Murder of Martin Pell 1978

1978, August: Murder of a young boy Martin Pell at Leatherhead in 1979.

Charlie Frost: He was murdered on the riverbank by another youth called David Hubball or something similar. The boy's body was found in the river behind the Leatherhead Crematorium at Randalls Road. He had been sexually assaulted and strangled. I remember that when Hubball was released there was an outcry as he was resettled at Horley.

Ian Moram: I was on the enquiry. The arresting officers were Dave Lambert and Taffy Evans. Detective Chief Inspector Tim Blake was the Officer in Case. Dave and Taffy were on house to house and not happy with the replies and went back later and arrested the boy who I think went down for manslaughter. Pell was fishing at the time he was attacked and I think he drowned.

Lynn Evans: I was involved with the enquiry you refer to in 1979 Martin Pell (cannot recall victims name). The boy found in the water behind crematorium. The convicted person I believe was named Hubball. I was engaged on house to house with Detective Sergeant Mick Brown and PC Neville Ward was working with one other.

We were working towards each other in a cul-de-sac when Mick Brown and I were called away to enquire about a cyclist seen leaving the crematorium. Neville Ward continued and found Hubbard during the house to house. As I recall in the initial stages there was a sighting of a male with a widow's peak and this was what Neville saw when he met Hubbard. I recall his clothes had all been washed.

Hubbard was convicted and I believe Detective Chief Inspector Tim Blake was Officer in Case. There was a large team on this enquiry and we worked out of Leatherhead Police Station. I am pretty sure the convicted person was Hubbard but it was a long time ago.

Brian Silver: I was the inspector on duty at Leatherhead when Martin Pell was reported missing by his mother. PC702 Peter Young (an experienced officer) attended and later the same day reported to me that he felt something serious had happened to Martin, who I believe was eleven years old, although he had been missing only a few hours.

He was thought to have gone for a walk through the meadows alongside the River Mole. It was decided to organise a search and the body was found partly submerged on the edge of the river. A murder enquiry was undertaken and a local youth was eventually charged with murder.

I believe I am correct in saying he was only convicted of manslaughter and received a very short prison sentence, about two years. My roll was to act as liaison officer with the family (no such thing as Family Liaison Officers in those days).

Ron Underwood

Ron Underwood

Jamie Donaldson: I attended this job as a Scenes of Crime Officer. Ron Underwood was the Officer in Case. Hubball the offender had learning difficulties and it was a tricky job interviewing him so that it was all fair to him. There were Doctors and social workers present at all time during the interviews.

1978, 28 August: The Times: A youth aged seventeen appeared before Dorking Magistrates Court charged with the murder of Martin Pell aged twelve who was found dead in the River Mole at leatherhead last Monday. Ron Underwood

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