Anthony and William Esposito-Mad Dog killers

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It was the New York police commissioner who would nickname brothers Anthony and William Esposito ‘the mad dog killers,’ a description that would catch on in the press. On Jan. 14, 1941, the Esposito brothers held up office manager Alfred Klausman for the $649 payroll he was carrying, shooting and killing him in the elevator of an office building in Manhattan. What followed was a spectacular mid-day gun chase along Fifth Avenue, with the pair running and shooting in and out of department stores and taxis — William, shot in the leg, fell to the ground, and while pretending to be dead surprised, shot and killed the policeman who chased him.

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The Police man was Police Officer Edward Maher. Bizarrely enough on the 14th of January 1921 Officer Maher had lost his wife, leaving leaving the young cop to raise the couple’s infant son alone.

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Fifth Avenue shoppers and pedestrians overtook William, beating him unconscious, and police arrested Anthony in a convenience store nearby.

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(Anthony Esposito on Jan. 16, 1941, as he was brought before a police identification line-up)

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During their trial, the brothers made an effort to convince the court they were insane; they barked, howled and made other animal noises, drooled and banged their heads on the table. But the barking and drooling wasn’t compelling evidence to the jury, and the brothers were both found guilty of first-degree murder. The two continued their behaviors, including speaking in gibberish and undertaking a hunger strike, while incarcerated at Sing Sing until both were put to death by electrocution in 1942.

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They were executed  on March 12 1942 by electric chair five minutes apart at Sing Sing for the January 14, 1941 slaying of Officer  Maher and Alfred Klausman.

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Both brothers were in such fragile health that they had to be brought into the death chamber in wheelchairs because they had refused all food for the past 10 months that was not fed them forcibly

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D.B. Cooper-Probably the perfect crime

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One afternoon a day before Thanksgiving in 1971, a guy calling himself Dan Cooper (the media mistakenly called him D.B. Cooper) boarded Northwest Airlines flight #305 in Portland bound for Seattle.

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He was wearing a dark suit and a black tie and was described as a business-executive type. While in the air, he opened his brief case showing a bomb to the flight attendant and hijacked the plane. The plane landed in Seattle where he demanded 200K in cash, four parachutes and food for the crew before releasing all the passengers. With only three pilots and one flight attendant left on board, they took off from Seattle with the marked bills heading south while it was dark and lightly raining. In the 45 minutes after takeoff, Cooper sent the flight attendant to the cockpit while donning the parachute, tied the bank bag full of twenty dollar bills to himself, lowered the rear stairs and somewhere north of Portland jumped into the night. When the plane landed with the stairs down, they found the two remaining parachutes and on the seat Cooper w

On the afternoon of Thanksgiving eve, November 24, 1971, a man carrying a black attaché case approached the flight counter of Northwest Orient Airlines at Portland International Airport. He identified himself as “Dan Cooper” and purchased a one-way ticket on Flight 305, a 30-minute trip to Seattle.

Cooper boarded the aircraft, a Boeing 727-100 (FAA registration N467US), and took A seat In the rear of the passenger cabin. He lit a cigaretteand ordered a bourbon and soda. Eyewitnesses on board recalled a man in his mid-forties, between 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m) tall. He wore a black lightweight raincoat, loafers, a dark suit, a neatly pressed white collared shirt, a black necktie, and a mother of pearl tie pin.

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Flight 305 was approximately one-third full when the aircraft took off on schedule at 2:50 pm, PST. Cooper handed a note to Florence Schaffner, the flight attendant situated nearest to him in a jump seat attached to the aft stair door. Schaffner, assuming the note contained a lonely businessman’s phone number, dropped it unopened into her purse. Cooper leaned toward her and whispered, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.

The note was printed in neat, all-capital letters with a felt-tip pen. Its exact wording is unknown, because Cooper later reclaimed it, but Schaffner recalled that it indicated he had a bomb in his briefcase, and wanted her to sit with him.Schaffner did as requested, then quietly asked to see the bomb. Cooper cracked open his briefcase long enough for her to glimpse eight red cylinders (“four on top of four”) attached to wires coated with red insulation, and a large cylindrical battery.After closing the briefcase, he dictated his demands: $200,000 in “negotiable American currency”;four parachutes (two primary and two reserve); and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival.Schaffner conveyed Cooper’s instructions to the pilots in the cockpit: when she returned, he was wearing dark sunglasses.

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The pilot, William Scott, contacted Seattle-Tacoma Airport air traffic control, which in turn informed local and federal authorities.

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The 36 other passengers were told that their arrival in Seattle would be delayed because of a “minor mechanical difficulty”.Northwest Orient’s president, Donald Nyrop, authorized payment of the ransom and ordered all employees to cooperate fully with the hijacker. The aircraft circled Puget Sound for approximately two hours to allow Seattle police and the FBI time to assemble Cooper’s parachutes and ransom money, and to mobilize emergency personnel.

Schaffner recalled that Cooper appeared familiar with the local terrain; at one point he remarked, “Looks like Tacoma down there,” as the aircraft flew above it. He also correctly mentioned that McChord Air Force Base was only a 20-minute drive (at that time) from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Schaffner described him as calm, polite, and well-spoken, not at all consistent with the stereotypes (enraged, hardened criminals or “take-me-to-Cuba” political dissidents) popularly associated with air piracy at the time. Tina Mucklow, another flight attendant, agreed. “He wasn’t nervous,” she told investigators. “He seemed rather nice. He was never cruel or nasty. He was thoughtful and calm all the time.” He ordered a second bourbon and water, paid his drink tab (and attempted to give Schaffner the change), and offered to request meals for the flight crew during the stop in Seattle.

FBI agents assembled the ransom money from several Seattle-area banks—10,000 unmarked 20-dollar bills, most with serial numbers beginning with the letter “L” indicating issuance by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and most from the 1963A or 1969 series and made a microfilm photograph of each of them.Cooper rejected the military-issue parachutes offered by McChord AFB personnel, demanding instead civilian parachutes with manually operated ripcords. Seattle police obtained them from a local skydiving school.

