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MISSING: The Disappearance of Vishal Mehrotra

The Disappearance of

Vishal Mehrotra

On 29 July 1981, an 8 year old boy named Vishal Mehrotra disappeared from Putney.  His dismembered body was found in Sussex six months later.  I am outlining the most recent and accurate details of the case extracted from LBC’s weekly series.  It sets the record straight about a number of details that were misleading at the time, so please read through – you may have that tiny piece of information that could help the police who, following the new information uncovered by Tom Swarbrick on LBC, have agreed to reopen the case.

I have bullet-pointed here the most important pieces of information and evidence that exists below.  If you wish to read more about the matter, I’ve also transcribed a lot of Tom Swarbrick’s article as well as more detailed information underneath.


  • Vishal went missing from PUTNEY on 29th JULY 1981 – the day of the Royal wedding of Charles and Diana.
  • Vishal was 8 years old and just under 4ft tall. He was last seen crossing UPPER RICHMOND ROAD (BY EAST PUTNEY STATION) and heading up CARLTON DRIVE at approx. 2/2.30pm.
  • Vishal’s canine teeth were noticeably prominent.
  • Vishal was wearing: a white and navy striped t-shirt, black cord trousers and blue/white trainers.
  • Contrary to press reports, there were no street parties.
  • Vishal’s remains were found 6 months later in February 1982 in ALDER COPSE between PETERSFIELD and ROGATE, WEST SUSSEX (a remote area off the A272). A detective working on the case feels THIS IS SIGNIFICANT.
  • FEBRUARY 1982 was the week when GOODWOOD RACING is held.
  • There was a notorious paedophile ring operating at that time.
  • Vishambar received a call during the search from a man who sounded in his late teens/early 20s. HE DID NOT SAY HE WAS A PROSTITUTE.  He said he had a lot of information about paedophile rings where politicians, judges and some police officers were involved.  A recording was given to the Met Police but Scotland Yard did not take him seriously.
  • A witness claims to have seen a very RARE LANCIA CAR with a young boy inside parked awkwardly near Alder Copse on the day Vishal went missing.
  • A witness claims to have seen Vishal in Putney that afternoon. RG and her husband decided to take a walk at about 4pm.  They headed to DEODAR ROAD to walk UP THE STEPS of the bridge that leads to PUTNEY BRIDGE STATION.  RG SAW A BOY STANDING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STEPS ALL ON HIS OWN ACTING PECULIARLY.  After 5 mins, they returned back and the boy was still stood by the steps EATING A CHOCOLATE BAR with an orange wrapper and silver inside (it wasn’t Crunchie) and still acting strangely.  The boy had prominent canine teeth.
  • A further witness claims to have seen Vishal on a TRAIN. GE claimed she was on a train heading to BALHAM and shared the carriage with another woman and a SCRUFFY LOOKING MAN.  GE also watched a little boy RUNNING up and down the carriage, putting his feet up on chairs, smiling and laughing.  GE noticed the trainers – WHITE WITH A BLUE FLASH/STRIPE.  When GE saw Vishal’s photo on the news she confirmed it was the boy she had seen on the train.  Despite calling the police a number of times, she was never interviewed.  Years later GE was watching the news and saw a picture of a man being sentenced for paedophilia and she recognised him as the SCRUFFY LOOKING MAN ON THE TRAIN.  It was LESLIE BAILEY.
  • Roger Stoodley (the officer in charge of prosecuting the Sidney Cooke gang) has confirmed that the details of Vishal’s disappearance and subsequent burial is very similar to the way the Sidney Cooke gang operated. The IPCC is now looking in to the way the investigation was run.

Here is a link to the podcasts of all episodes of Tom Swarbrick’s investigation:

Tom Swarbrick Shows


Vishal lived at home with his father and his sister in Putney, South West London.  His parents had separated so he and his sister had a nanny, Janita, as his father worked as an Articles Clerk.  He was 8 years old and not the sort of child to wander off.  He would have known his route home. The family were due to go on holiday to Jersey the following day.


It was the day of the wedding of Charles and Diana.  It was a bright, sunny day and the country was swept up in wedding fever as, if I recall correctly, it had been declared a public holiday.  Bunting and flags adorned houses and streets and the route through London was lined with over 2 million well-wishers.


Vishal’s father, Vishambar, was an Article’s Clerk who worked on the second floor of an office building overlooking Fleet Street. As the wedding procession was due to travel from St Paul’s and down through Fleet Street, it was decided within the office that they would have an office party with families invited.


Vishal was dressed in:

  • White and navy striped t-shirt
  • Black cord trousers
  • Blue or white trainers

Vishal, his sister Mamta and nanny, Janita, arrived at the office to watch the procession at about 11am.  After a picnic they headed home around 1/1.30pm and walked down to Temple Station where they would catch a train to East Putney Station where they lived.  They needed to pack for their holiday.

After alighting at East Putney Station, Vishambar asked Janita to go and buy cough syrup for the children (as both children had a cough).  Both children wanted to go with her because they thought they would get a sweet, so Vishambar gave them some money and he headed straight home and fell asleep in his bed.

Janita and the children crossed the road from the station and before they could head up Upper Richmond Road in Putney to the chemist, Vishal changed his mind and decided he wanted to go back.  Janita saw him back across the road and he began running back towards East Putney Station and turning in to CARLTON DRIVE.  She and Mamta turned and headed towards the shop.  That was the last time she saw Vishal.  On arriving home she assumed Vishal had joined his father for a sleep and it wasn’t until 5pm when Vishambar woke, that they realised Vishal was missing.  They telephoned the police and were told to wait to see if he came home that night.


