As Louise Peete was driven away from a California court to spend the rest of her life in jail for murder, the world coul…
True Detective October 2006
As Louise Peete was driven away from a California court to spend the rest of her life in jail for murder, the world could be forgiven for thinking that this was the end of a bad lot. But that was far from the case; there was much more to her than a simple life sentence could put a stop to. For exactly 25 years to the day since the murder of Jacob Denton, Louise Peete killed again. This time, instead of burying her victim under a pile of rubbish in the basement, she buried her in a flowerbed under an avocado tree below the window of the bedroom where she had been sleeping for six months. Incredibly, after serving a life sentence for one murder she had been paroled to commit an identical crime!
Forty-five years and half a world away from Louise Peete’s flowerbed, Sabine Hilschinz liked nothing better on a summer evening than to settle herself down on the balcony of her flat in Brandenburg, eastern German, with a drink and contemplate the line of flowerpots in her window box. She and she alone knew that besides the pretty flowers, each of those flowerpots was the grave of one of the newborn babies she had killed at birth. And as she looked at each flowerpot in turn, she would talk to the children she had killed, just as if they were sitting there with her on the balcony…Were these the actions of a woman who killed “regularly and routinely and in a serial fashion,” or the workings of an “unwell” mind?
On April 4th, 1962, James Hanratty was hanged at Bedford Prison for the murder of Michael Gregsten in what became known as the A6 murder. Ever since his trial his family and supporters have expressed doubts about his guilt. With its many twists and turns the case has become one of the most bizarre in British criminal history, and there would be more surprises 40 years after the shooting. So what was all the fuss about? Why were so many people so convinced of Hanratty’s innocence? The case forms the first part of our great new series where all the killers had one thing in common: A Date With The Hangman.