Menson `chased by men in car'

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The Independent Online
UP TO four racists are believed to have chased a black musician before setting light to him, Scotland Yard murder squad detectives believe.

The development in the two-year-old investigation into the murder of Michael Menson follows new witness statements that three or four men in a car were involved in the attack.

Mr Menson, 30, a former musician and the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, was attacked by a racist gang who poured lighter fluid on him before setting him alight in north London.

Police are thought to be close to making a series of arrests in the case, which was not classified as a racist attack until a year after it took place.

Mr Menson died 16 days after the attack. At first police treated the death as suicide and believed he had set fire to himself, partly because he had suffered from mental problems.

The police were severely criticised for failing to take a statement from him despite him saying he had been the victim of a racist attack.

New witnesses have told officers from the Metropolitan Police's new race crime unit that they saw three to four people "contact" Mr Menson in Kendall Parade, Edmonton, close to the place - Silver Street - where he is believed to have been assaulted in January 1997. The men may have spoken or shouted abuse at Mr Menson.

Police believe the gang may have followed, or chased, their victim into the nearby street before attacking him. Yesterday they appealed to anyone who may have seen Mr Menson either late in the evening of 27 January 1997 or in the early hours of the following day, and a small dark car, possibly a Austin Metro, in the same area to come forward.

In September last year a jury at an inquest returned an "unlawful killing" verdict. After the inquest the case was reopened.