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Voice 35 Years: Sniper alert after boy shot

SNIPER ATTACKS: An eight-year-old boy and a man were shot by an air gun

THERE WERE fears that a sniper was on the loose on an estate in Canning Town, east London, 35 years ago when an eight-year-old boy and a man were shot by air gun pellets in the area and the police had no clue as to who was behind the incidents, sending fear among the community, especially the black residents.

The injury to Sean Williams was the lead story on The Voice’s 42nd edition which was published on July 2, 1983 under the headline: ‘Boy, 8, scarred for life in sniper attacks’.

The Voice described how Sean was shot in the forehead by a pellet while playing football near his home and he was taken to East Ham Memorial Hospital for treatment.

When The Voice caught up with his mother Cheryl Williams at the hospital, she said: “I cannot alLow Sean and his 10-year-old sister to play outside for fear of what might happen. Although Sean is recovering, he will be scarred for life.”

It was while Sean was undergoing treatment that the second incident occurred. Mr R Bryan, who lived only minutes away from the Williams home, heard six shots being fired as he worked on his car. He too received injuries from the stray pellets, having been shot in the arm.

Police investigating the shootings failed to arrest any- one, but their only lead at the time was that the shots were believed to have come from a neighbouring block of flats.

Turning over to page three, the lead story titled ‘Kung Fu death’ revealed that the safety of the martial art sport was brought into question after the unexplained death of a young black fan following a routine training bout.
Andrew Harris, 22, from Shepherd’s Bush, collapsed and died a few seconds after finishing a bout at the TAVR sports hall in Askew Crescent.

A coroner’s court heard that Andrew had not been injured in the sparring and had not received any particularly hard blows. There were no bruises found on his body and Andrew’s opponent in the bout told the court that the fight had been a controlled one with no violent blows involved.

The examining pathologist said Andrew died of a fit, but just what it was that triggered it will probably never
be known as he was suffering from no illness and never had a fit before. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Over on page five, one of the most important stories here was news that the jury in the Colin Roach inquest had returned a verdict of suicide by eight to two.

The headline read: ‘Roach death was suicide’ and concluded the inquest into the mysterious death inside the foyer of the Stoke Newington Police Station which had dominated the news since January of that year.

The verdict did not go down well with family and supporters who described the decision as “nonsensical” and “illogical”.

The Voice story said the Roach family and their friends were planning to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights for help in getting an independent inquiry into Colin’s death.

The Voice is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Share your Voice memories, comments and birthday wishes on social media, using the hashtag #Voice- 35Years. Each week we will be digging into The Voice archive and publish a front cover from its first year of publication.

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