Well, in short we can’t be sure but Vishambar makes it clear that Vishal was not the type of child to run off and confirmed he would have known his way home from the short distance that Janita last saw him. Vishal would have crossed UPPER RICHMOND ROAD, ran down KESWICK ROAD, before cutting in to LYTTON GROVE and them HOLMBUSH ROAD, where he lived.


During the investigation, Vishambar received a call from a man who sounded in his late teens/early 20s.  HE DID NOT SAY HE WAS A PROSTITUTE.  He said he had a lot of information about paedophile rings where politicians, judges and some police officers were involved.  He begged Vishambar to take him seriously because he had already tried to contact Scotland Yard but they hadn’t taken him seriously.  The conversation was recorded (Vishambar was given the facility to record calls just in case Vishal had been kidnapped for a ransom).  He made a copy of the call and handed it over to the police.  A week later he was told by the police to ignore it, that they knew the man who had tried to contact them but he was just a “crank call”.


Police involved:                        Inspector James Begg

Detective Inspector James Goldie

Detective Donald Bremner

Detective Jackie Marston

The Met Police were involved and the operation grew rapidly.  A picture of Vishal was released and broadcast on TV and any potential witnesses were asked to come forward.  The photo was old and did not show Vishal smiling –

This was purposely done.  Vishal’s canine teeth were very prominent and the police knew that if genuine witnesses came forward, they would be able to clarify that.  Newspapers reported over 200 sightings. The police also staged a reconstruction but the boy used was far older than Vishal and they walked up the wrong street and the wrong way to which Vishal had headed.


– RG had lunch in Putney with her husband, her boss and his wife.  At around 4pm they decided to head out for a walk to enjoy the atmosphere.  They walked down to the BACK OF THE FACTORY, CROSSING OVER PUTNEY BRIDGE ROAD and in to DEODAR ROAD to a set of steps heading to a footbridge which crosses the Thames.  (You can walk across the bridge to Putney Bridge Station).  Climbing the stairs, RG noticed a boy standing at the bottom all on his own, acting peculiarly.  After 5 minutes of watching the boats, RG and her husband headed back down the stairs.  The boy was still there but was eating a chocolate bar.  He seemed uncomfortable and restless, standing with his arms up and head back. The boy had prominent canine teeth.  RG was interviewed a number of times and was even taken back to the area the following day, where the chocolate wrapper was sat in the gutter.

– Police received reports of a rare Lancia car parked at an awkward angle in a lay-by Alder Copse on the afternoon of the Royal Wedding.  A young boy was inside the car.

– GE was travelling by train to Balham late afternoon of the Royal Wedding.  She shared a carriage with another woman, a scruffy looking man and a young boy, who was running up and down, he seemed very excited.  He was smiling and happy.  GE noticed the child was wearing white trainers with a blue flash – they seemed new.  When she saw a police appeal on the television with a picture of Vishal, she knew immediately that it was the same child she had seen on the train.  They called the police and was told that someone would be out to interview her, but it never happened.  In fact, they called the police a number of times yet GE was never interviewed.

Years later, GE was watching the tv when she recognised a picture of a man who was being sentenced for paedophilia.  It was the same man whom she had seen on the train that day with the young boy.  That man was Leslie Bailey – of the notorious Sidney Cooke paedophile ring.


In February 1982 – 6 months after he first disappeared – Vishal’s remains were discovered by two pigeon shooters in a shallow grave in marshland on the edge of a farm in Alder Copse (which lies off the A272 between Petersfield and Rogate).  Vishal was missing his pelvis, legs and lower spine.  His torso and skull as well as a clump of matted black hair were discovered.  Sussex Police began a murder investigation but the case went cold.

A detective who worked on the Vishal investigation – Jackie Marston – feels this is a very significant area for the body to be found – that it wasn’t just a random place.  A Sussex connection would be of interest.

Here is a video of Vishambar being interviewed on 2nd March 1982 by a news reporter for Thames News following the discovery of Vishal’s body.  It sadly appears that the discovery of Vishal was reported to the press before most close family had been notified.

Exactly a year after Vishal disappeared, Sussex Police put out an appeal to Goodwood race-goers:

29th July 1982: Sussex Police Officer

“As you know, this time last year, when Vishal disappeared, was the week where Goodwood is held – Goodwood racing.  It was in the middle of this period last year that Vishal disappeared.  Consequently, this year, what we are trying to do is to appeal to any person who attended Goodwood races last year – and who is also attending this year – and who indeed travelled past Alder Copse on the A272 in Sussex, to come forward”.


Roger Stoodley, the detective who successfully managed to convict Cooke and some of his accomplices, has spoken with Tom Swarbrick and feels that the details of Vishal’s disappearance and sightings claimed by the witnesses are consistent with how the Cooke gang operated – taking children off the street, using sweets to lure them, burying their bodies in shallow graves.  The Cooke gang had also disposed of the bodies of boys in copses – exactly the same as Vishal’s was.  Following all this new evidence, it has been agreed that Sussex and the Met police forces will look again at the case.


Vishal’s body was found on the edge of Durford Abbey Farm, 3 miles from Rogate, Sussex and less than 3 miles from Harting.  Peter Morrison had taken a boy from Harting and assaulted him at Elm Guest House in Barnes, SW London.  (The boy managed to escape and find his way back home.  His family reported the matter to the police and were subsequently assured by members of Scotland Yard (who had visited them) that the man had been jailed.  It was only later they realised this wasn’t the case at all). The police had also told the family that they were investigating whether the boy’s abduction was connected to Vishal in any way.  Michael Mates (MP for Petersfield) lived at Durford Mill as well as Dolphin Square next to Nicholas Fairbairn.


Vishambar is convinced that his son was taken by a paedophile ring connected to Westminster, and taken to Elm Guest House in Barnes – just a stone’s throw from where Vishal disappeared.