At 5:24 pm Cooper was informed that his demands had been met, and at 5:39 pm the aircraft landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

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Cooper instructed Scott to taxi the jet to an isolated, brightly lit section of the tarmac and extinguish lights in the cabin to deter police snipers. Northwest Orient’s Seattle operations manager, Al Lee, approached the aircraft in street clothes (to avoid the possibility that Cooper might mistake his airline uniform for that of a police officer) and delivered the cash-filled knapsack and parachutes to Mucklow via the aft stairs. Once the delivery was completed, Cooper permitted all passengers, Schaffner, and senior flight attendant Alice Hancock to leave the plane.

During refueling Cooper outlined his flight plan to the cockpit crew: a southeast course toward Mexico City at the minimum airspeed possible without stalling the aircraft—approximately 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph)—at a maximum 10,000 foot (3,000 m) altitude. He further specified that the landing gear remain deployed in the takeoff/landing position, the wing flaps be lowered 15 degrees, and the cabin remain unpressurized.Copilot William Rataczak informed Cooper that the aircraft’s range was limited to approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) under the specified flight configuration, which meant that a second refueling would be necessary before entering Mexico. Cooper and the crew discussed options and agreed on Reno, Nevada, as the refueling stop. Finally, Cooper directed that the plane take off with the rear exit door open and its staircase extended. Northwest’s home office objected, on grounds that it was unsafe to take off with the aft staircase deployed. Cooper countered that it was indeed safe, but he would not argue the point; he would lower it himself once they were airborne.

An FAA official requested a face-to-face meeting with Cooper aboard the aircraft, which was denied.The refueling process was delayed because of a vapor lock in the fuel tanker truck’s pumping mechanism,and Cooper became suspicious; but he allowed a replacement tanker truck to continue the refueling—and a third after the second ran dry.

At approximately 7:40 pm, the 727 took off with only Cooper, pilot Scott, flight attendant Mucklow, copilot Rataczak, and flight engineer H. E. Anderson aboard. Two F-106 fighter aircraft scrambled from nearby McChord Air Force Base followed behind the airliner, one above it and one below, out of Cooper’s view.

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A Lockheed T-33 trainer, diverted from an unrelated Air National Guard mission, also shadowed the 727 until it ran low on fuel and turned back near the Oregon–California state line.

After takeoff, Cooper told Mucklow to join the rest of the crew in the cockpit and remain there with the door closed. As she complied, Mucklow observed Cooper tying something around his waist. At approximately 8:00 pm a warning light flashed in the cockpit, indicating that the aft airstair apparatus had been activated. The crew’s offer of assistance via the aircraft’s intercom system was curtly refused. The crew soon noticed a subjective change of air pressure, indicating that the aft door was open.

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At approximately 8:13 pm the aircraft’s tail section sustained a sudden upward movement, significant enough to require trimming to bring the plane back to level flight. At approximately 10:15 pm Scott and Rataczak landed the 727, with the aft airstair still deployed, at Reno Airport. FBI agents, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and Reno police surrounded the jet, as it had not yet been determined with certainty that Cooper was no longer aboard; but an armed search quickly confirmed that he was gone.

After hijacking an aeroplane and extorting $200,000 from the FBI, DB Cooper coolly made his escape via parachute.

Many suspect he died on the descent. That theory was strengthened in 1980 when an 8-year-old boy stumble open three wads of rotting $20 bills with serial numbers matching the cash given to Cooper.

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However, his body was never found leading to countless theories about who he was and what might have happened.

 

 

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping

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On the evening of March 1, 1932 Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., eldest son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was abducted from the family home in the town of Highfields, in East Amwell, New Jersey.

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Lindbergh, who became an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 in their son’s empty room.

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The kidnapper used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and left muddy footprints in the room.

The Lindberghs were inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison. For three days, investigators found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000.

The ransom was packaged in a wooden box that was custom-made in the hope that it could later be identified. The ransom money included a number of gold certificates – gold certificates were about to be withdrawn from circulation,and it was hoped this would draw attention to anyone spending them. The bills were not marked but their serial numbers were recorded.

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The kidnappers eventually gave instructions for dropping off the money and when it was delivered, the Lindberghs were told their baby was on a boat called Nelly off the coast of Massachusetts. After an exhaustive search, however, there was no sign of either the boat or the child. Soon after, the baby’s body was discovered near the Lindbergh mansion.

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He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from home. The heartbroken Lindberghs ended up donating the mansion to charity and moved away

The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. The gas station attendant who had accepted the bill wrote down the license plate number because he was suspicious of the driver. It was tracked back to a German immigrant and carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found a chunk of Lindbergh ransom money.

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Hauptmann claimed that a friend had given him the money to hold and that he had no connection to the crime. The resulting trial was a national sensation. The prosecution’s case was not particularly strong; the main evidence, besides the money, was testimony from handwriting experts that the ransom note had been written by Hauptmann. The prosecution also tried to establish a connection between Hauptmann and the type of wood that was used to make the ladder.

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Still, the evidence and intense public pressure were enough to convict Hauptmann and he was electrocuted in 1935. In the aftermath of the crime—the most notorious of the 1930s—kidnapping was made a federal offense.

The murder of the toddler James Bulger

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This is probably one of the most disturbing murder cases in history. The fact that the victim was a toddler is awful enough but knowing  that two 10-year-old’s, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson from England, who killed and mutilated the body of the 2-year-old James Bulger, makes it nearly unfathomable.Even more disturbing is that the killers have been released from jail with new identities.

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The fact that the suspects were so young came as a shock to investigating officers, headed by Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby, of Merseyside Police. Early press reports and police statements had referred to Bulger being seen with “two youths” (suggesting that the killers were teenagers), the ages of the boys being difficult to ascertain from the images captured by CCTV.

Forensic tests confirmed that both boys had the same blue paint on their clothing as found on Bulger’s body. Both had blood on their shoes; the blood on Thompson’s shoe was matched to Bulger’s through DNA tests. A pattern of bruising on Bulger’s right cheek matched the features of the upper part of a shoe worn by Thompson; a paint mark in the toecap of one of Venables’s shoes indicated he must have used “some force” when he kicked Bulger.

