Friday, 30 August 2013

Sirhan Sirhan - Was he Brainwashed?

Robert Kennedy was assassinated on tv in 1968 by gunman Sirhan Sirhan, whom was very quickly apprehended.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment.  What is strange about this case is that Sirhan has always maintained that he cannot remember anything about the assassination.  Conspiracy theorists believe Sirhan had been brainwashed into carrying out the murder, probably by the CIA.  This premise had been used as the plot to the 1962 film "The Manchurian Candidate" starring Frank Sinatra.  Many experts believe that hypnosis cannot be used to programme somebody to carry out a murder.

    In 2011, Sirhan was denied parole because he refuses to admit his guilt and address his actions.  Sirhan maintained he has no recollection of anything that happened.  His parole has been refused more than a dozen times because of this.  Was it possible to programme a person to murder?  Mentalist Derren Brown decided to try.  Over a three month period, he had a man he had hypnotised, carry out various actions when a certain trigger was shown to him.  The proposed victim was actor, writer & broadcaster Stephen Fry, who went along with the plan.  At a theatre, Stephen Fry was giving a talk to a capacity audience, where only a select few were in on the act.  Security people, firearms experts(the shooter had marksman lessons) and on a given point - the trigger was polka dots - he stood up and shot Fry three times.  The audience were shell shocked, not knowing what to do, then Derren Brown walked on stage which immediately relaxed the audience as they then realised some experiment had gone off.

   Derren told Fry it was ok to get up.  He did make it look realistic!  The shooter had absolutely no recollection of standing up and shooting Fry.  After a test run, he was given a polygraph which he passed with flying colours.  The experiment proved it could be done but it did take Brown three months to get him to the stage that he thought he could do it.  This gives credence to the claim that Sirhan may have been brainwashed.

The Craigslist Killer

Philip Haynes Markoff was a young medical student that became known as the Craigslist Killer.  This was due to the fact that the victims advertised their services on the Craigslist website.  Markoff`s short crime spree lasted just short of a week, leaving one woman dead.

    Philip Haynes Markoff was born in Syracuse, New York, to Richard & Susan Markoff on 12th February 1986.  After leaving High School, he attended SUNY, in Albany, where he graduated in 2007 as a pre-med student.  He then gravitated to the Boston University of Medicine, where he was a second year student when he was arrested.  His girlfriend was Megan McAllister, a native of New Jersey, whom he met in 2005 whilst they both worked in the ER at Albany Medical Center.  Their planned wedding was set for 14th August 2009, but this, ultimately, was permanently altered.

    Trisha Leffler had offered escort services on Craigslist, but when she arrived at the appointed room on Friday 10th April 2009, at Westin Copley Place Hotel, she found herself looking down the barrel of a gun.  Her assailant, bound and gagged her, then robbed her before fleeing.  Four days later, at the Copley Marriott in Boston, on 14th April, Julia Brissman was found dead in a room.  She had advertised massage services on Craigslist.  Two days later, 16th April, Corinne Stout, offering lap dances, went to see a client at the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island, when the client attempted to rob her but when it was unsuccessful, he fled.  His image was caught on cctv at these hotels so the Police knew it was the same young man wearing a baseball cap.  Through the cctv, email messages, and accurate descriptions from the two surviving women, Police had a name; Philip Markoff.

   He was arrested on Interstate 95, in Walpole, where he was en route to the Foxwoods Casino in Massachusetts, with Megan McAllister.  He was indicted by a Grand Jury on a murder and armed robbery charges.  Naturally, many people could not believe that this clean cut young man not was trolling the internet for women but was a killer and robber.  Markoff was held, pending trial, in Nashau Street Jail in Boston, where he made several  suicide attempts.  He succeeded on 15th August 2010.  Opinions vary as to why he wrote her name in blood on the walls of his cell and put pictures of her all around.  "It was to spare Megan the ordeal of probably having to give evidence" was one explanation.  "It was him showing that everything was about him" was another.  What is puzzling is why did he resort to robbery?  And it was three attacks inside a week.  Did he suddenly need money?  Thinking that women offering "services" on a website could solve his problem?  Or were there more deeply hidden aspects to the character of Markoff?  We will never know.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad

This bastion of truth, honesty & integrity exploded into a national scandal in the late 1980`s which led to it`s breakup by the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Geoffrey Dear.  Two sets of actions led to a new breakthrough forensic test, which is now used by Police extensively, of a series of armed robberies and a terrorist campaign that saw twenty one people lose their lives and six innocent men framed by the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad.

    This squad had it`s origins going back to 1952, where it was known as the Special Crime Squad, and was to assist the CID in outbreaks of various crimes.  By the end of the 50`s, it was now the Birmingham Crime Squad.  When different forces amalgamated, the Birmingham Police joined up with the West Midlands force in 1974, and the squad became known as the WMSCS.  Where everything unravelled was the arrest and charge of a man called Paul Dandy whom had allegedly confessed to serious crime.  An investigation revealed that a number of other cases had suspects "Confessing" in written statements.  Some cases collapsed and some men were jailed.  The forensic test that showed the confessions had been tampered with was the ESDA test, that examined the sheets that were underneath the one being written on and bringing up the impressions.  No impressions meant the sheets were separated and incriminating remarks were written in later.

    The terrorist campaign was the Birmingham pub bombings in which twenty one people died.  Six Irishmen were arrested at a Lancashire port, ready to catch a ferry to Belfast.  These men were taken to the West Midlands, where the WMSCS were waiting for them.  The six allegedly confessed but their spokesman, Paddy Hill, said that they were repeatedly beaten and tortured.  They were convicted at Lancaster Crown Court and jailed for life.  I have stood in this court which also saw the notorious "Mr Asia" murder trial.  The six served 16 years in prison before they were cleared and released.  Paddy Hill stated that despite the many cops the six came into contact with over the remand, trial, appeals etc, they were NEVER threatened or assaulted by the vast majority.  The only violence came from the WMSCS.  This violence emerged when it was revealed that they used torture to get confessions, such as wrapping plastic bags around their heads and suffocating them.  Medical evidence supported this.  I did a short stint on a forensics course and one woman commented that two former members of this squad were on a course she was on.  She said that they were "Absolute pissheads!"   Of course questions were asked politely and the suspects responded to this courtesy by spilling their guts.  Yeah right.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Manson - An Opinion

This will not be a full review of this huge case but an opinion of mine based on what I have read and seen in documentaries.  Two events effectively killed off the sixties;  the murder of Meredith Hunter at Altamont and the Tate/LaBianca murders.  Manson was the puppet master, there is no doubt about that.  After all, he did go into the home of the LaBiancas, tied them up and then went out to bring his puppets in to do the slaughter.  All his claims that "It wasn't me who did the murders!"  Well, that is true buddy, but sending them out to kill and then tying up the victims and bringing in gullible young people to do your dirty work, what does that make you then?

    Many of the followers this master manipulator came from what is generally called "good" or middle class families.  This seemed to be a trend with young people.  Getting a good start in life but obviously this is not good enough.  They do not want to listen to parents or friends about living their lives but sure will listen to an utter bullshit merchant who come to totally control them.  This did not work with all people associated.  The man who introduced Manson to music producer Terry Melcher, moved away from Manson and his followers, despite the attempts to control him.  The frequent complaint from Manson was that the man was "thinking".  He would not yield to manipulation.  Something Manson did not like.

    Young follower Barbara Hoyt told of how they were sent away whilst the murder team were at the ranch house.  Manson, Watson, Van Houten. Atkins, Krenwinkle & Kasabian. Kasabian witnessed what happened.  Hoyt went to the ranch house with clothes for the group, not knowing what was going on.  She said that Manson went berserk when she arrived  there.  Not this self -proclaimed "God" or "Prophet" showing his true colours?  All this "Love & peace" shown to be total bollocks?   Barbara Hoyt broke away and became a witness for the State.  There was an attempt by Family members to kill her.  Again, the true colours of these people came to the surface.  One FBI profiler believed that Manson ordered these murders to ensure total control over the group, that he felt was losing to Charles Watson.  Barbara Hoyt said that Watson did everything that Manson told him, without question.  My view is that theory has been shot down by Hoyt.  Some members stopped listening to Manson and left.  His grip was not as total as he thought.  

