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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 SIXTY-FOUR:
On 19th August 1967, 26-year-old Australian-citizen Edward Wahlstrom-Lewis paid a visit to the Rupert Court Club at 8 Rupert Court in London's Chinatown. Entering the club, Edward was given two options; spend £4 to sit and chat to a pretty hostess for a bit, or spend £8 for the whole night. He assumed he was going to spend the night with the lady and (in return) get some sexy time.
But when he realised all he was going get was some idle chit-chat, and no nookie, Edward lost his rag and put three men in hospital. This is a truly bizarre story about a man who wanted some kiss kiss, what he delivered was bang bang.
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The location of 8 Rupert Court where Ted Wahlsdtrom-Lewis shot Roy Martinson is marked with a bright green coloured raindrop near the words Leicester Square. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, access them by clicking here.
SOURCES: As this case was researched using some of the sources below.
Archive File - https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/record?catid=6276725&catln=6
UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE:
Welcome to Murder Mile.
Today I’m standing in Rupert Court, W1; one street north of the death of Ken Snakehips Johnson, one street north-east of the club where the First Date Killer met his date, and just a few feet from the wannabe gangsters who acted like bell-ends - coming soon to Murder Mile, the YouTube channel.
Nestled beside the ornate gates to Chinatown, Rupert Court is a narrow alley connecting Rupert Street and Wardour Street. At roughly six feet wide, one hundred feet long and three storeys high, every inch of space has a shop squeezed in; whether a Malaysian café, a Thai restaurant, a decent pub, a branded pizzeria and at 8 Rupert Court is Step-In - a one-stop shop for your relaxation and wellbeing needs.
Of course, being a respectable establishment providing massage in this area, you half-expect to see a pasty wheezing pervert with a shuffling fist, hairy palms and bulging pants being politely ejected with a firm boot, as the only ‘happy finish’ he’ll receive here is in his soul. But that mistake is easy to make.
Back in the sixties, Rupert Court was full of mucky book shops and sleezy porn palaces. At number 8 stood the (imaginatively titled) Rupert Court Club; a cheesy clip joint where gaggles of drunk and horny men – desperate to see a bit of boob - paid over the odds to be fooled by the oldest trick in the book.
One such man was Edward Wahlstrom-Lewis, an Australian on a night out with his pals. Expecting nookie but receiving nowt - whereas most men would pay-up and walk-out rather than suffer the shame of calling the cops – having been denied a little ‘kiss kiss’, he would deliver some ‘bang bang’.
My name is Michael, I am your tour-guide, and this is Murder Mile.
Episode 164: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.
The fascinating thing about murder is the tipping point. Everybody has a tipping point, that moment in life when a perfectly rational person is pushed beyond the limits of what they deem acceptable. For some, it can be the preservation of life, but for others… it can be something as simple as pride.
Edward Robert Wahlstrom-Lewis, known as Ted was born on the 5th October 1941 in Shanghai, China.
Raised two years into the Second World War and a full four years into the conflict between China and Japan – although Ted was still only a baby, his earliest memories were of a life behind prison bars.
In 1943, with Shanghai occupied by Japanese forces, any Western citizen living on occupied land was interred in a concentration camp. Being Australian, the Wahlstrom-Lewis family were rounded-up with nothing but the clothes on their backs and separated, so his mother had to care for her son, alone.
From the age of two, Ted spentthree years half-starved and ragged, as a prisoner-of-war in a cramped camp riddled with disease, filth and squalor, never knowing when the nightmare would end. It was no life for a child, and yet incarceration would become a familiar presence over his next three decades.
In 1946, with the war finally over, the family were reunited and they returned to the safety of their home in Sydney, Australia. Being free, life should have got better. But for Ted, it would only get worse.
In 1949, his father died of a heart-attack, leaving Ted and his three younger sisters without a dad. To try to regain a sense of stability for the family, his mother remarried. But when she fell ill, aged 8, Ted was put in a children’s home for 18 months - a second prison sentence for something he hadn’t done.
With an erratic education, he attended several schools in Sydney and Wollongong, where he was described as an average student, who had issues with authority figures and often played truant. Aged 15, with his mother moving to the country, he stayed in the city and had little contact with her since.
