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Welcome to the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast and audio guided walk of London's most infamous and often forgotten murder cases, all set within and beyond the West End.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO:
Today’s episode is the conclusion of a two-part series about the murder of Chelsea stockbroker John Monckton by convicted criminals Elliot White and Damian Hanson. But what drove these two men to rob, to kill, and who else is to blame for John's murder... along with the Devil's Child?
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations, to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The former location of Via Venise, the designer shoe-shop where (it is alleged) that Damian Hanson spotted Homeyra Monckton and followed her home to 30 Upper Cheyne Row is marked with a light brown cross. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, access them by clicking here.
Here's a little video of the former location of Via Venise at 163 King's Road in Chelsea. This is just a link to YouTube, so don't worry, it won't eat up your data. I've also posted some photos to aid your knowledge of the case. These photos were taken by myself (copyright Murder Mile) or granted under Government License 3.0, where applicable.
Irish Independent, 16th December 2005
Irish Independent, Thursday 24th November 2005
Sunday Independent (Dublin) - Sunday 19 December 2004
Irish Independent -9th December 2004,
Irish Independent - Sunday 18 December 2004
Irish Independent - Friday 16 December 2005
Irish Independent, 19th December 2005,
Irish Independent - Wednesday 23 November 2005
Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette - Friday 22 August 1997
Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 11 August 1997
Daily Mirror - Monday 11 August 1997
Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette - Friday 22 August 1997
HMP Inspectorate of Probation, An Independent Review of a Serious Further Offence case, Damien Hanson & Elliot White, February 2006
UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE:
SCRIPT: Welcome to Murder Mile; a true-crime podcast and audio guided walk featuring many of London’s untold, unsolved and long-forgotten murders, all set within and beyond the West End.
(Radio sounds) Today’s episode is the final part about the murder of John Monckton; a devoted father and loving husband brutally stabbed to death during an attack on his own home (fades/other music).
Monday 29th November 2004 at 7:29pm. An R-reg Ford Mondeo idled on Glebe Place, a quiet unlit side-street alongside the Monckton’s family home. 23-year-old Elliot White was sat in the driver’s seat. This was his car but not his plan. Wearing a black woolly hat, a florescent jacket and a postal sack, he giggled at the stupidity of his disguise - “ah man, I look like Postman Pat” – but that was the point.
It’s inherently racist, but a black youth knocking on doors in a posh white part of Chelsea will always arouse suspicion, unless he looks like a tradesman. And as all burglars know, the difference between a locked door and an open one can be something as a subtle as an ID, a uniform, or a parcel. So, being blessed with a baby-face and a cheeky grin, Elliot could unlock any latch with a few words and a smile...
...but Damian could not.
Nicknamed the Devil’s Child, Damian White was a scrawny scowl-faced youth, dressed from head to foot in black as his envious eyes glared through the jagged slits of a balaclava. This robbery at 30 Upper Cheyne Row would be simple; get in, grab, get out and no-one gets hurt. At least, that was the plan.
(Radio back in) ...so that no matter where you listen to this podcast, you’ll feel like you’re actually there. My name is Michael, I am your tour-guide and this is Murder Mile. (Engine off/radio off)
Episode 132: The Trader and the Devil’s Child – Part Two. (Doorbell)
Elliot was typical of the type of burglar known as a Chancer; a non-violent opportunist driven by need.
Born on 15th March 1981, Elliot didn’t have the best start in life. But then, it wasn’t the worst. Raised by a good mother in the basement flat of a three-storey terrace at 22a Richmond Way in Shepherd's Bush, he was smart, a little unruly but with a burning desire to succeed. Aged 16, he achieved 10 GCSEs and went on to study art at college.
Age 18, described as ‘immature and easily led’, and unsure what he wanted to do next, he drifted into recreational drug-use, became a dealer to fund his habit and in one stupid mistake, he ruined his life.
In 17th October 2001, aged 20, convicted of intent to supply heroin and cocaine, he was sentenced to 18 months; with 13 spent at HMP Dover prison and 5 months on a HDC (a Home Detention Curfew), where he was electronically tagged and required to stay at his mum’s home between 7pm and 7am.
On 15th July 2003, convicted of two further counts of intent to supply Class A drugs, the justice system aimed to change his criminal behaviour through work, education and counselling, so he was placed on a twelve-month CRO (Community Rehabilitation Order). Again, he was tagged, again he was curfewed, and again he would be monitored... with any breach resulting in his immediate return to prison.
...but just like his HDC, the CRO would lead to a catalogue of systemic failures.
