A man walked into a police station and confessed to murdering a man more than 40 years before, a court has heard.
Porter and part-time barman Anthony Bird, 42, was found naked with his wrists bound at his flat in Kensington Gardens Square in west London on June 6, 1980.
His murder remained a mystery for 41 years, until John Paul, 61, allegedly confessed to police that he had “battered him” with a lump of wood.
Opening his trial at the Old Bailey on Monday, John Price KC described how Paul entered Hammersmith Police Station at 9.38am on Wednesday, May 5, last year.
He spoke to a woman at the counter saying he had come to report a crime.
Asked what crime, he allegedly replied: “Murder.”
He told the desk clerk he had killed a man in around 1980 but could not explain why.
He went on to to give further details, allegedly telling an officer: “He approached me and just spoke to me and just talked me into having sex with him.
“He took me back to his place … I tied him with cord. I think the cord was black, I’m not sure. I tied him with a cord, his ankles, his hands, his arms, on the bed naked.
“There was a piece of wood … I used the piece of wood to batter him.”
By 11.34am, police inquiries had flagged up the unsolved case file on Mr Bird’s murder as “worth a look”, the court was told.
By 3.35pm, Paul was arrested on suspicion of the murder.
On being cautioned, he asked: “Is that near Whiteleys” – a large department store in Kensington.
Mr Price told jurors that Mr Bird was gay and was known to pick up men for sex.
He was last seen alive late on the night of June 3 1980, in the Queensway area of west London.
He told friends he “had his eye on a black lad” and had hurried after him, the court heard.
Years later, Paul was to allegedly tell doctors that the man had propositioned him for sex while he was out to steal something and that he had gone home with him.
After Mr Bird failed to turn up for work at the Railway Tab pub, police were called to one-bedroom flat, jurors heard.
Officers used a sledgehammer to smash into the property and found that it appeared to have been “ransacked”, Mr Price said.
The prosecutor told jurors: “The officers went into the bedroom. On the bed they found the lifeless body of Tony Bird. He was naked. He was lying on his side. His knees were tucked up and his legs were crossed.
“Black electrical flex was bound tightly around his left wrist and around his left ankle. There was the mark of a cord around his right wrist. There were numerous marks and apparent bruising on his body.”
The court was told two planks of wood were found at the scene.
Mr Price told jurors that Paul’s fingerprints were taken and matched to evidence from the crime scene.
He said: “The main issue in the case will be whether when he killed Tony Bird, as it is submitted he undoubtedly did, John Paul intended to kill Mr Bird or at least to cause him really serious harm.”
Paul, of Maida Vale, west London, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Bird between June 3 and June 6 1980 and an alternative offence of manslaughter.
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