I dont think he meant to hurt us, Mrs. Doreen Hollobone told detectives at her hospital bedside. I think he went insane.
She worked as a cleaner, and she said that one of her clients was 25-year-old Richard Stableford. At 11.30 p.m. on DECEMBER 10th, 1964, she had gone to Stablefords London flat to explain that she had not worked for three weeks as shed been ill. She was accompanied by a friend from Leeds, 30-year-old Patrick Wilkinson.
We were all sitting around talking, she said. We had some drinks. Then Stableford suddenly produced a gun and for no apparent reason shot Wilkinson in the foot. Wilkinson went to the bathroom to bathe his wound, and returned saying, You silly fool, youve shot me. What did you do that for? Im going to hit you.
Stableford then shot him three times in the heart, and when Mrs. Hollobone protested he hit her on the head with the gun and then shot her three times as well.
It was after midnight, and neighbours disturbed by the shooting called the caretaker, who went to investigate.
Its quite all right, Stableford told him. Nothing to worry about.
But the caretaker saw a pool of blood in Stablefords hallway. Pushing his way in, he went to the lounge and saw Wilkinson lying on the floor and Mrs. Hollobone kneeling near him. Get me to a doctor, she said. I want to go to hospital.
When police arrived Stableford claimed that Wilkinson had started beating Mrs. Hollobone, picking up a revolver from the sideboard and striking her on the head with it. Stableford said that when he intervened Mrs. Hollobone had gone berserk and grabbed the gun.
He later changed his story and admitted the shooting, and at his trial doctors testified that he was a psychopath. On May 11th, 1965, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but he was reprieved eight days later and released in May 1975.