When two teenage boys were suspected by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of having abducted an eight-year-old girl, Gerald Eaton, a relative of one of them, intervened. “They were with me all day,” he explained. “They couldn’t have been involved with that girl’s kidnapping.”

Eaton’s statement was the boys’ alibi – but it was more than that. It was also a false alibi for himself. For it was he who abducted and murdered little Carolynne Moore while she was walking home from her school in Langley, British Columbia.

The Mounties knew that a green Buick was seen near the abduction point, and later the two lads were identified as being in the car. But questioned by police, they said Eaton was the driver, and after he dropped them off in Langley they hadn’t seen him again.

A search of the Buick produced an imitation daisy from Carolynne’s red bonnet. Confronted with it, Eaton confessed. He said that moments after she waved goodbye to a playmate, he picked her up. Carolynne told him: “I’m in a hurry. I have to meet my mom in the church and then we’re going to Vancouver to meet my daddy at the airport.”

“Jump in,” Eaton said. “I’ll get you to the church in a few minutes.”

Carolynne, mindful of her mother’s past warnings, asked cautiously: “Are you a stranger?” Eaton, laughing, said he was not, that he lived nearby in Langley.

He drove the little girl to his home and when she said she would report him he hit her with his fist, knocking her unconscious. Panicking, he went out to his car and returned with a tyre lever, which he used to bludgeon Carolynne to death.

He put the body into the boot of his car, drove out to some woods and hid it under an uprooted tree stump before covering it with leaves.

Eaton was tried twice for the little girl’s murder. Found guilty the first time, he appealed against the verdict and was granted a re-trial. He was also found guilty the second time.

Before he went to the gallows in Oakalla Prison on Monday, July 16th, 1957, he wrote to the Moore family asking for forgiveness. Carolynne’s father, Lawrence Moore, not only rejected his plea but asked to be present at the hanging.

This wasn’t out of a sense of revenge, he explained. “I have had two choices. One was to continue through life with the mental picture of this man beating my daughter to death with a tyre lever, the other was to see him hang. I have chosen the execution. Only that can obliterate from my memory the other ugly picture.”