    There was a documentary some years back in which the three women killers were interviewed in prison.  Two accepted that they had done wrong in the worst possible way, and that they had been manipulated and basically, brainwashed.  Only one still proclaimed her belief in Manson, though I cannot recall which one.  My bet would be Susan Atkins.  Paul Watkins was the second-in-command to Manson and he was the main procurer of young girls for Manson.  He does not figure largely in the telling of the whole story, but logically, somebody had to be able to draw young girls in, as, let`s face it, Manson would of have been in the age group of the people they "opposed".  But in the end, Manson was no different to Jones, Berg & Koresch.  A person obsessed with control.  

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Drugs - The Innocent Suffer

I would like to highlight two cases that showed that the world of drugs is nothing at all like the old hippie scene in the 60`s and early 70`s.  Professional criminals swiftly moved in and used extreme violence to make the hippies back out.  These people do not take prisoners.  Literally!   The first case is about two brothers dealing weed, and they decided to cross up the supplier.  These were not big league players, just low level suppliers, and as it was only weed they conned him out of, so it was no big deal.  The suppliers thought otherwise.  They stormed into their home, and kidnapped their 16 year old sister.  She was not involved in crime in any way. She was held prisoner in various houses, motel rooms, and repeatedly raped by the four assailants.   The FBI did not get her home alive.  They took her into a forest, smashed her over the head with a shovel and then buried her in an already dug grave.  She was found with soil in her lungs and throat.  She was buried alive.

    Thanks to the expertise of the FBI Evidence Recovery Team, they followed the trail and arrested all four kidnappers and killers.  Some of them received the death penalty.  The investigators initially did not get the start they needed because the brothers refused to acknowledge who the gang were.  Eventually, they did.  But it came too late for their young sister.

    The second was the kidnapping of the son of an honest hard working man.  Why was the son kidnapped?  Simply because his fathers` brother was a major drug pusher in Harlem and it was thought that he would soon hand over mega-bucks to get his nephew back alive.  To make their point, they chopped off one of his fingers and mailed it to his family.  The father said that he did not have big money. "But your brother certainly does!"  Soon, the body of the boy was discovered.  Again, another young life snuffed out.  All because of drugs.  Of course drugs is a glamorous game.  Of course most criminals do not hurt women and children. Ha!  Believe that and you believe in Santa!

The American Underworld TV Series

This new documentary series has started on the Discovery Channel and the opening episode dealt with home made drugs.  Pushers and distributors were shown making up crack cocaine, steroids and such, though not some of the concoctions that have been made in clandestine labs in the USA.  The reporter spoke to meth users in jail.  They showed just how tweaking can keep your teeth and mouth in such tip-top shape!  Of course I am joking.  Their teeth had virtually rotted away and no sane woman would let a mouth like theirs near them.  No doubt the pushers kept telling them that meth does not have the effects on you that doctors keep warning us about.  Naturally, a pusher only craves YOUR money so he will not lie to you once!

    We also saw the pusher who manufactures his own brand of steroids.  What was remarkable were the claims he made.  He claimed that he has never seen "Roid Rage" and basically said that it was a myth.  Of course all doctors and medical experts are compulsive liars, whilst the pusher is only in danger of losing the money he craves.  And he said that steroids make sports far more interesting.  "Without steroids sport would be boring!"  Despite steroids being completely safe, this pusher would have had absolutely no hesitation in killing anybody who got in his way.  

    The cocaine kingpin of Los Angeles was interviewed though not identified and said that he and four other men supplied all the cocaine for all of the LA area.  He keeps one major step away from the drugs so he cannot be connected to it, like all major drug barons.  This man was extremely ruthless, issuing orders to his minions, and watching the millions roll in.  What we did not see was any claims that the Mafia still controls the streets.  Their grip went decades ago.  The big street gangs now run the streets and parts of cities.  They do not however, have the skill at bribing cops, judges, public officials, the corruption that traditional organised crime had been doing most of the 20th century.  This series is covering different aspects of the Underworld, and showing that the Underworld is vast and varied.  It is not all about smart suits, jewellry, and the need for attention to let everybody know who and what they are.  No wonder so many get caught.  The programme also shows that it is NOT glamorous at all, and the film and TV versions just like to show the perceived version.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Unsolved Prostitute Murders

Prostitutes have long been considered fair game for twisted men to indulge their taste for murder, wherever in the world.  The States have had Gary Ridgway, Arthur Shawcross, Robert Hansen to name but a few.  Here in Britain, we have had Sutcliffe, Jack the Ripper, Steve Wright, Jack the Stripper, to name just a few.  But whilst the captured killers names live on in infamy, the victims are quickly forgotten.  Here are a couple of "Low-level prostitute murder cases" from the past.

    The first is the death of Maud Mills way back in 1912, in the Black Country area of Walsall.  It was on Sunday 5th May 1912, when she was found severely injured.  She had been shot four times.  Two of the shots were to her head.  Incredibly, she lived on for six days, but Police could not understand Maud claiming that she had not been shot but in fact had fallen on some railings.  The hospital had taken four bullets from her wounds.  Shortly before she died, Maud had confessed to her sister-in-law that she had done some work as a prostitute.  Police had learned from witnesses that Maud was seen talking to three men outside Lloyds Bank in Walsall town centre, and very shortly afterwards they heard the shots.  Why did Maud deny being shot?  Who were the three men she was seen with?  Was she sticking  to the supposed "Underworld code of silence?"  Whatever the answers, Maud Mills died in denial to the Police.

    Constance May (Hind) Smith met an extremely brutal death in London on 9th May 1936.  She was seen walking towards her rooms in Old Compton Street in the company of a young man.  Later, her body was found.  She had been repeatedly punched, strangled with a length of electrical wire and then so savagely beaten around the head with a flat iron, that her head was almost destroyed.  The young man was never traced.

    Constance was the illegitimate child of Kathleen Hind, born in 1912 in East Ham in London.  Constance amassed eight convictions for prostitution, beginning on 28th March 1930.  Her "beat" had been Old Compton Street & Charing Cross Road.  She did marry, in 1933, to Robert Smith but the marriage did not last for very long.  At the time of her death, Police revealed that she had lived with four different men, including, wait for it, A BLACK MAN!  This dastardly villain had lived off her earnings!  Of course, black men were regarded as the lowest of the low, at that time, being pimps and pushers.

    But Constance did not have the deterioration that many prostitutes had.  The Pathologist said that her body was well nourished, had no signs of alcoholism or venereal disease.  Newspapers speculated that her murder was connected to two other prostitute killings.  Those of Josephine Martin in November 1935 and Jeanette Cotton in April 1936.  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Lexington Spree Killers

It can be hard to imagine just how truly psychotic and twisted women can become just for kicks.  This happened in the most horrific way for five people in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1986.  The murderous rampage of Lafonda Fay Foster & Tina Marie Hickey Powell garnered national headlines, and prosecutors pressed for the death penalty for both of them.  Tina Powell blamed the murders on being drunk and out of it on drugs.  Nothing unusual there.  She also claimed she did the murders out of fear of Foster.  

    Powell was in her late 20`s and had four children, when she and Foster became lovers. They went to the home of partially disabled former serviceman Carlos Kearns, to try and get some money from him.  Also there was his wife Virginia, and their housekeeper Trudy Harrell.  Some time after,Theodore Sweet & Roger Keene arrived.  But Virginia was perturbed by the presence of the girls.  She left to phone Police, who asked them to leave.  But they only went as far as the parking lot, where there others that Foster knew.  They sat with them drinking whiskey.  Foster had acquired a gun that belonged to Carlos.  

   The five people were ordered into a car at gunpoint by Foster.  Powell later told a parole board that the five "Went willingly with two girls with a little gun".  First stop was a bait shop where Carlos cashed a $25 check.  Then Foster went into a liquor store and purchased bullets, claiming that she wanted to kill rats.  That meant that Powell must have held them at gunpoint.  Then they went to a fast food store but then drove off before buying anything.  Then the horror began.  The five were forced to lie face down, where upon Powell started stabbing them repeatedly in the back.  Then Foster started shooting them.  One of the women was still alive and so her throat was cut.  The car was driven over one of the men, one was dragged into the back of the car, whilst the remaining man was sat slumped against it.  Then they poured fuel over the car and set it alight, burning the man alive inside and the victim slumped against it.   It did not take the Police long to arrest them.

