The Independent London Newspaper
14th December 2018

Warnock conviction: Former London Assembly members tells how boys at his old school were treated like suspects

    Published: 21 July, 2016

    Former Quintin Kynaston student MURAD QURESHI remembers how boys at his schools were treated like suspects as police hunted Yiannoulla Yianni's killer in 1982. He explains why he now wants Scotland Yard to burn their fingerprints.

    ON a lazy, sunny afternoon, during the summer holidays from school, I read the Sunday papers at home. I caught a glimpse of a name and a hazy face in a photo familiar to me under a shocking headline. It read: “Teenage girl raped and murdered at home​.” 

    I fell off my seat at the shock of seeing Yiannoulla’s name and photo under the header. She had been in my form at Quintin Kynaston Secondary School. This was the first I had heard of the incident and I ran immediately to a friend’s house in West End Lane to find out what had happened. 

    The incident was going to dominate our school’s life for the foreseeable future. Soon after term began some of us from Quintin Kynaston went to her funeral at All Saints Church in Camden Town. I saw a  community in shock and, of course, her family, particularly her father. I heard such heart-wrenching wailing that I have never been able to forget such sounds in my life. It’s a tragedy that her father died a broken man. Especially as, after all these years, the assailant has been caught, prosecuted and found guilty in the Old Bailey, thanks to new DNA detection technology.  

    Unfortunately, the funeral was not the end of it, as one of the main groups of suspects were the boys at her school. So unsurprisingly all the boys found themselves giving their fingerprints to the Metropolitan Police, including myself.

    This was an issue in itself, particularly for the Irish boys. Patrick Maguire was just a 13-year-old schoolboy at Quintin Kynaston in 1974 when he and his family – later known as the “Maguire 7” – were wrongly arrested in their Kilburn home. 

    They were charged and found guilty of manufacturing explosives used by the IRA in the Guildford pub bombings. Mr Maguire’s conviction was eventually quashed in 1991 and he received an official apology in 2005 from Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister.

    So, the community impact of fingerprinting the boys went well beyond the usual.  One can’t forget the terrorist threat in London then was the IRA. Anything Irish was felt to be suspect by the authorities, much like today with Muslims. Some boys were directly accused of doing the awful deed. It was a harrowing experience which would shape their lives. 

    It goes without saying that practices then weren’t as professional as they are now. Little did we realise at the time that police had obtained semen and blood at the scene of the crime. With technological advances in detection work they were able to match it with a suspect to another crime a few decades later.

    So, while justice has finally been gained for the Yianni family, particularly her mother, brother and sister, the memories will still be bitter for them.

    Well done to the Metropolitan Police for finally solving this despicable crime with the latest technology. It needs to now burn those fingerprints of us school kids from Quintin Kynaston. And finally apologise to those teenage boys it accused of the crime at the time. Only then will the whole matter be finally closed for everyone. 

    l Murad Qureshi is a former London Assembly member.


    Post new comment

    By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.