Father wishes to speak to Met Commissioner on 25th anniversary of son's death

Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake died 25 years ago. A coroner's court returned an "open verdict" as his father continues to seek justice. - Credit: Bonny Blake

The grieving father of a young man he claims was murdered in Neasden 25 years ago wants to know "whose side" the police commissioner is on as he desperately seeks justice for his son.

Daniel Blake, a talented mechanical engineer student, was found by railway tracks beneath Dudden Hill bridge, Neasden, the morning after attending a party in Burrows Road, Kensal Green, on March 23, 1996.

The police said it was suicide, claiming the 18-year-old jumped from the bridge; his family has always maintained it was murder.

An inquest returned an open verdict which Bonny Blake, Daniel's devastated father, wants reopened.

Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake - Credit: Bonny Blake

Mr Blake believes alleged mistakes made by police in the first hours of the inquiry have permanently distorted the case.

He is appealing for a meeting with Met commissioner Cressida Dick, saying: "I want to ask Cressida Dick, is she on our side or is she on their side? Does she want us to have justice for our son or does she want murderers walking in our community? That's what I want to ask her.

"I want her to sit in front of me and tell me what the CPS (Crime Prosecution Service) said. The CPS had all the papers."

He continues to query the post mortem examinations, initial actions by Kilburn police, investigations by the British Transport Police, and subsequent Met investigations in 1999, when his son’s body was exhumed, and evidence emerged that Daniel had been beaten and stabbed.

The CPS wrote to Mr Blake telling him that, of the initial police interviews, none was made “under caution” – which would make them inadmissible in a trial. The letter also said the case was not in the public interest.

In January 2020 the Serious Case Review Group (SCRG) was commissioned to conduct a full review of the original MPS investigation, considering all key lines of inquiry and concluded that "there are no investigative opportunities identified and therefore no recommendations made", a Met spokesperson said.

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Chf Supt Claire Clark wrote to Mr Blake in July 2020 providing a full update of the SCRG findings and stating "there are no investigative opportunities identified and this review is now closed."  

Archived copies of newspapers that have covered Daniel Blake's case. Bonny holds onto these, hoping

Archived copies of newspapers that have covered Daniel Blake's case. Bonny holds onto these, hoping one day to find the answers he needs. - Credit: Archant

Mr Blake said: "I know nothing about the meeting, how it went, who was there, or what was said. We had no representatives there. It's just the police doing their thing."

He added: "I still haven't seen the second post mortem, I still haven't got Daniel's death certificate, the coroner didn't send me anything."

He said he would not make a complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct ( IOPC), adding: "I'm going back to the Coroner's Court. Now the best way to deal with this is to go back to the coroner's and let everyone come back and make a statement and have the papers handed over. I'm not going to leave it alone.

"When someone has died it's how he died. It was an open verdict. Did they know how Daniel died? At the first inquest there were officers there and the coroner didn't call any of them. This is the biggest problem we had back then."

Mr Blake has always maintained that his cherished son was killed by a gang in Hazel Road, Kensal Green, and his body driven to Dudden Hill bridge and then placed on the tracks.

A witness saw a body being placed in a car and the driver was heard saying they would take him to hospital, but Mr Blake believes it was to the bridge.

"The family is very upset. We know who was involved in the murder and they are driving about, walking about, sometimes we have words," he said.

"This thing is still ongoing. We know who killed my son, they know that and they know how we feel about it. It's still a big thing.

"I said to the police, when someone dies in the community, Daniel was murdered by eight, 10 people and nothing is being done, what do you think then happens in the community? This is where gang violence starts."

Chf supt Clark said: “We are very sad for the loss that Mr Blake has suffered.

"I can think of nothing more devastating than the loss of a child, particularly in such difficult circumstances.”

A Met spokesperson said Mr Blake would have to contact the Commissioner’s Office himself directly.