What Happened The Night Keith Moon Accidentally Killed A Man?

Keith Moon was at the height of his fame in 1970 as the drummer for the British rock band The Who. Unfortunately, that same year, Moon was involved in a tragic accident that ended up causing the death of his chauffeur and bodyguard, Neil Boland. Like many other rock stars and musicians, Moon had his fair share of violence and antics going on, one of which was his penchant for drinking and meeting ladies, which prompted him to hire Boland to drive him around to pubs.

Sadly, the events that transpired at a London pub on January 4, 1970, resulted in the death of Boland at the hands of Moon himself, when the drunk drummer ran over his own chauffeur while trying to escape from a group of skinheads. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the incident, namely that Moon was cleared of all charges (which upset Boland's family), and that he may not have even been the one driving that night. Despite being freed of manslaughter charges, the death of Boland was a heavy burden Moon carried until the end of his life. 

  • It Started When A Group Of Skinheads Attacked Moon At A Bar

    In January 1970, Moon and a bunch of his friends were at a pub in London when they were noticed by a group of Nazi skinheads who weren't too happy to see him. The pub was frequented by working class people who were offended by the way Moon conducted himself, from ordering expensive brandy instead of beer to arriving in a fancy car. 

    They hated Moon's show of wealth, and when Moon and his entourage got into the Bentley Neil Boland had pulled around, the skinheads attacked the group. They threw coins and rocks at the car and began rocking it, preventing Moon from leaving. Boland, who was initially driving, got out of the car to confront them, which was when things went south for the driver.  

  • Boland Was Overpowered By The Group
    Photo: MCA Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Boland Was Overpowered By The Group

    When Boland realized the skinheads were preventing the group from being able to leave the scene, he most likely decided to get out of the car to confront them. Although investigators were unsure whether or not Boland exited the car on his own or was dragged out in the chaos, it was likely that he chose to get out, as he was also Moon's bodyguard.

    However, Boland was no match for the angry skinheads, who chased him down a ways and began beating him. Boland ended up in front of the car, and was run over when Moon began to drive away.   

  • A Drunk Moon Decided To Drive His Friends To Safety

    Moon had zero intentions to drive that night - in fact, he rarely drove at all, even when sober, and hired Boland that night specifically in anticipation of being drunk. However, when the chaotic scene turned terrifying, Moon became desperate to get his friends and family to safety. He hopped in the driver's seat, and from there things got a bit hazy. Moon either stepped on the accelerator, or simply grabbed the wheel of a car already in drive, left that way by Boland when he went to confront the skinheads.

    According to eyewitnesses, the Bentley "shot out of the car park," which would imply that Moon had accelerated the car rather than just steered it. The car jolted, hard, and then began moving at about ten miles per hour down the road as people continued to pound on the vehicle. 

  • Boland's Head Was Caught Beneath The Car

    As the group drunkenly drove away from the chaos, more people began shouting at the car. At first, Moon and the others in the car assumed it was continued harassment from the pub - however, when they pulled over about 100 yards down the road to get help, they realized they had been chased by regular civilians, who were trying to tell them that someone was pinned underneath the car. 

    It turned out that Boland had somehow ended up underneath the Bentley when Moon drove it away from the pub. Unfortunately, no one in the car noticed, and Boland was dragged the entire 100 yards down the road. Perhaps the most gruesome and devastating detail of the ordeal was that when Moon reached underneath the car for Boland, he "pulled out brains," as Boland's head had been utterly crushed by the car. Boland was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. 

  • Moon Didn't Have His Driver's License With Him

    The fact that Moon hired Boland as a chauffeur expressly so the drummer could get drunk was not lost on Boland's family. Although Moon didn't even drive while sober, that night he had hired Boland specifically because he anticipated everyone, including himself, would imbibe.

    Boland's family felt that if Boland hadn't been working for Moon that night, he never would have been killed. The press also had a field day making Moon, who didn't have a driver's license on him that night, the guiltiest party. Moon broke down about the fact that the public claimed he "did it on purpose." 

  • Boland Was Dragged 100 Yards Under The Car

    Moon drove about a hundred yards with Boland underneath the car without even realizing it. Moon had aimed the Bentley at a lighted area a little ways down from where he and his group were being harassed by the skinheads. Moon knew he was leaving Boland behind to fend for himself, but everyone assumed Boland, who was a rather large man and a bodyguard in his own right, could go up against a group of skinhead teenagers.

    When rescuers managed to get the Bentley off of Boland, they found his body face down, and "his head was like an eggshell," according to Moon's wife, Kim.