The summer months of 1951 brought creeping terror to
the town of Bath, near Bristol, England, as an unseen killer stalked the
local children, claiming three within a month.
Christine Butcher, seven years old,
was the first victim, kidnapped and killed in July. Six-year-old Brenda Goddard
was reported missing on July 15, her strangled corpse recovered three
hours later. On August 8, 9-year-old Cecily Batstone went off to the
movies and never returned; her body was found next morning, after an all-night
Police initially resisted drawing any common link
between the murders, checking out the allegations of attacks on other
local girls to no avail. They had no clues, no suspect, but on August 9
they did have 21-year-old John Straffen under lock and key on unrelated
charges. Idling in his cell, the unmarried laborer called for detectives
and confessed to the Batstone murder. "I sat behind her," he
explained. "It only took a couple of minutes and she was dead. She
was taken by surprise."
Additional charges were filed in the case of Brenda
Goddard, on August 30, 1951, but Straffen never went to trial. On
October 17, he was found insane and unfit to plead, the magistrate
declaring that, "You might as well try a baby in arms." In
lieu of a trial, Straffen was ordered detained "until his Majesty's
pleasure be known" -- in effect, a life term of confinement in a
British mental institution.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
(born February 26, 1930 in Hampshire) is a British serial killer and in
2005 the longest serving prisoner in the UK.
On 9 August 1951, Straffen
was arrested for the murder of nine-year-old Cicely Batstone in
Somerset. He confessed to the crime and also to the earlier murder of
six-year-old Brenda Goddard. Both children had been strangled. That
October, Straffen was declared insane and not fit to stand trial, and he
was sent to Broadmoor asylum.
On April 29, 1952, Straffen
managed to escape from Broadmoor and, in the 24 hours he was at liberty,
killed five-year-old Linda Bowyer. As soon as he was captured, Straffen
told the police "I did not kill the little girl on the bike," even
though no one had in any way suggested he was responsible for the crime.
This time Straffen was
declared sane and fit to stand trial. He was convicted of murdering
Linda Bowyer and sentenced to death, although this was eventually
commuted to life imprisonment because he had learning difficulties.
As of 2005, he is 75 and serving his life sentence in prison. With
successive Home Secretaries having blocked his release from prison, he
is unlikely ever to be freed
Straffen, John Thomas
Straffen was born in 1930. As he grew he became a
thief and a noted truant from school. At the age of ten he was sent to a
school for retarded children. In 1947 he assaulted a child and was
committed to an institution. He was released in February 1951 and had,
by August of that year, strangled two small girls in Bath. He did it,
he asserted, to annoy the police. In October he appeared before Taunton
Assizes, was found unfit to plead and was sent to Broadmoor.
In April 1952 he escaped from Broadmoor, and although
he was recaptured later the same day, it was not before he had strangled
Linda Bowyer. The body of the young girl was found the next day in a
field near-by. Stratten implicated himself by telling officers 'I did
not kill the little girl on the bicycle.' This was before they had asked
him about the murder.
He appeared at Winchester in July 1952 and pleaded
not guilty. His ability to plead was accepted and was duly found guilty
and sentenced to death. A reprieve was, however, forthcoming and he was
returned to Broadmoor.
John Thomas Straffen (27 February 1930 – 19 November 2007) was
a British serial killer who was the longest-serving prisoner in British
legal history. Straffen killed two young girls in the summer of 1951. He
was found to be unfit to plead and committed to Broadmoor Hospital;
during a brief escape in 1952 he killed again. This time he was
convicted of murder. Respited due to his mental state, his sentence was
commuted to life imprisonment and he remained in prison until his death
more than 50 years later.
Straffen's father, John Senior, was a soldier in the
army. He was the third child in the family; his older sister was
regarded as a "high grade mental defective" who died in 1952.
Straffen was born at Bordon Camp in Hampshire where
his father was then based, but at the age of two his father was posted
abroad and the family spent six years in India. Returning to Britain in
March 1938, Straffen's father took a discharge from the Army and the
family settled in Bath, Somerset.