The boys were each charged with the murder of James Bulger on 20 February 1993,[7] and appeared at South Sefton Youth Court on 22 February 1993, when they were remanded in custody to await trial. In the aftermath of their arrest, and throughout the media accounts of their trial, the boys were referred to as ‘Child A’ (Thompson) and ‘Child B’ (Venables).While awaiting trial, they were held in the secure units where they would eventually be sentenced to be detained indefinitely.

On that fateful day, the troubled boys were skipping school and wandering around a busy mall, stealing sweets, batteries and a bucket of paint – items that were later to be found at the murder scene. Casually observing children, they were looking for a child to abduct. The plan was to lead the victim to a busy road and push him into the path of oncoming traffic.

On February the 12th, 1993. James was out shopping with his mother in the New Strand Shopping Centre near Kirkby, England.

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His mother Denise was briefly distracted inside a butcher’s shop on the lower floor of the center. A minute later she realized her son had disappeared. James had been wandering by the open door of the shop when Thompson and Venables caught his attention and lured him out of the mall at 3:42 pm.

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Denise panicked and headed to the mall’s security office. She described her son’s appearance and what was he wearing: a blue jacket and grey sweat suit, a blue scarf with a white cat on it and a t-shirt with the word ‘Noddy’ on it. For security, it was a routine day. They often had to announce the description of a lost child over the loudspeaker so that parents could reunite with their child at the information centre. But what started off as a lost child in the mall, turned out to be one of the most prolific missing child cases in the history of the UK.

At 4:15 pm, the local Police Station was notified.

Sometimes he ran ahead, other times he fell behind. The boys were walking around aimlessly until they reached a nearby canal and proceeded to go under a bridge to an isolated area. There, they dropped James on his head. Venables and Thompson ran away, leaving the toddler crying. A lady saw James sobbing and assumed he was just playing with the local kids.

In his utter innocence, bruised and crying, James followed the boys once again. Several witnesses saw them and later described a boy crying and older boys kicking him. No one intervened, thinking that older brothers were just fooling around and watching over their younger sibling..

At approximately 5:30 pm, after more than a two-mile hike, Venables and Thompson decided to go to the railway tracks to finish the business. Between 5:45p m and 6:30 pm, James was brutally murdered.

The assault began with the boys pouring the stolen paint from the mall into James’ eyes. They pulled off his pants and underwear, mutilated his foreskin and inserted batteries into his anus. They kicked, threw stones and eventually smashed his skull with an iron bar. When they believed James was dead, they laid his body on the tracks, covering his bleeding head with bricks and rubbish, making it look like an accident.

They left just before the train came. The forensic pathologist of the case, Dr. Alan Williams, stated that James suffered so many injuries – 42 in total – that he was not able to confirm any one of them as the fatal blow, beyond the fact that he had died before the train cut his body in half.

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Police got a hold of the CCTV footage of James’ abduction. The disappearance made the evening news and calls immediately poured in. Two days later, the severed body was found lying on the tracks. When the circumstances became public, the crime scene was flooded with hundreds of bouquets of flowers. The tabloids denounced the people who had seen the abduction but had not intervened to aid him.

Three days later, a breakthrough came when a woman recognised Venables on the released low-resolution photo from the CCTV footage. The tip-off led to an arrest and the boys were taken to separate police stations where they gave a total of 20 interviews over three days.

The boys confessed and were found guilty on the 24th of November, 1993, and received the sentence that would keep them behind bars for at least until they reached the age of 25. This decision made Venables and Thompson the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history and the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century.

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In 1999, lawyers for Thompson and Venables appealed to the European Court of Human Rights that the boys’ trial had not been impartial, since they were too young to follow proceedings and understand an adult court. The European court dismissed their claim that the trial was inhuman and degrading treatment, but upheld their claim they were denied a fair hearing by the nature of the court proceedings. The European Court also held that Michael Howard’s intervention had led to a “highly charged atmosphere”, which resulted in an unfair judgment.On 15 March 1999, the court in Strasbourg ruled by 14 votes to five that there had been a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the fairness of the trial of Thompson and Venables, stating: “The public trial process in an adult court must be regarded in the case of an 11-year-old child as a severely intimidating procedure”.

In September 1999, Bulger’s parents applied to the European Court of Human Rights, but failed to persuade the court that a victim of a crime has the right to be involved in determining the sentence of the perpetrator.

The European court case led to the new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, reviewing the minimum sentence. In October 2000, he recommended the tariff be reduced from ten to eight years, adding that young offender institutions were a “corrosive atmosphere” for the juveniles.

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In June 2001, after a six-month review, the parole board ruled the boys were no longer a threat to public safety and could be released as their minimum tariff had expired in February of that year. The Home Secretary David Blunkett approved the decision, and they were released a few weeks later on lifelong licence after serving eight years.

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Both men “were given new identities and moved to secret locations under a “witness protection”-style programme.”  This was supported by the fabrication of passports, national insurance numbers, qualification certificates and medical records. Blunkett added his own conditions to their licence and insisted on being sent daily updates on the men’s actions.

The terms of their release include the following: they are not allowed to contact each other or Bulger’s family; they are prohibited from visiting the Merseyside region;curfews may be imposed on them and they must report to probation officers. If they breach these rules or are deemed a risk to the public, they can be returned to prison.

An injunction was imposed on the media after the trial, preventing the publication of details about the boys. The worldwide injunction was kept in force following their release on parole, so their new identities and locations could not be published.

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Blunkett stated in 2001: “The injunction was granted because there was a real and strong possibility that their lives would be at risk if their identities became known.

In the months after the trial, and the birth of their second son, the marriage of Bulger’s parents, Ralph and Denise, broke down; they divorced in 1995. Denise married Stuart Fergus and they have two sons together. Ralph also remarried and has three daughters by his second wife.

On 2 March 2010, the Ministry of Justice revealed that Jon Venables had been returned to prison for an unspecified violation of the terms of his licence of release. The Justice Secretary Jack Straw stated that Venables had been returned to prison because of “extremely serious allegations”, and stated that he was “unable to give further details of the reasons for Jon Venables’s return to custody, because it was not in the public interest to do so.”On 7 March, Venables was returned to prison on suspected child pornography charges.

