for the murder weapon. Although witnesses were shown photos of the main suspects, there was no actual ID parade (which according to a former officer, the evidence warranted). Furthermore, in 1968 Kelso’s clothes, which had been tested for blood and fibres were destroyed (with “the proper authority” according to the police) - much to the dismay and discomfort of Kelso’s brother Stanley. As a result any potential investigation opportunities using advances in forensic science were blocked. A document uncovered in the National Archives records one of the officers investigating Kelso’s murder referring to him with a vile racist slur and someone within the police even leaked damaging and false information about Kelso to the People newspaper a week after his death.

The national campaign for justice for Kelso, led by Claudia Jones, Amy Ashwood-Garvey (Marcus Garvey’s first wife) and others, propelled anti-racism into the mainstream, eventually leading to the UK’s first Race Relations Act in 1965.

Kelso's tragic story remains one of the most notable events to impact the North Kensington in the last 60 years; his legacy helped shape the UK's social and political history. Kelso's family deserve justice!