Certification as a mental defective
In October 1938 Straffen was referred to a Child
Guidance Clinic for stealing and truancy. In June 1939 he first came
before a Juvenile Court for stealing a purse from a girl, and was given
two years' probation. His probation officer found that Straffen did not
understand the difference between right and wrong, or the meaning of
The family was living in crowded lodgings at the time
and Straffen's mother had no time to help, so the probation officer took
the boy to a psychiatrist. As a result, Straffen was certified as a
mental defective under the Mental Deficiency Act 1927.
A report was compiled on him in 1940 which gave his
Intelligence Quotient as 58 and placed his mental age at six. From June
1940, the local authority sent him to a residential school for mentally
defective children, St Joseph's School in Sambourne.
Two years later Straffen moved to Besford Court, a
senior school. He was noted as a solitary boy who took correction very
badly. In one incident when Straffen was 14, he was strongly suspected
of being responsible for strangling two prize geese owned by one of the
officers of the school; however, no proof was found and it was not noted
on his records.
At the age of 16 the school authorities undertook a
review which found his I.Q. was 64 and his mental age 9 years 6 months
and recommended his discharge.
Return to Bath
Accordingly Straffen returned home to Bath in March
1946 where the Medical Officer of Health examined him and found he still
warranted certification under the Mental Deficiency Act. After several
short term jobs he found a place as a machinist in a clothing factory.
Early in 1947 Straffen began to go into unoccupied homes and steal small
items to hide them; he never brought them home nor did he give them to
others. Straffen had no friends, and began stealing without being
enticed by others.
Arrest for burglary
On 27 July 1947 a 13-year-old girl reported to police
that a boy called John had assaulted her by putting his hand over her
mouth and saying "What would you do if I killed you? I have done it
before." This incident was not connected to Straffen until later. Six
weeks later, Straffen was found to have strangled five chickens
belonging to the father of a girl with whom he had quarrelled. When
arrested Straffen was also under suspicion for burglary, and in
interview cheerfully confessed to it and many other incidents to which
he had not been connected. He was remanded in custody and the Medical
Officer of Horfield prison examined him, certifying that he was mentally
retarded. On 10 October Straffen was committed to Hortham Colony in
Bristol under the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913.
Hortham was an "open" colony which specialised in
training mentally retarded offenders for resettlement in the community.
As he had been under investigation for burglary, Straffen's certificate
stated that he was "not of violent or dangerous propensities". He was
well-behaved at Hortham and kept away from other inmates. As a result,
in July 1949 he was transferred to a lower-security agricultural hostel
in Winchester. There he did well initially but fell back into old ways
when he stole a bag of walnuts, and was sent back to Hortham in February
1950. In August 1950 Straffen got in trouble with Hortham authorities
when he went home without leave, and resisted the police when they went
to recapture him.
of mental state
In 1951 Straffen was examined at a Bristol hospital,
where electroencephalograph readings showed that he had suffered "wide
and severe damage to the cerebral cortex, probably from an attack of
encephalitis in India before the age of six". By now, however, Straffen
was considered sufficiently rehabilitated to be allowed a period of
unescorted home leave. He used the time to get a job at a market garden,
which he was allowed to keep; Hortham licensed him to the care of his
mother as the family home was less overcrowded. When Straffen's 21st
birthday came, under the Mental Deficiency Act he had to be reassessed
by Hortham, who continued his certificate for a further five years; the
family disputed the assessment and appealed.
As a result the Medical Officer of Health for Bath
examined Straffen again on 10 July 1951 and found improvement in mental
age to 10; he recommended that Straffen's certificate be renewed only
for six months with a view to discharge at the end.
According to Letitia Fairfield in the introduction to
the "Notable British Trials series" volume about Straffen, Straffen had
a "smouldering hatred" and an "intense resentment" of the police, and
blamed them for all his troubles from the age of eight. On the morning
of Straffen's assessment, a young girl named Christine Butcher was
murdered. Fairfield speculates that Straffen saw the press coverage that
followed and made the connection that strangling young girls gave the
maximum amount of trouble to the police.
On 15 July 1951 Straffen went on a visit to the
cinema, on his own. His route took him past 1 Camden Crescent in Bath,
where five-year-old Brenda Goddard lived with her foster parents.
According to Straffen's later statement to the police, he saw Brenda
gathering flowers and offered to show her a better place. After lifting
Brenda over a fence into a copse, he strangled her and when she did not
scream, bashed her head against a stone. After killing Brenda Goddard,
Straffen did not make any attempt to hide the body and simply went on to
the cinema (the film was 'Shockproof') and returned home.
