THE FATHER, whose son went missing and was later found murdered 40 years ago, has strongly condemned Sussex police as the force reneged on their promise to make further public appeals for information, media reports said, a month after the father claimed police failed to catch the killer because of “institutional racism”.
Vishambar Mehrotra, whose son Vishal Mehrotra went missing 40 years ago at the age of eight, has called the police’s decision to not engage in public appeal “disgusting”. He also claimed that if police back then had done their job properly, murderers would have been caught.
“Probably way back had [the police] done their job properly they may well have had the murderer in their hands by now,” BBC quoted Vishambar,
“They have been looking into it for 40 years and so far they have got absolutely nothing to offer me,” he added.
Sussex Police had initially asked Vishambar, who is a retired magistrate, to support an anniversary public appeal, something which the force is now set to scrap “in the absence of any new or currently viable lines of enquiry”, reports said.
“When this is their attitude, how the hell is they going to be able to find any evidence to find Vishal’s murderer,” the father said.
Vishal had gone missing on the day of the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer – 29 July 1981. He, along with his sister and father, had been in central London watching the parade and was on his way home to Putney when he disappeared, reports said.
Seven months later, his partial remains were reportedly found in Rogate, West Sussex. The killers were never identified and no one has ever been charged with his murder.
The news of scrapping public appeal comes a month after the father blamed “institutional racism” in Sussex police as a reason behind their failure to catch his son’s killer.
BBC quoted Vishambar saying that he has “no doubt that there is racism here, otherwise why would they always try to brush it under the carpet?”
Referring to Madeline McCann, who disappeared in 2007 aged three, he said: “When it comes to white children……they’ll fly to Portugal, Germany, everywhere, and years have gone by, and they will still investigate and keep looking, and money doesn’t seem to be a problem.
“But for my son, I can’t see that they’ve done anything constructive by way of investigation at all,” he said.
He made the comments after it emerged four decades later that Vishal’s case was only reviewed once by Sussex Police, reports said.
The force had “firmly” refuted allegations of institutional racism at the time.
Sussex Police claimed it reviewed the case in 2005, but an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), now the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said a formal procedure did not take place.
However, the force did carry out a review 10 years later titled “Operation Moor”, which was published in 2017.
Vishambar said one review in four decades was “absolutely shameful”, adding that he has been “begging” police to review the case into his son’s death.
Last year, the BBC revealed that a child abuser was found with a document in his possession titled ‘Vishal’.
In support of his London constituent, in December 2020 MP Dominic Raab also wrote to Sussex Police, to establish if they were investigating the leads.
The force insisted it had “completed thorough and carefully considered inquiries”, but the information provided “no viable or credible lines of inquiry”.