Volume 92, Issue 27

Thursday, October 22, 1998

mark's going to jail


Police have hope in T.J.'s case

BY Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

London police are hoping that a videotape filmed after the April 11 bombing of T.J. Baxter's restaurant will aid in finding the last few pieces of the unsolved case's puzzle.

In their first formal request for assistance from the London community, investigators are crossing their fingers that the videotape taken by local television station CFPL-TV will help bring to light any individuals who have not yet stepped forward with information on the case.

Sgt. John O'Flaherty, of the London police, is positive the videotape will assist in solving the six month investigation after 472 mini-investigations from phone tips and written statements have failed to complete the picture.

"We are hoping two things," O'Flaherty said. "A: that the videotape will jog someone's memory of something they saw or heard.

"Also arsonists and bombers like to stand back and watch their handiwork. Who knows if the person or persons were there."

George Clark, director of news and information at CFPL-TV, explained the tape contained crowd scenes, people milling around and some people still being medically treated.

Clark explained a cameraman driving in the vicinity of the restaurant picked up the emergency call on the fire department scanner which allowed him to arrive on scene only minutes after the blast. The tape was seized soon after the bombing when a court subpoena was presented to executives at the London television station, he added.

"We don't turn over news stories," Clark explained about the unwritten, but formal procedure for media outlets. "We don't want to be perceived as taking sides. It is more to protect our people. We want to be a clean third party."

O'Flaherty described the case as long and complicated. He hopes the public will end the bombing mystery which has taken investigators as far as the West Coast to follow up on leads.

"I liken the situation to a jigsaw puzzle," he said. "We have half the pieces put together and the officers have more of them in their hands to fill the holes, but at the end of the day they don't have all of the pieces. We are looking for those people that are holding the last few pieces."

The midnight blast injured five people and caused nearly $200,000 damage to the Richmond Street restaurant.

Denise Appleby, assistant manager at T.J. Baxter's, said she assumed the latest lead was a positive step but could not comment further because of instructions from lawyers representing the restaurant.

While police feel the videotape is an important asset to the investigation, O'Flaherty is still waiting to see what impact the tape will make on the case.

"We just don't know yet," he said.

To Contact The News Department: gazette.news@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998