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Biddenden murder: Renewed appeal a year on from Roy Blackman's death

By Ed McConnell

A year on from the brutal murder of a pensioner in his own home detectives are renewing their appeal for information.

Roy Blackman, a bird breeder and mechanic, disturbed burglars after they broke into his Biddenden bungalow.

The 73-year-old was punched, kicked and stamped on before being stripped naked in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Roy Blackman was murdered a year ago.
Roy Blackman was murdered a year ago.

His body was found on the morning of March 21, 2016.

A safe containing around £250,000, an air rifle and jewellery was stolen from the Headcorn Road property. The safe has never been recovered.

Eight men were arrested in connection with the investigation.

In May father-of-four William 'Curly Bill' Smith was shot dead by police officers during a firefight in a Goudhurst orchard.

He was on the run having previously been arrested and bailed on suspicion of murder.

William Smith was shot dead in May
William Smith was shot dead in May

In September 38-year-old Mark Love from Staplehurst was found guilty of murder, as well as another aggravated burglary in Sussex, at Maidstone Crown Court.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and will serve a minimum of 28 years before being considered for parole.

Mark Love. Picture: Kent Police.
Mark Love. Picture: Kent Police.

Officers believe others were involved and are keen to speak to anyone who may know what happened that night.

Det Chf Insp Nick Gossett said: "One person has been convicted of Mr Blackman’s murder, however, we firmly believe there were other people involved in the tragic incidents of that night and we believe there are people who know who they are.

"However small or insignificant you think the information you have is, we still want to hear from you as it may be the missing piece in our jigsaw.

"We’re hoping that a year on, people will realise Mr Blackman’s family are still waiting for justice to be fully served and I would encourage anyone with information who is yet to talk to us to come forward."

A cabinet similar to the one stolen from Roy Blackman's Biddenden bungalow
A cabinet similar to the one stolen from Roy Blackman's Biddenden bungalow

In a joint statement, his family have urged witnesses and those with information to come forward.

They said: "One year after our world fell apart, every day continues to be a struggle for us all.

"Our beloved dad, grandad and brother is no longer here to share our lives and guide us - his loss was not the result of an illness or a tragic accident but at the hands of a terrible gang - some of whom are still enjoying their freedom. We continue to question how they could possibly do such a thing – to go mob-handed against a pensioner living alone.

"The trial showed that, along with scientific facts, there is great value in witness evidence and we thank all those involved who gave witness statements and evidence.

"Judge Statman sought reassurance that the case would proceed and the pursuit of other gang members would continue.

"We urge anyone with information that they feel may be helpful to please come forward and pass it to the police. Nothing will bring our dad back, but we would like to get as much justice for him as possible.’

"We are proud of our dad and all he achieved. He was a strong and brave man and will be our hero forever."

Anyone with further information is asked to call the dedicated Kent and Essex SCD appeal line on 01303 289600. Alternatively, you can call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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