Archive for the ‘Morgue’ Category

This case is interesting because it was in 1804 and set out a legal precedent in the UK about self-defense; could someone be held liable for their actions even if they were the consequence of a mistaken/misguided belief…

Near the end of summer in 1803 a number of people claimed to have seen and even been attacked by a ghost in the Hammersmith area, London. It was believed that the ghost was a man who committed suicide the year before and was buried in the Hammersmith churchyard. It was believed he should not be buried in consecrated grounds, it was thought that suicide victims would not find rest if that happened.

3rd January, 1804 and a member of the armed patrols set up in response shot and killed a plasterer, Thomas Millwood. The man mistook the white clothes of Millwoods trade for the ghost and 29 year old Francis Smith was found guilty of murder. Mr Smith was tried for willful murder, and a witness stated she had warned the victim he might want to put on something that stopped him being all white, she had said he had already been mistaken for the ghost on a previous occasion.

Millwood’s sister testified that Smith had called on her brother to sop or he would shoot but he then fired almost immediately. The Lord Chief Baron Macdonald advised the jury that Smith’s character before may well have been good and there may have been no malice but the question was more if he had at that point shot with intent to kill.

Smith had not been provoked and had not made any attempt to apprehend the ghost, therefore he felt that the jury should be directed to find him guilty if they believed the facts presented. It took an hour for the jury to come back with a verdict of manslaughter. MacDonald said they could not deliver that response, it must be either guilty or acquittal, the belief that he was a ghost was to him irrelevant to the case. The jury then came back with guilt… MacDonald stated he intended to pass the case to the king, who had the power to commute the sentence.

Initially the trial stated that it was a sentence of hanging and dissection. It was commuted to a year’s hard labour. The publicity meant that the true culprit of the ghostly encounters came forwards, John Graham had been pretending to be the ghost so that he could frighten his apprentice, and his apprentice had been scaring the local children with stories of ghosts.

The impact on the law was that a question arose about whether the action taken under a mistaken self-defense would be chargeable, and it went to the Court of Appeal. It wasn’t clarified until 1984, when appellant, Gladstone Williams, had seen a man dragging a younger man along the street, the younger man was shouting for help. Williams thought that an assault was taking place and intervened, Williams had not known but the person being dragged had been caught trying to commit theft. Williams was then convicted of assault with actual bodily harm, and the Lord Chief Justice Lane referred to the debate when the appeal came up.

It was a problematic issue, Williams was trying to help albeit without understanding the situation he had seen someone in peril and thought he was doing the right thing. It was not unreasonable perhaps, that he stepped in trying to assist, the man was crying out for help. So in the end for Williams an appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed… the decision was also later written into a more concise reference for law, Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76.

And all this because a man dressed up in a white sheet and tried to scare his apprentice!

Hammersmith Ghost.PNG
Public Domain, Link

 

TRIGGER WARNING

A quick search online will give you plenty of information but to give you a summary and because it is probably flitting to the nature of my blog, I am going to summaries this one.

López was born in Uruguay and the family moved to the USA where the seemingly easy, good-natured López grew up. He was regarded as a fairly nice person who had a dew male friends but never had a girlfriend or seemed to hold friendships with women. López dropped out of high school but didn’t pursue any of his artistic talents due to fears of being rejected by any schools and fearing that he was inadequate.

By 18 years of age he was a social recluse, he seemingly found a better place in fantasy and became enthralled by celebrities. In 1993 he became obsessed by Icelandic singer, Björk, following her career and learning everything he could about her.

At the beginning it seemed quite positive, she was a muse for him and overtime, during his 803 page diary, it showed he was losing connection with reality. His main motivation seemed to be a way to find for her to accept him as a friend nothing really suggested it was sexually motivated either. He spoke of a way to go back to the 1970’s and find her to be her friend…

Overall his diary is really an account of a terribly lonely man, he felt inadequate, ugly and unsuccessful. López’s diary referenced suicide and had fourteen mentions of murder. In it he had mentioned other celebrities but an overwhelming 408 references were made about Björk.

All-in-all up until this point I was seemingly a lonely man, obsessed with a woman he could not meet, but the story does not end there; hence me including it on the blog.

