Despite the grim austerity of post-war life in Britain in 1946, Joyce Jacques, a pretty 22-year-old brunette, was determined to enjoy herself. She had done her bit – joining the WAAFs at 18 and rising to the rank of Flight Sergeant. Now she wanted some fun.
When she met Walter Clayton, also 22 and recently demobbed, it didnt seem to matter that he was married. They began an intense and passionate affair during which Clayton spent every night at her lodgings in Morecambe, Lancashire.
During the evening of April 10th they had a quarrel, and Joyce thought about leaving him. They soon made it up, and on APRIL 12th, a Friday, they went on a pub-crawl, calling at five different pubs, starting with The Battery and finishing in The Elms.
Clayton was later to say: Joyce felt a little drunk, so we decided to go for a stroll along the front. We had a quarrel and I strangled her with my silk scarf. I left her on the beach and carried on by taxi to The Battery.
After another drink he went to the Central Pier, looking for his wife, who was out for the evening dancing. When he found her they went for a walk, and Clayton told her all about Joyce and how he had just killed her. He said that his wife then asked me to go home with her for the last time.
The body of Joyce Jacques was found within an hour of her death, lying on the foreshore near a bus stop, just under the sea wall. Six hours later Clayton was charged with her murder.
He pleaded guilty at Manchester Assizes on July 16th, and in what must have been a near-record time for a murder trial – just three minutes – he was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Walton Prison, Liverpool, on August 7th, 1946.