In November 2011, it was reported that officials had decided that Venables would stay in prison for the foreseeable future, as he would be likely to reveal his true identity if released. A Ministry of Justice spokesman declined to comment on the reports. On 4 July 2013, it was reported that the Parole Board for England and Wales had approved the release of Venables.

On 3 September 2013, it was reported that Venables had been released from prison

 

I don’t like Mondays

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“The silicon chip inside her head got switched to overload” is the opening line from  the Irish new wave/punk  band Boomtown Rats song “I don’t like Monday”

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The song was based on true events. On this day 38 years ago 16 year old Brenda Spencer went on a killing spree she killed two men and wounded nine children as they entered the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego.

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Spencer blazed away with rifle shots from her home directly across the street from the school. After 20 minutes of shooting ,she barricaded herself inside her home for several hours .Police surrounded Spencer’s home for six hours before she surrendered. Asked for some explanation for the attack, Spencer allegedly said, “I just don’t like Mondays. I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day. Nobody likes Mondays.”

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Spencer was only 16 years old at the time of her murderous attack. She was a problem child who was widely known as a drug abuser with a violent streak. She repeatedly broke the windows at the Cleveland school with her BB gun. Still, her father gave her a .22 semi-automatic rifle and ammunition as a Christmas gift at the end of 1978.

This seemed to inspire Spencer into more grandiose plans, and she started telling her classmates that she was going to do something “to get on TV.” When Monday morning rolled around, Burton Wragg, the principal of Cleveland Elementary, was opening the gates of the school when Spencer started firing her rifle from across the street. Wragg and custodian Michael Suchar were killed. “I just started shooting. That’s it. I just did it for the fun of it,” explained Spencer.

Spencer’s hatred for the first day of the school week was later memorialized by Bob Geldof, the leader of the rock group The Boomtown Rats, in the song, “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

 

Spencer was tried as an adult, and pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, is currently serving a term of 25 years to life at the California Institution for Women in Corona, California. She has been denied parole four times, most recently in 2005.

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The Murder of Theo van Gogh

theo_van_goghThe 2nd of November will mark the 12th anniversary of the murder of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam.

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TheodoorTheovan Gogh (23 July 1957 – 2 November 2004) was a Dutch film director, film producer, television director, television producer, television presenter, screenwriter, actor, critic and author.

Theo van Gogh was born on 23 July 1957 in The Hague, Netherlands to Anneke and Johan van Gogh. His father served in the Dutch secret service (‘AIVD’, then called ‘BVD’). Theo van Gogh was the great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the brother of painter Vincent van Gogh

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Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the short film Submission (2004), which criticized the treatment of women in Islam.

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On 2 November 2004, Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim. The last film Van Gogh had completed before his death, 06/05, was a fictional exploration of the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn.

Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Van Gogh created the 10-minute short film Submission. The movie deals with violence against women in some Islamic societies; it tells the stories, using visual shock tactics, of four abused Muslim women. The title, Submission, is a translation of the word “Islam” into English. In the film, women’s naked bodies, with texts from the Qur’an written on them in henna, in an allusion to traditional wedding rituals in some cultures, are veiled with semi-transparent shrouds as the women kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah.

In August 2004, after the movie’s broadcast on Dutch public TV, the newspaper De Volkskrant reported that the journalist Francisco van Jole had accused Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh of plagiarism, saying that they had appropriated the ideas of Iranian-American video artist Shirin Neshat, whose work used Arabic text projected onto bodies.

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Following the broadcast, both Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take the threats seriously and refused any protection. According to Hirsi Ali, he said, “Nobody kills the village idiot”, a term he frequently used about himself.

Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri while cycling to work on 2 November 2004 at about 9 o’clock in the morning, in front of the Amsterdam East borough office (stadsdeelkantoor), on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat.

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The killer shot Van Gogh eight times with an HS2000 handgun. Bouyeri was also on a bicycle and fired several bullets, hitting Van Gogh and two bystanders.

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Wounded, Van Gogh ran to the other side of the road and fell to the ground on the cycle lane. According to eyewitnesses, Van Gogh’s last words were “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” or “Have mercy, have mercy, don’t do it, don’t do it.”Bouyeri walked up to Van Gogh, who was on the ground, and calmly shot him several more times at close range.

Bouyeri cut Van Gogh’s throat with a large knife and tried to decapitate him, after which he stabbed the knife deep into Van Gogh’s chest, reaching his spinal cord. He attached a note to the body with a smaller knife. Van Gogh died on the spot.The two knives were left implanted. The note was addressed to and contained a death threat to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who went into hiding. It also threatened Western countries and Jews, and referred to ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra.

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The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan citizen, was apprehended by police after a chase, during which he was shot in the leg. Authorities have alleged that Bouyeri has terrorist ties with the Dutch Islamist Hofstad Network. He was charged with the attempted murder of several police officers and bystanders, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted at trial on 26 July 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

In 1995, Mohammed Bouyeri finished his secondary education and subsequently went on to the “Nyenrode College ” in Diemen. He changed his major several times and left after five years without obtaining a degree.

A second generation migrant from Morocco, Bouyeri used the pen name “Abu Zubair” for writing and translating. On the Internet he often posted letters and sent e-mail under this name.

At an early age he was known to the police as a member of a group of Moroccan “problem-youth”. For a while he worked as a volunteer at Eigenwijks, a neighbourhood organization in the Slotervaart suburb of Amsterdam. He started to radicalize shortly after his mother died and his father re-married in the fall of 2003. The September 11 attacks and the war in Iraq contributed to his radicalization.

He started to live according to strict Islamic rules. As a result he could perform fewer and fewer tasks at Eigenwijks. For example, he refused to serve alcohol and did not want to be present at activities attended by both women and men. Finally, he put an end to his activities at Eigenwijks altogether.

He grew a beard and began to wear a djellaba.

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He frequently visited the El Tawheed mosque where he met other radical Muslims, among whom were suspected terrorist . With them he is said to have formed the Hofstad Network, a Dutch terrorist cell.

