Police officer who helped solve notorious South Woodford murder retires

A police officer who investigated one of South Woodford’s most notorious murders is retiring from the force after a career spanning an incredible 48 years.

John Ahern will leave the force on New Year’s Eve, having previously retired as a detective in 2000.

His second stint has been as a member of police staff at the specialist cold case crime review group.

Mr Ahern cites the 1998 murder of Richard Cajee, 30, as one that sticks in his mind.

Mr Cajee was killed in Grove Road, South Woodford after being shot four times in the back of the head by his wife Farah and her lover.

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Mr Ahern, 65, said: “That one stays with me because Farah was the most manipulative woman I ever met.

“She played the grieving widow so well and went to great lengths to concoct alibis for herself and her lover.

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“But she couldn’t conceal the firearms residue on her car steering wheel and was subsequently convicted.”

Mr Ahern was also part of an investigation into a prolonged series of robberies and rapes in the Woodford Green and Loughton areas in the early 1970s.

After first serving on patrol in the Old Street area of Shoreditch, he became a detective constable in Walthamstow and then Plaistow.

In 1994, Mr Ahern, a father-of-two and grandfather-of-four, was given responsibility for running a murder team.

Three days after his first retirement in 2000, he was back at work as part of the newly formed review team set up following the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The team was first based in Woodford Green, before moving to Stratford and looked into around 230 cold cases.

Mr Ahern plans to be a volunteer during next year’s Olympics, and has three ambitions: to watch Real Madrid play at home, attend a Formula One race and see a cricket test match outside of the UK.

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