It is difficult to ascertain if Leslie Bailey was out of jail at the point of the alleged sighting, however, it transpires through the investigation in to the disappearance of another child from SW London – Martin Allen – that the Sidney Cooke gang were part of a team of temporary drivers used by the Australian High Commission to supplement their own drivers (of which, Martin Allen’s father was one).  Prominent people visited the Australian High Commissioner’s residence in London and the Allen family lived within the grounds.

Martin’s brother was also warned off by a detective from probing in to a possible prominent persons connection.

I will be putting together a blog page dedicated to Martin’s disappearance too.  He is another child who went missing from SW London and shouldn’t be forgotten.  You cannot just allow a child to go missing and do nothing.

60 thoughts on “MISSING: The Disappearance of Vishal Mehrotra

  1. There was another sighting of Vishal, two days later, wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing when he disappeared. He got on a 49 bus at Clapham Junction Bus Station, which was just over Battersey Bridge in those days. He asked for ‘Worlds End’.

    He knew the 49 bus, as it goes past his school, and he may have gone home with a friend on it some nights. He would remember ‘Worlds End’. He got off the bus at the top of Beufort Street, turned left towards Worlds End, and was probably walking towards Fulham Broadway Station, to get the train home.

    If Leslie Bailey had left Wandsworth Prison, maybe on home leave, towards the end of his time in prison, he may have met Vishal in Wandsworth Park, and taken him to a friends, or relatives, for two nights. Then put him on a bus for Clapham Junction.

    Leslie Bailey did not know Cooke, or the others at that time, He was a child himself, and the description in the train of Vishal sounds right, laughing, and jumping on seats.


      1. A further document which should be added is the IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) document IPC000833 of 6 September 2018, also called “Operation Winter Key” and “Operation Aspen” Ii is posted on the internet.
        It is quite lengthy but in summary it is a response by the Met to the complaints made by Vishambar Mehrotra on the LBC broadcast. namely: the lack of response by the police to the phone call Mr Mehrotra received from a young man; the photograph used by the police in the reconstruction; the ambiguity around the route Vishal took to go home and a general complaint of police corruption and negligence connected with destruction of evidence. It settles a number of questions which have been around for a while (in particular about the phone call), and overall, the document indicates that Mr Mehrotra’s concerns were (understandably) confused and exaggerated, which may explain the lack of any follow up from LBC. I would type it in to this site but I doubt there would be enough space.


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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I will be updating this page very soon as a file has now been released that was suppressed for 30 years, so there is more to come.


  3. ‘Police received reports of a rare Lancia car parked at an awkward angle in a lay-by Alder Copse on the afternoon of the Royal Wedding. A young boy was inside the car.’

    I don’t think that a boy was seen in a car near Alder Copse?


  4. Vishal’s most likely route to go home was to continue past East Putney station and then turn right down Keswick Road. Carlton Drive does not lead directly to the Mehrotra home at Holmbush Road and I think the comment that Vishal turned down Carlton Drive is a mistake.

    I walked down Keswick Road on Monday afternoon: it’s quite broad with mixed housing and very quiet even on a working day. About three quarters of the way along where the street curves there is a footbridge at pavement level that goes over the tube line and on to a short road which leads to the top of Holmbush Road. This footbridge is narrow with a cage over the top making it an excellent site for an abduction site as it would be very difficult for anyone, let alone an eight year old to escape. There is good parking at both ends of the bridge. Keswick Road leads directly into West Hill Road which is the local name for the A3. Vishal’s body was buried at Alder Copse, Rogate which is only about 5 minutes’ drive from from the A3 at Petersfield and about 50 miles from Putney.
    I believe Vishal was abducted on Keswick Road, perhaps at the footbridge. I do not want to speculate on what happened next but his body was taken very quickly down the A3 to Rogate and buried. If I had to name a suspect it would not be Sidney Cooke or Leslie Bailie but someone more like Brian Lunn Field (convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Roy Tutill) – that is a loner rather than a gang member. Lunn Field knows the south west quadrant of London and its surrounding countryside well as he travelled around that area as part of his job for the Milk Marketing Board. Also, he was out of prison in July 1981. The only contrary point is that he targeted boys of about 14 rather than 8, as far as is known.


      1. There was a sighting of a child who resembled Vishal, but this was never confirmed by anyone who knew him.. The sighting on Deodar Road was about two hours after Vishal left his Nanny with no explanation of why Vishal might be waiting alone at some distance from his home. Also, the police seem to have discounted this report. There was another report of Vishal being seen on a tube train in company of a man resembling Leslie Bailey. Again, there is a time problem with this and also Bailey was probably in prison that day. Furthermore. I don’t think Bailey had the initiative to abduct anyone and did not know Cooke, the most likely instigator, in July 1981. Bailey was a dangerous but stupid man who had to be told what to do. Having said that, he seems to have been the only member of that gang who had any idea that rape and murder are wrong – Cooke (for example) couldn’t care less – and Bailey never mentioned Vishal in his confessions. Vishal’s father has said that he does not recognize Vishal in these two descriptions so I’m inclined to set them aside.


  5. ‘There was a sighting of a child who resembled Vishal, but this was never confirmed by anyone who knew him’. No one who knew Vishal was ever told about that sighting until recently. The police were convinced that Vishal had been abducted by Asians, although they never mentioned that to Vishal’s family until recently.

    The Deodar Road sighting was very good, the two people who saw him mentioned the teeth which had never been reported in the press. Also, he was eating a chocolate bar, the wrapper was still on the ground when the police went there, but instead of fingerprinting it to see if Vishal’s fingerprints were there, or those of another man, they just left the wrapper there.