In 1996 he was living alone in Hollywood, Florida, and found an article in Entertainment Weekly about her romantic involvement with Goldie (Clifford Joseph Prince). He avidly disliked the relationship because he was a black man and felt betrayed at her having Goldie as a lover. He decides he needs to harm her because of this relationship and the feeling of betrayal.

14th January 1996 and López stopped writing his diaries, instead he moved to making video diaries instead. He made eleven tapes in total, each lasting around two hours. They were filmed within his apartment, a squalid place hat he referred to as his pigsty, he would also record the videos in various states of undress.

By the end of his series he had decided Björk must die and in his diary he states that he’s going to kill her by sending a package, he wanted to send her to hell. His intention was a letter bomb loaded with needles of HIV infected blood gained from a prostitute and abandoned his plan when he realised he could not do it, it was unfeasible.

López changed tactics, in June he began to construct a bomb in a book that was to be sent to her home, he wanted it to look like it had been posted by her record label. It was devised to spray acid in her face, to leave her disfigured.

12th September 1996 and López makes his last entry, he films his preparation of going to the post office. He is nervous but if he aroused suspicion he was going to commit suicide if they tried to detain him. He returns from the post office and resumes the entry, he has Björk’s music playing in the background and is naked in the video.

López then shaves his head and paints it with red and green paint, he colours his lips black and tells that camera that he is now nervous. Declaring that he is not depressed, or drunk, he then shoots himself with a .38 caliber pistol and slumps forwards. It looks like he was hoping that the blood would splatter on the sign behind him, “The best of me. Sept 12”, but the bullet did not exit his skill and he fell forwards.

You can find this on YouTube and other sites, I haven’t posted the link here, I don’t think it’s necessary. Watching the video, which I did, I felt quite upset because this was a man who was clearly very ill and ultimately he killed himself. You can hear the noises of his blood falling down and exiting and yes it’s real… but it’s not nice. Don’t go trying to watch it unless you know you can cope. I have warned you and accept no blame if you do.

López’s death was discovered by a maintenance worker (poor thing) on 16th September, the smell was terrible and the blood was seeping through the ceiling. The worker called the police who gained entry and found him decomposing once they gained entry. They also found a further message above the wall in black letters, “The 8mm Tapes Are A Documentation Of A Crime Terrorist Material. They Are For The F.B.I”, the apartment was then evacuated and searched for devices.

There was only one that had been constructed and it was the one he had posted, police contacted Scotland Yard and after viewing the last tape the Metropolitan Police managed to intercept the package from a South London post office. It was safely detonated.

López died not knowing that only a few days before he had shot himself Björk and Goldie has ended their relationship. Björk herself was affected by the event and did eventually respond, no doubt relieved that the thing had not been delivered and put her and her child at risk. No one that knew López had considered him dangerous either, and overall it seems that this was a man who’s mental health had degraded and was not as likely to be noticed as he had always been very secluded and kept away from people.

Bjork APEVicPark270518-97 (42563937282).jpg
By Raph_PHAPEVicPark270518-97, CC BY 2.0, Link

 

The title meaning ‘shared psychosis’ and is a rare disorder when seemingly delusional beliefs are somehow transmitted from one person to another.

A case of this may be cited as that of Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, Swedish twin sisters, born in 1967 who were involved in strange events on the M6 motorway and the subsequent murder of Glen Hollinshead from Fenton, Staffordshire, U.K.

The women had been travelling in Ireland before they came to England, they got on a coach in Liverpool to go to London. Their behavior was odd and the coach driver would not allow them to get on again after exiting it at a service station on the M6.

Highways Agency Traffic officers were called out, the two were seen at the central reservation on the M6 and they ran across the motorway, Ursula dodged traffic but Sabina was struck and the police arrived. Shortly after they did the woman again ran out into the motorway. They now had Ursula with serious leg injuries and Sabina who was unconscious for several minutes due to head injuries. They were both treated by paramedics but both were resisting treatment.

Sabina was shouting out “they’re going to steal your organs” and “I recognize you – I know you’re not real” amongst a stream of profanities. Sabina refused to lay still and even struck a female officer before the public, police and emergency workers all managed to get her and she could be sedated and taken to hospital. Ursula stayed in hospital for several weeks.

