Keith Lyon – Sussex – 1967

September 2007 - Plea to name ‘cowardly murderer’

The brother of a young boy stabbed to death in East Sussex 40 years ago has made a new appeal for the “cowardly child murderer” to be named.

Peter Lyon, now 48, said the loss of his 12-year-old brother Keith in May 1967 affected him on a daily basis.

His comments came as police revealed a new DNA profile of a potential offender had come to light from forensic tests on old crime scene exhibits.

Keith was killed while out walking on the South Downs near Brighton.

His body was discovered under bushes on a bridle path between Ovingdean and Woodingdean. He had been stabbed with a steak knife.

Keith was stabbed 11 times in the chest, back and abdomen

A blood-stained knife was found — but police lost it. The weapon was discovered again four years ago in a sealed room at Brighton’s John Street police station. Two men were arrested in 2006 in connection with the murder of the 12-year-old schoolboy but were later released without charge.

One theory is that Keith – a smart boy who was wearing part of his Brighton and Hove Grammar School uniform at the time – was picked on by young yobs because of the way he was dressed. A total of more than 5,000 youths from the area have been fingerprinted. Keith’s father, Kenneth, died in 1991 and his mother, Valda, died in October 2005, having failed to see justice done for their son’s murder.

Police instructing boys and cubs before search of the south Downs

Thousands fingerprinted

Mr Lyon, who has a nine-year-old son, said: “To anybody who is keeping secrets about this, this is the time to come forward and share what you know.

“There’s nothing worse than shielding a cowardly child murderer for 40 years.”

Det Insp Tim Nunn revealed the DNA lead on Tuesday.

“It is new in the respect that what it does is place someone, that unidentified male individual, at the scene,” he said.

“That is deeply significant because that’s what this investigation has always struggled to do.”

Det Insp Nunn said it was believed Keith had been stabbed by one or more members of a group of up to three males who tried to rob him.

He also said he wanted to trace two boys who boarded a No.3 bus on Vines Cross Road and got off at Whitehawk Garage, in Brighton, saying he believed the killers had jumped onto a passing bus “in blind panic” following the murder.

The case has been subject to several reviews over the years and was featured on Crimewatch in 2000 and 2001.

The murder inquiry was reopened in 2002 when contractors upgrading a police station uncovered the murder weapon which had been believed lost.

Three men have been arrested over the past year on suspicion of murder but were all subsequently released without charge.