    The sighting on the train was also very good. The lady said that when she left the train only the boy who resembled Vishal, and the man who looked like Bailey, were the only two left in the carriage. She said Vishal was jumping on the seats, and laughing out loud. As you say, recently when told about that sighting, Vishal’s father said it did not sound like his son. However, Vishal’s school friend told me it sounded exactly like Vishal.

    “I’m not sure if it helps, but my memory of Vishal’s character differed from how his dad described him in the podcast. I remember him as being genuinely laughed out loud funny. He was very smiley, and had a quick, dry wit, and, as much as an eight year can be, he gave the impression of being quite streetwise”.

    So you see both those sightings were better than any of the so-called Asian abductors that we were told about recently. Someone tried to find out if Bailey was out on day release, but were told they could not release that information. The prison he was in was very near where Vishal went missing. And if it was him, he may have released Vishal two days later and put him on a bus to Clapham Junction. A boy resembling Vishal, wearing the same clothes he went missing in, was seen on a 49 bus, asking for Worlds End. He may have remembered that name, and got off the bus with a friend from the other direction, as the 49 bus went past his school. His friend said he did not always get the train home after school.

    Hundreds of police searched Kings Road so they must have thought that was a good sighting. Vishal may have been walking home from there, as the road leads directly to Putney. He may have walked there before from Worlds End after going home with a friend from school.


  6. The problem with these sightings is that they have been known for a long time but have led no further and could be red herrings. I also find it difficult to believe that Vishal was wandering around World’s End after being put on a bus at Clapham Junction. By whom? Bailey? Cooke? And are you saying that he was abducted a second time in Chelsea? By whom? My memories as an eight year old of school friends and how they went to and from school are a bit hazy so I wonder how much weight to give to this friend’s testimony. You seem to be describing a boy who deliberately ran away from home and stayed away, and although runaways happen, it does match the description of Vishal put out by the police. I did not mention Asian abductors and have read nothing which suggests there were any. The Asians seen around Rogate on 29 July 1981 appear to be a family in a car. The one striking thing is the choice of burial place, which is a bog in woodland and therefore much easier to dig unobserved than in an open field, suggesting the abductor had considerable knowledge of the Rogate area. Also (perhaps) suggesting that the abduction and murder were premeditated. I still think the murderer was more likely to be a lone operator than a gang.


  7. The sightings I mentioned have not been known for a long time, they were only discovered by Tom Swarbrick on LBC, in 2015. Yes if Bailey was on release, maybe for two days, then he could have abducted Vishal and released him two days later. Vishal’s schoolfriend remembers him well.
    If Vishal was walking home from Worlds End he would pass through Parsons Green, where he could have been abducted by an Army Doctor who was based not far from Rogate and had a flat in London. He absconded from the Army ‘soon after the Royal Wedding’ and went to Berlin.

    A friend of his was a geologist who would have known about where to find marshland. Both these men shared young boys, and one was taken to Berlin after the Army Doctor deserted.
    When the investigation details were published recently, all the suspects seem to have been Asians.


  8. Concerning Vishal’s teeth, according to Dr Iain West’s Casebook: “[there was ] a very distinctive overlap on the right front jaw – one tooth overlapping the other.” The photograph in the book makes this quite clear. There is no mention of canines like “fangs”, so no wonder Vishambar does not accept the description given by the Deodar Road witness.


      1. You’ll hear him say this on the LBC podcast. I don’t remember his exact words but he also includes the witness on the Northern Line..


      2. On the podcast, Rita Greer says the boy she saw had “incisors like fangs”. Iain West (the case pathologist) is quite clear that Vishal still had his first teeth. In fact he was rather small and delicately built for his age. The point that interested him was that the incisors crossed, not that they were enormous. Greer also says the streets were full of people celebrating – which we know is not true.
        At about 26:10 Vishambar says: “I am not convinced at all that it was Vishal”. This remark is made in particular about the alleged sighting on the Northern Line, but his critical remarks about the picture put out by the police and the boy chosen for the reenactment make me think this also applies to Greer’s statement. I have never read that he singled out Greer as a possible witness.
        Just two further points: I thought Vishal had been buried but Dr West believed that the body had been laid on the ground without covering.
        In the heavily redacted copy of “Operation Mehrotra” Stanley Cooke and his associates are indeed mentioned a number of times, as are the fairs at Putney and Wandsworth, but section 5 makes it clear that at the time of writing (2005) neither the Sussex police nor the Metropolitan had any significant suspects. Unless one believes in a conspiracy to hide the truth, this suggests that whoever killed Vishal was unknown to the police – that is was outwardly respectable with no criminal record.


  9. Vishal’s father said he was not sure about the sightings because the boy used for the reconstruction was older, and taller. However those sightings had other merit. The boy in Deodar Road was holding a chocolate bar, and Vishal had bought one at 2 pm.
    He was on his own, and it does sound as if he had been given drugs of some sort.

    The second sighting also, the Asian boy was behaving as his school friend said he behaves, not as his father had said on television. Also he was left, on his own in a carriage with a man who resembled Lesley Bailey, which is odd? We do not know if Leslie Bailey was in or out of prison that day.

    And the third sighting two days later of a boy wearing the same clothes that Vishal was wearing when he vanished seen on a 49 bus, asking for Worlds End. All the police investigations were based on a sighting outside the station at 2 pm, of a boy getting into a car opposite the station.


  10. I don’t see how Vishal can be eating a bar of chocolate on Deodar Road at about 4 pm, travelling about on the Northern Line with Leslie Bailey about the same time but seen strolling along the Sussex Downs at 3:15 pm with Action Man and then seen in Twyford (by this same witness) later that afternoon. The boy driven away from East Putney station about 2 pm was later identified and had nothing to do with the Mehrotras.