    On trial, the excuses began. "We drunk and drugged up" "I was in fear of Foster" "I had a bad childhood" etc, etc.  Powell dropped out of school at around the age of 12, had a low IQ, but that does not excuse what they did.  Powell received life without parole for 25 years.  Foster received the death penalty, later commuted to life without parole.  Powell claimed that the victims got out of the car, lay down and then they attacked them.  Conveniently forgetting the gun pointed at them.  One woman on a forum said that she was in jail whilst they awaited trial, and they thought that their crimes were no big deal!  Foster is incarcerated at the Western Kentucky Correctional Complex & Powell is in the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women in Peewee Valley.  When people commit a slaughter like this, they should be locked up and the key thrown away.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Rod Ferrell - The Vampire Killer

The bugbear that has had many an American town quivering with fear and hysteria is that of the Satanic Cult.   There was one such "Cult" at large in Eustis, a town in Florida.  This was when a self-professed "Vampire" named Rod Ferrell and some of his "Coven" friends were involved in a brutal double murder.   Roderrick Justin Ferrell, the leader of a little band so-called "Vampires" , born on 28th March 1980, went into the home of Naomi Ruth Queen & Richard Wendorf, through the garage, picking up a crowbar and attacking the unsuspecting Wendorf.  He smashed in his skull and ribs, then when Queen walked in, he bludgeoned her to death.  With him was fellow cult member Howard Scott Anderson.

    Ferrell was later to claim that he intended to let Naomi Queen live but said that she threw hot coffee over him.  This enraged him so he bludgeoned her to death.  Ferrell then burned marks into Wendorf in the shape of a "V", Ferrell`s sign, with dots inside it.  Each dot represented a member of his cult.  The slaughter took place on 25th November 1996 and was discovered by their daughter Jennifer.  But she did not realise that the murders had been carried out by Ferrell, a friend of her sister Heather.  It was claimed that Ferrell was helping Heather escape from an abusive home.  Friends that were involved in the murders were Charity Keesee and Dana Cooper.
    The group then set off on a four day drive, eventually stopping in Baton Rouge.  With a lack of funds, Keesee made a call to her mother requesting some money.  Her mother contacted the Police.  She persuaded the group to book in at a Howard Johnson Hotel, but ran straight into the Baton Rouge Police, who held them in a jail until they were extradited back to Florida.  Initially held at the Lake County Jail, the quartet were later transferred to a Juvenile Facility in Ocala.  They appeared in court on 12th February 1998.  Ferrell said that the girls were totally innocent, and whilst he committed the murders, Anderson was merely an accessory.  Ferrell pled guilty to two charges of Felony Murder and sentenced to death.  Anderson was charged with two counts of Felony Murder and sentenced to life without parole.  Charity Keesee was convicted on 3rd degree murder, robbery with a firearm and burglary with a deadly weapon.  She received ten and a half years.  Dana Cooper faced the same charges and received seventeen and a half years.

    Ferrell was the youngest person on Death Row, and on appeal, the Florida Supreme Court reduced his sentence from death to life without parole.   He initially revelled in the notoriety he was causing, frequenting pulling tongues at TV cameras as if it was no big deal.  People clambering to see this self-styled vampire or satanist, basically got to see what they wanted to see.  Today, Ferrell has renounced his vampire beliefs and when he receives "Fan Mail", he says he tries to persuade the writers not to go down the path he chose.  Many sick and twisted killers seem to get masses of mail from equally sick and deluded people, and this is a phenomenon that I do not understand.  Could it be that sick breeds sick?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Bible John Mystery

Back in Glasgow between 1968 & 1969, a serial killer was on the loose in Glasgow, who took the lives of three women, all in similar circumstances, but despite an extremely intensive manhunt, he was never apprehended.  This was the killer labelled "Bible John".  This saga began in 1968 when 25 year old Patricia Docker went out for a night of dancing.  She intended to go to the Majestic Ballroom, but instead decided to go to the Barrowlands Ballroom.  The Ballroom nightlife was not as hectic as it was decades before, but it still gave opportunities to go dancing and in the case of married people, a chance to grab a bit on the side.  This point was to blight the subsequent enquiry, as many would not come forward fearing relationship and marital rows if their other half had known where they had been.

    Pat Docker was found in an alleyway, virtually naked with a sanitary towel placed on her body, the next morning.  Despite intense activity, the Police never caught him.  It was 18 months later that another victim was found.  This was 32 year old Jemina McDonald, a mother of three, went out to the Barrowlands, whilst her sister minded her children.  She was seen with a well groomed young man with auburn hair.  His appearance was different from most who frequented the Barrowlands, as he was very conservative in appearance.  She did not come home that night and by morning, her sister was worried.  She heard a tale of kids saying there was a body in a derelict flat.  She decided to investigate and came upon the violated body of her sister.  She was partially undressed and had a sanitary towel placed by the body.  She had been strangled and beaten.  Pat Docker had the same type of injuries.

    October 1969 saw the final killing.  29 year old Helen Puttock went out dancing with her sister, Jeannie, to the Barrowlands.  There they met two men, who both said they were called "John".  Helen had met a well groomed young man with neatly cut short hair.  Later, when they were leaving, Helen`s friend got into an argument with staff over a cigarette machine.  He gave the impression that he seemed to always get his way.  The four left in a taxi, but the other "John" alighted from the cab in the Castlemilk district.  This man has never come forward.  The other three remained in the cab and the "John" made some biblical references.  Jeannie was dropped off but Helen was never seen alive again.  The following morning, her body was found by a man walking his dog.  She had been beaten and strangled.  Like Pat & Jemina, she had been menstruating.  Police later were told of a man fitting "John`s" description, getting on a bus, dishevelled and with a noticeable mark under one eye.  A drawing of "John" was drawn by Lennox Patterson from the Glasgow school of Art, that was said by Jeannie Puttock to be accurate, and was widely distributed by Police.  The picture generated suspects but all were cleared.  In 1996, the body of John Mcinnes was exhumed for DNA testing.  John Mcinnes was an early suspect in the hunt.  He did resemble the description from Jeannie, and was in the Barrowlands that night, but tests proved that Mr Mcinnes, who had committed suicide in 1980, was innocent.

    One good suspect that has emerged is serial killer Peter Tobin.  He lived in Glasgow at that time, was always well attired, had great knowledge of the Bible, and was extremely violent to women.  Blood seemed to urge him on to more violence.  Doubters point out that Tobin was not tall enough for the killer.  Jeannie put him around 5`10 to six foot, but doormen at the Barrowlands said he was not that tall.  There is footage from Police interviews showing Tobin standing, and virtually in the faces of the detectives denying any involvement in the murders he was convicted of.  Think of "John" arguing with staff at the Barrowlands and not backing down!  There are a number of coincidences fitting Tobin, but they just might be that.  I think he is good for "Bible John" and leading criminologist David Wilson believes he is.  The name "Bible John" was coined by journalist John Quinn, as a reference point rather than sensationalism, and the name stuck.  Will he ever be brought to book?

Laurence Dowdall - The Great Pleader

Scotland, and in particular, Glasgow, has had great lawyers, involved mainly in criminal defence, that they have achieved legendary status.  These include Joe Beltrami, Nicholas Fairbairn, Donald Finlay, and in particular, Laurence Dowdall.  His long standing reputation was such that a joke was made that when nazi leader Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in 1941, to allegedly talk a peace pact between Britain & Germany, that when apprehended by the authorities he immediately said "Get me Dowdall!"

    He was a lawyer who made certain that he knew his cases inside out and that he was very skilful in the courtroom.  He used subtle tricks to damage prosecution cases, without nastiness, and indeed, one time he blew up a condom and let it float around the jury, helping destroy the prosecution on a point.   He also was legendary for his sense of humour, which he realised could subtly influence a jury.  He was unfailingly polite at all times, and attributes like these made him respected throughout the criminal justice system.

