“You have led a dreadful life,” Mr. Justice Veale told the man in the dock. On trial for his second killing, 27-year-old William Rodgers was in no position to argue.
A North Shields labourer, in May 1961 he had been tried at Durham Assizes, accused of killing Emanuel King, whose lodgings he had gone to with some beer and a prostitute. When King asked his visitors to leave and tried to drag Rodgers out of his bed, Rodgers had hit him with a bottle and had then left with the girl, unaware that King was seriously injured. King had died the next day and Rodgers had been jailed for manslaughter.
Now he was back in the same court within a year of his release, already on bail for another assault and now charged with murder. On JULY 31st, 1964, he had stabbed George Brown, 23, nearly 20 times after a series of arguments.
His plea of diminished responsibility was rejected, and on October 13th, 1964, William Rodgers was convicted and jailed for life.