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Ricky Reel - A New Witness Could Prove He Was Murdered


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The family of an Asian man whose body was discovered in the Thames hours after he was attacked by racist thugs said it has been contacted by a new witness who claims to have evidence suggesting he was murdered.

Ricky Reel, a 20-year-old from Kingston-upon-Thames, disappeared in 1997 during a night out with friends. His group was attacked by two white youths shouting racist abuse and Mr Reel went missing in the immediate aftermath of the scuffle. His body was found a week later in the Thames.

The police believe his death was most likely an accident but his family has always insisted he was murdered. An inquest recorded an open verdict and there were two police investigations, neither of which established exactly how he died.

The family has long been critical of how the police handled Mr Reel’s case, arguing that detectives did not take its concerns seriously because it was Asian – a charge the Met has always denied. Now Mr Reel’s mother, Sukhdev Reel, has disclosed that she was recently contacted by a woman who claimed to have information on a young man and convicted murderer who may have been involved in Mr Reel’s death.

In an interview with BBC London due to be broadcast tonight, Ms Reel said: “She gave a name as to who he is and where he is. He is currently in prison for a murder. He murdered a man and is spending life in prison.” The family passed the woman’s information on to the police but it was discounted after they were told that the witness might not be credible and had refused to talk to officers.

“They have come back and said the person who gave the information is too frightened to speak to the police and that maybe this person has learning disabilities and may not be credible,” Ms Reel said.

For the Reel family, the woman’s testimony is the first fresh lead in a tragedy. “This is the first time after a long time that a witness has come forward and named what the witness thinks is a possible suspect,” said Suresh Grover, from the Southall Monitoring Group, which has supported the family.

Mr Grover, Ms Reel and Tish, Mr Reel’s younger sister, recently met with officers at Scotland Yard to press upon them the importance of following up the lead. “The police have tried to interview the witness,” Mr Grover said. “For various reasons that witness has not come forward and given a proper statement to the police, so based on the emails that she sent to the family which have been handed to the police they’ve done their investigation. So we have a situation where they [the police] cannot say they are malicious or unfounded but they don’t think they should be relied on; now that’s a situation which no family should be under.”

But the Met has insisted that the evidence was insufficient to reopen the case: “We can confirm that inquiries were recently made by officers from the Special Casework Investigation Team after information was received by a member of the public,” a Met spokesperson said in a statement. “There was ultimately insufficient evidence to take inquiries further.”

The family said it has lost confidence in the police. At the time of Mr Reel’s disappearance, the family claimed officers suggested he had run away because he was gay or was facing an arranged marriage. “After that we knew we were not going to get any co-operation, any support or any assistance from the police,” Ms Reel said.

But the family’s lack of confidence in the police has encouraged Tish to train as a lawyer and she now works with Imran Khan, the solicitor who represented Stephen Lawrence’s family. “Even if the bottom line of this is we never know and I truly hope that is not the case… we can make sure other families were never treated the way we were,” she said. “Yet that still happens now, which is what’s appalling 15 years on.”


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One of the things that strikes me about this case and the Stephen Lawrence one is just how important communication skills and preconceptions play a part in police and media action.

Ricky's mum couldn't communicate as effectively as Doreen Lawrence and truth be told, I think deep inside of them. many English people have a strong disdain for Asians who exhibit certain cultural traits or have accents. I think they look down on this and generally brush us off until they are compelled to deal with matters, like with all the grooming crap.

Doreen Lawrence comes across as intelligent, strong-willed and independent and fearless this helped their case in a big way.

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Another thing is that there was stuff in the papers about his wider family, though I cant remember what. The reason I mention it is due to the recent revelations about how the police tried to smear the Lawrence family.

This kind of situation really reflects the mentality of certain English institutions. Trying to accuse him of being gay or avoiding an arranged marriage is symbolic of the bigotry Sikhs have to deal with and goes to show how 'equal' this country really is. There are more Sikhs banged up for the attack on the restaurant in Leicester than there are Muslim groomers of Sikh children behind bars in the entire country. Yet we still act like the authorities here are the be all and end all of justice. The Met even sells it's shoddy training abroad to gullible idiots abroad - the East Punjab Police included. No wonder we have so many problems.

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  • 9 years later...



Ricky Reel: Police make fresh appeal 25 years after 20-year-old found dead in River Thames

Ricky vanished in October 1997 after a night out with friends in Kingston and his body was found seven days later

  • 12:29, 14 OCT 2022
  • UPDATED16:58, 14 OCT 2022

Police have made a fresh appeal for information over the death of Ricky Reel in Kingston - 25 years after the 20-year-old vanished on a night out with friends. The 20-year-old's body was found in the Thames a week later.

Police said that before his death, Ricky and three friends had been planning an evening in a nightclub. As they walked through the town centre, two white men, aged between 18 and 30, reportedly saw Ricky and his friends and shouted racial abuse.

There was an altercation between Ricky's friends and the men but police said Ricky did not get involved. He walked away on his own and disappeared.


His body was found in the Thames at the end of Downhall Road on Tuesday, October 21, 1997. An inquest in 1999 into Ricky’s death returned an open verdict.

No arrests have been made, or charges brought in connection with Ricky’s death. Met Police said officers have previously taken hundreds of statements from witnesses and people with information in an "extensive investigation".


Media and local leaflet appeals have also been made in a bid to piece together the circumstances around Ricky’s death.

Commander Catherine Roper, of the Met's Specialist Crime, said: “It has been 25 years since Ricky died. My thoughts are with Ricky’s family and the pain they must still feel today.

"I hope that this appeal will encourage people to come forward with any piece of information they may have, however small they think it is, to help us piece together what happened that night in Kingston.

"We remain hopeful that we can provide answers for the family, and we need the help of the public to achieve this.’

Anyone with information is being urged to contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.






Having said that I’ve been screwed over or left in the lurch by Sikhs from all backgrounds in the past. Before anyone starts downplaying or excusing Sikhs lack of unity, look at what happened to Ricky Reel for the consequences of not being on code for our own.




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New book



Ricky Reel: Silence Is Not An Option

Ricky Reel: Silence Is Not An Option

it was amazing 5.00  ·   Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  33 reviews

On 14 October 1997 Ricky Reel went missing following a racist attack in Kingston upon Thames. His three friends, who had also been racially abused, were able to regroup but Ricky never did. Seven days later Ricky’s body was found at the bottom of the River Thames, just metres away from where the boys had been abused. He was only 20 at the time.

Ricky had everything to live for. He was on a work placement in Central London, doing a Computer Science Course at Brunel; he had good friends and a loving family. He loved life and had his future mapped out.

25 years later, no one has been charged with his death.

His grieving family expected the case to be investigated thoroughly and without bias but they experienced a huge number of police failures, assumptions and stereotyping based on colour. The family had to carry out their own searches, conduct their own witness appeals and gather CCTV images showing Ricky’s last moments.

The police investigation was found to have been seriously flawed by what was then called the Police Complaints Authority.

To make matters worse they also now know during this time when the family were grieving they were being spied on by undercover police. Rather than helping his family find out what happened to Ricky, they infiltrated their home and personal lives, at a time when they were most vulnerable.

In this new book Ricky’s mother Sukhdev Reel tells the powerful and moving story of Ricky’s life and her family’s struggle for justice.

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  • 3 months later...

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