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Lee Balkwell death: Fresh evidence review leaves Hornchurch dad on ‘cloud nine’

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 May 2017

Lee Balkwell, who died in July 2002, at Denises farm, Upminster. Picture: Les Balkwell

Lee Balkwell, who died in July 2002, at Denises farm, Upminster. Picture: Les Balkwell

Archant

The father of a man found dead in a cement mixer is on “cloud nine” after murder detectives said they would examine fresh evidence about the suspicious death of his son.

Dad Les Balkwell with a picture of dead son Lee Balkwell. Picture: ArchantDad Les Balkwell with a picture of dead son Lee Balkwell. Picture: Archant

A team of retired Met investigators say they have uncovered evidence that suggests Lee Balkwell’s death at Baldwins Farm, Dennises Lane, Upminster, on July 18, 2002, may not have been an accident.

A retired forensic investigator for TM-Eye says he has found a set of burn marks on Lee’s right arm consistent with the use of a stun gun.

Lee’s 70-year-old dad Les said: “I have been on cloud nine but we have had this before [the hope of a full investigation] and it never materialised.”

Les, who lives in Hornchurch, has been fighting for justice since his son died and has always maintained Lee was murdered by an organised gang of criminals.

Head of TM-Eye, retired detective Dave McKelvey said: “The burn marks on Lee’s right arm have a specific pattern to them and we have submitted that to our forensic laboratory and are awaiting results.”

Mr McKelvey said the team have submitted a request to Essex Police to either submit or surrender a stun gun discovered at the farm during Portwing, an undercover police operation, in 2005.

“Essex Police accepted [Lee’s death] was an industrial accident,” Mr McKelvey said.

“We do not believe that. We have concerns about the way evidence was gathered and from the evidence that we have seen, there are concerns about what actually happened that night.”

Essex Police chief constable Stephen Kavanagh has agreed to ask the Met Police’s Murder Review Team to look at the new evidence.

“It needs to be a full investigation,” added Les.

“No holds barred and no stone unturned.”

He was full of praise for TM-Eye and grateful to barristers Kirsty Brimelow and Alex Gask of Doughty Street Chambers for supporting his family get the case this far.

“They have showed such a desire to help the Balkwell family get justice,” he said.

In December, Essex Police apologised to the family after accepting liability for a series of flaws into the investigation of Lee’s death and awarded £40,000 in damages.

Devon and Cornwall Police – acting as independent investigators – are looking into allegations Mr Kavanagh failed to act on claims of corruption within the force.

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