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Man facing life in jail after confessing to 40-year-old murder


man is facing life behind bars after walking into a police station and confessing to a murder more than 40 years ago.

Porter and part-time barman Anthony Bird, 42, was found naked with his wrists bound at his flat in Kensington Gardens Square, west London, on June 6 1980.

His murder remained a mystery for 41 years, until John Paul, 61, confessed to police he had “battered him” with a lump of wood.

Paul, of Maida Vale, west London, went on to deny murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter at his trial at the Old Bailey.

It was claimed his confession to the killing was not reliable and even if he was responsible, he did not intend to do Mr Bird really serious harm.

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An Old Bailey jury deliberated for half a day before finding Paul guilty of murder.

Previously, John Price KC described how Paul entered Hammersmith Police Station at 9.38am on Wednesday May 5 last year and said he wanted to report a murder in 1980.

He went on to to give further details, telling an officer: “He approached me and just spoke to me and just talked me into having sex with him.

“He took me back to his place. I tied him with cord. I think the cord was black, I’m not sure. I tied him with a cord, his ankles, his hands, his arms, on the bed naked.

“There was a piece of wood. I used the piece of wood to batter him.”

By 11.34am, police inquiries had flagged up the unsolved case file on Mr Bird’s murder as “worth a look”, the court was told.

By 3.35pm, Paul was arrested on suspicion of the murder.

On being cautioned, he asked of the location of Mr Bird’s flat: “Is that near Whiteleys” – a reference to a former department store in Kensington.

Mr Price told jurors Mr Bird was gay and known to pick up men for sex. He was last seen alive late on the night of June 3 1980, in the Queensway area of west London.

He told friends he “had his eye on a black lad” and had hurried after him, the court heard.

Years later, Paul told doctors the man had propositioned him for sex while he was out to steal something and he had gone home with him.

After Mr Bird failed to turn up for work at the Railway Tap pub, police were called to one-bedroom flat, jurors heard.

Officers used a sledgehammer to smash into the property and found it appeared to have been “ransacked”, Mr Price said.

The prosecutor told jurors: “The officers went into the bedroom. On the bed they found the lifeless body of Tony Bird. He was naked. He was lying on his side. His knees were tucked up and his legs were crossed.

“Black electrical flex was bound tightly around his left wrist and around his left ankle. There was the mark of a cord around his right wrist. There were numerous marks and apparent bruising on his body.”

The court was told two planks of wood were found at the scene.

Mr Price told jurors Paul’s fingerprints were taken and matched to evidence from the crime scene.

Paul was remanded into custody to be sentenced at a later date to be fixed.

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