Although Bath police had not suspected Straffen was
violent, he was considered a suspect in the murder and was seen by
police on 3 August. Meanwhile the police had visited Straffen's employer
to check on his movements; this resulted in Straffen being dismissed on
31 July. In a later interview with a prison psychiatrist, Straffen said
that he knew he was under suspicion and wanted to annoy the police,
because he hated them for shadowing him.
On 8 August Straffen was again at the cinema when he
met nine year-old Cicely Batstone. He first took Cicely to a different
cinema to see another film, and then went on the bus to a meadow known
as "Tumps" on the outskirts of Bath. There he strangled her to death.
The circumstances of the murder left many witnesses
who had seen Straffen with the girl: the bus conductor recognised
Straffen as a former workmate, a courting couple in the meadow had seen
Straffen very closely, and a policeman's wife had also seen the two
together. She mentioned it to her husband; when the alarm was raised the
next morning, she guided police to where she had seen the two and the
body of Cicely Batstone was discovered. Her description of the man was
enough to immediately identify Straffen as the suspect.
and trial for Bath murders
Accordingly the police drove to Straffen's home and
arrested him for the murder of Cicely Batstone on the morning of 9
August. Straffen made a statement admitting he had killed Cicely
Batstone and also confessed to the murder of Brenda Goddard: "The other
girl, I did her the same".
He was duly charged with murder and remanded in
custody, on 31 August after a two-day hearing at Bath Magistrates' Court
Straffen was committed for trial for the murder of Brenda Goddard.
At Taunton Assize Court, on 17 October 1951, Straffen
stood trial for murder before Mr Justice Oliver. However, the only
witness to be heard was Dr. Peter Parkes, medical officer at Horfield
Prison, who testified to Straffen's medical history and stated his
conclusion that Straffen was unfit to plead. Oliver commented that "In
this country we do not try people who are insane. You might as well try
a baby in arms. If a man cannot understand what is going on, he cannot
be tried." The jury formally returned a verdict that Straffen was insane
and unfit to plead.
Straffen was removed to Broadmoor Institution in
Berkshire. Broadmoor had originally been termed a criminal lunatic
asylum, but by the Criminal Justice Act 1948 responsibility for it had
been transferred to the Ministry of Health and those committed to it had
been renamed patients. Inside Broadmoor, Straffen was given a job as a
On 29 April 1952 Straffen went, with an attendant and
another patient, to clean some outbuildings which were close by the 10ft
tall external wall. In a small yard immediately adjacent to the wall was
a low shed with a sloping roof which was 8½ft high at its highest point.
In the yard were empty disinfectant tins. Straffen asked his supervisor
if he could shake his duster and on receiving permission went into the
yard. Once the other patient had gone back in, Straffen climbed on to
the roof and jumped over the wall. He had already made sure he had his
civilian clothes under his work clothes.
Murder of Linda
Only 20 minutes after escaping, Straffen came up a
private drive in Crowthorne and approached Mrs. Doris Spencer who was in
her garden. He asked her for a drink of water, which she gave him, and
then discussed the proximity of Broadmoor and the likelihood of escapes.
After ten minutes he left.
An hour and a half later he reached Farley Hill and
at about five o'clock Straffen came to the point where five-year-old
Linda Bowyer was riding her bicycle around the village. Within half an
hour Linda Bowyer was dead.
Straffen then begged a cup of tea from another
householder, Mrs. Kenyon, who agreed to drive him to the bus stop. As
they were drawing up to the stop, Straffen saw some men in uniform and
asked whether they were police; on learning that they were, he swiftly
got out of the car and ran away. Kenyon told the men (who were actually
Broadmoor nurses) of the suspicious behaviour of her passenger and
Straffen was recaptured a few minutes later. Driven in the car on the
journey back to Broadmoor, Straffen said "I have finished with crime".
The body of Linda Bowyer was found at dawn the next day.
The police went to Broadmoor to interview Straffen at
8 a.m., arriving before news of the disappearance and murder of a local
child had reached the hospital. The police went to Straffen's room and
woke him up, then asking him what he had done when he was free and
whether he had got into mischief. Straffen replied "I did not kill her".