Ted would state that he had a good childhood, but with so much turmoil and upset, although everyone agreed he was a good bloke – because his first memories were of poverty - he was blessed with a strong sense of pride but cursed with a short fuse. So, whenever he felt cheated, he was easily stung.
As a young lad, living alone, he tried his best to lead a good life. In 1955, he worked as an attendant at Underra Service Station. In 1956, he spent a year as a sales assistant at Mick Simmons Sports Shop. In 1957, he joined the Merchant Navy but never left port. And in 1958 he became a farm labourer in Wollongong. But frequently being in-and-out of work, by his late teens, he had turned to petty crime.
Between March and June 1961, he was charged four times for twenty cases of theft, mostly for stealing cars but also an outboard motor. He was sentenced to 2 ½ years hard labour at Parramatta Prison, plus ten months for each charge which he served concurrently. In July 1963, having been released on bail, he fled to Melbourne and (in his own words) “lived of the proceeds of crime”. That same month, he was arrested and charged with five counts of shop-breaking, stealing and sentenced to five years. While held at McLeod Prison on French Island, he was further convicted of absconding legal custody and wilful damage, having attempted a prison break and was given a further nine months inside.
Interestingly, he had no convictions for drunkenness, firearms or assault. In fact, the only unusual blip in his criminal record which hints at the crime which was to come was his first offence. As in May 1960, he was sentenced to six days hard labour for the unusually vague crime of ‘indecent behaviour’.
On the 12th August 1966, Ted was paroled. Seeking a fresh start – not just from a life of crime, but also from his country – he cleaned-up his act, moved in with his grandmother, got a job as a fisherman, and - through honest toil and sweat - he saved-up his money so he could start a new life in England.
On 26th July 1967, Ted arrived in London. In the interim, he stayed at a friend’s flat at 87 Ridgemount Gardens in Bloomsbury, he started working as a van-driver for a company called Instant Van earning a regular £14-a-week, and as a 26-year-old singleton, he was hoping to find himself a nice lady. Being a big drinker, it wasn’t uncommon for him to sink 15 bottles of beers a night, but he wasn’t a drunk.
Three weeks in, Ted was still finding his feet, but so far, his new life was going well…
By all accounts, Saturday 19th August 1967 was just an ordinary day. At 5pm, having finished his shift, Ted parked up the white Ford Transit in the garage at 9 Bristol Mews, just north of Paddington Station.
Having been paid, he had already started saving to rent his own place as he didn’t want to keep kipping in his mate’s spare bed forever. But as this was Saturday night, he felt he deserved a little blow-out.
At 6pm, Ted, Ken Smith (who was an old pal) and Martin Penny (who owned the flat) headed out for a night on the tiles in Martin’s black Armstrong Sidley. With no drink drive limit, Martin could happily sink a few suds and drive with impunity, as long as he didn’t hurt anyone. But he didn’t. Being sensible, he had a few but not too many, and although the two Aussies liked boozing, they weren’t dickheads,
At 6pm, they headed to a pub in Bethnal Green and stayed for roughly 30 minutes. They had fun, the mood was good, and they all got on well. There were no issues, arguments or moments of conflict.
If anything, they could have stayed there all night. But they didn’t.
At 9pm, they arrived at a pub called the Cockney Pride, just off Piccadilly Circus. As before, they had a few beers, a few laughs and there was nothing to suggest that this night was about to turn sour.
At 10pm, Ted said he “wanted a dance”, the other lads liked the idea, so they left and headed to Soho. It made sense, as this was an area synonymous with fun. Whatever floated your boat, Soho had a club to assuage the most specific of tastes; whether live music for the groovers, casinos for the cash flashers and something decidedly seedy for those whose idea of fun was bouncy boobs and bobbling butts.
Like any city, it had its dangers, but taking that risk was part of the deal. Even a nice night out might end up with someone being fleeced, slapped or stabbed. But as these lads weren’t looking for trouble, just fun, even though Ted had a quick-temper, both Ken & Martin knew what to do if he lost his rag.
At 11pm, they walked up the south-side of Wardour Street into what was yet to become Chinatown. Passing the dark-lit sleaze and flashing neon signs of a nearby alley, at 33 Wardour Street, they tried to get into the Whiskey-a-Go-Go – an infamous music venue which that year alone had hosted such greats as The Drifters, Ben E king and Stevie Wonder – but being full, they had to look elsewhere.
