Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Murder of Kathleen Heathcote

Shop Assistant Kathleen Heathcote, 21, had traveled from her home in Mansfield, to her boyfriend`s home in Selston, some six miles away.  She vanished on 21st November 1963, some 400 yards from her home.  Some of her belongings were found scattered on some waste ground.  During the hunt for Kathleen, a Constable recalled finding a car stuck in mud on the waste ground and that he gave a lift to the driver, to a garage.  This man was 22 year old Ronald Evans, an Electrician at a nearby Colliery.  Police decided to search his home and found some of Kathleen`s possessions.  Confronted with this, Evans confessed to killing her.  He said that on that night, he had been out drinking and spotted Kathleen making her way home.  He stopped his car and attacked her, despite it raining - hence the car getting stuck in mud.  He physically attacked her first, beating her unconscious, then he raped her.

    But now Kathleen started stirring and groaning, so he put her in his car, intending he claimed, to take her to a hospital - oh what a considerate and thoughtful rapist!! - but she kept groaning, so her dragged her to the boot and put her in.  Then he found he was stuck, but a Police car pulled up and the driver gave him a lift to a garage.  He stayed away from the car all night, returning the next day.  By now, Kathleen was dead.  Then a tow truck appeared to pull the car out.  Evans then nonchalantly drove home with Kathleen still in the boot.  He waited until his wife and his mother went out to bingo, then he drove out to High Peak in Derbyshire and to the Ladybower Reservoir.  He then removed all her clothing and dumped her in the water.  Frogmen later recovered her body.  Evans appeared at Nottingham Assizes in March 1964 and was convicted of murder.  As it did not constitute a Capital Crime under the 1957 Homicide Act, he was sentenced to "life" imprisonment but served just eleven years, being released in 1975.

     Was that the last of Ronald Evans?  No, it was most certainly not!  His first move was to relocate himself, moving to Bristol.  Then Bristol suffered a string of sex attacks, leading the press to dub the assailant "The Beast of Bristol" but it was the bravery of an undercover Policewoman acting as a decoy.  Evans attacked her but she fought back, and colleagues were quickly on him.  He was sentenced to nine years for the assaults plus the remainder of his "life" sentence, however long that was meant to be.  Back then, life sentences were a joke, and it is only now that real sentences are being handed out, much to the horror of the professional apologists.  I know I go at Liberty and the Prison Reform Trust, hammer and tong, but you will NEVER hear them scream from the rooftops about victims, and at the end of the day, if you cannot do the sentence, then do not commit the crime.