He claims to have murdered van Gogh to fulfill his duty as a Muslim. Serving as witness in another court case involving the Hofstad group in May 2007, Bouyeri for the time expressed in more depth his thoughts regarding Islam. Here he said that armed Jihad was the only option of Muslims in the Netherlands and that democracy was always a violation of Islam because laws cannot be produced by humans but only by Allah

The murder sparked a violent storm of outrage and grief throughout the Netherlands. Flowers, notes, drawings and other expressions of mourning were left at the scene of the murder.

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I think that Mohammed Bouyeri is more of a deranged psychopath then anything else. Someone with a warped sense of entitlement.

 

 

The Wigwam Murder- A WW2 Murder Case.

August Sangret (28 August 1913 – 29 April 1943) was a French-Canadian soldier  of North American Indian ethnic origin, convicted and subsequently hanged for the September 1942 murder of 19-year-old Joan Pearl Wolfe in Surrey, England. This murder case is also known as the Wigwam Murder.

The murder of Joan Pearl Wolfe became known as “the Wigwam Murder” due to the fact the victim had become known among locals as “the Wigwam Girl” through her living in two separate, improvised wigwams upon Hankley Common in the months preceding her murder, and that these devices proved to have been constructed by her murderer.The case also involved the famous British Pathologist Professor Keith Simpson.

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On 7 October 1942, two soldiers were strolling on Hankley Common (near Godalming, Surrey) when they noticed an arm protruding from a mound of earth. A badly decomposed fully-clothed woman was found to have been loosely buried up on the mound.

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Professor Keith Simpson concluded that the woman had been stabbed with a hooked-tipped knife, and that she was then killed with a heavy blunt instrument. He also deduced that the attack had occurred elsewhere, and the woman’s corpse dragged to the ridge where it was buried. The woman was eventually identified as Joan Pearl Wolfe, who was living rough in a crude shelter made of tree branches, and so the newspapers gave her the nickname of “Wigwam Girl”.

The police search of Hackney Common found the dead woman’s Identity Card and a letter to a Canadian soldier called August Sangret. The letter informed Sangret that she was pregnant.

Wolfe became engaged to a Canadian soldier: Francis Hearn. Hearn returned to Canada promising to marry her; she wore a ring that he had given her and she sometimes referred to herself as his wife.

On 17 July 1942, the day after Hearn left for Canada, Wolfe met Sangret for the first time in a pub in Godalming. They talked and walked through a local park. They had sex that night and parted company having arranged to meet again. As very often happened, Wolfe did not keep her next date, but Sangret met her again by chance a few days later when she seemed to be on a date with another soldier named Hartnell. The three conversed for some time and then Hartnell left. Sangret and Wolfe met regularly.

My Dear August,

Well, my dear, I hope I am forgiven for not turning up to see you last night, but I was in the police station five hours and they did not help me. I was walking along the road and suddenly came over queer. I fainted for the first time in my whole life. The brought me to the hospital here. They are going to examine me. I shall know whether I am all right or not then. I hope you will come and see me, as I really want to see you very much and being in bed all day is awful. You can come any night between 6-7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon. Please try and come. I have your picture on the locker beside me. The nurses know you are my boy friend, they told me to tell you to come and see me. You have to tell them my name and ask for Emergency Ward. Well, hoping to see you soon, I will say au revoir. God bless you. Love Joan.

Wolfe was not ill; she was, apparently, pregnant.

(Although pathologists who later examined Wolfe’s body were unable to determine whether she had been pregnant at the time of her death, had she been so at the time she wrote this letter on 26 July, Sangret—having known Wolfe for just nine days—could not have fathered the child. If Wolfe was indeed pregnant, the father of the child would likely have been Francis Hearn.)

When Wolfe was released from hospital, the couple spent a great deal of time together. Sangret made a shack or wigwam in woodland behind the officers lines.

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Here Wolfe would stay most of the time and Sangret would visit whenever he could, including many nights when he should have been in camp. The couple talked about their future plans, including marriage. When they could not meet, Wolfe sent letters to Sangret that would be read out by Sergeant Hicks. Wolfe got work, but she was totally unreliable and her various employments only lasted a few days. Wolfe drifted away for a few days to London and soon after she returned she was again picked up by the police and spent a few more days in hospital — not because she was ill, but simply so that she would be looked after.

When Wolfe returned, the couple were discovered in a wigwam by Private Donald Brett, a soldier attached to the military police. Brett told them to disassemble the wigwam and move away. Wolfe was once again taken to a hospital by the police. By the time she returned, Sangret had built a second wigwam made waterproof with his rain cape and gas cape. When Wolfe returned, the couple walked into town to try to find a room in town without success. That evening, Wolfe was detained by the military police who questioned her; she was sent to a hospital again and Sangret was arrested for “keeping a girl in camp”.

The couple had to explain themselves to the authorities, they explained that their plans included getting married and they were treated sympathetically. On leaving hospital, Wolfe again returned to Sangret. They tried again to find a room in town, but ended up sleeping together in an unlocked cricket pavilion. Over the next two weeks, they spent a number of nights at the old pavilion and then, on 14 September, Wolfe disappeared. The affair between Sangret and Wolfe had lasted 81 days.

Sangret was arrested and taken to Godalming police station. He was interviewed at length by inspector Edward Greeno. The questioning went on for days and Sangret’s statement, which was then the longest statement ever made, took a policeman five days to write out in longhand. Sangret was charged with Wolfe’s murder.

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When the police interviewed Sangret, he admitted having intimate relations with the girl and living with her tree wigwam. A heavy birch branch, with blood stains, was found near the body’s grave. Sangret’s recently washed battledress was found to have blood stains. Finally on 27 November 1942, a hooked-tip knife was found blocking a waste pipe.

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August Sangret was charged with Wolfe’s murder and tried during February 1943. He was found guilty of murder, with a recommendation to mercy, and sentenced to death by hanging. The Home Secretary choose to disregard the jury’s recommendation. Sangret was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 29 April 1943

Preliminary hearings were held at Guildford on 12, 13, 19 and 20 January 1943. With the committal proceedings complete, Captain Creasey noted in his diary that the case was “medium strong, circumstantial case only.”

The judge finished his summary with the words:

That the girl (Wolfe) was murdered is not in dispute; that she was murdered by some man is also quite plain; and the only question you have to determine is: Have the Crown satisfied you beyond all real doubt that the prisoner, August Sanget, is the man who murdered her?

