I have created this website as a tribute to Neil Boland, eldest of twelve children, born to Michael
and Josephine Boland of County Tipperary, Ireland and dad to myself, Michelle. He moved from home to England in the early
60s and after working as a barman took up work as a cab driver.
HOW HE MET KEITH
It was in this line of work that he got to know Mr Moon, who often requested him as his driver and in time began
working on a regular basis as Keith's chauffeur.
EVENTS OF 4th JANUARY 1970
On a cold night in winter 1970 Neil died under the wheels of Keith's Bentley outside the Red Lion pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Many accounts of what happened were given at the time in the press and have since been documented in books.
Ever since I was a child (I was almost four years old at the time), I remember my family discussing what happened and
why no-one was ever brought to justice. My mother's failing health over the years I can only attribute to her loss and grief.
It was not long after my mother died that I watched a documentary on Channel 4 giving an insight into the life
of Keith Moon. It went into detail about the accident and the interview with one of the car's occupants 'Legs' Larry
Smith made me feel that his version sounded very confused. How can you not know whether the driver, Neil stepped
out or was pulled out of the car? (and how can you approach a subject with such flippancy?) I had seen plenty newspaper
cuttings from the time but this made me ask questions - Who was responsible? Keith?, the so-called 'skinheads' who were charged
with affray? My family had told me that they always thought that there had been a cover-up.
FINDING THE TRUTH
After I saw the documentary I came across the book 'Dear Boy' by Tony Fletcher which I must say is very well
written and well researched - and very entertaining. I was, however hoping that as well as eyewitness accounts from the surviving
or traceable occupants of the Bentley that there would be at least some account from those outside, but there was none.
Four years ago after much thought I decided to try to trace the other eyewitnesses, who although named at the time
have not been given much thought since. One gentleman, a Mr Peter Thorpe replied to an email I sent him and upon realizing
who I was gave me a very unexpected, frank version of the events. This is a copy of the email he sent me:
I have just looked at your email, and would like to explain to you what really
happened to your dad. Tony Fletchers book Dear Boy, is nowhere near the truth. I have never been a skinhead, or a racist,
i am Irish and have a mixed race family. We were at the disco because we liked The Who. There wasn't any trouble all night,
untill we left. Everyone was leaving the disco quite happy and when we saw Kim Moon getting in a Bentley, my mate said 'give
us a lift home', as a joke. She told us to' fuck off '. So when the car left the car park we flicked pennies on the roof.
The car suddenly stopped and the driver got out running at us as if to start trouble. There was a bit of a fight and the car
sped off. The driver, who wasn't hurt, ran after the car which stopped down the road. We chased after him, he ran around the
front of the car where the fight continued. Then i saw Kim Moon drive the car at everyone, she didnt seem to have
any control of the car. I went over the wing of the car and landed on my feet. I noticed the driver was still in
front and she just kept on going. We all shouted for the car to stop but it kept going down the road. My mate stopped the
car with his van outside the social club. I didn't run away, we tried to lift the car off the driver but it was too heavy.
I went to the police station that night and told them what happened. I was charged with causing an affray weeks later,
we all pleaded guilty and i was given a 50 pound fine. The judge at the trial blamed Keith Moon's showing off for the bad
feeling that started the trouble. I have always thought he was trying to take the blame, thats why he said he was driving.
If we had top solicitors the truth might have come out. I now know who you are and can only say that I am sorry what
happened to your dad on that night, and hope you believe me.
I replied to his email and arranged a meeting in Hatfield and I met with this very nice, respectable family man
who told me that the so called 'skinheads' were in fact just local teenagers (he even showed me a photo of himself as he was).
He told me more about the events of that night. When he was thrown over the wing and he had a very clear view of
who was behind the wheel and it was definitely not Keith.
His statement to this effect was given to police at the time. In fact every one else involved also said the same in
their statements - that it was not Keith who was driving the car. Keith was the only person to leave and go for
help. The three other occupants stayed put.
Maybe other people helped to steer the car. According to Larry Smith he himself tried to. The Bentley had space
for three in the front and Keith, being a gentleman would not have entered first on the passenger side.
'DEAR BOY' With New Afterword
Since I published this site Tony Fletcher released an updated version of his book 'Dear Boy'. It has a section titled
'The Death of Neil Boland' in which Peter Thorpe was interviewed for his version of the events. Also, since
then Tony interviewed Jean Battye who was quite adamant about the previously stated version of events. When Thorpe replied
to my first contact he need only have stated his side of the story in relation to why a fight broke out. He was however far
more concerned that not only were the car occupants' witness statements innaccurate but also the press reports and later publishings
were fraught with errors. He did not have to tell me that Kim was behind the wheel unless this was the case - it gained
Keith took the blame for what happened - he loved Kim and it is not hard to see why he would do this. He lived
with this to his untimely death.
MY NEXT STEP
The original statements are no longer archived, otherwise I would have had the case re-opened. Were you
in the car? I would like to hear from you. If I were Jean Battye or Larry Smith I would by now certainly want to contact the
author of this site if they were telling the truth at the time. It is time they did as there are no repercussions left. Last
year I was given the phone number of one of these persons but I have not taken the liberty to call it as it is a residential
If anyone reading this website would care to email me to shed further light on the unusual events of that night
I would be very pleased to hear from them too.