Here is where it really seems to have fallen apart, 19th May 2008 Sabina was allowed to go. She was not given a full psychiatric evaluation and she pleaded guilty to her actions, she had been detained long enough supposedly and then headed out with her possessions in clear plastic bag, she was around Stoke-On-Trent and it was assumed she was off to rejoin her sister.

At 7pm that evening she was seen by two local men whilst they were walking a dog. Glenn Hollinshead was a 54 year old welder, he was also a qualified paramedic and former RAF worker. The other man was his best friend Peter Molloy, she seemed friendly enough as they talked but her behaviour seemed odd and so Molloy was uneasy about her.

She asked about a bed and breakfast but Hollinshead took pity on her and offered to let her stay at his place on Duke Street. She explained to them that she was trying to find her sister who had been hospitalized. At the house her strange ways continued, she offered them cigarettes and when they took them to smoke she snatched them back, saying that they were poisonous. She also had multiple phones and a laptop. Her behaviour was very paranoid and Molloy thought that maybe she was trying to flee an abusive partner.

Molloy left just before midnight, Sabina stayed for the evening and the following day he called hospitals to find Ursula. At 19:40 the next evening he borrowed tea bags from his neighbour, Frank Booth, and went back inside. A minute later he staggered back out saying that he had been stabbed by Sabina and Booth called 999.

Sabina had stabbed him five times and fled, she had murdered the person that had given her shelter for seemingly no reason at all. She had, herself, ran from the house in possession of a hammer which she hit herself over the head with and was seen by a passing motorist. The motorist was Joshua Grattage who tried to stop her, Sabina then pulled a roof tile from her pocket and hit him over the head with it. By this time the paramedics had found her and were taking chase, she then jumped 40 feet down from a bridge on to the A50, with broken ones she was finally taken to hospital.

She was arrested 6th June 2008 and charged with murder. The trial was scheduled for February 2009 and had to be adjourned as they had difficulty getting hold of her medical records from Sweden. On 2nd September 2009 Sabina plead guilty with diminished responsibility. There was never an explanation for her actions provided. Whilst seemingly sane in appearance the prosecution and defense used insanity for their case and whilst in prison she turned to Christianity. Ursula went back to Sweden and then went to the USA.

There is a suggestion that the incident was also worsened by the police arrival, the officer is there telling her that he is there to help and even with the damage to her legs Ursula was still trying to get up, she was repeatedly saying that they were not real. Once sedated it seems that Sabina was calmer and more rational, what was found out is that Ursula was the one with the history of mental illness and some wonder if that was transferred to Sabina somehow.

PCP has been put forwards as a possible explanation, a paramedic said that this is not entirely unusual behaviour for the pathology of the drug but that the case is very extreme. A urine test had a potential to pick up the drug but there is no more information for this to go by.

Sabina was released, or at least the Prisoner Location Service states there is no one of that name in custody. This is most likely to have been to protect her so she could be released quietly and resume her life.

The case was also put forwards as evidence for the super soldiers of the MK ULTRA program.

With a lack of information no more is likely to be given about the whole case, what we should remember is that a man died who may not have been if there had been a proper psychiatric evaluation.

 

In New York, 1788 a riot broke out aimed at the physicians and medical students by the poorer New Yorkers. The riot was about the illegal procurement of corpses from the graves of the poor and slaves.

In April 1788 a student named John Hicks could hear children playing outside the building. The physician, Richard Bayley, was known to exhume corpses from the two cemeteries nearby. John Hicks was dissecting an arm and waved the arm out of a window, at the children, he told a boy that it was the arm of his recently deceased mother.

The boy ran home and told his father what had happened, the coffin was exhumed and found to be empty. A group amassed around the hospital, the mob broke in and found several bodies in different mutilated conditions. They dragged out Richard Bayley’s assistant, Wright Post, and other students into the street. The mayor of New York, James Duane, was forced into intervene and ordered them to be escorted to the jail house for their own protection.

2,000 people rioted and news spread fast, the few physicians remaining in New York were forced into hiding. A large group of the rioters set off down Broadway to find John Hicks, they assembled at the courthouse to throw rocks and caused a disturbance. In the end the militia and cavalry had to repel them.

At least three rioters and military men died, an estimate of the total dead was given as 20 people. Some students were brought to trial but the taunting Hicks was not one of them. With the riots came a statute law that only condemned criminals could be used and how corpses were to be treated. With the demand for new bodies the physicians then turned to hiring resurrection men, a practice which continued for some time.

