On the evening of JUNE 25th, 1960, four young men sat in the bar of the Clay Pigeon in Eastcote, near Uxbridge, hatching a plan to rob someone. Anyone would do, they decided. The oldest was Norman James Harris, 23, and his companions were Christopher Darby, 20; Francis Forsyth, 18; and Terence Lutt, 17.

After moving on to a coffee bar 
in Hounslow, they lay in wait in a secluded alley, and a victim soon came along. Twenty-three-year-old Allan Jee was returning home from his fiancée’s house, and Lutt sprang forward, punching him to the ground, where more blows followed, Forsyth kicking the victim’s head. There was only a 10 shilling note in Mr. Jee’s pockets and this was missed, the gang running off empty-handed.

He was taken to the West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, where his skull was found to be fractured, and he died two days later, having suffered a cerebral contusion.

The police questioned a large number of young men, including Harris, but
 no arrests were made. Then on July 17th detectives learned that Harris’s friend Forsyth had been boasting about the attack, and all four assailants were arrested two days later and charged with murder.

In a statement, Harris admitted holding down Mr. Jee. “I put my hand in his inside pocket to get his wallet,” he said, “but there was nothing there at all. Forsyth was standing above us and I realised he had put the boot in.”

Pleading not guilty at the Old Bailey, the gang heard the prosecutor Mr. Mervyn Griffiths-Jones tell the court: “Allan Jee was knocked to the ground, and was held there while his pockets were gone through. He was kicked into unconsciousness and left dying, bleeding and moaning on the ground, while these four young men made good their escape.”

At the end of the opening speech, with Mr. Justice Winn’s consent Darby’s charge was reduced to non-capital murder, the Crown having accepted his denial that he had used any violence.

Summing-up after the court had heard the evidence, the judge said it was not suggested that any of the defendants intended to kill Mr. Jee. It was a question of whether
they intended serious harm, and in furtherance of theft committed acts likely to cause such injury. If that were so, three of them were guilty of capital murder although no money was taken. An intention to steal was enough. Darby would be guilty of non-capital murder if there were a common purpose which he had been prepared to assist.

All four defendants were then convicted by the jury, who deliberated for only 40 minutes.

Harris and Forsyth were sentenced to death; Lutt, too young to be hanged, was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure; and Darby was jailed for life.

Then on November 10th, 1960, Harris was executed at Pentonville by Les Stewart and Harry Robinson, and Forsyth was hanged at Wandsworth Prison by Harry Allen and Royston Rickard.