I got quite shock this morning when the name came on the radio news: “David Martin” had been murdered. I had not heard that name for 21 years but it took me back in time in a micro second. The memory is amazing, isn’t it? I often struggle to work out what I did last week, but I had no problem recalling the name of someone I never knew from July 1986.
David Martin was murdered by a baying mob in Mitcham, South London, last Sunday after a row with neighbours. The reason his name was stored in my mind is that I was a cub reporter on the Wimbledon News who was sent to the scene when David’s father Raymond was murdered in almost identical circumstances all those years ago.
Back then, David – 18 – had been attacked by a gang of lads. He bumped into his dad on the way home who then confronted the gang after seeing his son’s bloodied nose. David saw his dad clubbed to death in the street with metal poles and heavy sticks.
I have two scrap books of cuttings from my first year on the Wimbledon News. When I got into the office this morning, I easily found my front page report of that horrific killing. (No byline because the editor, Andrew Palmer, was mean like that). It was particularly strange reading the story again, knowing the ultimate tragic fate in store for the boy David who saw his father murdered.
The Sun newspaper feature today’s story with a newly designed motif – “Broken Britain” – to reflect its coverage of the escalating violence on our streets. Maybe Britain has always been a bit broken …