It was such a wet and windy morning that Andrew Barker and his colleague John Pull didn’t expect much business. Nevertheless, they opened the sub-branch of Lloyds Bank at Durrington, near Worthing, on time at 10 a.m. on NOVEMBER 10th, 1960.
While Barker the cashier opened the vault, Pull, a 61-year-old bank messenger, went to a back room and put the kettle on for a cup of tea. Shortly after Barker opened the bank’s doors, two young men entered, went through the gate into the desk area behind the counter, and stood looking around them.
“What’s all this about?” asked the startled cashier.
They did not reply, and at that moment Pull came out of the rear room, carrying the kettle. “You’re not supposed to come back here,” he began, but that was as far as he got. One of the young men produced a short-barrelled shotgun from beneath his raincoat, a shot rang out, and the messenger fell to the floor, to die a few minutes later.
“Where’s the money?” one of the men demanded.
Barker shakily indicated an attaché case he had just removed from the vault. It contained £1,372, and the man grabbed it and left with his partner.
After going to Pull, who lay face-down in a pool of blood, the cashier ran to the front door and saw a small green car driving off. Then he dialled 999.
Shortly before noon the police received another call, this time from a Worthing taxi driver. He had heard about the bank robbery on his cab radio, and he said he’d just picked up two young men at Worthing station.
“I supposed they’d come off a train,” he told the police. “They asked to be taken to the seafront, and I dropped them there a few minutes ago. They looked nervous and kept whispering to each other. One of them paid me with a fiver from a thick wallet, and they were dressed in sweaters and jeans but had no raincoats.”
Officers found the pair at the bus station. One had £60 in his pocket, the other £120. They said it was money they had saved for their holiday, but when they were taken to the police station one of them, Philip Tucker, 16, was identified by Barker as one of the bandits. “He’s not the gunman – he’s the one who took the money,” the cashier told detectives.
Questioning Tucker, the police learned that the gunman was Victor Terry, 20. from Chiswick, west London. The man arrested with Tucker was Alan Hosier, 20, the gang’s getaway driver, and a fourth person was also involved. This was Terry’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Valerie Salter who lived in Worthing and whose home the gang had used as their base.
Terry and his girlfriend were traced first to Littlehampton, then to Portsmouth, next to London and finally to Glasgow where they were arrested after their landlady saw Valerie’s photo in a newspaper and contacted the police.
Of the four, only Terry was charged with capital murder. At his trial his defence was that he was on drugs at the time of the crime and didn’t know what he was doing, and that the shooting was an accident. He claimed that he had pointed his gun at the bank messenger who had grabbed the barrel, pulling it towards him. As Terry’s finger was on the trigger, the gun went off accidentally.
But Terry’s story failed to convince the jury, and he was convicted and sentenced to death. Hosier was jailed for life for non-capital murder, Tucker was detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure because he was still only 17, and Valerie Salter was given a year’s probation for harbouring Terry, who was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on May 25th, 1961.