Thursday, 29 May 2014

John Francis Spriggs - Double Killer

What does it say when a person kills, then kills again after they are released from prison?  Does it scream that the much vaunted "rehabilitation" of dangerous felons has not worked?  We see one example after another of this, but the difference with John Spriggs, is that he was originally sentenced to death in 1957, but subsequently reprieved on medical grounds.  It all began on 14th November 1957 when 29 year old Spriggs was thrown out of the College Arms pub in College Road, Erdington, a district of Birmingham.  He went to his home in Brackenbury Road, Kingstanding, and grabbed a revolver he had and went back to the pub.  He shot the barman who ejected him, 42 year old Harold Cunningham, who lived in Twickenham Road in Kingstanding, four times.  He died in the arms of his wife.

    He ended up in a hospital, but Assistant Chief Constable George Blackborrow announced that when he was fit to be released, Spriggs was to be charged with murder.  Under the provisions of the new 1957 Homicide Act, use of a gun made a murder a capital crime with the punishment of Judicial execution.  On the 19th December 1957, Spriggs was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.  His appeal of diminished responsibility was rejected but two days before his execution, he was reprieved on medical grounds.  Just over 25 years later, he was to kill again.

    Now it was 1984 and Spriggs, who was released on licence in 1978, was living in accommodation in Florentia Street, Cathays, in Cardiff.  The body of his landlady, 53 year old Margaret Larkin, was found with severe blunt force injuries.  Spriggs was found dead upstairs, assumed to have taken his own life.  All I can say is good, but why did he murder Mrs Larkin?  They had been friends since Spriggs was released from prison, but there are people who do not need a reason to kill, and if he had mental problems, then why the fuck was he released?  Will authorities ever wake up?