    I agree that the police investigation has been negligent and at times incompetent and they have misled Vishambar and his family in a shabby and unfeeling way but they did follow up many reasonable leads and were unable to find a convincing suspect. The theories about Elm Guest House do not convince me and I am left thinking that whoever murdered Vishal is someone who is “outwardly respectable” – and I don’t necessarily mean a politician or other public figure. Apart from that I am not trying to sell some clever theory but I am moved by anger and despair that a crime like this (and Martin Allen’s case) can be committed without the criminal(s) being brought to justice.


    1. On that particular day, with most people off work, and drinking alcohol, times were difficult to pinpoint. You have to follow every lead, because it is the odd lead that may in the future make sense. When someone goes missing they make every effort to get fingerprints from the bedroom etc of the missing person.

      When the police went to Deodar Road with Rita Greer, she said the chocolate wrapper was laying on the ground. It would have been easy to test if it had Vishal’s fingerprints on, or even some other prints?

      It would have been possible to get onto the Northern Line from Putney Station, or by car very quickly. You have said the sightings sounded ‘wrong’, and indeed sightings, no matter how good sometimes do not make sense.

      Many sightings of Martin Allen also made no sense.

      As you say there were other leads. An Army Doctor deserted the Army soon after the Royal Wedding and moved to Berlin. There had been rumors about him with young boys in a football team he was running, but nothing had been reported. He was based in Aldershot, and had a flat in London.

      Someone recently tired to find out if Lesley Bailey was in or out of prison that day, but the request was turned down.


    1. Not all the sightings were followed up according to the LBC research. Both the Deodar Road sighting, and the Northern Line sighting were both very good sightings which were not followed up.


  11. How were they “good sightings”? The LBC podcast was good in its way but went for easy and unhelpful solutions. The Deodar Road witness saw a boy more than two hours after Vishal had left his nanny, although Vishal said he was going home which is well north of Deodar Road. She saw him twice and although she thought he was in distress never asked if he was well! The important things about Vishal’s description were that he was thin and 3’11” tall – he looked more like 6 or 7 than 8 – and he had an overlap on his front teeth, neither of which points are mentioned by Rita Greer. Another contributor to this website says she saw the sweet wrapper “lying on the ground”. All one may accurately say is that she saw a sweet wrapper – she had no idea whether it was the one the boy had been eating, and she does not even know whether the boy threw it on the ground, put it in his pocket or put it in a bin. There are so many assumptions being made here.

    The Northern Line sighting is recounted that someone’s grandmother (now dead) saw “an Asian boy” behaving excitedly on the Northern Line. Some 14 or 15 year later the grandmother became convinced the boy was with Leslie Bailey. It is so vague and as it is repeated by the granddaughter I wonder how accurate it all is. But people on this website take it as gospel.

    The only things of which we may be certain are:that Vishal left his sister and nanny on Upper Richmond Road at about 2 pm saying he was going home and was last seen running towards the turn into Keswick Road .The upper part of his body was found about seven months later in February 1982 in Alder Copse, Sussex. It had not been buried but left on the ground and had been disturbed by animals. The post mortem could not establish where, when how or why Vishal died. Everything else is conjecture or speculation, which is why no one has been charged, and why as of 2005 neither the Met nor Sussex police have significant suspects. All I can do is strongly suggest that people rethink this case from the beginning rather than going round and round in the same old circles.


  12. I will put my neck on the block and say that Vishal was abducted by one or more persons on Keswick Road or the very narrow footbridge and alley leading to Lytton Grove. Whether he was lured into a car (or possibly a house) or picked up and thrown into the back of a car or van (there’s at least one example of this happening to a child in the US) it would have happened very quickly, and the abductor was simply lucky that no one saw anything. Vishal may have been taken by someone he knew, however slightly. The only other point is that the abductor had a connection with Alder Copse. I do not believe Sidney Cooke, Leslie Bailey, “Army Doctor” etc had anything to do with it. These people have been investigated and for whatever reason have been cleared.,

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  13. None of the sightings you mentioned were investigated, apart from a “6ft man dressed in Army-style combat jacket and matching cap, 3:30pm at Beacon Hill on the South Downs not far from Rogate. The Army Doctor was never investigated, or his friend who was a geologist and would have known where to find marshland.

    The wrapper seen on the floor was said to be the same one. The Northern line sighting was reported shortly after his disappearance, but was not followed up. As you say years later the woman recognized a man on television as Leslie Bailey, and again reported it. That was also never investigated.

    The main group of people investigated were Asian men and women. If you do not investigate known sightings, how on earth are you going to solve any case?


  14. You mean alleged sightings. The Deodar Road claim was investigated but set aside, perhaps for the reasons I suggest. Who says the wrapper was the same one? How could anyone possibly know? It is hard to assess the Northern Line claim as the person who made it is now dead and all we have is a version retold by her grand daughter on a radio broadcast, but the grandmother’s identification of the boy is quite likely to have been inaccurate. As far as I can make out Bailey was investigated for this crime [see Roger Stoodley]. If you know about this “Army doctor and his friend the geologist” do you really imagine the police don’t? An enormous amount of police time is wasted on false leads and false accusations, but as you say it is their job to investigate viable information, which convinces me that these three claims are not viable. By the way they are also contradictory.I’m still waiting to read how Vishal can be eating a bar of chocolate on Deodar Road, travelling about on the tube system and walking over the Downs all at the same time. Why don’t you throw in catching the 49 bus in World’s End and hanging around Elm Guest House? If you think you know who murdered Vishal you should make a proper rational, researched case against him or them, So far nobody has done so.


  15. The Deodar Road sighting was not investigated. “Who says the wrapper was the same one?” Answer- fingerprint the wrapper.

    The Northern line sighting- How can we tell if that was even possible – Let us know if Leslie Bailey was in, or out of prison that day.