The streets were busy, if a little aggressive, as the hot night made the drunks jittery. Beside the arched entrance to Rupert Court, Ted saw a Chinese guy agitatedly barking in broken English to two bobbies about how he’d been robbed by a woman. The lads tittered as they secured their wallets, knowing he probably wasn’t the first man she had fleeced and he wouldn’t be the last. Welcome to Soho.
For about 15 minutes, the lads tried a few other venues, but got no joy. It was then that Ted changed his mind. He still wanted to dance, but a different kind of dance. Being single and (if he was honest) a little lonely as a stranger in a new country, he couldn’t be arsed with the hassle of chatting up a girl and buying her a drink, in the remote hope of getting a quick kiss and a little fondle - if he was lucky.
What he needed was a place where some sexy-time with a pretty lady was a dead cert, as feeling a little bit horny, he had a solid gold boner in his pocket which he didn’t want to waste on a wank.
At 11:30pm, beside the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, as his pals waited outside, Ted entered Rupert Court.
This thin dark alley - four times taller than it was wide – was bathed in a sickly neon glow which pulsed like hot blood into a throbbing cock, as the sinister shadows foretold of both terror and thrills within.
With signs flickering in single syllable words like ‘girls and ‘nude’ - as clearly long words are impossible to read when you’ve got a hard-on - in this seedy alley there was no denying what was for sale – sex.
Along both sides were several ‘hostess’ clubs; including the Two Decks, the Casino and the Alphabet, many of which offered a lap-dance, a striptease, the purchase of porn, or a peep-show. The choice was his, and either of which might have left him a little lighter in the pants, but not heading to prison.
Only he didn’t.
To his left was the Rupert Court Club at 8 Rupert Court. Not that he would have known this, as with no sign outside, the windows were covered-up and the sills were painted sills in deep reds and fleshy whites. But outside, stood a slim attractive brunette, whose job was the lure the young men in.
The name of this raven-haired temptress was Maureen. Hot! Maureen Chapman. Hot! And with a few keenly-chosen words, this sultry siren said the words which Ted (and his balls) wanted to hear.
Sexily, Maureen cooed “are you looking for a girl?”. Playing it cool, Ted shrugged “yes, it depends”, as if he was the one chatting-up her. So, having said “come in and I’ll talk to you”. With that, the deal was done and having been lured in by the simplest of cons, so was Ted… only he didn’t know it.
At any point, he could have changed his mind, but part of the con is to make the punter feel bad about backing out or rejecting the lady. So, the second he stepped foot beyond the tall dark screen which shielded the world from its raw sexiness, he was in. This was the club… and it wasn’t much.
It consisted of a single room, 10 feet wide by 15 feet long, being no bigger than a caravan. With a few red lights - as much to bathe the peeling wallpaper in an unsubtle sexy vibe as to disguise the stains - Ted was sat in one of several mismatched chairs; one which looked like it was once part of a patio set, one borrowed from a granny flat and one had blatantly been ripped out of a crashed Ford Zephyr. As to the left, a tacky velvet curtain sectioned off a tiny bar which was littered with watered-down drinks.
Ted could have said “f**k this for a dingo’s dinky” and fled, but he didn’t.
Being seated and with his bill racking-up, this is where their statements deviate. Maureen would state “I said to him ‘if you would like company, it’s £4 to sit and talk for a bit, or £8 for as long as you like’”. Although what heard her say was “she asked me would I do sex with her. I said “yes”. She said “it’s £4 for a short time or £8 for all night”. In a quick decision made using his other brain, more than half of his week’s wage was blown… and as he sat there grinning, he hoped that soon he would be too.
With his cash, Maureen popped behind the curtain and handed it to her boss, having got Ted to hand over another £2 for whatever sundry bullshit they said was essential, and there he sat and waited.
For fifteen minutes, they sat side-by-side and chatted politely with no touching, kissing and certainly no sex. The con is simple; the hostess never mentions sex, but the man assumes he is getting some. When he realises he has been conned, he has three options; leave having learned his lesson, get rough only to be turfed out, or call the police, except with no evidence, it would be his word against theirs.
