In July 1945 the body of a 21-year-old woman was found in a wood near the German town of Rotenburg. She had been shot as she picked flowers, and she was identified as Waltraut Lehman. Hundreds of British troops were questioned, but for three years the murder remained unsolved.
Then a note was received by the authorities. It said: To the police. In 1945 I was in a company of the Pioneer Corps. On a day in July I killed a woman. The military police were seeing all the men, but before they saw me I was on the road to England.
The note was from William Claude Hodson Jones, 31, and he admitted the murder when he was arrested. He said he had met Waltraut Lehman a few times in the wood, and after he offered her some cigarettes on the day in question she became angry and cursed him in German. Before he knew it, he had shot her.
At his trial at the Old Bailey his mother said he was kicked on the head by a horse when he was seven, and he had been very short-tempered ever since.
But the defence offered no evidence of insanity, and he was convicted of wilful murder and sentenced to death. There was no appeal, and on SEPTEMBER 28th, 1949, Jones was executed by Albert Pierrepoint and Harry B. Allen.