    He helped in the defence of the Policeman killer James Robertson, who was executed in 1950 for killing his girlfriend, by running her down in his car, then reversing over her to make sure.  Robertson, who was married, refused to acknowledge the deceased, Miss McCluskey, was his mistress.  He did not want to cause any grief for his wife by publicly admitting adultery.  Dowdall tried to convince him to come clean and he believed it could help him avoid the noose but he refused.  According to one of the guards who helped take him to the execution chamber, Robertson was happy that he never betrayed his wife in public.

    Dowdall also helped in the defence of serial killer Peter Manuel, and tried to get his mother to press him for a guilty due to insanity plea, but she insisted he was not mentally unfit.  Manuel was hanged at Barlinnie Jail on 11th July 1958.  Dowdall retired late in life but at the age of 86 he went back into the legal profession, though not appearing in court.  He died in 1996, and many old Glasgow villains remembered him as a man who used mitigation a lot to reduce sentences, hence "The Great Pleader".

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The OZ Trial

This famous obscenity trial took place in 1971 and showed how much the Government, Police, and all types of authority feared the wave of young people actually thinking for themselves, not believing everything the authorities told them, and asking awkward questions.  OZ magazine was started in Australia in 1963 by Richard Neville, Richard Walsh & artist extraordinaire Martin Sharp.  This magazine ran into many problems with the Australian authorities, resulting in a trial.  In 1966, Neville & Sharp moved to London, and with fellow Aussie Jim Anderson, started a London OZ in 1967.  The magazine discussed many subjects that were considered taboo; sex, drugs, homosexuality, torture in oppressive regimes, politics, in which comments went for the jugular.  As in Australia, the authorities hated the magazine and the editors had the usual problems with the Obscene Publications Squad.  In 1969, Martin Sharp withdrew from the magazine and his place was taken by Felix Dennis.   Sharp became famous for designing the covers of two albums by Cream - Disraeli Gears & Wheels of Fire.  After three years, it was felt that the magazine was losing it`s edge, so they advertised for schoolkids to edit an issue for them.

    This resulted in teenage schoolkids producing the now infamous edition.  One of the contributors was future music journalist & author Charles Shaar Murray.  What provoked the initial outcry was the changing of a cartoon by Robert Crumb, which now featured childrens favourite Rupert Bear with an erection.  Neville, Anderson & Dennis were arrested and faced a number of obscenity charges but the really sinister one was "Conspiring to Corrupt Public Morals" which carried an indefinite sentence.  Neville chose to defend himself, whilst Anderson & Dennis were defended by John Mortimer, creator of "Rumpole of The Bailey".  The Judge, Mr Justice Argyle was clearly biased against the three.  They were convicted and jailed but this was overturned on appeal.  OZ petered out a couple of years later.  The trial was recreated by the BBC in which nothing was held back.  The Judge was played by comedy star Leslie Phillips, and defence witness, jazz musician George Melly was played by Alfred Molina.

    What was truly hypocritical was the raids by the Porn Squad, who at that time, ran the most lucrative protection rackets in London.  They had no problem with pornographers peddling the most vile filth but when young people responded with typical schoolboy toilet humour, they were suitably outraged.  OZ magazines now command high prices on ebay, particularly, the schoolkids edition.

Cynthia Payne - Infamous Hostess

This woman came to national prominence in the 1970`s & 80`s when she faced charges of running a brothel.  She was jailed but later had the sentence reduced on appeal.  Cynthia Payne was born in Bognor Regis in West Sussex on 24th December 1932, but there is long gaps in her life where much is unknown.  She ran parties at her house in Ambleside Avenue, in Streatham, in South London.  Here, it was said that you could have a girl, meal and a drink, and pay in luncheon vouchers.  This later gave way to headlines that the British tabloids are famous for.

    The Police had sent undercover officers in.  I recall seeing the photos of the two officers in newspapers.  One posed a gentleman farmer with typical muttonchop sideburns, the other dressed foppish and wore makeup. In a raid, one person arrested was Monty Python star Terry Jones.  He said he was researching a film.  He did make a film about Cynthia Payne called "Personal Services" starring Julie Walters, as like Pete Townshend who, notoriously, was caught subscribing to a child porn site.  Townshend said he was using the material to research a book about child abuse.  He did write a book abut child abuse.

    Cynthia Payne was convicted for running a brothel and sentenced to eighteen months jail.  This was reduced on appeal to six months jail and a fine.  Later, she ran for Parliament twice, to try to alter the sex laws in this country.  The laws have changed over the years because of what you can buy in adult shops though the extreme end of porn is still outlawed.  Cynthia`s career as a hostess ended after her arrests, but what harm did she do to anybody?   You would always get the "outraged" cops busting her but if you wanted to see the bluest of blue films, there was never a better organisation than the Police!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Mysterious Death of Hilda Murrell

The death of this elderly anti-nuclear campaigner still raises controversy almost thirty years after the event.  Was she the victim of a teenage killer, or was more sinister forces at work?  Hilda Murrell was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on 3rd February 1906 to a family steeped in a tradition of Nurserymen, Seedsmen and Florists.  Her Grandfather, Edwin Murrell ran the highly successful Portland Nurseries from 1837 until his death in 1908.  Hilda was educated at Shrewsbury Girls High School, doing well enough to be enrolled at Newnham College from 1924-1927, gaining an MA in English & French literature, and Modern & Medieval Languages.

    Her father, Owen persuaded her to join the family business, working alongside her uncle Edwin.  In 1937, she became Director, and the business prospered until 1970.  Hilda became a world respected grower and authority on roses.  She helped design gardens for clients, her flowers won top prizes at Britain's` most prestigious flower shows, and her clients included the Queen Mother and the Churchill Family.  She then studied Botany extensively and became an advocate of Wildlife Preservation and preserving the natural countryside.

    This brought her into the pollution and energy issues, which, again with her drive to know everything on a subject, led her to produce an essay "What Price Nuclear Power?"  She then produced a report on Radioactive Waste Management entitled "An ordinary Citizens View on Radioactive Waste Management" to be presented at the beginnings of an inquiry on the Sizewell B Pressure Water Reactor project proposed for Suffolk.  She never got to deliver it.

    It was on March 21st 1984, that her home was burgled and some cash taken.  Hilda was driven away from her home in her Renault 5 car by a mystery man.  It was reported as being driven erratically.  It was found abandoned 5 miles away from her home.  There was no sign of Hilda.  West Mercia Police took three days to find her.  Her body was deposited in a copse.  She had been beaten and stabbed multiple times.  Hilda was cremated 5 months after her death and her ashes scattered at a chalet she had built at Maengwynedd.  Her nephew, Robert Green, a Royal Naval Intelligence Officer, believed there was a lot more to his aunt`s death than was admitted, and has fought to bring it to public attention since.  Labour MP Tam Dalyell believed the security services were involved.

    In 2005, in a cold case review, DNA tests were carried out on items at the home and fingerprints led Police to an individual named Andrew George, and so he was charged with her murder.  George was just sixteen at the time.  He was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of fifteen years.  The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction the following year.  Yet there were very troubling aspects of the case that made it too pat for Robert Green and others.  For instance, George could not drive, and he did not match the description of the man driving the Renault.  Others have pointed out the route to the car to the murder scene was much too difficult to have taken an elderly lady, particularly if you were just 16 and on your own.  Police say that George killed her in the copse on 21st, a wednesday, and she was found on the saturday.  Tam Dalyell pointed out that a farmer and his dog, did a search of the copse on the thursday, yet he found nothing.  In 2012, leading Barrister Michael Mansfield asked for a full enquiry into her death and discover how much information on her death is held by MI5. Former Crimewatch presenter Sue Cook, believes there was more to this case than has been admitted.  One of the first cases she presented on Crimewatch was the murder of Hilda Murrell.  There is a blog to this case with more information on.  Go to

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Bone Collector

This was the name given to an unknown serial killer who had his own dumping ground for his victims.  It was in February 2009 that a dog walker ( It is amazing how many bodies are discovered by dog walkers in the UK) in the West Mesa area of Albuquerque in New Mexico, came across a human bone.  An excavation of the area where the bone was found, unearthed the remains of eleven missing prostitutes, making it the biggest crime scene, area wise, in US history.