The police inspector told Straffen that no-one had suggested anyone had
been killed, and Straffen said "I know what you policemen are, I know I
killed two little children but I did not kill the little girl." The
inspector then confirmed that a girl had been killed near where Straffen
was recaptured. Straffen said "I did not kill the little girl on the
Straffen then made a long statement, which the police
checked. On 1 May Straffen was charged with the murder of Linda Bowyer,
and he appeared before Reading County Magistrates the following day. He
was remanded in custody, and despite the fact of the order committing
him to Broadmoor, the Magistrates decided that since they had failed to
hold him he should be remanded to Brixton Prison.
The Ministry of Health meanwhile called for a full
inquiry into how Straffen escaped; a group of local residents held a
meeting on the same evening as Straffen's court appearance to call for
some system of public warning of an escape. The Ministry of Health
inquiry was extended to a full independent inquiry. A system of warning
sirens was set up later in 1952 as a result of the inquiry
When Straffen's murder trial opened on 21 July, he
pleaded not guilty, and the Defence opted to leave the question of his
sanity as an issue to be determined by the jury. After the prosecution
case (led by the Solicitor-General, Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller) had
opened and called the first witnesses to establish the facts about the
murder of Linda Bowyer, they applied to call additional evidence about
the two murders in Bath. This application was resisted by Straffen's
defence as prejudicial, but the Judge ruled the evidence admissible.
On the second day, the judge was late into court and
explained that "owing to the alleged conduct of one of your members" he
was compelled to discharge them and start again with a new jury. It
turned out that one of the first set of jurors had gone to a political
club in Southsea in the evening and told those present that he was on
the jury for the Straffen case, that Straffen was not guilty, and that
one of the prosecution witnesses had murdered Linda Bowyer.
The Judge required the errant juror, William Gladwin,
to remain in court throughout the trial, before calling him to apologise
for his "wicked discharge of your duties as a citizen".
The first day's proceedings were repeated before the
second jury, followed, as permitted, by evidence of what had happened in
Bath. Straffen's defence called several of those who had seen Straffen
in earlier years and gave evidence of his mental condition. The
prosecution then called prison medical officers and psychiatrists to
give evidence in rebuttal. Dr. Thomas Munro, who was a specialist in
mental deficiency and had seen Straffen, testified that Straffen had
said that to murder was wrong because it was breaking the law and
because "it is one of the commandments". When Munro asked Straffen to
name the other commandments, Straffen could only remember four.
After a retirement of just under an hour, the jury
returned with a verdict of guilty, which implicitly declared Straffen
sane. Mr. Justice Cassels sentenced Straffen to death.
Straffen appealed, on the grounds that the evidence
about the Bath murders was wrongly admitted, and that his statements on
the morning after the murder of Linda Bowyer were wrongly admitted
because they had been made before he was cautioned. Both grounds of the
appeal were dismissed, and Straffen was refused leave to appeal to the
House of Lords.
4 September was fixed as the date for execution of
judgment of death. However, on 29 August, it was announced that the Home
Secretary David Maxwell Fyfe had recommended to Queen Elizabeth II that
Straffen be reprieved.
After the reprieve Straffen was moved to Wandsworth
Prison. In November 1952 the Home Office denied a rumour that he was
about to be moved to Rampton mental institution.
In 1956 Straffen was moved to Horfield Prison in
Bristol, after officers discovered an escape attempt by Wandsworth
prisoners who intended to take Straffen with them as a diversion. The
news caused extreme concern in Bristol and a petition demanding his
removal was organised by a local councillor and signed by 12,000 people
In August 1958, Straffen was moved to Cardiff Prison
when the regime at Horfield Prison was changed to a more liberal one.
However, he was reported to have been transferred back in June 1960.
A new 28-cell high security wing at Parkhurst Prison
was built and ready for opening early in 1966. The Home Office pointedly
did not deny rumours that Straffen had been secretly transferred there
on 31 January 1966. He was the first to arrive, and was followed by six
of the Great Train robbers.
In May 1968 Straffen was moved to Durham Prison.
Placed on the top security E wing, Straffen was joined by fellow child
killer Ian Brady. Crime author Jonathan Goodman wrote that "the
shambling lunatic [Straffen] .. is in prison only because no mental
institution is secure enough to guarantee his confinement".
