Vishal Mehrotra: New information in 1982 murder case

By Colin Campbell
BBC South East Special Correspondent

Image caption,
Vishal Mehrotra was walking home from watching the Royal wedding parade in 1981 when he disappeared

The case of a boy murdered in the 1980s should be reopened after an abuse survivor revealed possible new leads, an ex-detective has said.

Eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra disappeared in 1981, and no-one has been convicted over his killing.

Former Met policeman Shaun Keep said information found by the BBC, including details of paedophiles active when Vishal died, was a "turning point".

Sussex Police said it would pursue any new leads.

Vishal and his family were on their way home to Putney when he disappeared in 1981, having been in central London watching Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's wedding parade.

His partial remains were found in woodland in West Sussex seven months later.

A BBC investigation has uncovered new information, some of which has not been investigated by Sussex Police.

An interview with an abuse survivor who shed light on paedophiles operating around the time of Vishal's disappearance.

Other findings included:

  • The discovery that a London man known to Vishal was accused of sexually abusing young boys. He was acquited in 2014. He is said to have driven a car similar to one spotted at the location where the schoolboy's remains were discovered in 1982.
  • The abuse victim's disclosure about another man, employed by social services at the time, who had an obsession with tying up boys
  • He said the man had transported him and other boys from London to care homes in the south east
  • His abuser, along with two other men, were questioned by police in 2019 in relation to Vishal's disappearance and death

Mr Keep, a former Scotland Yard cold case detective, said new information revealed by the victim of sexual abuse should prompt the Sussex force to reinvestigate.

He said: "I think this is a significant moment in time for the investigation.

"There is so much information discovered, on top of information that has recently come to the police's attention in the last year or so.

"That to me makes this a real turning point in the investigation."

In July, Vishal's father, Vishambar Mehrotra, demanded a reinvestigation into his son's unsolved murder.

However, the force said there had been "no significant developments" since its last review in 2015 which concluded there was "no evidence to show who was responsible for Vishal's death".

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "Even after nearly 40 years, we will continue to take any opportunity to pursue new lines of inquiry that might lead to justice being obtained for Vishal and his family.

"This is still an open and unresolved investigation."

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