    The Army Doctor – Why was he being investigated as belonging to a pedophile ring in the 1980s. When he was returned to the UK. let us know how he suddenly died.

    Was the Army Doctors friend, who visited him in Europe after he deserted the Army, and took a boy with him for the Doctor implicated.

    Vishal usually went home on the underground, but not always. Did he go home on the bus with a friend, and remembered getting off the bus at Worlds End. Was he attempting to walk home from there, across Putney Bridge.

    Why were none of those scenarios investigated?


  16. You haven’t taken in what I wrote and are just repeating the same factually incorrect twaddle as before. As long as you cling to your stale fixed ideas It’s pointless continuing this correspondence.


    1. I trust you have been over the bridge into Clockhouse Place. Why would anyone be sitting in a car or van there at 2 pm on the day of the Royal Wedding.


  17. Clockhouse Place Did not exist in 1981. There was simply a long alley. No one could sit in a car there but anyone chased into the alley would be isolated. I was in London that day and many people did not celebrate or take much interest in the wedding. If I remember accurately, the centre of London was busy, but outside areas were quiet. Since no one knows who abducted Vishal it is impossible to ascribe a motive. For obvious reasons a sexual or pornographic motive is assumed, but other possibilities are possible. For example child theft for a childless family or perhaps a ransome demand that went wrong. In child murder cases the family is usually closely investigated. Another possibility is that someone living in the East Putney area had seen Vishal going to and from school on his own (he was really a commuter) and had developed a fantasy about him. Another point is Vishal’s school which developed a bad reputation in the 70s and 80s for sadistic punishments. Perhaps a teacher or assistant encountered him that afternoon. The only person who knows what happened is the murderer, but all of the above are in themselves reasonable suggestions. The business of abducting/murdering/disposal varies from case to case but on e common pattern is for the victim to be lured into a vehicle, murdered in another place and then the body dumped or buried in woodland or other isolated areas. The Moors Murderers, Brian Field, the killers of Daniel Handley, Robert Black (I believe) followed this pattern. So did Cooke and Bailey, but just because they repeated this common pattern does not mean in itself that they killed Vishal. When in prison Cooke made a reference to an Asian boy called “Hassan” which could be Vishal but is too vague to be informative. The Cooke gang are obvious suspects for Vishal’s murder, but after 38 years no convincing evidence has been collected. I strongly urge anyone reading this to rethink the case from the beginning.


  18. Clockhouse Place was built in the 1990s – there is a plaque there giving the exact date. I have a selection of 5 London street maps from the 1930s to the 1980s and they all show the alley as running from Keswick Road straight through to Lytton Grove – the remains of the old alley fencing are still visible. The rest of what was to become Clockhouse Court appears on the maps to be gardens of the houses and railway land.


  19. Best to check with someone who knew the area in 1981. The maps (A-Z, Geographia, Batholomew) suggest Keswick Road and Lytton Grove were the only nearby parking places.


    1. There was a fair, or fairs in the area. Putney heath is very near where Vishal lived. He could have decided to leave the nanny and his sister to go to the fair, and not to go home.
      It is uncertain whether there was some type of fair in the open area at the end of Deodar Road, if some sort of fair was on there he would have seen it from the train as the train crossed the bridge.


  20. I can’t reasonably comment on what might have happened if something uncertain might perhaps have happened.

    Vishal’s stated intention was to follow his father and go home and I’m taking that straightforward statement as a starting point. If Vishambar says that Vishal commented about the fair when they were on the train or asked if he could go, and Vishambar said he couldn’t I would take notice, but until I hear that I will take Vishal at his word.


  21. It is highly unlikely that two people would park a car near to the footpath at either end of that footpath all day, and wait for a boy to come along. And they could hardly drag a boy down the road.

    I know about all the staff at Vishal’s school, and both Vishal and Martin Allen used Gloucester Road Station twice a day. But they would not have known that Vishal would be returning home on his own.


  22. I do not think that is what happened. The abductor was driving along Keswick Road, saw Vishal and lured him into the vehicle. If Vishal refused to get in and walked away he may have been caught in the alleyway. He was small and lightly built and could have been picked up with the abductor’s hand over his mouth. Whichever, it happened very quickly and no one noticed. It could have happened on the other side in Lytton Grove, but I think Keswick Road is the more likely. This crime was not premeditated, but spontaneous. There is the possibility that the abductor lived in the area and had already noted Vishal, where he lived, what his movements were. People did not talk about “stalking” in 1981 but we would say now that he was stalked. This person had made no attempt to abduct Vishal before, perhaps the opportunity never arose, but that quiet afternoon Vishal was alone and isolated and the abductor took his chance. So in a limited sense the crime was premeditated. I do not think people hung around all day on the chance that Vishal would appear on his own.
    I have read objections about the unlikelihood of there being two separate murderous paedophiles at work in London at that time. Given the size and shifting population of London I do not find it impossible to believe that there was more than one. I will mention that in 1981 the police had no reason to interview Brian Lunn Field concerning Vishal’s disappearance (or Martin Allen’s) as he had not been convicted of abduction or murder. But we know now that he had murdered at least one schoolboy in the late 1960s.
    To put it all together, I think Vishal was extremely unlucky that afternoon, but is that not true of all victims?


    1. There would have to have been two people in the car, as Vishal was described by his friend as very intelligent, and very streetwise. And for there to also be a boy, on his own, in Deodar Road that day, eating a chocolate bar, and waving his arms in the air as if he was on drugs is too much of a coincidence.
      And come to that why would an Asian boy left in a train carriage with a middle aged white bearded man on the underground? Until those two sighting are re-investigated it would be pointless to look for two men and a car or van.