His CRO started on 15th July, with a rule that he must meet “every week for the first twelve weeks with his Youth Offending Team Officer”, but the London Probation Team failed to contact him till 7th August. On the 11th, he missed his first appointment, ignored their warning letters and by 16th December, four months later, he hadn’t been returned to prison and the breach was blamed on administrative errors.
In February 2004, he was convicted of two counts of intent to supply, and should have been sent back to HMP Dover, but he wasn’t. As his HDC and CRO had failed, they put him on a DTTO (Drug Treatment and Testing Order). Again, he was tagged and curfewed, but this time he was required to attend a drug treatment centre five-days-a-week... with any breach resulting in his immediate return to prison.
...but again, it didn’t. On 29th September 2004, he missed his first DTTO assessment, he failed to attend a further five and his swab-tests were positive for cocaine, morphine and cannabis. On 5th November, three weeks before John Monckton’s murder, he was on bail awaiting sentence for drugs offences.
His case workers would describe him as “calm, polite and neatly groomed”, he was a little boy “who wanted to be seen as successful”, and who had no history of robbery, burglary or assault.
So, what drove Elliot White to play his part in the brutal murder of John Monckton?
Simple, they were two different types of burglars; Elliot was a Chancer and Damian was a Confronter.
Born on the 17th December 1980, Damian Hanson had very few positive influences in his life. Described in court as a boy “with low self-esteem or self-confidence”, he was anxious to seek the approval of others but burdened by few skills and “an aura of evil”, he used violence to get what he wanted.
Being gruff, angry and (being 5 foot 4 inches high) as short as Elliot, the two boys met at primary school and became pals. But Elliot’s mother never liked Damian, hence she nicknamed him the Devil’s Child.
Aged 10, he was expelled from school. By 16, he had six criminal convictions; including theft and the indecent assault of a girl when he was only 12-years-old, for this he was put on a Supervision Order. At 14, he was convicted of ABH and assault, but being so young, instead of prison he was ordered to pay compensation and was sent to an attendance centre. That same year, he burgled Fulham home, but wasn’t imprisoned. Instead, he was given a conditional discharge, meaning he wouldn’t be charged and the offence would be removed from his record if he didn’t re-offend over the next twelve months.
Ten months later, alongside his accomplice (Aston Tew) he was convicted of stabbing 17-year-old Kevin Jones whilst robbing him of just £20. Damian was sentenced to 18 months in a Young Offender’s Institute, where a psychological assessment concluded “Hanson’s offences were not committed when he had lost control, rather he employed violence as a strategy to get what he wanted”. And finally, three months before his 17th birthday, he was charged with attempted murder, following a bungled robbery on Erconwald Street in East Acton, which left a 16-year-old boy alive but seriously wounded.
On 1st April 1998, Damian was sentenced to 12-years for attempted murder, with the judge insisting “he must not be released until he has served at least two thirds of his sentence”. In his first year, he faced eight disciplinary hearings for assaults on prisoners and staff, and was moved six times.
As with Elliot, the system was designed not just to protect the public by incarcerating the prisoners, but by educating and rehabilitating the offenders to change their ways and hopefully lead a good life.
But again, an overworked system led to gross incompetence and a catalogue of administrative errors.
In May 2003, barely half-way through his sentence, a Parole Board rejected his application when he failed to show any remorse or guilt, stating “it's not me that’s done anything on any of my offences".
On 19th July 2004, his parole was re-assessed. Only this time, he wasn’t interviewed in person, his probation officer hadn’t met him in over a year, and - even though the Offender Group Reconviction Scale had stated that Damian had a 91% probability of violent re-offending, with 75% regarded as high risk and requiring his release must be monitored by multi-agency support (including social services, the probation service and the police) - the board didn't believe he had a "predilection for violence".
On 27th August 2004, Damian Hanson was released on bail... but the mistakes didn’t end there.
Although convicted of attempted murder, Damian was placed on the lowest supervision level, he was held to a light curfew of 11pm to 6am and he was banned from entering the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (although – unless he was arrested – the agencies had no way to disprove this). Having repeatedly breached his parole, this should have resulted in his immediate recall to prison... but it didn’t.
Elliot White and Damian Hanson, a petty drug-dealer and a remorseless thief were tagged, curfewed and (supposedly) monitored by a series of overworked agencies whose aim was to rehabilitate them and to protect us. And yet, under their very noses, both men returned to a life of crime...
...and ultimately a murder.
