Working in the criminal justice system you tend to find that a lot of people who live in the communities were crimes are committed know more about the crimes than the police, or before the police. Fear of reprisals and other factors stop people from telling the police and or giving them the evidence they need. I think people also have a deep desire to create modern folklores. There was a murder in the 1980's in Birkenhead, Diane Sindall, she worked in my brothers local, at the time of the murder there was a real belief that there was a 'wolf-man' on the loose because of rumors that circulated as to what the killer had done to the poor woman. My old law mentor also had taught the man responsible.
Years ago I worked a part-time job in an apartment house in Sutton Place in Manhattan. While there I got to know an elderly couple named Moe and Rosie, and Rosie told me that when she was a girl (this was in the 1970s so she was in her 80s when I knew her) she lived on the lower East Side and went to dances where she saw and danced with Gyp the Blood, Dago Frank, Whitey Lewis, and the other thug who were the ones who shot and killed the gambler and stool pigeon Herman Rosenthal outside the Hotel Metropole in June 1912. I asked her did that bother her, but she said that the boys were pretty nice when she knew them.
My brother-in-law's father knew Mr. Benjamin Siegel back in the 1930s, and may have held up by him (I'm not sure about this). Oddly enough a girlfriend of mine is a cousin of Siegel's.
Personally I knew Mr. George P. McGovern, a fellow civil servant whose last days got terribly twisted. He was suffering from diabitis, and lost his toes on both feet. The illness may have affected his mind - his mother died, and he feared the loss of her social security money. So he did not report her death, and dismembered her body and hid it in an ice box in his kitchen (putting chains on the icebox). I visited him later that year with a friend, and noticed the ice box. When I asked about it he said, "It's broken, don't touch it!" So I didn't. A neighbor of his did discover the truth and blackmailed George. George died the following year and the police discovered the remains. The blackmailer went to prison for his crime. The police did determine that George's mother died of natural causes.
My dad was a bouncer in a nightclub in London owned by a minor associate of the Krays. The Krays would visit occasionally, but my dad didn't have any real interesting stories about them. He also went to school with a guy who ended up as a copper and was a real jerk about it, lording it over his former friends and neighbours--he was fired in the corruption scandal tangentially depicted in "The Bank Job".
When I was a kid there was a notorious crime in Canada known as the ".22 murders" where two nurses were raped and shot in there homes. In one case the young son of the victim was sent to stay with our neighbour, and I used to play with him. He used to have horrific nightmares about someone he called "The Blueman" and he used to hide when the police came to the house to check up on him--a couple of decades later a solid suspect emerged. He was a policeman. No one made the connection all those years ago, although there were rumours
A good friend of mine in West London used to fix cars for the Kray gang. He got quite adept at sorting out Jags as a result. He claims he never met the Twins, liked their "representatives" who he dealt with, and never once had to chase them for payment. Yes, he's still around.
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
I have known,and been connected with,a murderer and a person who attempted murder.Both crimes were planned.The murderer almost got away with it,the attempted murderer was not suspected.Both were domestics.The latter,in time,was more content in having failed to kill,not out of remorse,but in the enjoyment,to him,of seeing the victim frequently,over the ensuing years,being pushed around in a wheelchair,almost totally incapacitated.Both the murderer and the would be murderer appeared to me to be normal sane and likeable people.
George Skelly, who wrote a book called The Cameo Conspiracy, and who spoke at the 2003 UK Jack the Ripper conference at the Britannia Adelpi in Liverpool is now at work on another book concerning Burns and Devlin, two other small-time crooks executed for the murder of a Wavertree, Liverpool woman a couple of years later but that Skelly feels was another case of "fitting up" innocent men on the part of Balmer. See this Liverpool Echo article for more on that case.
I forgot to mention that when I was in John Bowne High School in Queens, my boss (when I worked on the library squad) was Mr. Bernard Titowski. He was a successful book store owner, and he had the misfortune to own the store where Kitty Genovese died (on the doorstep) of multiple stab wounds due to the attack upon her in 1965. The incident was notorious because her screams did not cause anybody to run out and try to help her in that crowded area. Winston Mosley was convicted of the killing.
Mr. Titowski met Jonathan Goodman through my auspices in 1991, and they discussed the case at length together.
My Grandmother saw Myra Hindley's arrest and she was also a patient at Harold Shipman's surgery.
__________________ protohistorian-Where would we be without Stewart Evans or Paul Begg,Kieth Skinner, Martin Fido,or Donald Rumbelow?
Sox-Knee deep in Princes & Painters with Fenian ties who did not mutilate the women at the scene, but waited with baited breath outside the mortuary to carry out their evil plots before rushing home for tea with the wife...who would later poison them of course