Lee Balkwell death: Essex Police ‘not in position’ to give update on case

PUBLISHED: 12:06 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 27 July 2017

Lee Balkwell was found dead in a cement mixer. Picture: Les Balkwell

Lee Balkwell was found dead in a cement mixer. Picture: Les Balkwell

Les Balkwell

Police are unable to say how much progress has been made in deciding whether there is enough evidence to reopen an investigation into how a man came to be found dead in a cement mixer.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen KavanaghActing Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh

In May the Recorder reported how Les Balkwell, father of Lee Balkwell, who was found crushed in a cement mixer at Baldwins Farm, Dennises Lane, Upminster, on July 18, 2002, was on “cloud nine” after retired Met investigators uncovered evidence which suggested Lee’s death may not have been an accident.

Essex Police chief constable Stephen Kavanagh, who is being investigated for misconduct, agreed to ask the Met Police’s Murder Review Team to review the evidence.

But when asked if the evidence had been reviewed, a spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “We are not in a position to provide you with a statement on this matter today.”

The news adds further frustration to Les who has fought tirelessly for 15 years for his son’s death to be treated as a murder investigation.

Speaking last week, on the 15th anniversary of his son’s death, Les said: “We need closure. We cannot get it when the truth isn’t being allowed to come out.”

Dave McKelvey, head of TM-Eye – an organisation made up of retired Met detectives – said one a retired forensic investigator had found a set of burn marks on Lee’s right arm consistent with the use of a stun gun.

He made a request to Essex Police for a stun gun, found at the farm during a Portwing – an undercover operation at the farm in 2005, to be made available for forensic testing.

But despite the case being high profile, is still waiting for his request to be acknowledged by Essex Police.

“We were told the Met is just looking at whether the evidence is sufficient to go back to Essex Police to commence a new investigation,” he said.

“It isn’t what we wanted. We are having dreadful problems with Essex Police.

“We asked for the stun gun but they won’t tell us whether it exists or where it is. It’s as if it doesn’t exist.

“We need to send it off to our forensic team.”

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