“These days violence stalks our streets, and it has to be put down. One of my duties is to put an end to that state of affairs.”

So said the trial judge, Mr. Justice Paull, when two men appeared before him at Leeds Assizes charged with
mugging and strangling a 65-year-old coal merchant. The judge wasn’t speaking last year or this year, as you
might think, but more than 50 years ago.

George Fox, 29, and Donald Dawson, 25, killed Francis Townson in his office at the Kirkstall railway yard in Wyther Lane, Leeds, on DECEMBER 15th, 1961. The day’s takings were missing.

Dawson told the court: “I tried to gag him…I only meant to shut him up. I only wanted money for my kids for Christmas.” Both men denied murder but admitted manslaughter, for which they were found guilty. Each was sent to prison for 10 years.