  23. I am not convinced that the memory of one eight year old is a reliable guide to Vishal’s personality or the number of people required to abduct him. As I said, he may have known the abductor(s) and there was no need to subdue him. This is the first time anyone has mentioned that the alleged boy on Deodar Road had taken drugs and I wonder where you get this story from. And as for the Northern Line business you just go round and round in the same old circle. The Deodar Road witness was investigated, Greer took a detective over the route she and her husband had walked that day. All I can think is that her story was not convincing. I suspect that that the woman who saw an “Asian” boy on the tube – and doesn’t that just mean a dark complexioned boy? – gave a description that did not match the one held by the police – never mind what the granddaughter says now.
    You have not refuted my suggestions and keep clinging to to the same old ideas. Unless you make a worthwhile comment I will not bother to answer you as it’s obviously a waste of time.


    1. The IPCC document (see Needleblog) gives the following detailed description of Vishal’s trainers: “Blue trainers, green coloured toe and heel, 4 vertical white bars down each side, white laces, WIZKID make, adult size 1”. Jill Exalby, the woman who claimed to have seen Vishal on the Northern Line is said by her granddaughter Paige to have noticed: “bright white trainers, blue flash.” She may have seen a boy wearing trainers, but her description is too inaccurate to be credible. The person who took the call from Mrs Exalby is quoted as saying to her that “this information has not been made public, ” but if true this is clearly a mistake by whoever was answering the calls that day. Furthermore, the time of the tube incident is vague, it’s not clear which direction Mrs Exalby was travelling and she does not say at which station the boy got on, or whether he was already on the tube when she got on. Overall, I do not find her claim to have seen Vishal convincing. The LBC broadcast is interesting, and it keeps this case in public awareness but I do not slavishly follow its conclusions.


      1. Three points:
        The Thames side of Wandsworth Park is lined by a double or triple line of trees which shields the view of the park from trains passing on the bridge. The speed of the train and the girder construction of the bridge also combine to impede the view, making the idea of Vishal seeing a funfair in the park as the train approached East Putney most unlikely.
        I am trying to find out definitively if there was a fair in Wandsworth Park that day. Wandsworth Council do not hold records for so far back, but suggest that if there was one the most likely company is B.Drake funfairs. I will look for adverts through local newspapers for the period July 1981 to try and settle this once and for all.
        I noticed that during the interview with Jackie Malton (the former detective sergeant) on the LBC podcast she says that Vishal was last seen “running up Carlton Drive.” I take this to be a slip for “running across” Carlton Drive. It is possible to get to Holmbush Road from Carlton Drive, though it just about doubles the distance. But did Vishal go home that way? There shouldn’t be any doubt as to whether he was running towards Keswick Road when he left the nanny or not. The details of this case are presented so sloppily and by people who should know better.


      2. For your information – Jill Exelby was travelling from Tottenham Court Road Station to Balham Station, it was afternoon, but she cannot be certain of the time.

        There was a man in the carriage she described as looking like
        Catweazle, and an Indian boy who looked like Vishal.

        She is not sure if they were already on the train, or got on after her. There was also a woman reading a book, but she got off the train at a station before Balham leaving the man and the boy alone in the carriage after Balham Station.

        Two years later she re-contacted the police when she saw the Catweazle like man on television, and identified him as Leslie Bailey.


      3. Thank you for making clear the route Jill Exelby took that day. The problems I have with her testimony is 1): that her description of the boy’s trainers as “bright white trainers, blue flash” does not fit the “blue trainers, green toe and heel, four white flashes and white laces” given by the police: 2): that Bailey was almost certainly in prison that day; 3): that the picture of Bailey shown most frequently in the press is not necessarily a good likeness. The description and
        e-fit given by the people who encountered him in the Essex garage carrying Barry Lewis is of a “normal” looking man.
        There are other issues, too. Bailey’s personality was such that he did not have the initiative to instigate an abduction but rather he was someone who obeyed what others told him to do. There’s no evidence that Bailey knew Sidney Cooke in 1981, who is a likely “instigator”, and no evidence that Cooke was abducting and murdering boys at that time. Cooke’s first known murder was Mark Tildesley a few years later in 1984.
        There is considerable room for rational and informed discussion on these issues, and it would help if the police were more forthcoming about whether they have interviewed Cooke about Vishal;s murder, and what the result was.


  24. Your scenarios are ludicrous and I cannot continue this nonsense. The women who reported the sighting on the Northern Line, twice, was never visited. The Deodar Road sighting was followed up, but they failed to fingerprint the chocolate bar wrapper.

    The reason was that they had a total belief in the first sighting of a boy getting in a car with a tall military type Asian man. The car, parked opposite the station at 2 pm also contained another Asian man, and an Asian woman.

    All further sightings of cars with Asian men, boys women were followed up after that, resulting in a sighting of Asian men lifting a body over into the field where Vishal was found. Another Asian woman was waiting for them in a car.

    That is why the other sightings were not followed up. A similar situation happened in the Martin Allen investigation.


  25. @redux. We do not know if Leslie Bailey was in prison that day. Many prisoners were given day release on the day of the Royal wedding, some were given two day release. If he was out it was probably a two day release.
    As you say he did not know Sidney Cooke then, and he was described as like a child himself. If it was him on the northern line, then he may have been going to stay with his brother in law who lived in Tooting, a few stops more on the Northern line after Jill Exelby left the train.
    If he then returned to prison two days later, he may have put Vishal on a bus to Clapham Junction. There was a very good sighting of Vishal two days later getting on a 49 bus, and asking for the Worlds End stop. He was seen by a few people weraing the same clothes that he had gone missing in.
    The sighting was so good that hundreds of police searched the Worlds End area. Vishal knew the 49 bus as it went past his school, and he did not always go home by tube. He may have gone with a friend on the bus from the opposite direction, and remembered getting off at ‘Worlds End.
    If this was correct he may have tried to walk home from Worlds End, down New Kings Road to Putney Bridge. It may sound unlikely but he may have been picked up in a sports car along that route and offered a lift home, by a geologist who used to give drugs to young boys, and an Army Doctor who deserted the Army after the Royal Wedding and went to Berlin.


