Posts Tagged ‘murder’

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

 

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.

 

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

 

I was so sure I had covered this before – Imagine that? So here goes… The Zodiac Killer is a name given to an unidentified serial killer who was in the north California area from the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. The name comes from a letter to the Bay Area press in 1969, it was one of a series that taunted press, police and public alike.

There are 7 confirmed victims, four possible murder victims and a suspected escapee, the murderer claimed a death count of 37 but 12 can be included on the case files from the main information given. The first of the ZK’s murders are considered to have been attributed to those of Betty Low Jensen and David Faraday. On 20th December 1968 at Lake Herman Road, the couple were out on their first date, what they know about the case is that it is believed another car came up before 11pm that night, Jensen exited the car, possibly under threat and as she did so the killer shot Faraday as he was half way out of the car. Jensen was gunned down 28 yards away by five shots, the killer then drove off.

4th July 1969 Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park and parked up. A second car came up but drive off almost immediately, then around ten minutes later the car returned, the driver got out and came to the passengers side, he was carrying a flash light and a 9mm Luger. The killer fired off five shots and both were hit, the bullet passed through Mageau into Ferdinand, the killer then walked away. Mageau’s moaning drew him back to the car where he fired two more times. Ferrin died but Mageau survived despite being shot in the face, neck and chest. Someone called up to claim responsibility for all four and police traced the call to a gas station phone booth, they got no further.

1st August 1969, three letters reached the press offices of Vellejo Times Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner. They took credit for the four shootings and each one had a third of a 408-symbol cryptogram, which would reveal his identity. The killer demanded all three be printed across their front pages or he would cruise around to kill until he racked up a dozen over the weekend. The Chronicle posted their letter and put up a quote from Vallejo Police Chief, Jack E Stiltz, saying they needed more proof of his identity. All three parts were eventually published and the murder spree seemingly never occurred.

7th August, a letter was received at The San Francisco Examiner, where he wrote ‘Dear Editor, This is the Zodiac speaking’ and he went on to provide details about the murders that had not been released to the public.

8th August, Donald and Bettye Harden cracked the code, albeit misspelled, but it said that he was collecting, slaves for the afterlife. He said he would not give away his identity because it would slow down, or stop, him from collecting.

27th September 1969, students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shephard were picnicking when a man wearing a black executioners hood with with sunglasses over the eye-holes and a cross-like symbol with a circle around it on a bib around his neck. He approached with a gun, said he was a convict who had escaped and demanded their car and the money to get to Mexico.

Shephard was told to tie up Hartnell and then the attacker tied up Shephard, Hartnell was expecting it to be a bizarre robbery but both were stabbed repeatedly and the killer then went to their car and used a black felt-tip pen to draw the symbol and then wrote “Vallejo/12-20-68/7-4-69/Sept 27-69 – 6.30/by knife”. The killer than called in his crime to Napa County Sheriff from a pay phone. Shephard was conscious when he was found and gave a description of the attacker but died later on, Hartnell survived and recounted the event.

11th October 1969, a passenger got into Paul Stine’s Cab and wanted to go to Presidio Heights. The result was that Stine got shot in the head by the passenger, he took is wallet, car keys and a section of his shirt. Three teenagers saw the events and called the police.

14th October 1969, the Chronicle got another Zodiac letter containing the stolen section of Stine’s shirt. He proceeded to threaten to kill school children on a school bus. His plan was to shoot out a tyre then pick them off one by one as they came out of the bus. 2pm on the 20th October, he called demanding F. Lee Bailey or Melvin Bellie appear on the local T.V. station A.M San Francisco. Bellie appeared and the lines were kept open, someone called in saying they were the Zodiac Killer several times, they called themselves Sam and arranged to meet in Daly City but the suspect never arrived.

9th November 1969 the Zodiac Killer then sent another 340 character cryptogram, so far this one has not been decoded. The day after he mailed a 7 page letter saying two policemen had spoken to him only three-minutes after he had shot Stine and then on 20th December, that same year, he mailed Bellie supposedly he wanted help from the very famous criminal lawyer.

22nd March 1970 saw Kathleen Johns off to see her mother, she was 7 months pregnant and had her 10 month-old daughter with her. She was on Highway 132 near Modesto and a car came up behind flashing its light and honking the horn. Johns pulled off the road and stopped, the man in the car said he’d seen her wheel nuts were loose on her back tire and offered to help her out. When she tried to drive off the entire wheel came off and the man came back, he offered to help take her to a gas station, and stranded, she got in with her daughter.

The car passed several stations but did not stop, when she asked him why he did not stop he would change the subject. John’s escaped when she jumped out with her daughter at an intersection, eventually he gave up because he could not find her. She then managed to hitch a lift to the police station and the cops found her car gutted and torched.