    Police had a monumental problem as the killer left absolutely no clues at the crime scene.  No DNA, weapons, or anything.  The prostitutes still working, live in fear of this man re-emerging, though no more murders that can be attributed to the killer have occurred.  Some clients of the prostitutes have hinted that they were the killer in order to make them compliant to their sexual demands.  "He was the working girls` bogeyman" said the founder of "Safe Sex Work ", a non-profit organisation that helps street workers.

    Since the discovery of all the bodies, the attitude of the Police has changed dramatically in regard to complaints of rape and assault by punters, from the prostitutes.  Indeed, they keep a roster known as the "Bad Date List", names of men who have been ill-treating prostitutes.  This list is always updated.  As the girls were far more cautious in their approach to clients, it has been speculated that the "Bone Collector" may have been put off doing more killings, or maybe he has moved on.  The identity of this man remains a mystery.

The Alphabet Murders

This is an unsolved serial murder case from New York State in the early 1970`s.  The victims were three young girls from Rochester, but what made it bizarre was their names.  They all had the same initial letter on their first and last names.  They were Carmen Colon, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza.  The press at first labelled them the "Double Initial Killings" but later changed it to the more attention grabbing "Alphabet Murders".

   The Police questioned many people but although some good suspects were worked on, nobody has ever been charged.  One such suspect committed suicide, which was at first thought of as avoiding justice.  However, in 2007, a DNA examination was carried out on the deceased man and he was officially cleared as a suspect.  Another good suspect was the uncle of one of the victims, but he too was officially cleared many years later through DNA.

    One good suspect who was living in Rochester at that time was none other than serial killer and "Hillside Strangler" Kenneth Bianchi.  Bianchi denies killing the girls, like he denies he was the "Strangler".  He murdered ten women with his cousin Angelo Buono in Los Angeles plus two other women in another city.  However, a case emerged in 2011, when New Yorker, 77 year old Joseph Naso was charged with four murders in California in the 70`s. What made it bizarre were the names of the victims.  Roxene Roggash, Pam Parsons,Tracy Tofoya, and unbelievably, another Carmen Colon!!!  There has been numerous delays in starting this trial and as of now, it still seems to be a non-starter.  Naso, like Bianchi, has not been charged over the Rochester murders.

Monday, 12 August 2013

The On-Line Bullying Scandal

The scandal about the bullying of vulnerable people using social network sites, such as,continues on in the media.  One vulnerable young girl was repeatedly taunted and goaded into ending her life by sickos.  Why has never been established.  Commentators put it down to nothing but sheer bullying.  Other youngsters have come forward and spoke about jibes about ending their lives, and receiving threats for absolutely no reason.  But it is not restricted to social network sites.  It can take numerous different forms.  I have had varying degrees of nastiness from people.  My crime?  The first time was because I refused to believe every word that dribbled from the mouth of a man, and I was able to take apart his claims with proof.  I showed that he was an out and out liar and bullshit merchant.  Yet, because I would not stick my head and tongue up the arse of this man, I got a vitriolic email from a member of his fanclub.  "How could you?" he wailed.  "He`s the most respected man.  You`re nothing!"  BUT I AM NOT AN OUT & OUT LIAR & BULLSHIT MERCHANT.

    He cried about what I did, not what I wrote.  He kept his mouth firmly shut on that point.  It screamed out loud; "I want the lies! I want the bullshit!"  Pathetic!  I know that the man would be more concerned about his adoring fan club knowing the truth than anything else.  I was told a story by one old man who used to be a professional wrestler, who told of taking care of this man with no trouble at all.  The guy was livid at this.  "He`s a liar" he said firmly, ignoring the absolute irony of that statement.

    The next time was recently, over a post on an unsolved murder.  All information I put up is in the public domain, and I do not have a problem with being corrected.  In fact, I welcome it.  I have been corrected a couple of times and these people have not had a problem with it.  I put out requests to point out mistakes, yet all messages from this person were nasty toned.  The only correction I eventually got was that the takeaway firm the victim worked for did not deliver pizzas, as reported often in the press.  Find the tree, get the rope and the last cigarette for me and string me up!  Oh what a untruthful bastard I am!  Unsolved crimes?  Everybody will have a theory.  Apparently I am not allowed one on this case.  One case I put up, I have had two scenarios for the murder from a man who may be in the Mental Health profession.  Great stuff!  It makes you think.

    Some years back, I used to subscribe to a fanzine about Jimi Hendrix, Jimpress.  This had been set up by a man from Leeds, Gary Geldeart and Steve Rodham, from Little Sutton.  I come from Little Sutton, though I do not personally know Steve.  He later moved to Warrington.  Steve committed an unforgivable crime in stating some things about some JH concerts that did not fit in with a guy in the states called Michael Fairchild, who worked at that time for the Hendrix Estate.  Steve received vitriolic letters from Fairchild, ending with "Stop distracting me and my work!"  Steve wrote that he had to do a lot of soul searching and readily produced a long list of rebuttals to the rantings of Fairchild, but decided to leave it and not respond.  "The lunatics can have the asylum" he said.  Fairchild takes himself ultra seriously and even wrote himself that some media people told him to get a life!  This sort of nastiness can have an undermining effect on you.  I felt this twice.  Most people do not go out with an agenda to stir up trouble, but do something because it interests them, and they are polite people only too ready to correct any errors they may make.  Yet there are people unable to respond to courtesy for whatever reasons.

Who Murdered Harry Graham?

This is one of the small number of unsolved murders in Bradford before the amalgamation of forces in 1968.  There are four that I know of; a girl of about 11 years in Little Horton Green in 1938. the Garner street murder in 1955, a woman in Bowling Park in 1963, and this one in 1944.

    It was at 5.30am on 7th September that Police Constable Leonard Fell came upon the taxi cab of Harry Graham in Rooley Lane.  Inside he found the body of Mr Graham, on the back seat.  He had suffered blunt force trauma to the back of his head, leaving him with a wound inches wide.  There were blood stains on the rear seat and carpet.  PC Fell discovered that money had been taken from the wallet of Mr Graham and that his ID papers were missing also.  Police questioned as many early morning workers as they could but nobody had seen anything suspicious, leading Police to speculate that the killer had escaped across fields and used side roads.

   An airman had booked a taxi for around midnight.  He told Police that whilst driving on Canal Road, Graham was flagged down by a man waving a torch.  He got out and spoke to the man, though the passenger could not hear the conversation.  Back in the cab, Mr Graham indicated that he knew the man.  This man, however, was never traced.  Another fare used Mr Graham, to take him to the Bierley Church, near to where the murder took place, at 1.10am.  This man was traced, interviewed and eliminated from the investigation.  Police did learn from another driver that a passenger showed interest in how much money taxi drivers carried and where they kept it.  This man was never traced.   The murder remains unsolved.

    Who was the man with the torch?  Who was the inquisitive passenger?  Certainly, he would become a prime suspect if he had been traced.  Where was he attacked?  From the back seat?  Then the killer would have had a struggle getting him out of the driving seat and into the rear.  If a lot of Rooley Lane was lonely at that time, it would explain why nothing was heard, and he had the time to move the body.  A cold blooded killer got away with it.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Red Wharf Bay Murder

The murder of Ivy Nettleton goes back to 1945 on the Isle of Anglesey.  She was found on the beach in the sand, with a pillowcase covering her head.  Underneath the pillowcase was a cotton wool pad, plus a stocking and tea-towel were tightly wound around her neck.  She lived nearby in a rented cottage overlooking Red Wharf Bay with her husband Arthur Albert Nettleton, a former Staff Sergeant in the Army.  The Police investigation commenced with the body being examined by Dr Walter Grace, the Home Office Pathologist for the north west of England.

   Arthur Nettleton denied knowing anything about the death of his wife, saying that she had run away to Manchester and was living in a safe house.  Police persisted in their questioning and finally Nettleton cracked and confessed to killing her.  At his trial at Beaumaris Assizes, the Jury was shown a piece of paper that had written on it seventeen commandments.  These were different declarations as to why Nettleton loved his wife so much, and that Nettleton himself had signed it.  The list was written out by Ivy Nettleton.  The court heard that his wife was borderline mentally unstable, psycho-neurotic & hysterical.