With his mates still waiting outside, Ted was already becoming impatient, when a familiar face walked in. With the two bobbies able to help, the agitated Chinese guy stormed in, barking in broken English that he wanted his money back. Ted would later state “I knew then that I had been taken for a fool”.
As many men do, Ted demanded his money back, but Maureen explained “I can’t get it, it’s booked in and we’re not allowed to refund it”. Ted insisted, his face turning puce as his temper grew fouler. This was his money, he had earned it, and – although he had made the mistake – he hated being cheated.
Seeing his mood grow black, to pacify him (as her boss had vanished), she agreed to meet Ted in about twenty minutes time for a coffee at the Golden Egg on Oxford Street. Unsure if he’d get his money back or his money’s worth, calling her bluff, he threatened her: “if you don’t turn up, I’ll come back”.
And with that, Ted walked out.
Martin would state “when he came out, he was silent but I could see he was in a flaming mood. I asked him what was the matter and on the third time he said ‘nothing’. He wanted to go back to the flat”.
With their fun night out well-and-truly buggered, Martin drove them back to 87 Ridgemount Gardens; they climbed the stairs to his flat, and by the stroke of midnight, the boys were getting ready for bed.
Ted could have gone to sleep, he could have let it go, or he could have brushed it off as a silly mistake? But he couldn’t. His pride was damaged, his tipping point was reached, and somebody had to pay.
Half an hour later, the lads realised that Ted, his bag and Martin’s car were missing…
…but by then, it was too late.
At 12:30am, Ted sat waiting outside of The Golden Egg, its drunken punters stumbling into this late-night café to feed on a feast of foods all served with chips… but none of them were Maureen. (Ted) “I waited a few minutes till I was sure she wasn’t coming”, then he headed back to Rupert Court.
Twenty minutes later, having dumped the car, Ted got out. Still seething; he didn’t lock it and he didn’t think, as fuelled by raw emotions, he stormed down Rupert Court. His walk quick and his eyes fixed, as across his heaving chest he clutched a blue and white bag emblazoned with a Pan Am logo.
The alley was just as he had left it an hour before; the nauseating hum of neon, the crunch of broken beer bottles and the stale stench of warm piss, as outside two guys argued with a girl over money.
Ted would later state “I pushed past her and said ‘I wanna see the other one’”. Barging her aside, she grabbed his sleeve and asked him to leave, yelling “get out or I’ll call the police”. But Ted was tired of asking nicely, he meant business, as from his shoulder bag he pulled out a little gift from the Land of Oz.
Through the gloom, the girl screamed “help”, “call the police”, as in his tightening fist he held a 12-bore sawn-off shotgun. The alley erupted into blind panic, “help, he’s got a gun”, as with a swift bolt action he loaded a cartridge of No4 lead shot into the barrel, and stormed into the dingy dark-lit club.
Inside, although one punter had fled, several sat in the battered car-seats, too terrified to move.
Hearing the commotion, as Maureen came from behind the tacky velvet curtain, Ted stuck the barrel of the shotgun in her startled face, (Ted) “I want my money”. With his eyes wide and his teeth bared, there was no negotiation to be had, no bullshit about a refund policy, as Ted barked “I want my fucking money”. Maureen knew she had to calm him and comply – (Maureen) “relax, I’ll get it, just chill out”.
As she went into the backroom bar, Ted followed, standing half-way between the tacky velvet curtain, with one eye on the hostess and one on the punters. To Ted, this wasn’t an armed robbery, as with him being the victim of confidence trickster, he was just getting back what was his – only quicker.
Outside, the panic had reached fever pitch as excitable crowds jostled for a peek. With the bar as big as a bank of urinals, she only had to count out ten quid, but the longer this took, the more wound-up Ted got. “You’re stalling, hurry up” Ted barked, as he focused on Maureen and not on the door.
Roy Martinson had been standing outside of the Two Decks club with his pal Sammy the Turk, when he heard a hostess hysterically screaming “some man’s trying to shoot my friend” and went in to help.
Only half-believing her story, as Roy sauntered into the club, seeing only a flank of frozen men sitting silently on threadbare seats, Roy quizzed them with a knowing smirk - “alright then, who’s got a gun?”.
