UK Jungle Justice: Paedophile hacked to death, genitals mutilated by mob

A man got justice jungle style after a suspected mob of vigilantes hacked him to death in a frenzied assault. The night before they had seen him ‘entertaining’ young girls in his caravan.

Although the murder occurred in 2008, no one had been charged until an inquest yesterday revealed how Andrew Cunningham, 52, was found naked and soaked in blood at his caravan home after suffering multiple stab wounds and mutilation to his genitals.

That was not the first time Cunningham was attacked. Cunningham who had served four months in jail in 2000 for having sex with a 15-year-old girl and was on the Sex Offenders’ Register until March 2008 was attacked by vigilantes who had set fire to a bag of rubbish outside his former house in Wandsworth in 2003 after he was arrested and released without charge over allegations he was grooming children.

 It was also discovered that a local pub he used to drink in had turned the CCTV off on the night of death – but they claim it was an ‘accident’.

Shirley Radcliffe, the coroner declared he was unlawfully killed. “It is quite clearly a frenzied attack with multiple stab wounds and mutilation of the body. The file will remain open with police and they will review the forensic evidence on a regular basis and we are all aware of advances in forensic technology that allow deaths to be solved some years after they have occurred and we can only hope for the family’s sake that something will come up in the future,” she said.

In the run up to his death it was rumoured he had molested a two-year-old. The allegation was never reported and sources say the claims were ‘unfounded’. He had a further conviction for common assault in 2006.

One of the last times he was seen, Cunningham was with three youngsters.

Detective Inspector Alison Hepworth, who lead the investigation, said: ‘We know he had girls in his caravan. Three girls were present on the Monday of that week, the December 8, at about 4.30pm.

‘He was seen with the girls in his caravan, young girls about 13 or 14, this was the day before he died, he had been entertaining the girls in his caravan.’

She added: ‘They used to go round there after school and he would provide them with alcohol. They made no allegations of a sexual nature against him.’

The next night he was hacked to death in the same caravan. Because of mutilations to his genitals police believed it was linked to his lust for youngsters.

DI Hepworth said: ‘We know a bit about this man, we know that people locally knew he had a previous for sexual offences, we had a lot of enquiries to follow. ‘

Cunningham, a father-of-five separated from his partner, worked as a truck driver for the Riverside Haulage company and also lived in his caravan on the site in Wandsworth, south London.

On December 10, 2008, his boss, Rodney Artiss, noticed that he had not opened up the yard as usual and went to his caravan to find him.

DI Hepworth said: ‘He found the caravan door open which was unusual, it normally would be locked and he wouldn’t let anyone he didn’t know in.

‘He went in and saw Cunningham lying on his bed on his right hand side and there was blood all around him.’

Four of his daughters attended Westminster Coroner’s Court today and one wept as the evidence was read out. The tiny caravan had been ransacked with the cupboards above the bed emptied out.

DI Hepworth said: ‘There was stuff everywhere, it was obvious it had been searched.’

Paramedics then cops rushed to the scene and it was forensically searched. ‘He had multiple stab wound which were obvious to anyone who came in.’

‘He was seen with the girls in his caravan, young girls about 13 or 14, this was the day before he died, he had been entertaining the girls in his caravan.’

DI Alison Hepworth

A post-mortem examination revealed he had a ‘considerable number of stab wounds’ which had killed him including multiple stabs to the back and side of the neck and the chest.

He had a number of superficial injuries to his arms and body and mutilated genitals.

The officer agreed when Dr Radcliffe asked: ‘The mutilation would lead you to suspect it was related in some way to people who had previous knowledge of his offences.’

DI Hepworth told the court that the police had interviewed more than 800 people and offered a £20,000 reward but no-one had been caught.

She said: ‘We have had people put forward as people who might be responsible and we have arrested three people and all of them have been eliminated either because you can’t forensically link then to the scene or they have provided alibis.’

The area is ‘massively covered’ by CCTV but no trace of the killers has been found.

DI Hepworth said: ‘What is significant to me is the Corner Pin public house had turned their CCTV off on the night of the murder.

‘They turned it off at 4pm and it started again the next day. They say that it is an accident, who’s to know.’

Cunningham used to drink in the pub but had not been in there for some time before his death, the court heard.

Four traces of unknown DNA and fingerprints which have never been identified were found at the scene. They are subject to continual forensic review and searches against new arrests.

Because of the tiny space in the caravan forensic testing is difficult as Cunningham’s DNA ‘swamped’ the area, the court heard.

Cunningham’s sister, Sarah-Jane, who ran from the court in floods of tears as the verdict was announced.

The family refused to comment as they left court and the police said investigation is ongoing.

 

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