I like the author’s style as we learn about the crimes, but we also get a detailed account of the background of victims and perpetrators.
The second crime takes place in Barnet. A man finds a human torso floating on the river in 1949, and the victim is identified as Stanley Setty. The man was associated with Brian Hume, who is arrested for the murder.All that could be proved was that Hume had dumped the body from a plane as he was a pilot and was involved in smuggling —they were unable to prove he had committed the murder. They found blood on a carpet in Hume’s flat, but that didn’t prove Hume was the killer. Hume was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for being an accessory to murder. On his release in 1958 Hume admitted that he had killed Setty during an argument at his apartment as he was protected under double jeopardy, which means a man cannot be judged twice for the same crime.
Another crime is that of George Carter, who was brutally murdered. He had arranged to meet his friend Worrel. The man claimed to have left Carter and parted ways, but when his alibi proved to be wrong, he was arrested and then committed suicide in his cell.
The next crime is of a domestic nature. Beatrice Devereux and her husband Arthur were the parents of 5-year-old Stanly and twins Evelyn and Lawrence. Ellen Gregory, Beatrice’s mother, found out that her daughter was not in her address and the landlord told him about the transportation company which her son-in-law had hired to move the furniture. Ellen was afraid something had happened to her daughter, and in a warehouse they found a trunk and on opening they found the bodies of Beatrice and the twins. Arthur was arrested, and he claimed that his wife had been depressed and killed herself and the twins. Then he had panicked on finding the bodies and placed them in the trunk. It was a weak story made all the less believable by the fact that before her death he had applied for a job describing himself as a widower and the father of only one son.
The next murder is of Jane Jackson. That night she had a row with Thomas Partridge and his wife as they want her out of their home as the woman hadn’t paid her rent. There were further confrontations, and that night people heard cries of murder. Jane Jackson was found in a well, and at first it was believed that it was suicide, but then the position of the body was suspect. An earring was found at the Partridges’, and the people running the local pub claimed that Jane was wearing the earrings that night. Thomas Partridge and another man were arrested, but they were both acquitted and that crime remained unsolved.
Another crime was committed by Ruth Ellis, the last woman executed in Britain. She was a hostess in a nightclub called Court Club where he met David Blakely, a motor racing driver. The relationship between them was tempestuous and violent. Ruth was jealous of David’s other ladies, and David wouldn’t consent to marrying Ruth. On Easter Sunday, 10 April 1955, David was in a club called The Magdala, and Ruth shot him.
The next crime was dubbed the siege of Sidney Street. Several police officers died as they cornered some individuals who wanted to burgle an establishment. The Siege of Sidney Street of January 1911, was a gunfight between police and army forces, and two Latvian revolutionaries. The siege was the culmination of a series of events that began in December 1910 with an attempted jewellery robbery at Houndsditch in the City of London by the Latvian gang, which led to the murder of three policemen, and wounding of two others. The leader of the gang, George Gardstein, was accidentally wounded by his accomplices, and died of his injuries the following day.
I have already read about this crime before, featuring Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig. A policeman was killed, PC Miles, as these two young people tried to break into a warehouse from the roof. Bentley was convicted and sentenced to death.
Two women are the victims in the next case: Mary Menzies and her daughter Vera Chesney. They ran a residential home for the elderly. Vera was found drowned in the bathtub and Menzies was strangled. The police found some letters directed to Vera’s estranged husband, who lived in Germany. He was arrested when evidence found that he had been in contact with his wife. When he felt no way out, he shot himself.
In 1832 a man was brutally murdered. Benjamin Danby was seen to have left the pub in the company of four other men. The four men were arrested, and eventually William Johnson was convicted and executed.
In 1871 Jane Maria Clousen died of the injuries inflicted on her head. The murder weapon was a hammer, and the woman was pregnant. The suspicions fell on Edmund Pook, who Jane had claimed was her paramour. Edmund was the son of the man Jane had worked for, but Edmund denied everything. Edmund Pook was arrested and tried for the murder of Jane Maria Clousen. The police at the time considered the evidence pointed toward Pook being responsible. Pook was found guilty in the Coroners Court and the case then went to The Old Bailey on 10th July 1871 where the trial received vast media coverage and Pook was found innocent and acquitted as there was a lack of credible evidence.
This next crime is terrible. Louise Masset was the mother of young Manfred. Manfred’s father was unknown, and since Louise was employed as a governess, she left her son to be nursed by Helen Gentle. One day Louise wrote to Helen that she was taking the child to his father in France. Then the boy was found dead inside a toilet. Louise was arrested, and later it was found out that she had been in Brighton with a young lover. It is thought that Louise might have seen the child as an obstacle to marry her paramour. Louise denied having killed the child and claimed she had handed the child to two women who would look after him in some kind of children’s institution. Louise was found guilty and hanged.
In 1882 John Carlisle was stabbed to death in the house that Lina Sykes and Richard Wells shared. Wells admitted to police he had been arguing with Mr Carlisle earlier in the day, but denied stabbing him. A certain amount of drunken flirting went on between Miss Sykes and Mr Carlisle, although she was also believed to be in a relationship with Wells – something she denied. Wells was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to life imprisonment, yet questions still remain over exactly what happened on that day.
The next crime has been called Tottenham Outrage, which is the name given to an armed robbery and double murder which took place in Tottenham on 23 January 1909, which was carried out by two anarchists,Paul Helfeld and Jacob Lepidus, both Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire. Helfeld and Lepidus, respectively armed with semiautomatic pistols, waited on either side of the entrance to the factory awaiting the car holding the wages.The two gunmen ran from the scene pursued by the police. The two criminals killed a boy, Ralph Jocelyne and Constable Tyler. As the crowd neared Helfeld’s position, he shot himself in the right eye, but survived the initial injury and was taken to the Prince of Wales Hospita. and then he died. Jacob Lepidus broke into a house, and when the police burst in, he shot himself.
In 1948 Christopher McCormack killed his wife Annie Mary. Annie ran some kind of guest house, and she was well loved in the neighbourhood. Her son-in-law found her dead in her bed, and as Christopher had been arrested for drunkenness, he was charged for the murder, which he didn’t deny doing.
The last crime I’ve read is that of three men killing policeman Thomas Simmons. He saw three men walking and recognised one as a well-known criminal named David Dredge. The Inspector carried on, and caught up with the two men he believed he had seen earlier. As he walked towards them the taller one turned quickly round with a revolver in his hand and fired. David Dredge was arrested, and then a man who went by the name of John Lee. Dredge was acquitted but Lee was sentenced to death. Some time later another man called John Martin was arrested for other crimes, and he confessed that he was the one who had shot Thomas Simmons.