20th April 1970 he wrote again with another 13 character cipher and said he was not responsible for a police station bombing, he threatened instead again to aim at a school bus. 28th April he then wrote to say that he was upset not to see any of the Zodiac symbol buttons and in response had shot someone. The closest match for a shooting that could be found was for a police Seargent shot in his car. His case however was not definitively linked as a Zodiac killing and remains unsolved. In the letter he also left instructions to find a bomb, the cipher he gave was not decoded but no bomb was ever found or detonated either.

24th July 1970 the Zodiac took credit for John’s abduction, he left another letter on 7th October 1970 with the Zodiac symbol on it drawn in blood. Inspectors Armstrong and Toschi, both on the case, said it was probably it was the killers blood.

27th October 1970, Chronicle reporter Paul Avery got a Halloween Card signed with Z and the symbol. He had been covering the case and threatened that he would be next. Avery got another letter soon after they gave similarities between the Zodiac’s killings and that of the murder of Cerri Jo Bates, four years prior. He reported his findings.

22nd March 1971 and a card was posted to Paul Avery at the Chronicle claiming responsibility for a missing woman called Donna Lass, she had gone missing 6th September 1970 and was thought to be from the Zodiac. Lass’s body has never been found.

13th November 1972, Vallejo Times-Herald ran a story that postulated two young people from Santa Barbara were the Zodiac’s victims. The victims were Robert Domingoes and Linda Edwards who had been shot on 3rd June 1963. They’d been shot and hidden in a small shack but the killer had failed to burn it down.

The final letter authenticated as the Zodiac came three years later on 29th January, 1974. It praised the horror film The Exorcist as a comedy and tallied his victim score as 37.

Subsequent letters came but after that last they have not been verified as the original Zodiac. In April 2004 the case was marked as inactive but not closed. The case was then reopened in March 2007. Several of the victims have been named, put forwards and even had people come forwards to confess but as of yet no charges have been brought forwards and no one has been put on trial.

The Zodiac killer has inspired films, music, games, liberate and was used in a mobile game, one I played for a while, which was EA’s Cause of Death. If the killer is still alive he would be in his late 60’s as a minimum and so he may have been incarcerated, killed, committed suicide or even still walking around.

Zodiac-Killer

Birkdale, Southport is in my home county of Lancashire and once had a luxury hotel that opened in 1866, was then demolished in 1969. During the Second World War it was used for US airmen as a rehabilitation centre, for that stage of it’s existence it was used as a film location.

It entered the interest for paranormal enthusiasts when a report came up 6th May, 1969 in the Southport Visitor. A group of demolition workers claimed that the lift at the Old Palace Hotel was haunted. Jos Smith was heading up the demolition team and said that they had been woken up there by eerie voices and strange noises at night, and even more frightening the lift began to work by itself.

The lift’s power had been cut, the brakes were on and yet the four ton metal box continued to go up and down as it did when the building was operational. It was enough to unnerve hard workmen, worried by the lifts working they disabled it and cut the ties, they were then more concerned because it did not drop as it should have. In the end they hammered it on until it finally tell from the third floor.

The workmen had heard voices, the sounds of arguments and footsteps, they didn’t rule out that it could be down to people breaking in, but it would no doubt have been strange to hear. Southport Police also arrived one night as they’d received a call from a woman saying she was trapped inside. The police arrived to find that the phone-lines had been cut a significant time before then.

An urban legend about a ghost also came from the hotel, Ursula Wall was the architect and it is said she was on holiday when the foundations were laid back to front and therefore the hotel. Having seen the error she was so distraught she committed suicide, leaping down the lift shaft. It is however one of a few legends around her death and so not really confirmed.

There are other stories linked to the building, in 1961 Amanda Jane Graham was abducted by a hotel porter. The 6-year-old was murdered and found under his bed at the hotel. There is a rumour too about two sisters who carried out a suicide pact, and 14 deceased lifeboat men were temporarily laid out in its coach house. All these stories helped add to the haunted rumours.

The only surviving part id the coach house were the lifeboat men had been laid out to rest. The pub (as it now is) is called Fisherman’s Rest in their memory. It is also reportedly haunted and people have said that they feel as though they are being watched.

9th December, 1886, a sailing ship, Mexico was driven ashore and the bodies of their fellow crewmen were viewed at the pub by the jury. Now the lost men are touchingly recalled by 14 small brass mermaids that hold the bar handrail in place.

1866, Palace Hotel, Southport. North-East View From Birkdale Park.png
By JonmaddoxukOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link