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West End Lane book man John Henderson found dead

'He made me realise that you should never judge people. We are what we are because of luck and misfortune'

20 May, 2019 — By Tom Foot

John Henderson with his three legged dog Sugar 

FLOWERS and cards have been laid at a bookseller’s street stall after he was found dead.

John Henderson, 49, was a popular face in West End Lane after more than 20 years outside the West Hampstead Thameslink station.

He is believed to have been found dead in the Black Path – a lane running alongside of the railway station – on Sunday morning. The death is not being  treated as suspicious.

This morning, Nick Richards, who works next to Mr Henderson’s plot said:  “He was ebullient. A  wonderful man,  very friendly. I’ve known him 8 years and I can’t believe I’ve come in to work to find this.

“He made me realise that you should never judge people. We are what we are because of luck and misfortune.”

John’s empty stall this morning

Mr Henderson, who lived in Kilburn, was known locally as “John the Book man” while his dog was “Sugar the Book Girl”.

A plaque for three-legged Sugar was put up outside his plot after the bull terrier died last August. It says: “Sugar. Amazing three legged Staff Bull Terrier, Soul of West Hampstead, Book girl, lived here with her dad John.”

Born in Clydebank, near Glasgow, Mr Henderson moved to London 30 years ago and has run the book stall for more than two decades.

“I was a bit of a bad boy at one point, but ever since I started this [book stall] it’s kept me out of trouble,” he told the New Journal in  an interview last year.

A Met Police statement said: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 07.05am on Sunday, 19 May, to reports of an unresponsive male in Black Path, off West End Lane, NW6. Officers and the LAS attended.

“The man, believed to be aged in his 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

Labour councillor Lorna Russell has organised a “wake” in the Alliance Pub in Mill Lane  on Wednesday night from 7pm.


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