The mysterious murder of a 27-year-old man from South London baffled Metropolitan Police detectives, after he was shot six times whilst sitting in his car.
Police found nothing in pet shop owner Andre Aylward’s background to suggest a motive behind the brutal murder, and more than 20 years later, a number of questions remained unanswered.
In the early hours of May 12, 2001, Andre was travelling back to his home in Streatham. He had visited a friend’s house, and was driving back along Valleyfield Road at 2.10am when he was repeatedly shot.
A keen car enthusiast, he had been driving his black 5-series BMW with tinted windows at the time of the attack.
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CCTV had shown him earlier pulling up alongside a silver BMW at a set of traffic lights shortly before he was killed.
He was hit twice in the head and neck, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Andre was rushed to King’s College Hospital but tragically died at 4am.
He was killed only yards from his family home.
A murder investigation was launched by the Met Police, but struggled to find any conclusive leads to why Andre was targeted.
There was no evidence to suggest that Andre, who was the manager at Oliver’s Pet Supplies in Streatham Vale, was involved in any gangland activity or had any suspicious dealings that could have led to his death.
A line of enquiry that was pursued was that he had been either the victim of extreme road rage or a case of mistaken identity.
At the time, Scotland Yard said it was keeping an open mind regarding road rage theories, but an officer acknowledged that the silver BMW incident was significant to the case.
He said the catalyst for the killing was probably “centred on the short period leading up to his death as opposed to historic events”.
Officers believed that the silver BMW may have filled up at a nearby BP petrol station at the top of Knights Hill, minutes before the shooting.
Despite numerous public appeals for information, no more leads came to light.
In 2006, the case was re-investigated after the police received an anonymous phone call from someone to say they had seen Andre’s black BMW swerve in front of a light-coloured car.
In 2006 South London Press reporter Richard Porritt also revealed that the same handgun used to murder Andre had been used in another killing less than 24 hours apart.
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Although this breakthrough led to new lines of enquiry being launched, the case eventually went cold again due to lack of evidence.
At the time, Detective Chief Inspector Ken Pandolfi said: “Andre’s callous murder has left his family completely devastated and baffled as to why anyone would want to kill him.”
His murder remains unsolved to this day, and his murderer has never been brought to justice.