Visitors to the Channel Islands are frequently reminded of the German occupation during the Second World War, for there is lots of evidence of it still, particularly in Guernsey. James Ozanne never forgot the Occupation. Just after the Germans arrived there in 1940 his wife Clara died, leaving him with two children to bring up.
The next five years, spanning the war, were hard for James Ozanne. He was a jobbing gardener, so he didnt earn much. The island was desperately short of food – sometimes the family had only a loaf of bread to last them three days – and his house, Les Pins, was burgled 30 times.
The only bright spot in his life was his widowed housekeeper, Clara Ogier. She came to work for him and to look after the children in 1940. But in June, 1947, two years after the war was over, Clara gave in her notice. She was going to get married again, she explained, and would leave at the end of the day.
Next day she did the chores, went out, and got back to Les Pins about 5 oclock. She was about to go into the garden when Ozanne came up to her with a gun and shot her dead. The blast was so great that it made a hole six inches by four in her skull.
An hour later Ozanne, then 53, took the bus to St. Peter Port, called at the police station and told the duty sergeant what he had done.
Subsequently it was learned that before the shooting Ozanne wrote to a senior police officer expressing his fears for his future after his housekeeper was gone. It said: My wife died six years ago during the occupation. I was left on my own with two children for five years. Ive had enough.
This was the letter of a desperately lonely and unhappy man. A man who clearly bottled up his feelings, for all his friends described him as a quiet soul, never violent and of impeccable character.
The court decided he was sane when he pulled the trigger and he was sentenced to death on JULY 28th, 1947. Eighteen days later he was reprieved and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released on July 27th, 1956, after serving a month under nine years.