A jury at Newcastle Assizes was told that Joseph Langton, 55, of Burnhope, had attempted and failed to enlist 20 men to kill his wife. Langton and three other men were on trial for killing Mrs. Florence Langton, 54. Her body was found buried in a shallow grave at the village of Sunniside, on AUGUST 27th, 1970.
One of the accomplices told the court that he had been told to tie up Mrs. Langton so he could search the house for some letters that Langton wanted, and the plan was to make it look like a robbery. Mrs. Langton had in fact been suffocated by being tied up.
All four were found guilty of murder; three were sentenced to life imprisonment and one to be detained indefinitely. After the verdict it emerged that one of the four had recently served 13 years for his part in a 1960 gang raid at Fatfield in which a policeman was shot from a range of three yards. The officer survived.