Released from HMP Highpoint, Damian’s new life as a free man was spent in Room 2 of the Hestia Bail Hostel in Streatham, South London - an assisted living space which helped him cook a meal, clean his clothes, pay his rent and learn the value of an honest day’s work. Unlike prison, he could leave as he pleased (curfew permitting), but as part of his bail conditions, his room was routinely searched by staff for drugs, weapons and pornography... with any breach resulting in his immediate recall to prison.
During these three months, he acquired two balaclavas, a six-inch-knife and a gun, as well as compiling a scrapbook of potential targets; including their routines, registration plates, habits, haunts and home addresses. He researched locks, alarms and the value of diamonds. And courtesy of the Sunday Times Rich List and the Mail on Sunday’s Rich Report, he had profiles of some of Britain’s wealthiest men.
On an unspecified date in November 2004, Damian prowled the supposedly fashionable streets of King’s Road in Chelsea on the hunt for easy prey. In the past - being a coward who was small and slight - he had always attacked boys or those weaker than himself, and this time would be no different.
From the sophistication of Via Venise, a designer shoe-shop at 163 King’s Road, (it is alleged that) he spotted a wealthy banker’s wife, who was rich, petite and defenceless. To his untrained eye, she was elegantly dressed, sparkling with expensive gems and dripping in so much gold, he would become rich.
Following her back to 30 Upper Cheyne Row, he could have robbed her right there and then, as there were no cars, no people, no cameras and few windows overlooking the quiet little street. But he didn’t.
It’s inherently racist, but a black youth walking down a posh white part of Chelsea will always arouse suspicion, especially if he had “an aura of evil” like Damian. He knew if he could somehow get inside her four-storey townhouse, quickly and quietly, without raising any alarms, he could rob her in private.
But this left him with a big problem, Damian Hanson was hardly the sort of person a stranger would willingly open a door to. What he needed was a plan, a uniform, a parcel and a baby-faced accomplice.
Monday 29th November 2004 at 7:29pm. An R-reg Ford Mondeo idled on Glebe Place, a quiet unlit side-street beside the Monckton’s family home. 23-year-old Elliot White was sat in the driving seat, “ah man, I look like Postman Pat” – and beside him, all dressed in black was sat the Devil’s Child.
The plan was simple; get in, grab, get out and no-one gets hurt. Owing a drug-dealer £2000, burglary wasn’t Elliot’s thing, but as all he had to do was get a woman to open a door, it was a no-brainer. At least, that’s what he thought. As although the two men shared the same plan, Elliot and Damian were two very different types of burglars; an opportunist Chancer and a violent Confronter.
(Engine /radio off) Silently, the two men sidled up to the doorway of the home of Homeyra Monckton. In the basement kitchen a meal was cooking, in the first-floor lounge the TV was on, and somewhere on the two floors above, a lone defenceless female had finished bathing her nine-year-old daughter.
At 7:30pm, the doorbell rang and an intercom crackled into life, “Hello, who is it?” a woman enquired. Putting on his calmest and friendliest voice, Elliot said “postman, I’ve got a parcel here for a Mr John V Monckton”. She didn’t query it, and why should she? As we all know burglars don’t ring doorbells.
Elliot patiently stood on top of the steep stone steps, unable to hear anything from within; except the owner descend the stairs, an inner door open and the spy-hole darken briefly as a cautious eye peered through its fish-eye lens into the dark unlit street beyond. Given the steepness of the steps, all she would see was smiling postman, as hidden behind his back, a maniac was crouched, ready to attack.
With a thick security chain on, the white door opened. Only this was not Homeyra Monckton. As through the slightest of cracks, Elliot craned his neck-up to see a man easily a foot taller than himself.
“Hello?” the man enquired. He wasn’t expecting a parcel, just as they weren’t expecting a man. For a second, as the two traded glances, Elliot grinned “parcel for Mr Monckton”, as the man’s eyes went from the postman, to his uniform and to the parcel, unable to see the Devil’s Child bathed in black.
In court, Elliot would claim that he didn’t know Damian was armed with a gun and a knife, so having said “You’ll need to sign for it”, the man nodded. And as we all would, he undid the chain, unclicked the lock and (as his last line of defence) John Monckton opened the door...
...and let the evil in.
(Fade between “No, no, no”, “John! I’ve been stabbed”, two pairs of feet running, "ah man, you're the business", a house alarm, door slams, a car pulls away and it all fades out to long silence).
Unlike the probation and parole service who had systematically failed to protect the public - thanks in large part to the incompetence of the two assailants - the police investigation was swift and thorough. Headed-up by Detective Superintendent Mark Jackson, as part of protocol, the scene was sealed-off, eye-witnesses were canvassed and a fingertip search was conducted of the surrounding streets.