An Interrupted Dissection.jpg
By William Allen Rogers – http://thumbs.media.smithsonianmag.com//filer/c8/ef/c8efdc9b-ffc8-4c93-a435-1573d2799633/an_interrupted_dissection_harpers_1882_copy_.jpg__800x600_q85_crop.jpg, Public Domain, Link

 

Fan Man-Yee was a 23-year-old night-club hostess was kidnapped and tortured in Hong Kong; the events led to her eventual death and a morbid fascination in the case for any true crime enthusiast. The crime occurred March 7th, 1999 and caused a media storm around the world. Three men were convicted of manslaughter but because the exact cause of her death could not be determined even though it seems pretty clear that they were the arbiters of her demise.

Man-Yee was kidnapped by Chan Man-Lok, Leung Shing-Cho and Leung Wai-Lun, three members of the triad (gangsters). Before she met her husband, it was alleged that she had stolen the wallet of one of the gangs, the wallet belonged to Chan Man-Lok who was a drug lord and had around $4,000 inside. He made a plan to take her and use her as a sex worker, his plan to was make her work until she had paid him off but slowly that plan morphed into something far worse.

She was taken to apartment 31 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong where she was held prisoner after Man-Lok hatched the plan with the other two people involved. The apartment was decorated with Hello Kitty products and that is where the murder earned its nickname. She was beaten daily and tortured over a debt of 20,000 Hong Kong dollars. Whilst they were enacting their terrible punishment on the poor woman the 34-year-old Man-Lok was dating a 13-year-old girl, she is noted as “Ah Fong” and she was pushed into witnessing and participating in the event. Ah Fong spoke about how she watched Man-Yee being hit around 50 times and she was encouraged to do it for fun.

They also found out further horrific acts had been perpetrated on the poor woman, they had forced her to consume human waste and had urinated in her mouth. This poor mother had been tortured by having melted straws and using hot melted plastic on the soles of her feet, Ah Fong admitted that she had taken part in those acts too. She was tired, beaten and endured far too much for anyone, I found this one a very hard read I have to admit. Following her death Fong suffered nightmares and was convinced that Man-Yee’s restless spirit was haunting her, she felt the only way to release herself of this was to go to the authorities. The teenage girl had gone to the police to report as both a witness and participant to the crime, it seems almost fantastical in nature and they were met with the unimaginable when they attended the apartment and found what was inside.

One-month later Man-Yee was dead and the investigation was not able to conclude if she had died because she had overdosed herself or they had administered them. The three men attempted to argue that she had died when she overdosed on methamphetamine but if it was an accident why wouldn’t they get help? Oh right… because she was dead and had been dismembered. When she died, they placed her corpse in the bathtub and then set to dismembering her with a saw. They tried to get rid of her remains and to stop her body decomposing and causing an obvious smell they cooked her remains on a stove, sometimes this was right beside where they were preparing their normal good.

Searching for her skull the authorities found that her skull had been stuffed into a giant Hello Kitty doll. Most of her body parts were discarded and only her skull, a tooth and some internal organs were retrieved.  They found a tooth there that belonged to her, they found her organs in bags partially decomposed and with the physical evidence they arrested the three men for the crime.

Ah Fong gained immunity from her crimes for selling the other three out, and the trial lasted six weeks. They admitted to preventing her from a lawful burial, a crime in Hong Kong but they did not admit to murder. Chan and Wai-Lun both pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and tried to minimise the actual events that had taken place. She had been known as a former drug user but her husband had told them that she had stopped using them years earlier when she had learned about being pregnant. The men were remorseless about the crime and there will be no review for parole for them for at least twenty years. It was revealed to have been one of the most gruesome crimes to have occurred in that territory.

In 2012 the building where it occurred was demolished, no one wanted to rent or buy the place and for good reason. The flat sat empty for years and people stopped buying any of the other apartments in the building as many believed her spirit was there haunting the place and eventually an investor had the building demolished.

 

OKAY I am off to watch cute kittens and puppies on the internet… sheesh!

Sources:

Ranker.com

The New York Times

Wikipedia

Youtube

ABC News

Hello kitty character portrait.png
By Source, Fair use, Link