The son of the prime suspect in the disappearance of a schoolboy 33 years ago has told how he is convinced his dad killed the youngster and got away with the crime.
Steve Lambert believes his paedophile gravedigger father William murdered Lee Boxell, 15, who was last seen alive in September 1988.
The boy vanished after visiting a church youth club.
Lambert, 85, was arrested on suspicion of his murder but later released without charge.
But former detective Mark Williams-Thomas who is looking into the case has now named him as the man he believes murdered Lee.
He said: “I believe that on the day Lee disappeared he witnessed something and Lambert could not trust him to keep quiet so he was silenced, killed by Lambert.”
And in a four-part podcast he asked Steve if he thought his dad was capable of murdering a child.
The 57-year-old replied: “I think so, if he got caught out.
“I believe if he got caught out and he believed there was a risk of somebody telling the police.”
Steve, 57, adds: “He got away with it, you could say he got away with murder.”
Crimestoppers has now put up a £20,000 reward to help solve the case.
One of the last reported sightings of Lee was on Sutton High Street, South London.
The football mad youngster, who would have turned 49 last month, had £10 in his pocket and was first thought to be on his way to watch Crystal Palace at nearby Selhurst Park.
But detectives discovered in 2012 that he would spend time in an outbuilding of St Dunstan’s church at Cheam village, known to regulars as the Shed.
Lambert ran the club and was later convicted of encouraging youngsters to engage in sexual activity by pretending he had supernatural powers.
Steve took Mr Williams-Thomas, who helped expose the Jimmy Savile scandal, to the churchyard and showed him the spot where he said he saw his father stoking a fire in a three foot pit next to a grave in the year Lee vanished.
He said: “There was a very large hole on the side of a grave and it was full of sticks and it was glowing like a furnace.”
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Asked if Lee’s remains could have been in the fire, Steve said: “I don’t know, he’s capable of so much.”
Police excavated the graveyard in 2013 but found no sign of Lee.
Steve also opened up about his childhood of abuse at the hands of his dad.
He told how Lambert would torture the family cat by putting him in the spin drier “just for a laugh”.
And he recalled how the monster killed his granny’s budgie in front of him and his cousins after putting it in a plastic bag while still alive.
Steve said: “I smashed it against the wall. And he did that without a care.”
Describing his life with Lambert as “hell”, he added: “I don’t remember one time when he showed me any love or care or anything like that.”
One day, Steve found a pack of his father’s pornographic playing cards and showed them to the other children in the flats where they lived.
He said: “He grabbed me by my arm and leg and threw me at the wall.
“He came to finish me off but my mother dived across me to stop him and she said, ‘Bill, leave him alone, you’re going to kill him’.”
Dad-of-eight Lambert was jailed for 11 years in 2011 for sexually abusing four girls on the grounds of St Dunstan’s Church between 1985 and 1987.
He was convicted of rape, indecent assault and procuring girls to have sex by false pretenses.
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Three years later, Lambert was held over Lee’s murder along with nephew Robert Smith and a third man.
Mr Smith’s partner Trudi Cawley told how she was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert justice.
Asked if she had any information about Lee’s disappearance, she told the podcast: “I have no knowledge.”
Ms Cawley claimed Lambert had told her Lee was alive and “changed his name to Lesley Hall”.
She and Mr Smith were released without charge and are not suspected of any involvement in the case.
Mr Williams-Thomas also uncovered evidence that Lambert claimed to have spoken to Lee after he vanished.
In 1999, the suspect told a retired police officer working for the Missing Persons charity he had known Lee, who would come to the Shed with friends.
He also claimed he had seen the teenager a year after he had disappeared when they waved at each other.
But in 2005, Lambert told police he did not really know Lee and that he had come to the Shed on one occasion.
Mr Williams-Thomas said: “He has gone from knowing Lee well to only seeing him once. And if he only saw him once how could he recognize him a year later in the street? So what is the truth?
“He has taken the truth with him but I will continue to investigate.”
There’ll be no justice for our son
Lee’s parents Peter and Christine had for decades kept his bedroom just as it was when they last saw him.
Only recently have they taken down some of his posters, to make it a playroom for their grandchildren – the nephew and niece Lee have never had the chance to meet.
They have given their blessing to the investigation into the disappearance of their only son, and have been kept updated.
Retired architectural technician Peter, 74, said: “I’m hoping something will come from Mark’s podcast.
He said: “If Lee was murdered, and I think he was, there will be no justice for him. I don’t dwell on it, otherwise I’d have a nervous breakdown.”
Peter found solace in music, getting to the end of Britain’s Got Talent with the Missing People Choir in 2018, singing I Miss You.
And he focuses on his grandchildren Alex, 14, and Abi, 11. Alex reminds him a lot of his missing son.
Peter said: “He’s coming up to the age Lee was when he disappeared.
“I often call him Lee.”