    1. This case has so little hard evidence connected to it that anyone looking at it is forced to speculate to reach any understanding. For example: even saying that Vishal was murdered is speculative as there is no indubitable evidence that he was, it is just the most likely explanation. However, free-ranging speculation and conjecture is really not going to get anywhere. Any accusation made against an individual must be supported by evidence, either material like fibers, blood, hair, DNA etc or strong and convincing circumstantial evidence. Any case built on “what might have happened if ” will be thrown out of any court – and quite rightly so. There is no reason to think that Leslie Bailey was involved in Vishal’s abduction and murder – even indirectly. According to Roger Studeley he was “almost certainly in prison”, and Studeley is not a corrupt or incompetent policeman. It’s not even certain that he was interested in children as he was in prison for the anal rape of a woman in one of the Barbican lifts. As for the doctor and the geologist I wish someone would give their names or at least more information about them.that could lead to their identification. It is worth pointing out that someone who abuses a child does not necessarily have the same mentality as someone who abducts, murders and disposes of the child’s body.
      Considering other cases of abduction and murder is helpful. Since a car or vehicle was almost certainly used in Vishal’s murder I will just go over a few past cases.
      The earliest I can find is the murder of Bobby Franks in Chicago in 1924, otherwise known as the Leopold and Loeb case. Bobby was lured into a hired car by his cousin, Richard Loeb, then possible abused, certainly murdered and the body dumped in a drainage pipe in the far south of Chicago. More recently the Myra Hindley lured at least one victim (Keith Bennett) into her car, drove him to Saddleworth Moor where he was abused and murdered by Iain Brady and the body buried on the Moor. Robert Black used to throw small girls into the back of his van, rape and murder them and then dispose of the bodies in quiet countryside. The two murderers of Daniel Handley pushed him into the car they were driving, raped and murdered him and disposed of the body in woodland. In the murder of Milly Dowler, Levi Bellfield ambushed her from behind bushes as she walked from a rail station, dragged her into a flat where she was raped and murdered. Later Bellfield drove the body to a dumping ground in countryside about 20 miles from the crime. Then we have the abduction of Barry Lewis, probably by Sid Cooke, which fits this same overall pattern, and also the murder of Roy Tuthill by Brian Field, where again the victim was picked up while hitch-hiking, raped, murdered and the body disposed of in woodland. Most of these abductions occurred in broad daylight with dozens of potential witnesses nearby, but nobody reported seeing anything.
      So on this evidence I am inclined to believe that this is what happened to Vishal – that he was lured into a car raped , murdered and the body disposed of in woodland. In passing it is worth quoting research from the USA (which I’m sure is applicable here) which says that 40% of child victims of abduction are dead within and hour, and 70% are dead within three hours. This means that Vishal was quite probably dead before Vishambar had notified the police. The abductor (and probable murderer) was either someone who is known, like Cooke or Field. or someone who was active in the early 1980s but who has never been a suspect.


      1. ‘Any case built on “what might have happened if ” will be thrown out of any court’. It is far more important to find out what happened, than to convince a court. Unsolved crimes might be solved, even hundreds of years later.
        However, no crime can be solved if you ignore witness reports. The only real witness reports mentioned in the official investigation, that had any merit, were the one by the nanny who said they all left the sweet shop at 2pm. And the car outside the station, again at about 2pm with a tall Asian,military type man, in a suit, putting an Asian boy in the back of a parked car,on the opposite side of the road to the station. The car was also facing in the wrong direction.
        The rest of the official case files are about different cars, filled with different people, and ending up at 10 am in the morning with ‘pigeon tossers’ in the field where Vishal was found. Pigeon tossers stand in the middle of a field, shaking plastic bags in the air to stop young pigeons from landing on trees etc after they are released. Plastic bags were also seen tucked into the front fender, but did not block the cars license number.
        10 am with dog walkers, pigeon tossers, etc is hardly the time someone would choose to hide a body?


  26. The point about legal proceedings is exactly pertinent. In a previous post you accused Bailey of abducting Vishal in the first place, but offered no evidence to prove your claim. You then accused “the army doctor and the geologist” of abducting Vishal a second time, and again offered no evidence. Abduction, rape and murder are extremely serious crimes and if you levy that charge against someone the onus is on you to prove it. Which you fail to do.


  27. So you intend to try and have all those books speculation on who Jack the Ripper was banned and removed from the shelves?


    1. Why do you make this comment? The Jack the Ripper murders were committed 130 years ago and have little bearing on lives today. If people want to fantasize about his identity, good luck to them.
      Vishal was murdered 38 years ago and his family are still alive and still under a terrible burden. Vishal’s murderer may also be alive. There is little I or you or this website can do to resolve this crime (and this is real life, not a game of Cluedo) but it is possible someone knows the killer or has some information that may yet bring him to trial. I do not know who reads these comments but just possibly a witness may take notice of what is discussed here and come forward. I doubt the police follow this site, but if any do please note: Vishal’s case (amongst others) has not been forgotten.


      1. First of all you say ‘There is little I or you or this website can do to resolve this crime’. Then you say, ‘ I do not know who reads these comments but just possibly a witness may take notice of what is discussed here and come forward’?

        Both statements contradict each other?


  28. Further to other remarks on this site, according to the county archivist in the two years 1980-81 and 1981-82 Michael Mates is not listed on the electoral register as living at Durford Mill House, Rogate Road, Harting near Petersfield, GU31 5AZ. Of course, he may have been registered to vote elsewhere.


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