Flashback: Church services in a pub, poison pen letters and a horrific attack on a minicab driver

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 February 2020

Church services - in the local! from February 17, 1960. Picture: Archant

Church services - in the local! from February 17, 1960. Picture: Archant


Stories tat made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago

The Pen of Fear in the Post's edition of February 20, 1980. Picture: ArchantThe Pen of Fear in the Post's edition of February 20, 1980. Picture: Archant


The Moby Dick pub was host to more than just punters dropping in for a pint in February 1960.

That's because every Sunday morning more than 140 Catholic worshippers from the Marks Gate estate flocked to Dagenham's then newest watering hole to attend services in a room next to the bar.

Manageress, Mrs M Parmenter, explained: "There is no Catholic church on or near the estate and the parish priest of St Bede's told me he was unable to get a hall on the estate for services.

The Post's front page from February 16, 2000. Picture: ArchantThe Post's front page from February 16, 2000. Picture: Archant

"Being a Catholic myself, I thought it a wonderful idea to hold the services in the pub."

Parish priest, Father F K Heenan, had tried to get a building on the estate, first trying the Good Neighbours Club hall, but the Baptists had beaten him to it.

And Dagenham Council ruled out a clinic.

"I decided to ask Mr and Mrs Parmenter if they would allow me to use the pub. It is rather ironical, really, because before the Moby Dick was built I was going to buy the land. But it was sold before I could get the money."


The clue to exposing a poison pen letter writer may lie in handwriting samples, according to the Post's February 20 1980 edition.

Families in Nuneaton Road, Dagenham, received "crude, abusive and even love letters" from the mystery writer who had been targeting the usually "quiet" road for more than 10 years.

Amy Flowers said: "Somebody must just sit and watch us all. The letters are filthy. I've been called a lesbian and last week the writer sent my husband a Valentine card.

"We all feel the same - we want to catch up with this person."

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Neighbours provided handwriting samples in a bid to expose the author who was targeting nearby Tilney Road.

Det Con Dave Chappell said: "Most people eagerly await the postman's knock to see if old friends or relatives have written.

"For 20 years in Tilney Road the mail brought fear and unhappiness."

William Lewsey recalled "vicious things" being said in one letter.

"Another letter said my wife wasn't my wife at all and we were living together in sin," he said.


A minicab driver suffered "horrific" injuries after he was stabbed outside a Barking nightclub.

The 35-year old had been called to a fare at Legends in London Road when three men and three women jumped into his car.

Shocked, the driver got out and demanded they leave, but as he did so a man in the front passenger seat got out and plunged a knife into his leg before slashing him across the


The gang then leapt back in the car and sped off towards the A406 leaving their victim bleeding in the


The stolen motor was later found abandoned in Whitechapel.

A police spokesman, making an appeal for witnesses, told the Post: "This really was a very frightening attack. The minicab driver was seriously injured."

The injured man was rushed to King George Hospital in Goodmayes where he received treatment for his


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