News flashback: Murder trial of Hackney schoolgirl Keighley Barton
12:00 16 October 2016
Every week the Gazette will delve into its archives to see what was happening in Hackney 30 and 60 years ago. This week features a “horrible hospital wrangle” and a murder trial.
30 years ago:
The jury in the murder trial for schoolgirl Keighley Barton were told she could still be alive.
The 14-year-old vanished and had not been found and her stepfather Ronald Barton, 46, was charged with murdering her.
Det Supt Charles Farquhar told jurors at the Old Bailey he had to keep open the possibility she was still alive because not all the people who reported seeing her had been interviewed.
Barton, who was later convicted of murder, had allegedly told a cellmate in Brixton Prison he had done it and put her body in a car crushing machine. Prosecutors said Barton had two motives for the murder. Firstly, to silence her accusations he had sexually abused her and secondly to get at her mother Therese who was living with another man.
60 years ago:
Two Pcs were criticised over a charge against a man of possessing 162 radio valves in Whitby Street, Bethnal Green.
The charge was dismissed before magistrate Harold Sturge could call the defence saying the officers needed “furhter instruction” in the use of the Met Police Act.
A “horrible wrangle” took place on what was “almost a death bed” in the Whittington Hospital.
Horace Pearce and Alfred James Cook, his brother in law, were accusing each other of assault. They had argued over Cook’s parents’ possessions while they were in hospital.
Cook said Pearce had dragged him towards an open window while visiting the elders. Pearce was found guilty of assault.