One of my many obsessions is true crime, especially the area of miscarriages of justice. If you didn’t already know, I maintain the website for INNOCENT, a Sheffield-based group dedicated to helping local people fight miscarriages of justice, and you can see their blog at innocent.org.uk. The articles in this section are some of the longform pieces that I have written for their website.
Who killed Jack Royal?
In 1993 Jack Royal was murdered on his own doorstep as he answered the door late at night. Royal, who had himself been acquitted of murder, was shot in the face with a shotgun from a couple of feet away. The police investigation was floundering until the a former friend named Andrew Adams as the murderer, but with no forensic evidence, no eyewitnesses and no murder weapon, the case against him was slim. Then it emerged that the former friend had been facing serious armed robbery charges himself, up until he named Adams as the killer.
This was the first crime article I wrote and it’s a sad story about the wretched state of the UK’s so-called justice system. Click to read the article: Who killed Jack Royal?
“Sugar Paper Theories” and the Reykjavik Confessions
In 1974 a group of friends were implicated in the murder of a young man who disappeared after a night out. With no body, no weapon and no motive, the only evidence that the police were going on was a bad dream that one of the group had. And then a second man went missing…
Part case review and part book review, this is the strange true story of the most famous crime in Icelandic history: “Sugar Paper Theories” and the Reykjavik Confessions
The question marks against Linda Razzell’s disappearance
On 19th March, 2002, Linda Razzell was spotted by an old friend driving through Swindon. The two women made eye contact and the friend recalls thinking that Linda looked cross, which was quite understandable. According to the police, she’d been murdered by her estranged husband Glyn the day before.
This sad story of a murder with no body is still on-going, and the case has not moved forward any with the emergence of a possible relationship between Linda Razzell and multiple murder Christopher Halliwell: The question marks against Linda Razzell’s disappearance
The unlucky life and the sad, solitary death of Carole Ann Hanson
In 1970, Carole Hanson was taken to prison where she would die in obscurity, having served a longer sentence than any woman in UK penal history save Myra Hindley. Her husband confessed to the crime Carole was charged with and admitted to the defence team that he only implicated her because he was worried that she might see other men while he was in prison. The defence team decided not to share that with the judge and jury.
The judge said that she had been unlucky to be charged and tried alongside her husband, but that that did not necessarily render the verdict unsafe: The unlucky life and the sad, solitary death of Carole Ann Hanson
The dual life of Justin Ross Harris
A 22 month old boy left to die in a hot car whilst temperatures soared past 100 degrees – for over seven hours. An awful accident and every parent’s waking nightmare – or evil, premeditated murder?
In my review of this recently concluded case, I consider whether Harris was tried for the illicit, adulterous activities he undertook when his son was alive and not for the circumstances that surrounded his death: The dual life of Justin Ross Harris
Memory, trawling and misinformation
In 1978, Thomas Bowman’s wife Mary was found dead. She’d been drinking the night before and there was enough alcohol and valium in her system to kill her. Two and a half decades later, during counselling, their daughter ‘uncovered’ memories of that night and said that her father killed her mother. Diane also said she recalled being abused by her father.
How much can we rely on our memories, especially of something that happened decades before? And how much should the police be relying on those memories? Memory, trawling and misinformation