Sunday, 30 August 2015

Double Murder at Gravesend

Back in the days of Capital Punishment, it was unheard of for somebody to walk into the offices of a national newspaper and confess, not only to one murder but two!  That was precisely the shock for crime reporter Tom Tullet of the Daily Mirror.  It was the morning of September 11th 1961, when Edwin Sims, 28, from Gravesend, was ushered into his office.  When asked what he wanted to tell him, Sims calmly told him he had murdered two teenagers on Denton Marshes, and simply wanted to tell somebody.  He then produced items he said he had stolen from his victims; a handbag, wallet and two watches.  Tullet called in a colleague to keep an eye on him and went and consulted an editor, who promptly called the Police.  He also had something wrapped in newspaper.  He told Tullet they were body parts!  He said he had a shotgun and two knives.  The victims, Lilian Edmeades and Malcolm Johnson, both aged 16.  He held them at gunpoint, made them lie down, tied their hands behind their backs, marched them across the marshes, then made them lie down again.  He tied their ankles to their hands (Hogtied!), strangled the Malcolm first, then Lilian.

    At this point, two detectives arrived,DI Clifford LLoyd and DS Reg Newdick.  The Di opened the package to find two severed breasts!  At that moment, a mutilated body of a girl was found by a young boy in a water filled dyke.  The Police quickly established that it was Lilian whom had been reported missing some hours earlier.  A boy was also reported missing; Malcolm.  Police divers searched the dyke and found the body of Malcolm.  Sims was charged with two counts of murder. One charge was a Capital offence, so Sims could face execution.  Death was ascertained as by strangulation.  Sims admitted using a length of cord to kill them.  He claimed that it was a sudden impulse.  He admitted that he mutilated Lilian by severing her breasts and also said that he tried to mutilate her further.  He was very nonchalant in court, not seemingly affected by the possible consequences.

    Medical evidence given in his defence stated that he had a mental abnormality.  Sims told doctors that he was blackmailed into committing homosexual acts at 13, had sxual relatons with a much older woman at 16, used prostitutes, was a habitual masturbator from the age of 13.  Then his thoughts turned to fantasies of sadistic sex and violence.  He had his nipples pierced, his penis, and loved the fantasy of pain.  On himself and others.  He studied sadomasochism and it`s history, and fantasised about every kind of perversion, resulting in a horrific double murder.  Experts were in no doubt that Sims was a sexual psychopath.  He was cleared of both charges of murder but guilty of Manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.  The Judge jailed him for 21 years.  Sims was transferred to Broadmoor in 1963, then transferred to Ashworth, by Liverpool.  He remained there until 1990 where he died aged 57.  He remained incarcerated much longer than the Judge sentenced him, but nobody, in particular the Johnson and Edmeades families, would have cared less.  No doubt many wished he would have gotten the rope.(except the liberals, lefties, whingers, etc)  But his actions were known to some.  He had attacked a former girlfriend twice, but the girls` parents felt sorry for Sims as his father was dying from cancer, so refrained from contacting Police.  Lilian and Malcolm were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And paid such a terrible price.