Body in chimney: Pal seeks justice 36 years on

FRESH calls have been made for an investigation into the mysterious death of a black teenager whose body was found upside down in a chimney 36 years ago. The corpse of 17-year-old Michael Lowe was discovered by builders renovating a disused wallpaper shop

FRESH calls have been made for an investigation into the mysterious death of a black teenager whose body was found upside down in a chimney 36 years ago.

The corpse of 17-year-old Michael Lowe was discovered by builders renovating a disused wallpaper shop in Upper Street, Islington, on September 11, 1974 - around a year after he had gone missing from a children's home in Highbury.

Now his childhood friend Bill Goodrham, of Canonbury Grove, Canonbury, is appealing for new information after a lifetime of wondering what happened to his pal - and has voiced for the first time his long-held suspicion that police officers were involved in the death. He believes that Michael may have been involved in a rooftop chase before he ended up in the chimney.

Driving instructor Mr Goodrham, 52, who was 16 when Michael was found, said: "It's always been at the back of my mind. The whole thing doesn't make sense. How did he get to be upside down in that chimney breast?" The former cab driver recently brought the case to the attention of Harmit Athwal, of King's Cross-based charity the Institute of Race Relations.


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The Institute of Race Relations, in Leeke Street, has now uncovered the original coroner's report. This contains police records of a rooftop chase in the area, as well as a statement from Michael's social worker Elizabeth Yeats, who said at the time: "I did not hear anything of him until just before August 1974, when a youth told me that there had been a chase over the rooftops and he then disappeared. He wouldn't say any more."

She continued: "The body was found in very suspicious circumstances. Because it was decomposed, they couldn't

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tell if there was foul play and an open verdict was recorded."

Mr Goodrham says the coroner's evidence has strengthened his suspicions. He said: "It looks like the last people on that roof were the police. I think they had something to do with this.

"I would like his friends and the people who made statements at the time to come forward. I just

want to know the truth. I can't see how we have left this with that kid dangling in that chimney pot and no one has asked any more questions. I'm always thinking about it."

The disused wallpaper shop is now trendy noodle bar Miso.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Murder cases are never closed and we always welcome new evidence. If there was new evidence in any murder case, we would review that evidence once it was forthcoming.

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