The story of a mother compelled to investigate her daughter’s death. 18 were executed – the story of the American servicemen executed at Shepton Mallet during World War II.
True Detective April 2004
Although the arm of the law is said to be long its memory is often tragically short. There is probably no better example of this than the case of Dr. Harold Shipman. Because the initial investigation into Shipman was badly handled he was able to murder at least three more victims. It also seems that the Greater Manchester Police found it hard to believe a highly-respected, popular GP could be a killer. They had obviously never heard of Dr. Robert Clements, another well-respected physician from the north-east.
Shipman and Clements came from very different moulds. One was brought up on a council estate, the son of a lorry driver, and practised in Hyde, the other was a doctor of the "old school" who benefited from a middle-class upbringing and whose practice was in the fashionable seaside resort of Southport. However, the similarities between the two doctors are astounding. Both used morphine to murder – Shipman becoming Britain’s most prolific serial killer – in each case a fellow-doctor was the whistle-blower, both were extremely untidy and both escaped justice.
If Messrs Shipman and Clements escaped justice, 18 American servicemen stationed in the UK during the Second World War didn’t. By the end of hostilities in 1945 all 18 had been executed at the US military prison at Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Two were put to death by firing squads, the rest hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint. However, even real crime buffs may be surprised to learn that of those executed, 12 were for murder and six, astonishly, for rape! How could someone be executed for rape in Britain as late as 1945?
There were at least two men in the life of "fallen woman" Mary Downes, but did either of them kill her? Was it the father of her son, fed up with her pestering him for money? Was it the man with a violent temper and a criminal record? Or was it someone who followed her home from the factory?
SEX TAUNTS DROVE ME TO MURDER, CLAIMED HUSBAND
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
A Mother’s Own Story: 1
"THINKING OF IT MAKES MY BLOOD RUN COLD"
A Mother’s Own Story: 2
OUR DEAD DAUGHTER DESERVES JUSTICE
WAS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?
A Fascinating Comparison Between Doctors Shipman And Clements
18 WERE EXECUTED
Part 2 In The Series "Most Wanted"
THE BIRTH OF THE FBI
Famous Murders Told By Famous People
THE TRIAL OF MADELEINE SMITH
THE THIRD DEGREE
HE JUST BLEW HER AWAY
Who Murdered Mary Downes?
New Series: Great American Crime Cases No.1
MIKE MALLOY, THE IRON MAN OF DONEGAL