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Homeless man jailed for life after admitting to 1983 murder four decades later

A homeless man has been jailed for life after confessing to a murder almost four decades ago.

Anthony Kemp was 21 when he murdered Christopher Ainscough with a marble ashtray after they met on a night out in December 1983,

Mr Ainscough, who was 50 at the time of his death and originally from Dublin, was found dead inside his flat in Kilburn, north-west London in December 1983 with devastating head injuries, including a fractured skull.

Police launched an investigation into the murder, but it was closed in 1985 after no leads were found.

In February 2021, Kemp confessed to the murder at Chiswick Police Station, London.

Anthony Kemp, now 59, was sentenced to at least 15.5 years in prison.

In his allegedly drunken confession, he told officers: "I don’t give a f**k what happens to me, cos I ain’t got long to live... I’m not going to live on the f**king streets, that’s a fact.

“I’d rather the government look after me. I’d rather do the last few years of my life in bang-up than sleep on the streets.”

He added: "For 40 years I got away with it and now I’m owning up to it.”

Kemp, now 59, later told officers that he had met Mr Ainscough, who worked as a waiter, in the early hours of the morning and had decided to go for a drink at his flat.

He said that after around an hour, Mr Ainscough said something to anger him, but he could not remember what it was. He then picked up the ashtray and hit his victim several times over the head.

Before leaving the flat, Kemp cleaned the surfaces he had touched, including the ashtray. He then went home, washed his blood-stained clothing and kept the murder a secret for nearly 40 years.

After his confession, Kemp attempted to retract his statement but his DNA was matched to a re-examined cigarette butt from the scene of the crime.

Detective Inspector Maria Green, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “No unsolved murder investigation is ever closed and this case demonstrates that despite the passing of nearly four decades, justice can be attained for the family and friends of those who have been killed.

“Anthony Kemp kept his secret for nearly 40 years, despite knowing that Christopher’s friends and family would have been distraught that the person who had violently attacked him remained at large. He has finally done the right thing and confessed to his crime and now will face the consequences of his actions.”

A close friend of Mr Ainscough, who knew him for around 17 years, said: “Losing Chris in the way that we did was something that I have struggled to come to terms with over the years. He did not die of natural causes, nor from an accident, but at the hands of someone to whom he meant nothing. They took a very special person from us and then went on living their life like it mattered not at all.

“Our lives were all brighter for having Chris in them, and his loss has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. I think of my friend often and miss him as much now as I did the day he was taken.”