True Detective receives many letters but few more interesting than the one that recalls the case
True Detective November 2013
True Detective receives many letters but few more interesting than the one that recalls the case that happened years ago in South Shields, a reader recalled, her father was one of the men who discovered a woman’s torso in a storage tank. Perhaps we could look into the case, the correspondent suggested. We did and can report an extraordinary story that unearths a shocking miscarriage of justice.
London was shrouded by one of those thick, swirling fogs so vividly described in Sherlock Holmes stories. Pea-soupers were still commonplace in 1943, and it was in such a fog that Molly Lefebure and her boss, Home Office pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson, set out for a Luton crime scene that would have intrigued even Conan Doyle’s detective.
Patrick Drum may not have the presence of a Charles Bronson or the charm of his TV hero Dexter. But in the delivery of so-called vigilante justice, he was just as deadly and effective as his screen idols. To his supporters he became a cult hero on a one-man mission to clean up the streets and keep kids safe. But to his victims’ families and law enforcement, he was nothing more than a crazed, cold-blooded killer. What’s your verdict, hero or villain?
David Fairchild stared at the framed photo of his daughter Stacy – and wept. It had stood on his mantelpiece for 20 years, but now he took it down, and wrapped it carefully in a padded envelope. “Come on, darling,” said his wife, choking back her own tears. “Maybe today will bring us a kind of peace.” They arrived hand in hand at the court, David clutching the treasured picture close.
His tread was heavy as he climbed the steps to the witness-box, and looked straight at the man who’d murdered Stacy all those years ago. “This was our daughter,” he said simply, holding up the photo. “She’d be thirty-seven now.”
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