Darlington Police were always being called to the local Salvation Army hostel, usually to deal with drunken arguments.

But in June, 1958, they were scarcely prepared for the result of the latest fight there. After a row with fellow-lodger William Newton, 55, unemployed labourer Lawrence Johnson, 47, had crushed Mr. Newton’s head with a chair, leaving it hanging from the rest of his body by only a small strand of flesh.

At his trial at Leeds Assizes on JULY 18th Johnson claimed that he was a paranoid schizophrenic. He was acquitted of murder after his plea of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted by the Crown. The judge ordered that he be detained in prison for life rather than sent to Broadmoor.