Many years later, a prison officer recalled seeing
Straffen "circling, banging the fence every couple of minutes", and that
one fellow officer described Straffen as aloof and hostile: "Never talks
unless he has to ask for something. Always on his own".
Straffen was still there in January 1984 when Kenneth
Barlow was released after serving 26 years for murder, at which point he
became the longest serving British prisoner.
For most of the time that Straffen was in prison, the
Home Secretary had to agree to the release of any life sentence prisoner;
no occupant of the office was ever willing to let Straffen out. In 1994
Michael Howard decided to set up a select list of about 20 prisoners
serving life sentences who must never be released at all, and Straffen's
name was said to be on it.
The whole list was published by the News of the
World in December 1997 and this report confirmed that Straffen would
indeed spend the rest of his life in prison.
The Sun profiled Straffen's prison life in
March 2006, quoting an un-named inmate as saying "He's still lively. He
works as a cleaner in the craft shop and makes tea for the officers.
They treat him well, call him by his first name and often take time to
chat with him." The inmate was also reported as saying that other
inmates left Straffen alone but that he was instantly recognisable.
Hopes for freedom
With the 50th anniversary of Straffen's imprisonment
approaching, in 2001 his solicitors called for his case to be reopened
on the grounds that he had not been fit to stand trial. Investigative
journalist Bob Woffinden, who examined previously confidential records,
uncovered that Straffen was reprieved after a majority of doctors who
examined him found that he was 'insane'.
Woffinden also doubted Straffen's guilt of the murder
of Linda Bowyer, because Straffen had no fingernails with which to cause
injuries seen on Linda Bowyer's body and because some local witnesses
placed the time of the murder after his recapture. However, Straffen's
application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission was turned down in
In May 2002 the European Court of Human Rights
decided a case brought by a life sentence prisoner which challenged the
authority of the Home Secretary to refuse to release him after the
Parole Board recommended he be freed. The Court decided that politicians
should not interfere in life sentences and therefore current practice
was unlawful. It was immediately noted that this meant an opportunity
for release for Straffen, who had been in Long Lartin Prison since 2000.
Straffen died at Frankland Prison in County Durham on
19 November 2007. He was 77 years old and had been in prison for a
British record of 55 years. This leaves Moors Murderer Ian Brady (who
has been in prison since October 1965 and is now in a mental hospital)
as the longest-serving prisoner in Britain.
Triple child killer who became Britain's longest
serving prisoner dies in jail
November 20, 2007
A notorious child-killer who was Britain's longest-serving
prisoner has died in custody after more than 55 years in jail.
The Ministry of Justice said 77-year-old John
Straffen died in the healthcare unit at Frankland Prison in County
Durham this morning following an illness.
Straffen, then aged 22, was convicted of murdering a
schoolgirl by a jury at Winchester on July 25 1952 and sentenced to
The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the
then home secretary Sir David Maxwell Fyfe on the grounds that Straffen
was a "feeble-minded person".
Straffen, from Bath, appeared at Somerset Assizes in
October 1951 charged with murdering two other schoolgirls - nine-year-old
Cicely Batstone and six-year-old Brenda Goddard - but was found unfit to
stand trial and sent to Broadmoor high-security hospital.
He escaped from the unit for four hours on April 29
1952 and police found the body of five-year-old Linda Bowyer the
Six years ago, solicitors acting for Straffen called
for his case to be reopened, saying that he should not have stood trial,
as he had a mental age of just nine and a half.
Birmingham-based firm Hadgkiss Hughes & Beale said in
2001 that an "eminent" forensic psychiatrist, who was unnamed, had re-examined
original pre-trial reports on Straffen and said he was not fit to be
Straffen was declared a "mental defective" in 1947
and committed to a "colony for mental defectives", they said.
If he was unfit to plead in 1951, he could not have
effectively taken part in a trial nine months later, they said.
After Straffen's escape from Broadmoor in 1952, a
siren system was installed to alert local residents if an inmate was on
The alarm is tested every Monday morning, sending its
distinctive howl echoing around the leafy villages of the Berkshire
Life should mean life
By Mike Sullivan - Crime Editor
27 Mar 2006
BRITAIN’S longest-serving prisoner John Straffen
stares out of his cell window after spending 55 YEARS rotting in jail
for killing three little girls.
