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Diamond pub in Heathfield Avenue, Dover where landlord was murdered in 1979 could become shop

A former pub with a dark past after it became the focus of a murder investigation could be turned into a shop.

The now-closed Diamond in Heathfield Avenue, Dover was taken over by the same detective who dealt with the case just a year later.

The Diamond in Heathfield Avenue, Dover
The Diamond in Heathfield Avenue, Dover

Now the present owner has put in a planning application for its conversion into a grocery store.

Thirukulatharasan Pratheepan, who bought the premises last month, has put forward plans to use it to sell groceries, alcohol and cigarettes.

The application, submitted to the council earlier this month, lists the proposed opening times of 6am to 10pm seven days a week.

The three-storey premises has 80sq m (861sq ft) of floorspace with 69.4sq m (747sq ft) expected to be used for trading.

The overall site is 973sq m (10,473sq ft) including the former beer garden.

The Diamond Hotel, which had been a pub since 1901, was opened by a brewery of the same name and originally had hotel rooms.

The Diamond in Dover, which had been a pub for 122 years
The Diamond in Dover, which had been a pub for 122 years

It was for decades known in the town for holding onion and leek competitions every October.

Winners produced giant specimens with some of the onions being the size of bowling balls.

An onion and leek club met there every month and the pub stood out on the hillside with its name written on the sloping roof.

But the pub’s grisly past saw its landlord killed in 1979 when Supt John Wallace was called in to investigate.

The victim's wife was later acquitted of his murder and by coincidence Mr Wallace took over running the premises in March 1980, staying there until 1991.

The late John Wallace, a detective who became one of the Diamond's landlords in Dover
The late John Wallace, a detective who became one of the Diamond's landlords in Dover

The pub closed last August 26 and was put on the market by the following month for £250,000.

Supt Wallace, who died in 2018, was also involved in probing one of Dover’s most notorious unsolved murders.

Valere Osmond, a 33-year-old mother-of-five, disappeared from her home in Temple Ewell in February 1968.

Her stabbed body was found in an underground reservoir in Guston on August 25, 1970.

Soldiers helped police search the area but Mr Wallace, by then a Det Ch Insp, and his colleagues were unable to find the murderer.

The perpetrator was never caught despite the efforts of generations of officers after Mr Wallace.

When the case was re-highlighted in 1996 the veteran journalist Terry Sutton, who died earlier this month, said he wanted at least a “deathbed confession” from the person responsible.

He believed he knew who it was but it could not be proved.

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