    The court also heard that she was obsessed with the time that her husband had spent in Italy, despite a war being on, and that he enjoyed ENSA concerts and dancing.  The Jury acquitted Nettleton of murder and found him guilty of manslaughter.  The Judge, Mr Justice Stable said that he agreed with the verdict of the Jury and sentenced Nettleton to five years prison.  He was released in October 1950.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Leanne Tiernan- Victim of a Sick Bastard

The abduction and murder of 16 year old Leanne Tiernan by a man suspected of being a serial killer led to a massive manhunt, solved by very diligent and patient Police work.  It was 26th November 2000 and Leanne Tiernan had been out shopping with her friend Sarah Whitehouse.  They caught a bus back to Bramley, getting off near Sarah`s home and Leanne made her way to her home.  In a spot known as Houghley Gill, she was attacked and abducted by John Taylor, who forced her back to his home, where she was brutally assaulted and strangled.  She was reported missing by her mother and a huge manhunt was led by Detective Superintendent Chris Gregg.  A reconstruction was cried out with Leanne`s elder sister and Sarah Whitehouse recreating their movements that day.  No leads were generated, though somebody reported hearing a stifled scream.

    The distraught family made public appeals for anybody with information to come forward.  Meanwhile, Police carried out extensive house to house enquiries, and the search utilised dog patrols, mounted officers, air support and underwater units.  But to no avail.  The case dragged on.  It was 20th August 2001, that a dog walker, going through a wooded area known as Lindley Wood, came across a shallow grave.  He had found Leanne, wrapped in a floral patterned duvet.  A retired couple came forward to say that they had seen a man carrying a floral patterned bundle into the woods.  Leanne had been wrapped in green bin liners, tied with twine.  She had a black bin liner around her head, a dog collar tightly wound around her neck, along with cable ties and a scarf.  Her funeral was held 28th September at Hill Top Cemetery.  DS Gregg vowed to catch the killer.

    Police heard that a man known as John Taylor liked to hunt small animals in Lindley Wood,and so became a person of interest.  Dog hairs were found on Leanne, and indeed the hair was examined by a forensic team at a university in Texas and they obtained a partial DNA profile of the dog, but the dog owned by Taylor was dead.  Hair was also found in the scarf which needed an extreme DNA test to produce a profile.  It was matched to Taylor.  Taylor was arrested on 16th October 2001.  His home on Cockshott Drive was sealed off and his garden dug up, where many bones of animals were found.  The dog collar was traced from manufacturers to the shop, to Taylor buying it.  Nylon fibres were found on nails where a carpet had lain.  Fibres matching these found on Leanne.  The cable ties were the sort used by Parcelforce.  Taylor worked for Parcelforce.  Former girlfriends told Police that Taylor was into sado-masochistic sex, trawled adverts for women, and travelled to meet them.  He had been married previously with two children.

    In 2002, Taylor was charged with two sex attacks in 1988. One was on a 32 year old woman in the same area he snatched Leanne, Houghley Gill.  The other was a woman of 21 in her Bramley home.  Taylor is suspected of four other murders.  Yvonne Fitt, a Bradford prostitute went missing in 199.  Her body was found in Lindley Wood, the same place he put Leanne. Lindsey Jo Rimer, a girl from Hebden Bridge in 1994, Deborah Wood in 1996, and Rebecca Hall in Bradford in 2001.

The Disappearance of April Fabb

The mysterious disappearance of 13 year old April Fabb in Norfolk, two weeks before her fourteenth birthday, remains unsolved to this day.  Serial child killer Robert Black is suspected of being the abductor as her abduction bears the hallmarks of Black.  April was born on 22nd April 1955 in Metton, in Norfolk.  Her father was Ernest Fabb, her mum Olive, she had two older sisters.  One she was off to visit on that fateful day.  The sister lived in nearby Roughton.

    On April 4th 1969, April set off on her bicycle, carrying a packet of cigarettes for her brother-in-law, 51/2 pence and a handkerchief in her saddlebag at around 1.40pm.  She was wearing a wine coloured woolen skirt, a green jumper, white socks and sandals.  On her journey, she stopped at a place known as "Donkeys` Farm", near the Harrison Farm where he met two friends, telling them she was off to visit her sister.  A worker at Harrisons` Farm, witnessed April cycling along Roughton Road towards the village.  She shortly vanished.  Some Ordinance Survey workers spotted  bike lying in a field by the Metton to Roughton Road at 2.15pm.  It was at 3pm that a local man come across the bike and so took it to the local Police House at Roughton.  The bike was only a couple of hundred yards from where April was last seen.  By early evening, her parents realised something was wrong and called in the Police.

    An area of two to three miles was extensively searched but no trace of her was found.  Police took nearly two thousand statements, and over four hundred questionnaires filled in by the public. Some suspects were eventually eliminated, and the case has been cold ever since.  One viable suspect has emerged and that is child killer Robert Black. The disappearance fits the MO of Black.  Black had been a delivery man travelling around the country, so he built up a good knowledge of the country.  He obtained a driving licence in 1976, but that does not mean that he was not driving around for some years.  He could very well of worked cash in hand for any number of courier firms.  Police cannot place Black in Norfolk at the time, but only when they can prove that he was NOT in the area at the time, can he truly be eliminated.  Black denies any involvement.  Aprils` family have suffered for 44 years.  If he is involved, Black should come clean and tell all, and ease the torment of the Fabb family.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Beauty In The Bath Murder

This notorious case goes back to 1983, on the Wirral, where I come from, and indeed, had a family connection of sorts to it.  Cynthia Bolshaw was a fifty year old Beauty Consultant working in the Boots store in Chester.  She was found dead, naked, in her bath at her bungalow in the well-to-do village of Heswall.  Reports vary  saying death was to strangulation and to asphyxiation.  Police found her diaries which revealed a list of 200 men friends, and much was made of her private life in newspapers.  (If it had been a guy, no doubt he would have referred to as a stud)  

    My family connection came from the listing of a taxi firm.  Enquiries revealed that it was registered to my father, whom had ceased trading some years before, but he was visited by detectives.  He realised that the person they should have been talking to was his younger brother, who had a habit of trading under my dads` firms` name.  He took them to see him and it was shown that Miss Bolshaw had been taxied about by his wife, not him. 

    The case ran cold but with the advances in DNA technology, 100,s of DNA samples were taken and eliminated.  Then the name of John Taft emerged.  Taft was a director of a double glazing company.  He denied all knowledge of Miss Bolshaw.  A former wife of Taft told of one night waking up to find Taft had his hands around her throat.  Of much more interest was her claim that Taft asked her to provide a false alibi for him, and that he had burned the clothes he wore that night and then buried it in the garden.  A newly remarried Taft was arrested and questioned about the information they now had.  He admitted that he HAD been with her on October 9th 1983, but left her alive.  He said that he asked his then wife to provide an alibi and burnt the clothes so he would not be wrongfully arrested for the crime.  He claimed in court that he was burying bacon rind for animals.  The Jury did not believe him.  He said that went to her home to do a "Foreigner" - a cash in hand job.  He said he had sex with her which accounted for his semen on her negligee.  In November 1999, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of twelve years but he always claimed his innocence.

    Police tried to trace a man who had supposedly gone flat hunting in Chester, two months before her death, with no luck.  Yet, Miss Bolshaw had only been in her home for about six months.  She had also cashed in an insurance policy and had withdrawn nearly £6,000 from her bank. Police had managed to account for just over £800 of this amount.  Her car was found abandoned in a gateway by a road linking the Wirral to North Wales.  This is known to everybody around the Wirral as the "Welsh Road".  Many witness statements were taken by people who had spotted the car.

    In 2009, a solicitor acting for Taft had revealed that a missing forensics file had surfaced which he believes will clear Taft.  It  also reveals a fingerprint was not investigated by Police.  As of now, I do not know if this has happened.  What is known is that he denied knowing her, then forced to admit he did, and that he was there the night she was murdered.  He asked his first wife to lie for him.  He burnt his clothing that he wore that night.   If he is still in prison, then the new appeal must have failed.  If anybody knows different, please let me know the facts.

