Take us to London, George Rowe and his friend Russell Bechard told cabby John Jolly in Windsor, Ontario. We havent any money on us now but we can pay you when we get there. London, it should be explained, was London, Ontario.
Rowe and Bechard were making the trip because they wanted to sell guns they had stolen from a friends house.
Unable to find the right street, Mr. Jolly stopped at a petrol station, refusing to go farther without payment. When the two passengers became ugly the cabby picked up a phone and shouted, Get me the police!
George Rowe pulled out a Colt revolver and ordered everyone in the petrol station to leave the building by the rear door. I wasnt holding them up or intending to rob them, he said later. I didnt intend to shoot anyone.
There are various accounts of what happened next. Rowe claimed he slipped on some grease. The only certain thing is that his gun went off.
The .38 bullet ripped through the door of a nearby garage and struck Clare Galbraith, 20, who was working on his car unaware of what was happening. He died in hospital. Rowe and Bechard fled from the scene.
They were caught four days later, on November 24th, 1950. Despite Rowes claim that he didnt know the gun was loaded and that it had discharged accidentally, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. Bechard was found not guilty.
My lord, Ive been given a fair trial, said a resigned Rowe. I didnt intend to rob that gas station or shoot anyone. I slipped on the grease and the gun went off. He was hanged on Tuesday, June 5th, 1951, in London Prison.