Short of doing him in, I see no future in the world at all, 26-year-old Miles Giffard wrote to his girl friend, complaining of his father, who had ordered him to give her up.
Giffards problem was that he was unemployed, dependent on scrounging off his parents. In August 1952 he left their cliff-top home, overlooking Cornwalls St. Austell Bay, to lead a hand-to-mouth existence in London, where he had met and become infatuated with a girl who lived with her mother in Chelsea. She found him attractive, but told him he was scruffy and should tidy himself up. He lied to her that his parents had failed to send his clothes on to him, and on October 31st he hitch-hiked back to Cornwall to see if he could scrounge more money.
It took him three days to get there, and his attempt to screw more cash out of his long-suffering father was unsuccessful. Charles Giffard, a solicitor and clerk to St. Austell Magistrates’ Court, had had enough of the son who had never had a steady job despite his public-school education. Miles had studied law at his fathers insistence, but had given it up to train to be an estate agent, and could not settle to either.
After arriving home he phoned his girl friend every day. His father had ordered him to stay in Cornwall and resume his studies, he told her. She told him he should return to London, find work and become financially independent, and he decided to rejoin her at the weekend.
On Friday, NOVEMBER 7th, he phoned her at 5.30 p.m. to say he was coming to London to conduct some business for his father, who was letting him borrow his car. Then he set out to drive to Chelsea.
When his parents maid returned to their house at 9.30 p.m. after an evening out she found the kitchen floor covered with blood. Police discovered more blood in the garage, but it was not until daylight that the body of Charles Giffard was found at the bottom of the cliff near his home. His wifes broken body lay nearby.
Detectives guessed that the missing Miles Giffard was probably on his way to Chelsea. They were right. Arriving in the early hours of the Saturday, Miles told his girl friend he had an appointment at 10 oclock that morning. In fact he went off to sell some of his mothers jewellery for £50.
Then he took his girl friend to a cinema, followed by a pub crawl during which he told her he had murdered his parents. She didnt believe him.
At closing time he hailed a taxi and took her back to her mothers home in Tite Street.
Police were waiting, and he was arrested. Admitting killing his father and mother, he said: I was tight for money and had no means of tidying myself up, so I said I would go home and get my clothing. But in fact I wanted to go home and try to get some money from my father.
As his father got out of his car in the garage Miles Giffard had beaten him to death with an iron bar. Then he had bludgeoned his mother in the kitchen, and had used a wheelbarrow to take the two bodies to the cliff-edge and tip them over. His mother was still alive when she hit the rocks.
I can only say that I have had a brainstorm, Giffard told detectives. I cannot account for my actions. I had drunk about half a bottle of whisky on the Friday afternoon before all this happened. It just seemed to me that nothing mattered as long as I got back to London and my girl friend. She just fascinated me.
At his trial for his parents murder the court heard that he had a long history of mental instability for which he had received treatment. He was schizophrenic but not insane. Convicted and sentenced to death, he was hanged at Bristol Prison on February 24th, 1953.