The Unsolved Murder of Keith Lyon

This unsolved murder of a young lad way back in 1967, has recently been given to a cold case squad, known as the Murder Review Group, and it is hoping that the continuing advances in DNA technology will provide a DNA profile.  Keith Lyon, a 12 year old pupil at Brighton & Hove Grammar School was walking on South Downs near Brighton in May of 1967.

    Later, his body was discovered in bushes by a bridle path in between Ovingdean and Woodingdean.  He had been stabbed 11 times.  A knife was found near the crime scene, yet incredibly, the Police lost it, and it remained missing for twenty five years until it was found in a sealed room at John Street Police Station in Brighton.  The crime scene exhibits are to be re-examined for any traces of DNA.  In 2006, two men were arrested and questioned over the killing but were later released without charge.  In all, three men have been questioned, but all released without charge.  Police did embark on a massive fingerprinting of youths around the Brighton area, and more than 5,000 were checked out.

    The Police theorised that young Keith was attacked by as many as three assailants trying to rob him, but believe the wounds were inflicted by one or two of the assailants, and they then panicked and quickly got on a passing bus.  Attempts to trace boys on that particular bus was not successful.  Forty six years on, one, two or three callous killers are still walking free.  Let us hope that is rectified.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Steve Hodel - Is he Really Believable?

A former cop named Steve Hodel has long claimed that hi father was not only the Black Dahlia killer, but has apparently said he was the Zodiac killer as well!  Now, on the TV show "Most Evil" hosted by Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Michael Stone, claims that his father was also the "Lipstick Killer", a triple murder spree in the mid 1940`s that had seen William Heirens jailed when he was just 17 and been incarcerated ever since.  There has certainly not been a Hollywood whitewash of him, a la "Birdman of Alcatraz".  In fact, many believe Heirens is completely innocent of the murders, but he was forced to plead guilty to ensure  avoiding a certain trip to the chair.  What happened was that in 1945, two women were attacked and murdered in their homes, with throat slashings.  Yet, the killer took the time to wash the bodies, and even place tape over their wounds.  The killer was not found.  In 1946, an eight year old girl was abducted from her home.  Soon, her body was found, horrifically dismembered.  Shortly, a young burglar named Bill Heirens was arrested and in time confessed to being the triple killer.  Yet, shortly afterwards, he withdrew his confession and has stuck by it ever since.  He claimed being denied access to a lawyer, starvation, beatings from cops, and constant threats that he WAS going to the chair.

   Was he guilty?  Me?  I think it was a stitch up.  No motive was ever given.  How could a 17 year old calmly do the body washing of a victim?  How did a 17 year old acquire the medical knowledge to perfectly dissect the body of the little girl?  What was his motive for such a crime?  Why did he switch from women to a child?  Why did he decide to dismember the child but not the women, when he actually had the time and privacy to have done so?  The killer left a message at one of the house murders in lipstick stating that they must catch him because he cannot help himself.  Heirens has never been granted parole, not surprisingly.

    Enter Steve Hodel, a former cop who had joined the LAPD in 1963.  He did not know about his supposed family connection to the Heirens/ Dahlia case until after his father died in 1991. His father, George Hodel, was a surgeon with an exceptional IQ, but it has been claimed that mentally, he was unravelling.  Hodel claims he has proof that his father was in Chicago at the time.  He does not give any reason for the murders, apart from his father wanting to show how clever he was.  No reason for dismembering the child but not the women.  Then came the Dahlia murder of Elizabeth Short in January 1947.

    A wannabe actress struggling to exist in Hollywood is found dismembered and displayed in full view to be found easily.  Hodel claims a photograph of a woman his father possessed, was that of Elizabeth Short.  He has not proved it beyond doubt.  Short was cut in half in exactly the same way of the young girl in Chicago.  Her body was also washed.  A link or a coincidence?  Again, what was the motive?  Here Hodel enters into speculation, which is not proof of anything.  He claims that his father morally degenerated and hosted Hollywood parties, where stars indulged their peculiar vices.  He believes George met Short at one of these parties.  Belief is not proof.  He says that Short posed for pictures taken by his father.  That is reasonable to assume, as Short had no money and spent a lot of time scrounging what she could, so posing for photos put a bit of cash in her pocket.  His motive for killing her?  He believes Short discovered his dark secret about Chicago.  Again, assumption. What did she discover and how?  No proof.  Nothing to corroborate it.  He claimed that the letters sent to Police taunting them, would be the work of his father, using headline clippings, not phrases cut out of newspapers like ordinary criminals "would have".  This, he said, showed the killer being very clever, just like his father.  To top it off, the posing of the body matched a design by a surrealist artist that Hodel knew.  Wow!

    To finish, Hodel claimed he took his investigation to a former Assistant D.A. who said that on Hodels` evidence he would seek the death penalty.  He would prosecute such a case based on certain assumptions and circumstantial claims?  Makes you wonder about him.  Finally, Hodel claims of George taunting Police with the lipstick message and the paper clippings falls flat, in my view, as on his deathbed, surely such a blatant publicity seeker would say, "Hey son, your lot could never catch me for Chicago and Liz Short could you?  I was always too clever!"

    As for one other famous suspect, one Ben Siegel, he was supposed to have killed her and put her in the area where L.A. crime boss Jack Dragna lived, as a message to him.  Really?  What message?  A total stranger is killed as a warning to him?  Surely killing somebody like Micky Cohen or another top hood and dumping them on Dragna`s doorstep, is a message!  Besides, Siegel had just opened the Flamingo in Las Vegas, at great expense to the Mob, and to a spectacular flop.  He had more than enough dangerous problems on his mind than a totally unknown woman.  Any other theories are welcome.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Alvin Howard Neelley & Judith Ann Neelley

Dr Michael Stone, a Forensic Psychiatrist devised a scale from one to twenty two, with the higher the score, the more evil the killer is.  Judith Ann Neelley scored 22!  To some, it would be inconceivable that a woman could be so twisted.  Neelley IS that twisted.  She was responsible, along with husband Alvin, guilty of two rape/torture murders and one attempted murder.  It was the prolonged torture and rape sessions on their victims that is beyond belief.

    Alvin Neeley was born in Georgia in 1953, Judith Ann Adams was born in June 1964 in Murfreesboro in Tennessee.  Her alcoholic father died in a motorcycle accident around 73/74.  She met up with Neelley, who was married at the time, and she was around 15.  Neelley divorced his wife before setting off with Adams, on to a life of crime and murder.  She fell quickly pregnant, but carried out armed robberies with Neelley, but she was arrested and incarcerated at the Rome, Georgia Youth Development Center.  In here she gave birth to twins, and when released married Neelley.  The home of YDC worker Ken Dooley was shot up one night, the next night, the home of YDC worker Linda Adair was firebombed.  Calls were made by a woman claiming she had been subjected to sexual abuse at the Center.

   Things turned extremely ugly when 13 year old Lisa Ann Millican was abducted by the pair from the Riverbend Mall in Georgia on 25th September 1982 and taken out of state into Alabama.  They took her to a motel in Scottsboro where they repeatedly raped her over a couple of days. Judith Neelley wanted to see how long she would take to die if injected with poison.  She injected her with Drano and waited.  But it took a little too long for her, so they drove their young victim to Fort Payne and to a spot called Little River Canyon where Neelley carried on her twisted violence by brutally shooting Lisa Millican through the head.  She even phoned the Police telling where they could find the body.

    John Hancock & Janice Chatman, a young engaged couple from Rome, Georgia, were abducted on 4th October `82.  John Hancock was shot and left for dead, whilst Janice was taken to the motel.  There she was repeatedly raped and tortured by the sick duo, then killed.  Their downfall was unravelling as John Hancock was still alive and was able to give Police much information.  A manhunt ensued, resulting in their arrest.  Judith Neelley on 9th October, Alvin, days later.  To avoid the certain Death Penalty, Alvin cut a plea deal to murder & aggravated assault on Janice & John.  He was not charged with the murder of Lisa Millican.  He was lifed off.  But Janice was tried at Fort Payne on 7th March `83 for the murder of Lisa Ann Millican, convicted and sentenced to death, despite a jury recommendation for mercy.  In jail she had given birth to a third child.  She pled guilty to the murder of Janice Chatman in another trial.  Alvin Neelley was sent to Bostick State Prison whilst Judith was sent to Death Row at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.  

