Dad still campaigning for justice over son’s murder 13 years on

Dan says he knows who paid for David's murder

Thirteen years ago, on March 1 2008, a gunman took the life of Thanet dad-of-three David O’Leary at his home in Lydden, Margate.

The 31-year-old, who had a scaffolding firm, had returned home from a night out with his partner Emma just before 2.45am that day.

It was then that a man shot him in the chest. It is understood that Emma Terry, mother to his children, ran and David was shot a second time, in the neck.

No-one has ever been charged with the murder although David’s dad Dan says he knows who paid £10,000 for the hit, believed to be connected to a dispute over drugs, and claims the police also know who is responsible but do not have the evidence to support a prosecution.

Despite David’s murder now being one of dozens of unsolved cases in Kent and the UK, 80-year-old Dan says he will never stop campaigning.

The second-hand shop owner, best known as Desperate Dan, has spent years highlighting the murder of his son, from plastering his van with photos of David and the other victims of unsolved killings, to advertising boards outside his Northdown Road shop and collecting piles of laminated pages from numerous news articles.

He said: “It is coming up to 13 years now and no-one has ever helped me. I have done it on my own and it is draining.

“Imagine your boy going into his house in the dark with his wife and then a man just blows him away, like an American movie.”

Dan, who has two other sons – Simon and Jason- and a daughter, Christine, says he is on “a mission” to highlight the assassination of his son but admits he doesn’t expect any arrests, saying: “Down here we don’t catch killers.”

David O’Leary during a trip to Disney Land

He has spent years investigating it himself, hiring private detectives, offering a reward and ‘venturing into the criminal underworld.’

Dan says he has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and as bi-polar but says the condition has spurred him on. The grandad says he is now launching a bi-polar project to help other sufferers and has been in touch with boxer Tyson Fury, who also has the condition.

The former London lad, who moved to the isle a little over 40 years ago, claims there is a curse on those responsible for the murder and says he is ‘looking forward’ to karma catching up with them.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police carried out a complex investigation into the death of David O’Leary, examining many lines of enquiry.

“The case is still open and detectives will examine any new evidence we find or which is brought to our attention.

“We urge anyone who can provide fresh evidence or details to contact us on 101 or call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The case underwent a forensic review in 2009 but in 2013 then police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes said David’s death was not one that would “fall under the Cold Case review team.”

Dan says he feels it has been pushed aside, adding: “His file has been dropped on the floor with all the other unsolved murders.”

Unsolved killings

David’s murder is one of dozens that remain unsolved in the UK. In Kent these include more than 50 killings dating back decades, such as the 1991 killing of Alan Leppard in Monkton. The 43-year-old was shot in the chest on Easter Monday of that year after answering his front door.

Brenda Long, his partner, was murdered at her Whitstable home just under nine months later.

With no evidence that either of them had done anything illegal or was prone to making enemies, the reasons for the killings remain as much a mystery as the identities of the persons behind them.

However, the Kent cold case team have also made arrests most recently – last December – a man charged with murdering two women from Tunbridge Wells more than 30 years ago.

Mr Fuller, 66, from Heathfield, East Sussex, was arrested in connection with the deaths of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987. He was later charged with two counts of murder and is expected to go on trial this July.

The murder pf schoolgirl Claire Tiltman was also solved by cold case detectives 21 years after her death in 1993 in Greenhithe.

In December 2014, Colin Ash-Smith was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 21 years for her murder.


  1. Yes Kent police investigations leave a lot of questions but very few answers. Now crimewatch is no longer on TV why don’t the police forces in the UK Club together to help solve crime by producing their own crime show.

  2. If he knows who paid for the hit and the police clearly are not willing to do anything why not tell us what he thinks he knows???

  3. I wonder how many lives were messed up or even lost to this lads drug dealings,if you play fire, you’re likely get burnt🤷🏼‍♂️

  4. The attempt by Kent Police to safely kill me 6 days ago clearly failed – their belief that they can frame anyone for anything & can protect anyone from the most serious of crimes for freemason reasons is going to end in tears

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