[…]

I can only conclude by saying what I said at the beginning; when dealing with a case of circumstantial evidence you must be satisfied beyond all doubt before you find the prisoner guilty. If you come to the conclusion that, on the facts as proved to you, no real doubt is left in your minds that his was the hand which slew this unhappy girl, then you will convict him.

The jury, who took two hours to reach their verdict, made a strong recommendation to mercy. Before sentence of death was passed, Sangret declared, “I am not guilty. I never killed that girl.”

Sanget’s appeal was heard on 13 April. The appeal was dismissed and the jury’s appeal for mercy was not a matter for the courts, but for the Home Secretary. Then Home Secretary Herbert Morrison found the jury’s recommendation surprising, even inexplicable. Seeing no good reason to interfere, he let the law take its course.

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Sangret was held in the condemned cell at Wandsworth Prison where he was hanged on 29 April 1943.

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In his memoirs, published in 1960, Edward Greeno made his opinion quite clear:

I had interviewed thousands of people in this case and seventy-four of them went into the witness-box. The case was so watertight that, as Sir Norman Kendal said later, Sanget’s appeal against the death sentence ‘was almost a farce’.

One small doubt remained. Sanget murdered the girl because she was expecting his child—but was she? Was she expecting anybody’s child?

The doctors didn’t think so on the occasion that the police sent her to hospital, and when her body was found it was too late to tell.

But this is certain: Sangret did murder her. He confessed before he died, and this is where I quarrel with the rules. It is never announced when a murderer confesses. But why not? There are always cranks and crackpots to argue that some wicked policeman has framed some poor fellow. So why make an official secret of the fact that the policeman did his job?

Due to the Army not discharging Sangret before his execution, he is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial.

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Mary Ann Nichols-Jack the Ripper’s 1st Victim

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Today marks the 128th anniversary of the Ripper’s first victim,Mary Ann Nichols.

As London’s bells rang in the last day of August 1888, rain was falling. It had been one of the wettest summers in living memory, and there was thunder in the air. On the horizon a fierce red glow seared the sky above Shadwell, where a huge fire had broken out in the dry dock.

Some time between one and two o’clock that morning, a woman called Mary Ann Nichols, known to her friends as ‘Polly’, was thrown out of the kitchen of the shabby lodging house at 18 Thrawl Street, Spitalfields. Fate had dealt Polly a rough hand. A 43-year-old mother of five children, she was separated from her husband and now drifted from one workhouse to another, scratching a meagre existence from handouts and casual prostitution.

Short of the four pence she needed to pay for a bed in the lodging house, Polly once more found herself on the street. “Never mind,” she said, gesturing at the velvet-trimmed straw bonnet she was wearing. “I’ll soon get my doss money. See what a jolly bonnet I’ve got now.” The implication was clear: she was heading back out to find a punter.

An hour or so later, Polly was seen by one of her roommates on the corner of Whitechapel Road, clearly drunk. She had made her doss money three times over, she boasted, but had already spent it on gin and was off to make some more.

That was the last time Mary Ann Nichols was seen alive. At 3.40am, a carter found her lying in the darkened doorway of a stable. Her throat had been slit and her body horribly mutilated. The murderer who would later be dubbed ‘Jack the Ripper’ had claimed his first victim.

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Born Mary Ann Walker on August 26, 1845 in Dawes Court, Shoe Lane, off Fleet Street. She was christened in or some years before 1851. At the time of her death the East London Observer guessed her age at 30-35. At the inquest her father said “she was nearly 44 years of age, but it must be owned that she looked ten years younger.

5’2” tall; brown eyes; dark complexion; brown hair turning grey; five front teeth missing (Rumbelow); two bottom-one top front (Fido), her teeth are slightly discoloured. She was described as having small, delicate features with high cheekbones and grey eyes. She had a small scar on her forehead from a childhood injury.

She was described  as “a very clean woman who always seemed to keep to herself.” The doctor at the post mortem remarked on the cleanliness of her thighs. She was also an alcoholic.

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Mary Ann was born to locksmith Edward Walker and his wife Caroline on 26 August 1845, in Dean Street in London. On 16 January 1864 she married William Nichols, a printer’s machinist, and between 1866 and 1879, the couple had five children: Edward John, Percy George, Alice Esther, Eliza Sarah, and Henry Alfred. Their marriage broke up in 1880 or 1881 from disputed causes. Her father accused William of leaving her after he had an affair with the nurse who had attended the birth of their final child, though Nichols claimed to have proof that their marriage had continued for at least three years after the date alleged for the affair. He maintained that his wife had deserted him and was practising prostitution.Police reports say they separated because of her drunken habit.

Legally required to support his estranged wife, William Nichols paid her an allowance of five shillings a week until 1882, when he heard that she was working as a prostitute; he was not required to support her if she was earning money through illicit means. Nichols spent most of her remaining years in workhouses and boarding houses, living off charitable handouts and her meagre earnings as a prostitute.She lived with her father for a year or more but left after a quarrel; her father stated he had heard she had subsequently lived with a blacksmith named Drew in Walworth.In early 1888, the year of her death, she was placed in the Lambeth workhouse after being discovered sleeping rough in Trafalgar Square.

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In May she left the workhouse to take a job as a domestic servant in Wandsworth. Unhappy in that position—she was an alcoholic and her employer, Mr Cowdry, and his wife, were teetotallers—she left two months later, stealing clothing worth three pounds ten shillings.At the time of her death, Nichols was living in a Whitechapel common lodging house in Spitalfields, where she shared a room with a woman named Emily “Nelly” Holland.

At about 23:00 on 30 August, Nichols was seen walking the Whitechapel Road; at 00:30 on 31 August she was seen to leave a pub in Brick Lane, Spitalfields. An hour later, she was turned out of 18 Thrawl Street as she was lacking the fourpence required for a bed, implying by her last recorded words that she would soon earn the money on the street with the help of a new bonnet she had acquired. She was last seen alive standing at the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road at approximately 02:30 (one hour before her death) by her roommate, Emily Holland. To Holland, Nichols claimed she had earned enough money to pay for her bed three times that evening, but had repeatedly spent the money on alcohol.