    Judith Neelley petitioned for a new trial but this was rejected in March `87.  In 1989, the Death Sentence was affirmed on her.  On January 15th 1999, only days away from execution, her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, which gave her the chance of parole in 2014, but the State legislature passed a new law that has prevented her from being released.  Who in their right mind would contemplate releasing such a sick, twisted bitch like her?

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Elizabeth Duncan - Monster-in-Law

Elizabeth Duncan was the perfect example of a "Monster-in-Law" who wielded much psychotic hatred towards her daughter-in-law, Olga.  Her crime?  She had the audacity to marry her son.  Duncan did not want to share her son with anybody, let alone a woman he loved.  Her consuming hatred led her and two young men to a triple execution in the Gas Chamber.  Despite her appearance of an aging, bespectacled lady, she held a very dubious past.  She had lost count of how many marriages she had had.  Estimates put it as high as twenty!  Most of these were bigamous.

    The object of her life was her lawyer son, Frank, whom she followed everywhere he went on a case.  This would have been declared a Freudian situation in which Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud wrote about relationships which were extremely close between mother and son, and father and daughter.  Usually sexual or very close to it.  But at the age of 29, Frank Duncan decided that he wanted to strike out on his own and even to settle down with a wife.  This infuriated Duncan who then took an overdose as a form of emotional blackmail.  Frank dropped his plans when she did this but she was not to know that this would lead her and two young men to the Death Chamber.  Frank Duncan dutifully went to visit his mother in hospital but he met a pretty young nurse named Olga Kupczyk, and began dating her in secret.  After some time, Olga discovered she was pregnant, and Frank, being in love with her, decided that it was marriage.  

    However, his mother did not and went into a violent rage at this.  Frank backed off but decided to marry Olga in secret.  Duncan soon discovered her son`s "deception" and started planning to kill her daughter-in-law, talking it over with an elderly friend Emma Short.  One plan was to invite Olga to Emma`s home where Duncan could attack her and kill her.  Short only objected to having a corpse in her house!  Duncan travelled to Santa Barbara in California, to a cafe owned by a family that Frank had defended in court.  Two men there, Gus Baldonado & Luis Moya agreed to kill Olga for $6000.  Duncan did not have the money but persuaded them to take a deposit and the rest upon completion.

   November 1958.  Olga heard a knock on the door.  Moya told her Frank was in the car, drunk.  She went to the car where Moya struck her with a gun and Baldonado dragged her inside.  She fought them both but when she was immobile, both were soaked in blood.  They dumped at a roadside but discovered she was still alive.  The gun jammed when they tried to shoot her but then bludgeoned her with a rock.  Police searched for the missing Olga but then heard about threats Duncan had made to her.  Questions were asked and details were given by Emma Short, who had gone to the cafe with Duncan.  All three were arrested and charged with capital murder.  Frank Duncan could not understand why his mother hated Olga so much who was very nonchalant in court.  At least no woman had her claws in her son now!  All three were condemned and were eventually executed side by side in the Gas Chamber in 1962.

Margaret Allen - Murderess

Remember the TV film about Albert Pierrepont, starring Timothy Spall, and the opening sequence of a woman being hanged.  The woman was wearing a pinstriped suit, so there was no doubt in my mind who this was.  Margaret Allen.  Of course we received the voyeuristic treatment as Spall and assistant removed her clothing and washed the still hanging body.  This case went back to 28th August 1948 and the Lancashire town of Rawtenstall.  A bus driver spotted what he thought was a sack lying in Bacup Road, so he stopped and investigated.  Inside was the battered body of 68 year old Nancy Chadwick,  a well known lady in the neighbourhood.  It was later determined that the murder weapon was a hammer.

    Mrs Chadwick had last been seen walking along Bacup Road the previous morning.  Police discovered her bag in the River Irwell, which was close by.  They quickly homed in on Margaret Allen, a 42 year old lesbian, with a reputation for wearing men's clothes, calling herself "Bill", indulging in drinking and being very unladylike language wise.  She even claimed to have had a sex change but regarding medical knowledge at the time, and this being England, it was never taken seriously.  She came from an unbelievably large family of twenty two children!

   Margaret only had one real friend, Annie Cook, but they were never a couple.  She handed herself to the Police on a plate because she started telling people that she was the last one to see her alive, and spoke about secret pockets on her clothes where she put her money.  She also followed the Police around during their investigations so they decided to search her house, where they found incriminating evidence.  Blood soaked cloths, blood on the walls, led her to suddenly deciding to tell all. She said that Mrs Chadwick had called on her but she felt a bit "funny", picked up a hammer and battered Mrs Chadwick to death, putting her body in the cellar.  Charged with capital murder, the only defence was insanity but this was rejected.  A clear motive was never established.  Annie Cook tried to raise a petition for clemency but this was a failure, and Margaret Allen was hanged on January 12th 1949.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Operation Julie

This big Police operation from the seventies conjures up differing opinions, depending on which side of the Law & Order debate you stand on.  I view it as taking down a major drugs network, whilst others obviously see their heroes as being unjustly treated by the courts.  Cries of "Savage sentences!"   Well, they did live well off their illicit gains, but the fact that they broke the law big time means nothing.  I see it as people crying that obviously middle class criminals(because that is what they were) being treated like working class council estate scumbags.  Oh the poor bastards! 

   It all started with undercover cop Martyn Pritchard being offered many thousands of LSD tabs every week if he wanted.  After building up trust with his contact and buying small amounts, it was obvious that there was a well organised network.  They formed a big squad of experienced drugs squad personnel, undercover men, intelligence gatherers, surveillance people, and gradually discovered that there were two laboratories making the tablets.  One in London, the other in Wales.  The London end was run by Henry Todd, the Welsh end by chemist Richard Kemp.  It emerged that the network split into two factions because Kemp wanted to "Give everybody a trip of a lifetime" whereas Todd, thinking like a professional villain, wanted to use half the acid Kemp did, and so boost profits.

    Kemp, an American, lived in the Welsh countryside with Dr Christine Bott.  So keeping observation was difficult, and taxed the Julie people to the limit.  Members of both networks were gradually identified and they were all taken down.  Kemp & Todd were given thirteen years each, regarded by apologists as "Savage".  Can`t do the sentence, don`t commit the crime!  It was said that when Todd left the dock, he winked at the Julie team.  No doubt, years down the line, he had the last laugh, coming out to money that a cautious and shrewd man like himself, must have had stashed, along with some of the others.  There are two books on the case, one by Martyn Pritchard, which shows how much the hierarchy of the Police, and the Home Office, had their heads buried in the sand when it came to drugs, and the other by the cop in charge, Dick Lee.  Running the case was certainly nothing like Miami Vice!

   Nigel Fielding says that Pritchard raised his arms in triumph crying "A world record!" on the amount of tabs eventually were recovered.  Reminds me of the prosecution witness in the Range Rover triple murder, Darren Nicholls, claiming that information he was supplying to an experienced detective made him "Really excited!"  Hmmm.   A total lack of professionalism, and getting carried away.  Yeah right.   

    There are the conspiracy theorists claiming the case was blown out of proportion solely to try and create a national drugs squad.  So what!  The States has long had the FBI, the DEA and the ATF.  We cannot create anything national as there are always fuckups, jealousies and one upmanship prevalent for decades within the UK Police.  After the case ended, many of them were reassigned to menial duties and a number quit in disgust.  The conspiracy mob strangely keep quiet about this.  To think that forward thinking was kicked in the bollocks and nothing happened, would surely have had them applauding the very people they despise.  Nowadays, they would not last long, as the young gun gangs, professional villains, crime families et al, would just step in and obliterate the lot of them.  The middle class hippies would get a really nasty shock!  Not long after the end of Julie, Thatcher came into power.  Conspiracy theorists claim that Thatcher deliberately allowed the drug problem to escalate solely to create division and destruction amongst the working class.  I regard this as total bollocks.  She only had two things on her mind; the unions and the wealthy.