Descriptions of the assailants were typically vague; two skinny black youths in their late teens to early twenties, 5 foot 3 to 6 inches tall, with their faces hidden by black balaclavas, one was dressed like a postman, the other wore only black, and neither man was known to the family or neighbours.
In terms of evidence, the walls and floor of the hallway and stairs were soaked with the blood of both John and Homeyra Monckton, but among this spattered mess of red, a third blood group was found. As so violent was the attack, the crazed knifeman had stabbed his accomplice in the left hand and arm, leaving a bloody trail from the doorway, down the stone steps, and vanishing half-way up Glebe Place.
Sadly, the murder weapon was missing, but on the hallway floor, the bungling assailants had dropped a crumpled cardboard box complete with a sample of their handwriting and a set of fingerprints. And although they thought they had cunningly disguised their features; one witness had seen everything.
Interviewed by specially-trained officers, although this nine-year-old girl was still deeply traumatised by the horror she had seen, as she sat cradling her toy rabbit, she described the attack in detail. How she peeped through the banister rails, and from the top-floor, watched helplessly as a masked maniac stabbed her screaming mummy, left her daddy dying in bloody heap and fled from her home laughing.
There was no doubt, that by keeping quiet and still, she saved her own life and that of her mother too. But also, she was able to recall a key-detail which no-one else knew. The knifeman wasn’t dressed entirely in black... as on the back of his jacket was a very unique motif, which she drew for the Police.
(Engine sounds) Vanishing amidst the evening traffic, Elliot’s black Ford Mondeo weaved its way seven miles south-east and roared-up to a patch of wasteland off Lunham Road in Upper Norwood. Opposite a line of occupied homes, they stuffed the postal sack full of their blood-stained clothes, soaked it in petrol and set it alight, as witnessed by at least twelve people. At 8:55pm, London Fire Brigade were alerted to a small suspicious fire, they extinguished it, and - as was protocol - they informed the police.
Forensics bagged-up the remnants. Still recognisable were pieces of balaclava, postal sack, a florescent coat, a trainer sole and a black jacket made by Akademiks A9, which was spattered with both John & Homeyra Monckton’s blood, and on the back was a very unique motif which matched Isobel’s drawing.
The petrol-can was traced to a BP Garage in Wandsworth five nights earlier, where CCTV showed Elliot White’s black Ford Mondeo (registration plate R987 GTM) enter the forecourt, the two men get out, and a facial mapping expert concluded that the man who paid for the petrol was Damian Hanson.
From the crime itself to their actual arrest, it would take the Police roughly two weeks...
...sadly, not every organisation was as thorough and diligent with their duties.
Being tagged, curfewed and (supposedly) monitored, strict bail conditions were repeatedly breached, as they entered Hammersmith & Fulham, carried offensive weapons, communicated with offenders, and committed a series of criminal acts including burglary, theft, ABH, attempted murder and murder.
But so uncaring were these little thugs - having destroyed a family - that just shy of 10pm, they caught a taxi to Shepherd’s Bush and stopped off at the Best West Caribbean Take-Away to fill their bellies.
Again, it took a few good citizens doing the decent thing to bring a murderer to justice, as when the staff saw blood running down Elliot’s arm, they contacted the police and handed over the footage.
At 11:09pm, breaking his curfew, Damian entered his hostel, but this breach was not reported.
The next morning, Elliot went to the Mayday Hospital near Croydon to have his knife wounds stitched. To cover this breach of his DTTO, he had his GP write the following note: “This is to confirm that the above man was stabbed in his left hand and arm on Monday 29th November 2004 at about 6pm. Unfortunately, due to this he has been unable to attend the substance misuse programme this week”.
This letter should have rung alarms bells for the probation team, but it didn’t.
Fingerprints, DNA and blood stains found at the scene and burn-site led the Police to Elliot White. He was arrested on 14th December 2004 at his mother’s home at 22a Richmond Way in Shepherd’s Bush.
Interviewed by CID, he initially denied everything, then confessed to just the robbery, denied knowing about the weapons, stated he and the Monckton’s were “stabbed by another knifeman” (a mystery villain who no-one can recall) and he finally pled guilty to robbery, but blamed Damian for the attack.
Checking his GPS and phone records, Police linked Elliot to Damian on those exact date and places, and on 16th December, Damian White was arrested at his bail hostel... and finally recalled to prison.