At about 3:40, a cart driver named Charles Allen Lechmere (who also used the name Charles Cross) discovered Mary Ann Nichols lying on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck’s Row (since renamed Durward Street), Whitechapel, about 150 yards from the London Hospital and 100 yards from Blackwall Buildings.

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Her skirt was raised. Another passing cart driver on his way to work, Robert Paul, approached and Cross pointed out the body. Cross believed her to be dead, but Paul was uncertain and thought she might simply be unconscious. They pulled her skirt down to cover her lower body, and went in search of a policeman. Upon encountering PC Jonas Mizen, Cross informed the constable: “She looks to me to be either dead or drunk, but for my part, I believe she’s dead.”The two men then continued on their way to work, leaving Mizen to inspect Nichols’ body.

As Mizen approached the body, PC John Neil came from the opposite direction on his beat and by flashing his lantern, called a third policeman, PC John Thain, to the scene. As news of the murder spread, three horse slaughterers from a neighbouring knacker’s yard in Winthrop Street, who had been working overnight, came to look at the body. None of the slaughterers, the police officers patrolling nearby streets, or the residents of houses alongside Buck’s Row reported hearing or seeing anything suspicious before the discovery of the body.

PC Thain fetched surgeon Dr Henry Llewellyn, who arrived at 04:00 and decided she had been dead for about 30 minutes.

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Her throat had been slit twice from left to right and her abdomen mutilated with one deep jagged wound, several incisions across the abdomen, and three or four similar cuts on the right side caused by the same knife, estimated to be at least 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) long, used violently and downwards.Llewellyn expressed surprise at the small amount of blood at the crime scene, “about enough to fill two large wine glasses, or half a pint at the most”. His comment led to the supposition that Nichols was not killed where her body was found, but the blood from her wounds had soaked into her clothes and hair, and there was little doubt that she had been killed at the crime scene by a swift slash to the throat. Death would have been instantaneous, and the abdominal injuries, which would have taken less than five minutes to perform, were made by the murderer after she was dead. When a person is killed, further wounds to their body do not always result in a large amount of blood loss. When the body was lifted a “mass of congealed blood”, in PC Thain’s words, lay beneath the body.

As the murder had occurred in the territory of the Bethnal Green Division of the Metropolitan Police, it was initially investigated by the local detectives, inspectors John Spratling and Joseph Helson, who had little success. Elements of the press linked the attack on Nichols to two previous murders, those of Emma Elizabeth Smith and Martha Tabram, and suggested the killing might have been perpetrated by a gang, as in the case of Smith.[The Star newspaper instead suggested a single killer was the culprit and other newspapers took up their storyline. Suspicions of a serial killer at large in London led to the secondment of Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore and Walter Andrews from the Central Office at Scotland Yard.

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Although Nichols carried no identification, a Lambeth workhouse laundry mark on her petticoats gave police enough information to eventually identify her. Nelly Holland and William Nichols confirmed an identification provided by a former workhouse resident.While her death certificate states that she was 42 at the time of her murder (an apparent error reflected on her coffin plate and gravestone), birth records indicate she was 43, a fact confirmed at her inquest by her father, who described her as looking “ten years younger” than her age. The coroner at Nichols’ inquest, which began on 1 September at the Working Lads’ Institute on Whitechapel Road, was Wynne Edwin Baxter. Inquest testimony as reported in The Times stated:

Five of the teeth were missing, and there was a slight laceration of the tongue. There was a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. That might have been caused by a blow from a fist or pressure from a thumb. There was a circular bruise on the left side of the face which also might have been inflicted by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck, about 1in. below the jaw, there was an incision about 4in. in length, and ran from a point immediately below the ear. On the same side, but an inch below, and commencing about 1in. in front of it, was a circular incision, which terminated at a point about 3in. below the right jaw. That incision completely severed all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision was about 8in. in length. The cuts must have been caused by a long-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence.
No blood was found on the breast, either of the body or the clothes. There were no injuries about the body until just about the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side was a wound running in a jagged manner. The wound was a very deep one, and the tissues were cut through. There were several incisions running across the abdomen. There were three or four similar cuts running downwards, on the right side, all of which had been caused by a knife which had been used violently and downwards. The injuries were from left to right and might have been done by a left-handed person. All the injuries had been caused by the same instrument.[22]

Although Llewellyn had speculated that the attacker could have been left-handed, he later expressed doubt over this initial thought, but the belief that the killer was left-handed endured.

Rumours that a local character called “Leather Apron” could have been responsible for the murder were investigated by the police, even though they noted “there is no evidence against him”. Imaginative descriptions of “Leather Apron”, using crude Jewish stereotypes, appeared in the press,but rival journalists dismissed these as “a mythical outgrowth of the reporter’s fancy”.John Pizer, a Polish Jew who made footwear from leather, was known by the name “Leather Apron” and was arrested despite a lack of evidence.He was soon released after the confirmation of his alibis. Pizer successfully obtained monetary compensation from at least one newspaper that had named him as the murderer.

After several adjournments, to allow the police to gather further evidence, the inquest concluded on 24 September. On the available evidence, Coroner Baxter found that Nichols was murdered at just after 3 a.m. where she was found. In his summing up, he dismissed the possibility that her murder was connected with those of Smith and Tabram since the lethal weapons were different in those cases, and neither of the earlier cases involved a slash to the throat.However, by the time the inquest into Nichols’ death had concluded, another woman, Annie Chapman, had been murdered, and Baxter noted “The similarity of the injuries in the two cases is considerable.” The police investigations into the murders of Chapman and Nichols were merged.

The subsequent murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes the week after the inquest had closed, and that of Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November, were also linked by a similar modus operandi, and the murders were blamed by the press and public on a single serial killer, called “Jack the Ripper”.

In recent years it has been suggested that Charles Cross, the person who supposedly found her body, was the Ripper.

