It was a trivial argument that began on NOVEMBER 14th, 1957, about a beer sign at a bar in Erdington, Birmingham. But John Spriggs, a 29-year-old factory worker, became so incensed that he produced a gun and shot the barman four times at close range.
Arrested at his home after he tried to commit suicide, he was charged with the murder of 43-year-old Harold Cunningham. Why did he do it? At his trial at Birmingham Assizes it was claimed that he was mentally ill, having been discharged from the RAF as abnormal. But the jury rejected this defence, and Spriggs was convicted and sentenced to death.
His mental condition gained him a reprieve, however, and he was released in 1978 after serving 20 years. He committed suicide in 1984 with an overdose of painkillers…after using a steam iron to beat his mistress Mrs. Margaret Larkin, 53, to death at their home in Cardiff.