The trial was held at The Old Bailey before Mr Justice Calvert-Smith. In court, the two childhood friends blamed each other and repeatedly told a “litany of lies” which were easily picked apart. Damian even coerced his half-sister, Laura Campbell, into giving him an alibi for the night of the murder, and he claimed that his dossier of wealthy targets was actually “a project to inspire children to stay in school”.
The evidence was overwhelming, it included; bloodstains, DNA, fingerprints, a petrol can, the parcel, CCTV footage, the dossier, a business card from Via Venise, and the burned fragments of a postman’s outfit as worn by Elliot and Damian’s black jacket with a very unique ‘Akademiks A9’ emblem.
But most compelling of all, were the witness statements by Isobel and Homeyra Monckton.
On video, the jury watched, as a deeply traumatised nine-year-old girl sat clutching her toy rabbit and wept “my daddy had been hurt in the heart”. And still partially paralysed and aided by a cane, Homerya bravely told the jury in person how they were attacked by a “pure evil...” who “destroyed our lives”.
Their criminal history was used in evidence, as well as the Offender Group Reconviction Scale which warned that Damian had a 91% chance of reoffending and his psychological assessment which stated “he employed violence as a strategy to get what he wanted”. Even Damian’s own defence council had to admit “I cannot explain why a robber should force his way into a house and immediately attack his victims with a knife. There are no mitigating factors here which are worthy of consideration”. (End)
On Friday 3rd February 2006, Elliot White was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but with only three years left to serve, it is likely that he is already out of parole, having been tagged and curfewed... with any breach (supposedly) resulting in his immediate return to prison.
Damian Hanson was found guilty of robbery, attempted murder and murder. Mr Justice Calvert-Smith recommended that he serve a minimum of 36 years before parole is considered, by which time he will be 61-years-old. That is one of the longest minimum terms ever handed down in British legal history.
An inquiry was ordered by the Home Secretary Charles Clarke into the actions of the probation service and the parole board. They admitted there had "been mistakes at all levels...”, that “...the system went wrong" and it was implementing a "root-and-branch overhaul" of the way it manages offenders. Four probation officers were temporarily suspended while a review was carried out, but their lack of supervision of Damian Hanson and Elliot White was not directly blamed for the murder.
John Monckton was a devoted father and a loyal husband who – as everyone would - provided a safe and loving home for his family. And although every security system has it faults, what he didn’t expect was to be failed by the agencies whose job it was to monitor prisoners and to protect the public. Had they done their job properly, he would never have opened his door to The Devil’s Child.
OUTRO: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to Murder Mile.
That was the final part of The Trader and the Devil’s Child.
If you enjoyed that, stay tuned for some additional details and lots of pointless twaddle after the break. Or don’t, that is entirely your choice. But before that, here’s a true-crime podcast which may very well be the last tequila shot in Eva’s bevvy of last night cocktails, just before her kebab.
A big thank you to my new Patreon supporters, who are; Hannah Swinson and Katie Olliver, I thank you all, I hope you’re enjoying all the goodies you won’t find anywhere else in the whole world. And a thank you to Sara Wiggins for your very kind donation, it’s much appreciated.
Murder Mile was researched, written and performed by myself, with the main musical themes written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name.
Thank you for listening and sleep well.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
The Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast has been researched using the original declassified police investigation files, court records, press reports and as many authentic sources as possible, which are freely available in the public domain, including eye-witness testimony, confessions, autopsy reports, first-hand accounts and independent investigation, where possible. But these documents are only as accurate as those recounting them and recording them, and are always incomplete or full of opinion rather than fact, therefore mistakes and misrepresentations can be made. As stated at the beginning of each episode (and as is clear by the way it is presented) Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast is a 'dramatisation' of the events and not a documentary, therefore a certain amount of dramatic licence, selective characterisation and story-telling (within logical reason and based on extensive research) has been taken to create a fuller picture. It is not a full and complete representation of the case, the people or the investigation, and therefore should not be taken as such. It is also often (for the sake of clarity, speed and the drama) presented from a single person's perspective, usually (but not exclusively) the victim's, and therefore it will contain a certain level of bias and opinion to get across this single perspective, which may not be the overall opinion of those involved or associated. Murder Mile is just one possible retelling of each case. Murder Mile does not set out to cause any harm or distress to those involved, and those who listen to the podcast or read the transcripts provided should be aware that by accessing anything created by Murder Mile (or any source related to any each) that they may discover some details about a person, an incident or the police investigation itself, that they were unaware of.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards", one of The Telegraph's top five true-crime podcasts and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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