CCTV footage shows John Paul confessing to 1980 Kensington murder of Tony Bird, as he is jailed for life

CCTV showing the moment a killer walked into a police station and confessed to a brutal 1980 murder was released by police on Friday - as he was jailed for at least 19 years.

John Paul, 61, of Ladbroke Grove, Kensington was sentenced at the Old Bailey having last week been found guilty of murdering Anthony Bird 42 years ago.

Anthony - known to his family as Tony - was found dead at his home in Kensington Gardens Square in June 1980 after concerns were raised by his employer when he failed to turn up for work.

Officers discovered the 41-year-old’s body bound with electrical cable, and with visible marks and bruises. His flat had been ransacked and electrical items and alcohol had been stolen.

A major murder investigation was launched, which saw forensics examinations carried out and police speak to Tony’s neighbours and those who knew him.

But no evidence to identify the suspect came to light, and Tony’s murder remained unsolved for 41 years.

Tony Bird, pictured in Aldershot between 1956 and 1958 during his national service, aged about 18 or 19 (Met Police)
Tony Bird, pictured in Aldershot between 1956 and 1958 during his national service, aged about 18 or 19 (Met Police)

That was until May 5 last year, when John Paul walked into Hammersmith Police Station and confessed.

Footage released by police on Friday captures the shocking moment.

In the clip, the officer on the front desk can be heard asking “what’s happened?” to which Paul responds “murder”.

The member of staff asks “who murdered someone?” Paul, leaning on the counter and addressing her through a window, replies “me”.

The officer then asks: “You murdered someone, did you? When did this happen?”

Paul appears to respond: “Yes. 1980, April, when I’d just left borstal”.

Reaching for a notepad and pen, the officer asks “OK, who did you murder?” Paul responds “a man” followed by words it is difficult to make out from the video.

Paul was arrested on suspicion of murder and later charged, but despite his confession, he pleaded not guilty and went on to stand trial at the Old Bailey.

The court heard how Tony and Paul had met on the evening of June 3, 1980, before going back to Tony’s home in Kensington.

Paul later said that he was out to steal something that evening and had gone back to Tony’s flat with the intention of robbing him.

It was while they were there alone that Paul, having tied Tony up with cable, grabbed a piece of wood and beat Tony with it until he was unconscious. He returned to the flat later that night to steal Tony’s belongings.

The police investigation revealed that Paul’s fingerprints matched three prints lifted from the original crime scene.

Paul was convicted by a jury of murder last Monday, and was on Friday jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years.

Responding to the sentence, Tony’s family said: “We came to terms with Tony’s death many years ago but we’re pleased that after 42 years, his killer has come forward and has been convicted.

“Sadly, his brother died last year and was therefore unable to take comfort from the closure that the court case has brought.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Paul’s sentence reflects the serious nature of his actions in 1980. They led to the needless death of a man who had his whole life ahead of him.

“The murder of Tony had been under regular review and although we had never given up on solving the case, the unexpected actions of Paul in May of last year, have finally allowed us to get justice for Tony’s family and friends.

“This was a vicious and brutal attack, carried out with considerable force. Although we may never know the reason for Paul’s actions that day, there is no doubt in my mind that the streets are a safer place following today’s outcome.

“A significant amount of work has been carried out over the years in order to establish the exact circumstances surrounding Tony’s death. I would like to praise the efforts of the team, particularly those who dealt with Paul in a calm, quick- thinking and professional manner at the time of his confession.

“Despite the long years since Tony’s death, our thoughts and deepest sympathies will remain with his family and friends. I can only hope that this result will start to bring some sort of closure after many years of unanswered questions.”