Motive: He needed money for when he got out of
Crime: Murder of Angela
Wooliscroft during a bank raid in Richmond, Surrey.
Method: She was shot in the
left carotid artery from a sawn-off shotgun.
Sentence: Life imprisonment,
with the recommendation of at least 25 years.
Interesting facts: The shot
that Angela had been killed with proved a stumbling point in the
investigation, as it was of a different type to that found in the
possession of Michael Hart. However, it was discovered that Hart's shot
was actually from a batch that had been mislabelled in the factory. So
the types of shot did match after all.
Michael George Hart
Wooliscroft looked up from behind the protective glass screen at
her cashier's position in the Upper Ham Road, Richmond, branch of
Barclays Bank. The heavily disguised man standing in front of her
was brandishing a sawn-off shotgun. "Give me some money" was the
order. Angela passed some money under the screen to the man and
the screen in front of her disintegrated as the man fired the gun.
The twenty-year-old girl was blown backwards by the blast and died
on the way to hospital. It was 10th November 1976.
One of the items left behind by the
killer was a woman's yellow raincoat that he had used to cover the gun.
Police found in one of the pockets a piece of paper which turned out to
be an entry form for a wine-making competition which had been signed
with the name "Grahame". The coat belonged to a Miss Marshall. On the
day of the murder she had parked her Austin A40 in the car park of
Bentall's in Kingston while she went shopping. When she returned she
noticed that the car was in a different position to the one she had left
it and her raincoat and sunglasses were missing. The car fitted the
description of the one used in the robbery.
Detective Chief Superintendent James
Sewell of Scotland Yard led the team of detectives hunting for the
killer. He received a tip-off that a man named Michael Hart had been
seen in Basingstoke, on the day of the murder, putting a shotgun into
the back of a car. Hart claimed to have an alibi for the time of the
killing and this was verified. On 22nd November Hart was picked up by
officers following a traffic accident. A search of his car found a
Hendal .22 automatic and an intensive search of his house turned up,
amongst other items, a box of Eley No 7 trapshooting cartridges. The
pistol and ammunition proved to have been stolen on 4th November in
Reading. Also stolen at the same time had been a double-barrelled Reilly
When officers checked the cartridges
against the forensic report on the shot recovered from Angela's body
they found that it appeared to be of a different type. The shot used in
the killing had been gameshot while the cartridges recovered from Hart's
house appeared to be trapshot. A more detailed forensic examination of
the cartridges revealed that they were, in fact, gameshot cartridges. It
transpired that Eley Kynock of Birmingham, the manufacturers, had
wrongly labelled a batch of ammunition. That batch had gone to the
gunshop in Reading that had been raided at the beginning of the month.
All this forensic checking took time and the police wanted to ensure
that there was no way out for Hart. He was arrested and charged with
murder on 20th January 1977.
At his trial thirty-year-old Hart
claimed that he had killed the cashier when he had tapped the shotgun on
the glass and it went off accidentally. The forensic evidence disproved
this possibility and, on 3rd November 1977, Hart was found guilty of
murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommendation that he
should serve at least twenty-five years.
Michael Hart - Murder in the bank
In 1971, Angela Wooliscroft, a
twenty year old bank clerk working at Barclays Bank in Ham,
Richmond, was confronted one lunchtime by a dark skinned man,
aiming a double barrelled shotgun and demanding ‘Give me some
money’. However, having handed over all the money in her till the
gun went off and Angela died shortly afterwards. The gunman fled.
Jim Sewell who was a chief superintendent in Scotland
Yard’s murder squad, and led the inquiry, recounts the hunt that went on
to identify the murderer and bring him into custody. While Sewell and
his team were interviewing hundreds of witnesses and suspects,
ballistics experts were analysing the shot that had killed Angela
Sometimes the police just get lucky
It was found to be a particular make, Eley game shot,
fired from a double barrelled shotgun. Still, the murder weapon had not
been found. Sewell explains how it was a stroke of luck that pointed to
A robbery outside of London turned up an abandoned
getaway car. The car was found to contain guns and the robber was
thought to be a known criminal named Michael Hart.
With this tip-off Sewell had officers search Hart’s
home and ammunition which appeared to match the shot fired at Angela
Wooliscroft was found. Scotland Yard put out an order to get Hart, but
he was arrested after he went to collect money from a building company
where he occasionally worked.
Sewell then describes how he realised that the shot
he had removed from Hart’s home appeared to be different from that found
at the murder scene, but when he opened the cartridges and had the shot
analysed tests showed it was in fact the same; a batch of shot had been
wrongly labelled by the company Eley.
Eventually Hart admitted that he had killed Angela
Wooliscroft, but said that it had been accidental, that the gun had just
gone off. He then told police where he’d dumped the weapon and it was
recovered from the River Thames.
Ballistic tests showed that the pressure needed to
pull the trigger on the gun, which was over eighty years old, was
considerable, making it highly unlikely that it could have gone off
accidentally. Hart was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life
Michael George Hart