UK

Parliament Hill Cold Case Reopened Into Death Of Enrico Sidoli, 14, At Lido In 1976

We have 'lived with this dark shadow over our lives for over 40 years'.

06/07/2017 12:26 BST | Updated 06/07/2017 14:41 BST

A fresh appeal has been launched into the death of a teenager at a London lido 40 years ago, which led to his mother dying of a “broken heart” and his father being haunted by the case until his passing.  

Enrico Sidoli died in hospital on 19 July 1976, 11 days after being pulled unconscious from Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead, north London, after being attacked. 

The 15-year-old had gone to the open-air pool on 8 July 1976 with his sister and her children and was pulled from the water by a lifeguard around 2.30pm. 

Witnesses who came forward at the time and in the following years said that Enrico had become involved in an argument with a group of boys.

Police have now announced a £20,000 reward for new information leading to an arrest and conviction. Separately, a member of Enrico’s family has said they will match that reward. 

Enrico was said to have been assaulted and then thrown into the pool, and detectives believe that he may have been held underwater for a period of time.

Met Police
From left to right: Enrico Sidoli, sister Elizabeth, brother John, mother Louise, and sister Iolanda

On Thursday, Enrico’s sister, Elizabeth Brown, pleaded for answers in the case that has haunted her family for four decades. 

“On that day it was as if the light went out of our mother’s life. She was consumed by grief, pain and despair. Enrico was her eldest son and the light of her life, and to have been stolen from her so cruelly was unbearable.

“Enrico’s mother died of a broken heart. Her only wish was to know who did this to her son, and why. Enrico’s father died also asking the same question. We, his brother and sisters, have lived with this dark shadow over our lives for over 40 years,” she said. 

“Time has passed but the pain has not diminished. We have never stopped loving or missing our brother, we desperately need your help so that this question can be answered and Enrico can have the justice he deserved.”

Enrico recovered consciousness after hospital treatment, but he died on 19 July and a post mortem later gave his cause of death as irreversible brain damage caused by cardiac arrest.

Since Enrico’s death, police have carried out extensive enquiries, taking more than 1,100 witness accounts and launching public appeals for information.

Neil Hall / Reuters
Swimmers enjoy Parliament Hill Lido on a sunny day in London in July 2016

Two people have been interviewed under caution as part of the investigation. A 16-year-old boy was interviewed by officers in September 1976, and a 25-year-old man was interviewed in August 1986, but no further action was taken against them and no arrests or charges have made laid.  

Detectives from the Met’s Special Casework Investigation Team are now revisiting the case in a fresh bid to find out what happened.

Police are focusing their efforts on tracing a potential key witness - a man that can be seen in a picture taken in the moments after Enrico was recovered from the water as attempts were being made to resuscitate him.

Detective Inspector Susan Stanfield urged anyone who was at the pool when Enrico was attacked to contact police as “your information could unlock this case and give Enrico’s family some answers”.

Met Police
Police are trying to identify this man seen at the pools on the day Enrico died

Stanfield said police had been hampered by a lack of information from reliable witnesses and called for the public to help them identify the man seen in the photograph.

The man had dark-hair and “has never been traced or spoken to by police, and we would be very interested to talk to him about what he saw that day”. 

“I hope that after 41 years, any witnesses who were too scared of, or had loyalties to, the people involved at the time will now find the courage to contact police,” Stanfield added. 

Enricho’s younger sister, Iolanda Sidoli, on Thursday also told how she was just 13 when her older brother died and how she grew up watching her mother and father suffer “terribly”. 

“Our mother never recovering from his terrible death, spending days and nights by his grave. But the worse thing is how Enrico must have suffered at the hands of the cruel people who took his life.

Met Police
An old police appeal flyer on Enrico's death

“He couldn’t swim. I think how frightened he was, with no-one there to help him. If it was you who committed this terrible act towards an innocent kind young boy, then I think the time has come for you to come forward.

“Maybe you have children, even grandchildren. Is this playing on your mind? What you did didn’t just end Enrico’s life; it ended his entire family’s lives. How can you live with this? It must be eating you away inside. Are you suffering like we are suffering?

“My whole life and that of my family was ruined the day Enrico died, and that was because of you.”

If you were at Parliament Hill Lido and saw what happened to Enrico on 8 July 1976, or if you have any information that could assist police with their enquiries, please call the Met’s Specialist Case Investigation Team on 020 7230 7963.

Alternatively, email SCO1Mailbox-.EnricoSidoliAppeal@met.police.uk, Tweet @MetCC, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.