Family plea for justice for murdered doorman Christopher Lombard ahead of Crimewatch appeal

Christopher Lombard with his mother Thelma

Christopher Lombard with his mother Thelma - Credit: Archant

The family of a nightclub doorman murdered in Ilford have called for an end to their 17-year torment as a fresh appeal to find his killers is launched on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme.

An e-fit released by police of a suspect in the 1996 murder of Christopher Lombard

An e-fit released by police of a suspect in the 1996 murder of Christopher Lombard - Credit: Archant

Christopher Lombard, 30, was shot on December 1, 1996, while working at the former nightclub The Island in High Road but no-one has ever been charged with his murder.

The other suspect in the murder of Christopher Lombard

The other suspect in the murder of Christopher Lombard - Credit: Archant

Officers have now released images of two suspects, camera footage of the two men will feature in tonight’s programme and police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to their prosecution.

His sister Denise Hastings said: “I want justice.”

His mother described her son as a “gentle giant” as she remains hopeful a new appeal could track down his killers. Thelma Lombard, 83, joined one of the detectives investigating the case on Crimewatch, which will be broadcast tonight at 9pm.

She described it as a “nerve wracking experience”.

Mr Lombard, 30, of Green Lane, Ilford, was shot at former nightclub The Island in High Road, Ilford, on December 1, 1996.

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The family suffered a double tragedy in August this year, when Christopher’s sister Jenny, who also fought for justice for her brother, died of cancer aged 56.

Thelma, from Hornchurch, said: “It’s all been quite traumatic.

“I’ve just lost my Jenny. We were all very close. Christopher was my baby, they called him the gentle giant.

“I asked the police to re-open the case. The idea is to jog someone’s memory. You never know what could come out of it.”

Det Insp Robert Pack who will appear on the programme to be shown at 9pm, said the family “deserve to know who killed him”.

He added: “Christopher was just doing his job when he was brutally gunned down. It appears the doormen were deliberately targeted.”

In an interview with the Recorder in 2011, Jenny urged witnesses to come forward saying the family needed peace.

“Bringing it to a close would be so nice,” she said. “To have some peace in our lives, to know they’ve been brought to justice.”

Mr Lombard’s other sister, Denise Hastings, said: “I’m pleased they’ve decided after all this time to pursue it further.

“Nothing will change the fact that Christopher’s not there – but I feel for my mum especially, because she needs to have some closure.”

One of the suspects is described as a dark-skinned black man, aged 17-20, 5ft 8ins with hair shaved at the sides and closely cropped on top. He had a small circular scar above his right eye and another circular scar right of his mouth.

The second suspect is described as Mediterranean, 5ft 10ins, aged 18-25 with dark hair and a moustache.

- In the early hours of December 1, 1996, The Island in Ilford was hosting an event attended by 1,600 people.

Christopher Lombard and two other door staff were in the foyer of the club.

Two men tried to get in but were told by other clubbers the doors had closed at 3am.

They knocked on the doors to get the attention of door staff and when they came over, one of the suspects fired seven shots through the glass.

Mr Lombard was hit several times, and was killed by a bullet to the head.

The men then fled along Green Lane and into a silver car parked between Connaught Lane and St Mary’s Road.

The car sped off east along Green Lane towards Goodmayes and Becontree Heath.

The fleeing suspects were captured on a camera inside a unmarked police traffic car that was in the area at the time and had stopped at a red light a short distance from the club.

The case was investigated thoroughly at the time and in March 1997 a man was arrested in connection with the investigation but was later released with no further action.

n Anyone with information can contact the incident room on 020 8345 3868 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.