From beyond the curtain, the angry Aussie drawled “I have” as he poked the shotgun’s muzzle in Roy’s chest. Stuck in a stand-off, the Aussie glared the local lad down, but Roy was not intimidated. Not in the slightest, as he chuckled “that’s a silly thing to do, I should put that away if I were you”.
With both men pumping too much testosterone, as if to challenge him, Ted said “do you want it?”. At this point, their statements deviate; as Roy said “I took that to mean did I want the gun. I reached out for it”, Ted would claim “he had a look of surprise on his face and he grabbed for the gun. It went round in an arc as we twisted”, only Maureen would later clarify “there was no struggle, no fight”.
Either way, from just two feet apart, the shotgun went off.
With a flash of yellow, as a shockwave echoed the tiny room, Roy was blasted in the stomach. Doubling over, as his shirt pooled with a flowing crimson, he stumbled out of the club and collapsed in the alley.
Snatching the ten quid from Maureen’s trembling hand, Ted fled the club. With his getaway car parked barely fifty feet to the left, and that side of this narrow alley blocked by a group of panicked people tending to a bloodied Roy, turning right Ted ran into Wardour Street followed by a small furious crowd.
(Ted) “As I reached the footpath, somebody hit me over the head with a bottle”. Having heard the shot, Dinos Mayromatis, a kitchen porter and Petro Neophytou, a waiter, chased after Ted, as blood streamed from his head wound, pouring down his back, as they hurtled Gerrard Street.
Three times Ted waved the shotgun at the two men, hoping to scare them, but they kept chasing him, hurling whatever they could, whether bottles, bricks or traffic cones, to stop him or slow him down.
Passing Macclesfield Street, having grabbed a broom handle, Dinos would state “I tried to hit him with it and we came face-to-face. I was about 6 feet away, when he pulled out the gun and shot me”. As hot balls of speeding lead blasted into his face, neck and chest, as he slumped onto the cobbled street.
So indiscriminate was the shotgun’s blast, that a single shot zipped 200 feet down Gerrard Street, and outside of Rupert Court, it hit Barry Glatz in the neck, as he chatted to a pal outside the Alphabet Club.
Petro gave chase from a cautious distance, but he lost sight of Ted on Shaftesbury Avenue.
With his victims rushed to Charing Cross Hospital, Barry had a single pellet removed from his neck and needed only two stitches, Dinos’s blast from six-feet away left only superficial wounds although he would remain partially sighted in his left eye, and - miraculously – although he was on the critical list and underwent an emergency operation to his stomach, having contracted pancreatitis and gangrene, Roy was discharged after six weeks. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries and no loss of life. (End).
In the following days, Ted laid low and although the incident was in the papers, no-one knew his name.
Ten days later, finding a shotgun cartridge under his bed, Brian McDonald (a room-mate of Ted’s pal, Ken Smith) realised the connection to Ted who was seen bleeding and had fled, and called the police.
At 7:45pm on 3rd November 1967, Ted was arrested as he pulled the white Ford Transit into the garage at 9 Bristol Mews. Technically, he was on the run, but needing money, he was still driving the van.
Taken to West End Central police station, Ted confessed to the shooting, bluntly stating his motivation “they robbed me of money and I lost my temper”. But when Detective Sergeant Hopkins asked “so why did you cut down the shotgun’s barrel with a saw?”, Ted’s reply was as Aussie as it gets – “I was going to use it for shark fishing… only I didn’t realise that, in this place, they are no bloody sharks”.
The trial was held at the Old Bailey on the 19th and 20th February 1968, before Mr Justice Thesiger.
Blessed with a sympathetic jury and having pleaded guilty to two lesser charges, he was found guilty of wounding and possessing a firearm. But on the charges of ‘grievous bodily harm’ and ‘shooting with intent to murder’, he was found “not guilty”. Ted was sentenced to a total of ten years in prison.
After his release, Ted moved back to Australia and settled in Riverwood in Sydney; where he married, had several children and grandchildren, and he recently passed away in July 2020, aged 78 years old.
For the sake of £10, a little kiss-kiss and a flash of bang-bang, three lives were ruined and ten years of life were lost. It may seem ridiculous, but then again, everybody has a tipping point. So, what’s yours?
** 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” and nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards".
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster of Murder Mile UK True Crime and creator of true-crime TV series.
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