20 years on, murder on the dancefloor remains unsolved

500 people were in the Scala on night Wajahat Sheikh died

Thursday, 21st April — By Richard Osley

scala and red bus locations Image 2020-07-27 at 19.49.40 (1)

The Scala in King’s Cross

DO you know who got away with a murder on the dancefloor?

This is the question the New Journal asks today (Thursday) ahead of the 20th anniversary of a case which looks set to remain unsolved forever – unless someone does the right thing and step forward with new information.

Student Wajahat Sheikh died after being attacked at the Scala nightclub in King’s Cross in May 2002 – but detectives have long since ceased issuing appeals for help.

The 21-year-old’s case is rarely mentioned but around 500 people – all potential witnesses – were inside the King’s Cross nightclub on the night he was delivered a fatal blow.

Mr Sheikh had, eyewitnesses said, tried to break up a fight before being caught off guard by what was described later as a flying drop-kick that sent him flying to the floor. Police agreed he seemed to be an innocent party in the fracas.

The assailant slipped out of the club and has never been properly identified – one person inside the club could not help more than describing him as having “googly eyes”.

Wajahat Sheikh

A £10,000 reward went unclaimed. Seven men were arrested but nobody was charged.

“Mr Sheikh was a young man who had his whole life ahead of him and I would ask all persons who may have information in connection with his death but who have not yet come forward to do so,” the detective in charge of the case said at he time – but the crucial lead never came.

The best description of the assailant was simply that he was Asian – then obviously a young man – with dark hair, closed cropped at the sides and gelled on top.

The New Journal has a long-standing commit­ment to publishing appeals to crack Camden’s “cold cases”. In the absence of any official appeal, the paper asks anybody – revellers who are perhaps now in their 40s – to cast their minds back to an incident that may well be etched into their memories. Allegiances change, and perhaps now somebody out there feels it is unfair that a killer has walked free, while loved ones never really got the answers behind Mr Sheikh’s death.

This summer will also mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Thomas Breen, who was stabbed to death in Camden High Street with his killer – or killers – able to escape one of London’s busiest roads undetected. Mr Sheikh’s death quickly faded from the headlines, perhaps because 2002 was an extraordinarily traumatic period in Camden’s history with a spate of killings – unrelated – over a matter of weeks.

The focus of public attention darted between the deaths of young men stabbed in the street and also the horrific story of a rabbi whose body parts were found in a Camden Town street that summer.

As time has passed, Mr Sheikh has become the forgotten victim of that tragic time. His family did not live in London and the newspaper tributes instead came from his flatmates in a shared house in Crouch End. The only picture that ever surfaced was a creased passport photo.

The New Journal has run an appeal every year but now two decades have passed and the paper has in the past been told by the Met that it was no longer actively being reviewed.

“All lines of inquiry into the murder of Wajahat Sheikh were pursued with a negative result,” a spokeswoman said. “The case was closed.”

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