Valerie Goldston reveals how her parents helped catch Martin Luther King’s assassin

Valerie Goldston’s parents inadvertently helped catch Martin Luther King’s killer by fighting him off when he tried to rob their London jewellery shop. Now, 40 years on, she has closed the shop where the incident took place.

In 1968, Mrs Goldston’s late parents, Maurice and Billie Isaacs, then 61 and 57 respectively, were closing up at their jewellers at Paddington when a robber pointed a gun at them. The couple retaliated, with Mr Isaacs grabbing the gun and punching the man in the face before he fled. The man was arrested at Heathrow airport a month later.

Recently declassified FBI files disclose that the gunman was James Earl Ray, wanted for the murder of American civil-rights leader Martin Luther King a month earlier. “They were just tough Jewish parents who weren’t going to stand there and let him take what they had earned that day,” Mrs Goldston, who is in her 60s, tells People.

The story surfaces as Mrs Goldston, who now runs the family business with her son Gary, has sold the premises to a sandwich shop. She says: “We were made an offer we couldn’t refuse. The street (Praed Street) had changed from a street of independent little shops to all sandwich shops. It was difficult to close, but it was economically the right decision.”

They will continue trading from an office above the store but are looking for another site in a more community-based area.

Mrs Goldston lives in Fulham.

    Last updated: 10:31am, July 18 2008