Thursday, 10 July 2014

Spared From The Scaffold PT2

Another visit to the killers who were sentenced to death after the suspension of Capital Punishment.  The first killer is Ronald John Cooper, who murdered one person and attempted to murder another, during the course of a robbery.  It was late 1964, when Cooper decided to rob a ship repair company, armed with a gun.  He burst into the office and shot the managing director, 67 year old Joseph Hayes.  Mrs Hayes attempted to flee, when Cooper shot her in the back.  Cooper grabbed nearly £2000 in cash and fled.  He then left the country for New York, then he moved onto the Bahamas, where he found work as a croupier.  He thought he was safe and sound.  But back at the murder scene, Police found fingerprints on a newspaper and on a stair railing.  They were matched to Ronald Cooper.  The hunt for him now began.  His movements were traced to the Bahamas, where he was arrested by local Police and then extradited back to the UK.  He stood trial in December 1964, and found guilty of Capital murder and Attempted Murder.  Sentenced to death, he was reprieved and served just under 15 years.  His execution was scheduled for 27th January 1965 at Pentonville Prison in London.  The files on this case have a closure period of 75 years.

    The second case features a man from Silsden, West Yorkshire.  34 year old Richard Latham was having a relationship with Doreen Wass, also 34, but there was a slight problem.  Doreen Wass was married, and her husband was completely in the dark over his wife`s activities.  But the relationship cooled and Doreen Wass ended the affair and took up with another man.  Latham would not accept this so he went to see Mr Wass and told all about his affair with his wife.  Mr Wass refused to tell Latham where she was at present, which incensed him and he violently assaulted Mr Wass.  Unable to accept that Doreen no longer wanted him, he decided that she had to go.  In May 1964, Latham had acquired a firearm for the job, but he was unable to track her down until November of that year, when he discovered her address in Leeds.  He found that she was heavily pregnant, so he waited for her to give birth.  It was 20th January 1965 that he decided it was time to act.  He gained entry to her home and shot her three times.  He was very quickly arrested and charged.  Condemned to death, he was reprieved and served 14 years.  His execution had been scheduled for for May 1965 at Armley Prison in Leeds.  Another example of a man who simply could not let go.