Nichols was buried on 6 September 1888. That afternoon, her body was transported in a polished elm coffin to Mr Henry Smith, Hanbury Street undertaker. The cortege consisted of the hearse and two mourning coaches, which carried William Nichols and Edward John Nichols (her eldest son, who was approximately 22 years old). Nichols was buried at the City of London Cemetery, in a public grave numbered 210752 (on the edge of the current Memorial Garden).

In late 1996, the cemetery authorities decided to mark her grave with a plaque.

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The murder of Captain Brownscombe

Captain Brian Brownscombe was murdered by a Nazi officer after being taken prisoner.Brian “Basher” Brownscombe was a son of Herbert Henry and Edith May Brownscombe of Watchet, Somerset.He served with 181 Airlanding Field Ambulance.

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The medical officer had been awarded the George Cross after keeping a wounded soldier afloat for five hours, following the disastrous Sicily Landings, after his glider crashed into the sea and sank.He landed in Arnhem on September 17, 1944, as medical officer with the 2nd South Staffords. He set up a hospital in a museum, but after the Germans overran the position, he and all the wounded soldiers were taken prisoner.

During Market Garden he was again attached to South Staffordshires were he served as the Regimental Medical Officer. He left England by glider on 17 september 1944 and landed near Wolfheze. Soon after landing he and other medical personnel set up a Regimental Aid Post (RAP) into a farmhouse (Reijerscamp) to treat any landing casualties. Casualties were light and they soon moved to their pre-planned positions. (Red Berets and Red Crosses page 90)

They were then captured by the Germans. Like most medical personnel Brownscombe continued to treat wounded in the Arnhem area. He first worked in St Elizabeth’s Hospital and after a few days he went to the Municipal Hospital at Arnhem. There he was killed by the German Karl Lerche.

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Private George Phillips was working in the Municipal Hospital and remembers that one evening just after he had finished a stint of duty that Captain Brownscombe was killed. He was shot by a drunk SS NCO. George still can see him lying on the stretcher with a hole in the back of his head. He said they were completely knocked out by this and he was the only British medical officer in the hospital. The SS NCO responsible for the killing was tracked down after the war and stood trial as a war criminal.”

His murderer, Karl-Gustav Lerche, twice changed his name after the war in an attempt to avoid retribution, but he was finally caught and stood trial as a war criminal at Munich in 1955, where he was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour.

But for the actions of his former lover, Lerche would never have been brought to justice. He had been doing odd jobs in Munich and had taken up with a woman called Charlotte Bormann. In September 1952 she walked into her local police station to denounce the man she had come to despise. Tired of his lies, Bormann told police that the man she knew as Gunther Breede was both a fraud and killer. In reality he was named Karl-Gustav Lerche who had admitted to killing a British POW in the war. Bormann, too, had form, although not of the criminal kind. The 54-year-old had married and divorced three husbands. Notably one of them was the nephew of Nazi leader Martin Bormann.

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The issue wasn’t just that the dashing Captain Brownscombe, known as ‘Basher’, had been shot off the battlefield; it was that he’d been shot after an evening of merry drinking with his captors. It had been an unusual gathering. Shortly after landing near Arnhem in September 1944, as part of an audacious Allied plan to reach Germany’s Ruhr area through the Netherlands, 28-year-old army doctor Brownscombe had been captured by German forces. He had plenty of company: during the Battle of Arnhem, which raged from 17 to 25 September, 6,000 of the 10,000 allied soldiers deployed in the immense operation were captured, while 1,400 were killed.

The battle also having resulted in vast numbers of British and German wounded soldiers, Brownscombe and the two other captured British doctors were assigned to duty at the German army hospital. In fact, the collaboration was a minor success, with the doctors going about their work in the spirit of Hippocrates. Watching this friendly co-existence, a Waffen-SS officer also stationed in Arnhem decided that it would be good to socialise with the British POWs.

On the afternoon of 24 September, the happy-go-lucky member of the Waffen-SS Kurt Eggers propaganda unit ;Waffen-SS Unterscharführer Knud Fleming Helweg-Larsen, invited Brownscombe, his two fellow British medics, Brian Devlin and James Logan and British army chaplains Daniel McGowan and Alan Buchanan along with Waffen-SS officers Karl-Gustav Lerche and Ernst Beisel for drinks in the officers’ mess. “We sat there and drank some bottles of red wine, apricot brandy and whisky,” Helweg-Larsen later told a British army interrogator. “The conversation was friendly. I interpreted for the two Germans.”

After a while, the two other Waffen-SS officers left, while Helweg-Larsen kept drinking with the Brits. “We were all pretty merry, but Brownscombe was the most sober of the party or carried his drink best,” Helweg-Larsen told the interrogator. The group parted company at dusk, and Helweg-Larsen invited his new friend Brownscombe over to the SS officers’ living quarters for a last drink “to show him that the SS were not so bad as English propaganda made out.”

Some 10 people including Lerche gathered at the SS billet, and “we drank and sang English and German songs.” Afterwards, a driver took Helweg-Larsen and Brownscombe back to the hospital. They stepped out, still chatting away, sharing stories and agreeing to stay in touch after the war. “He said I was too good to be in the SS and I said he was too good to be in the English Army,” Helweg-Larsen recalled. The evening’s goodbye was a lengthy one, as they kept shaking hands and patting each other on the back then continuing their conversation. During one such handshake, the Dane reported, Brownscombe collapsed in front of him, dead.

Suddenly Lerche appeared, holding a pistol. When the Dane asked what had happened, Lerche said that he’d had to do it, adding that Brownscombe had a happy death. Though Helweg-Larsen had himself killed a Danish newspaper editor several years earlier, he remonstrated with Lerche: “[Brownscombe] had been our guest and you had drunk with him.” Rather bizarrely, the pair left the dead officer on the ground, where his fellow POWs found him. The next day, Father Buchanan buried Brownscombe and placed a wooden cross on his grave.

Lerche who had been a member of the Waffen-SS Kurt Eggers propaganda unit, which was   a German Waffen SS propaganda formation which publicised the actions of all Waffen SS combat formations, seeing action in all major theatres of war with the exception of North Africa,

was sentenced to 10 years of hard labour in 1955 by a court in Munich. But eventually only served 5 years.

It is somehow ironic that someone related to Martin Borman got some justice for Captain Brownscombe.

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