Even hardened criminologists were stunned by the barbarous killing inflicted by Richard Graham on his foster-child Linda Roffey, who was only two years old.

In the early hours of FEBRUARY 16th, 1963, Croydon neighbours of the Grahams heard screams, doors being banged, and furniture being disturbed. In the morning Graham’s wife asked a neighbour to call an ambulance. An ambulanceman found the body of Linda in the bathroom.

There were heavy bruises, cuts and burns on her; she had died from severe brain damage caused by blows from a flat object such as an iron. The post-mortem revealed that she had been beaten and “toasted” in front of a fire.

Graham, a 27-year-old salesman, told the police that Linda was a “difficult” child. He said his wife had nothing to do with the child’s injuries and he had lost his temper.

He was found guilty of murder and jailed for life after the prosecution had rejected his plea of guilty to manslaughter.