A motor-cycle accident had long confined 47-year-old Archibald Brown to a wheelchair, but it didn’t stop him bullying his family. His 19-year-old son Eric suffered most from the invalid’s tyranny, and he decided to do something about it.

The family had a live-in nurse, and on the afternoon of JULY 23rd, 1943, she prepared to take Archibald Brown out as usual in his wheelchair. It was kept in the family’s air-raid shelter beside their home in Rayleigh, Essex, and when she went to the shelter’s door she was surprised to find it secured from within.

It opened a few moments later and Eric came out and went into the house. After settling Mr. Brown in the wheelchair, the nurse set out with him. They had gone about a mile when they stopped while he lit a cigarette. Seconds later the nurse was blown off her feet by an explosion which wrecked the chair and blew its occupant to pieces.

The nurse had a lucky escape from injury, and the police established that the blast was from an anti-tank mine. Eric Brown was home on leave from the army, his unit had anti-tank mines to which he had access, and he admitted booby-trapping the wheelchair.

“My father is now out of his suffering,” he told detectives, “and I earnestly hope that my mother will now live a much happier and normal life.”

Charged with murder, he attempted suicide while in custody and he was found to be suffering from schizophrenia. At Essex Assizes in November 1943 he was found guilty but insane, and was committed to an asylum.