Crazed Straffen, 76, has no chance of ever being
released. For him life will MEAN life. And many people believe that ALL
brutal killers should share his fate.
The exclusive picture is proof that The Sun is RIGHT
to campaign for an end to the early release of such fiends.
Straffen is seen peering through the bars of his cell
at Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire.
His only view for years has been the prison exercise
yard. By contrast, other dangerous men have been released after serving
a fraction of their life sentences. And some have killed again.
Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter Sarah was
murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting, said: “Life should mean life,
especially when the victim was a child. When a person has taken a life,
there has to be a risk that they could do the same thing again.
Releasing people after a few years or even less is
just a mockery. John Straffen is a very good example of the way lifers
should be dealt with.”
Mental retard Straffen began killing when George VI
was on the throne, and capital punishment was in force. He first struck
on Sunday July 15, 1951, when he came across six-year-old Brenda Goddard
picking flowers in a field at the back of her house in Bath.
Straffen led her to a nearby wood and strangled her.
Police interviewed him twice but did not have evidence to charge him.
Days later, he went to a cinema in Bath, where nine-year-old
Cicely Batstone had been allowed to see Tarzan and The Jungle Queen as a
He persuaded her to go with him by bus to another
cinema across town to see She Wore A Yellow Ribbon. But instead of going
to the cinema, he took her to a field and strangled her.
Straffen was arrested next day and told police: “Is
it about the little girl I took to the pictures last night?
“When I left her she was dead under the hedge.”
He also confessed to Brenda’s murder, saying: “She
never screamed when I squeezed her neck, so I bashed her against a tree.
I didn’t feel sorry.”
Straffen was considered mentally unfit to stand trial
and in October 1951 was sent to Broadmoor.
But on April 29 the following year he escaped from
the mental hospital in Berkshire while on cleaning duties.
Straffen, 21, was only at large for four hours ? but
in that time he snatched five-year-old Linda Bowyer from her bike and
He was sentenced to death. But Home Secretary Sir
David Maxwell-Fyfe commuted the sentence to life imprisonment because
Straffen was “feeble-minded”.
Since then shaven-headed Straffen has always been
held in top security prisons and has been on E-Wing at Long Lartin for
An insider at Long Lartin said: “He’s still lively.
He works as a cleaner in the craft shop and makes tea for the officers.
They treat him well, call him by his first name and often take time to
chat with him.
“The other inmates generally leave him alone, which
is unusual considering the type of crime he has committed. The reason
for that is his age and because he only has a mental age of an average
The insider added: “He’s instantly recognisable
because of his odd-shaped bald head and prison overalls ? which he lives
in without changing for years.
“He sleeps in a chair in his overalls with a towel ?
over a piece of string strung across his cell ? positioned in front of
Gladys Smith, the sister of Straffen’s victim Cicely
Batstone, was 16 when she was murdered.
Now 70, Gladys, of Gloucester, said: “My parents are
dead but they never recovered from it. She was my only sister and the
pain of losing her has never gone away.
“It would have been easier for us if Straffen had
“There would have been some closure. We could have
tried to put it behind us.“But at least we have had the satisfaction of
knowing that he has spent his life in prison.”
Four years ago Straffen tried to win his freedom
under the Human Rights Act but was turned down.
Gladys added: “I think life should mean life for
those who take a life. My sister didn’t get a life. Straffen is in the
The Home Office refuses to confirm the identity of
prisoners serving whole-life tariffs. But in addition to John Straffen
the following are unlikely to be released:
Moors murderer Ian Brady, jailed in 1966. Yorkshire
Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, locked up in 1981 for 13 murders. DennisNilsen,
jailed 1983 for 13 murders. Jeremy Bamber, jailed 1986 for shooting dead
his adoptive parents, his sister and her two children. Rosemary West,
jailed 1995 for ten murders. David Bieber, jailed 2004 for murdering a
policeman. Mark Hobson, jailed 2005 for four murders.
SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE:
MO: Deranged child killer;
bludgeoned/stabbed girls age five to nine.
DISPOSITION: Condemned, 1952;
commuted to life the same year.