Heartbroken dad pleads for answers as police review Trevor Monerville’s killing
- Credit: david hoffman
The father of two men killed in the streets in two unsolved murders 19 years apart hopes to get answers. This week police announced a forensic review of the first killing, which happened in 1994.
“We don’t go in the road and scream out – but our hearts are hurting.”
John Burke-Monerville has been through unimaginable tragedy. He has lost not just one son but two in unsolved murder cases 19 years apart. To get to the bottom of what happened, he says, would bring him some relief.
Last week the family gathered quietly at a bench and tree planted in memory of Joseph, who was shot dead in a car in what the police believe was a case of mistaken identity.
At Joseph’s inquest last summer, John described how he never imagined he would ever endure the pain of losing another son when Trevor died in 1994.
“Trevor was a very nice boy, very loving,” he told the Gazette this week. “He was loved by all his family.”
But he added: “It’s very painful talking about him and thinking of Joseph at the same time. Please ask other people to talk about him because I find it very hard.”
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Police revealed this week they are carrying out a forensic review of the killing, as is customary with many unsolved cases.
They are keen to hear from witnesses or anyone with information that could assist a prosecution.
Despite there being several witnesses to Trevor’s death, no one was ever brought to trial. Indeed, it was only after the inquest into Joseph’s death that his father questioned why there had never been one held for Trevor.
“John still had this nagging feeling: whatever happened to Trevor?” said Paul Ham from Birnberg Peirce solicitors, who John instructed to find out why there wasn’t ever an inquest held.
In fact, in August, they discovered there had been one after all. The family was never even told about it.
“I was very upset,” said John, “but what can you do?”
The family’s nightmare began 30 years ago: New Year’s Eve, 1987.
Trevor was 19. He went out with his aunts, but vanished.
Police have since admitted they lied, denying he was in custody at Stoke Newington Police Station when his family requested to see him on New Year’s Day.
Quiet, withdrawn and semi-conscious, he was taken to Brixton Prison where it was realised he had a brain injury and he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. He never fully recovered his memory.
Paul Ham said: “His life changed from that moment on with his injuries. From that point on, it was one tragedy after another culminating in his murder. The fact the family never went to the inquest – it felt every step of the way everything to do with Trevor was marred with this tragic cloak.”
While the family accused police of brutality regarding his brain injuries, cops claimed they’d found Trevor beaten in a car. Backed by the Hackney Community Defence Association, the Monerville family sought damages, but the case fell through in 1989.
The Police Complaints Authority refused to release evidence in the civil action.
They also were uncooperative about access to any custody record which John believes must have existed, which may have shown how the youth sustained his terrible injuries.
Doctors who had treated Trevor were instructed not to speak to his lawyers on the grounds that their evidence was confidential to the investigation of the official complaint.
Through Operation Herne it has now emerged the police spied on the campaign to get justice for Trevor, The family believe the undercover cop involved was Mark Jenner. John is hoping to get more answers from the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing.
Between 1989 and the end of 1990, Trevor Monerville was arrested three times and charged with obstruction and assault. Each time he was acquitted.
“After his accident they used to meet him and give him alcohol and do him for drink driving, all those crooked police,” claimed John.
“He was totally different after his accident. He changed dramatically, drastically. I had to nurse Trevor again as a baby.”
The family believe the police’s failure to solve Trevor’s murder was linked in with the animosity they perceived they felt towards them - but they have no evidence to corroborate that.
John would love for the police to start reinvestigating: “It would be a real joy to the family to have a conviction,” he said.
“Twice around and we have had no result whatsoever. We are in limbo, waiting.”