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Sussex Police to re-examine unsolved murder case of Vishal Mehrotra, 8, who went missing in London in 1981

Vishal Mehrotra was just eight years old when he was abducted near his home in Putney  (Handout)
Vishal Mehrotra was just eight years old when he was abducted near his home in Putney (Handout)

Police are re-examining the case of an eight-year-old boy who was abducted as he walked home from school in London in 1981.

Vishal Mehrotra went missing as he returned home to Putney on the day of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding.

His body was found in woodland in Rogate, West Sussex, around seven months later.

Sussex Police are now rmaking further enquiries into the young boy’s murder, 42 years on.

Vishal’s father, father Vishambar Mehrotra, was told by a police officer visiting his home that detectives have been directed to “advance” the case, the BBC reports.

It comes after a new true crime podcast named ‘Vishal’ recently produced by the BBC unearthed new evidence in the case.

In the 1990s, convicted paedophile Nicholas Douglass was found to have written a document entitled ‘Vishal’, which he is said to have completed after the boy’s body was found.

When asked by the BBC in 2020 why he had named the document after the murdered boy, Douglass reportedly said: “It’s the first [name] that came into my head because it had been in the press. [There was] massive publicity and at the time.

“It was the first Asian name I could think of. That’s the honest truth.”

He has repeatedly denied having anything to do with Vishal’s murder.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Detectives visited the father of Vishal Mehrotra to offer further reassurance that all viable lines of enquiry, including from any recent media coverage, will be pursued.

“The Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team continues to assess any further lines of enquiry for criminal investigation as a result of a Channel 4 documentary and BBC podcast, recently broadcast.

“Senior detectives met with Vishal’s father on Wednesday (May 10) to discuss the documentary and podcast series and to inform him that some further enquiries were being carried out as a result.

“The force also apologised for an oversight during an investigation conducted in the mid-1990s by Sussex Police, which had a potential link to Vishal’s death. It concerned a document titled ‘Vishal’ that was found as part of an investigation into historic child sexual abuse at Muntham House School in West Sussex.

“The document was found by police in 1996 and enquiries were carried out in the context of the Muntham House investigation, but it wasn’t until 2019 during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that any potential link was made to the murder of Vishal Mehrotra.

“Sussex Police apologised to Vishal’s father that this link was not made sooner.”

Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman said: “We acknowledge the ongoing distress to Mr Mehrotra and Vishal’s wider family and their need to find answers to what happened to Vishal in 1981.

“The force is committed to identifying those responsible for Vishal’s tragic death and to delivering justice for Vishal and his family.

“Extensive and thorough police enquiries have been completed to date but we remain open to and welcome any new information, and officers will continue to follow-up on any reasonable and viable lines of enquiry.”

Anyone with information relating to the case is urged to get in touch with police online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Moor. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.