Leigh & District

Crime & Punishment 1

Facilitator:Barbara Joyce07516 225608
Venue & time:Leigh Miners1pm - 3pmNow twice a month: 4th Monday and Tuesday

24th September 2018 repeated 25th September 2018

The topic will be The Prosecution of Homosexual Men. We will look at the legislation underlying the prosecutions, how and why the legislation was amended in the 1960s, some famous cases in the 1950s and beyond and the impact that prosecution had on some individuals. Please join us for an interesting and important topic. No need to book.

Our August meetings were well attended and particularly the Monday meeting which took place on the Bank Holiday. We looked at the Cambridge Spies. These four men gave information to the KGB over a number of years. We looked at their backgrounds, their careers as traitors, their defection to the USSR and their lives there. We came up with a number of suggestions as to why they acted as they did.

There are a number of excellent books on the topic. One of our members, Kath, has mentioned Charles Rivers 'The Cambridge Five' and Christopher Catherwood 'The Cuckoo's Nest'. Andrew Boyle wrote a good account of the unmasking of Blunt. Ben McIntyre also has a good book on Philby (thanks to Kieron who lent me this one) called 'A Spy Among Friends'. There are also a number of good videos on You Tube.

Any suggestions for topics for 2019 gratefully received. In particular if anybody who would like to present a topic.


Meeting on August 27th and repeated on the 28th

It appears that following a brilliant summer the weather has taken a turn for the worse. So if you want to escape the rain on Bank Holiday Monday why not join us for our meeting when the topic will be The Cambridge Spies. Learn about Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt. They met at Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1930s and were committed communists who ultimately put their belief in communism before loyalty to their country.

All members welcome to either meeting. No need to book. 1pm at the Miners Welfare Institute.


The meeting in July will be held on MONDAY 23rd repeated on TUESDAY 24th. Meetings start at 1pm and there is no need to book - just turn up. The topic is The Murder of Gianni Versace. This was the subject of a recent BBC2 series (not for the faint hearted as it is quite explicit). The series was based on a book called Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. It is quite a complicated story and we will look in some detail at the perpetrator Andrew Cunanan. The police response to the murder was found wanting and there is a belief that the police were out of their depth as they did not have any valid links into the Miami gay community where the murderer hid in plain sight for weeks after the murder.

Our June meetings were well attended in spite of the tropical weather. We looked at arson and in particular the events in Walkden last year, the Mick Philpott case and a 1970s case involving a man called Peter Dinsdale. Very sad as children lost their lives to fire in all 3 case.


All members are warmly welcome to our next meeting – Monday 25th June and repeated on Tuesday 26th June 2018. 1pm start at the Miners Institute. Our topic will be Arson. We will probably look at 3 cases and examine why arson attracts such lengthy sentences, the type of person who uses fire as a weapon and their chosen victims.

Our May meeting looked at the unsolved murder of 6 year old Pageant Princess JonBenet Ramsey. Who killed JonBenet in 1996 and why? The meetings provoked a lot of discussion and members were advised to look the case up on You Tube as there is a mass of information there. There are also many books analysing the events surrounding the murder. None of the theories make absolute sense and JonBenet has not received justice. Very sad but also a puzzle which made us speculate and debate. That is what our organisation is all about and I am sure it keeps us young!


Our next meeting – on Monday 28th May 2018 and repeated on Tuesday 29th May looks at the story of Jon Benet Ramsey. Six year old Jon Benet was the daughter of wealthy parents living in Colorado. She was murdered in her own home and the murder remains one of the USA’s best known unsolved homicides. You may recall Jon Benet as she was a ‘Pageant Queen’ and this drew a lot of media attention. All members are welcome to join us. The Monday group will go ahead even though it is the late Spring Bank Holiday.

We had two good meetings in April. On the Monday, Eddie Tarry from Styal Prison spoke about the prison regime, the work undertaken by the female prisoner and some of the success stories. It was a very good talk with lots of questions from the members.
On Tuesday we looked at the Spalding murders where a 14 year old girl and her boyfriend planned and executed the murder of the girl’s mother and sister. We followed this by looking at ‘toxic’ homicidal relationships such as Brady and Hindley and Fred and Rosemary West.

Our March 2018 meetings will be held on Monday 26th March and repeated on Tuesday 27th. Both sessions will start at 1pm. No need to book. Just turn up and you will be most welcome.

Our topic for March is Dr Neil Cream and Dr Crippen. Crippen is much better known but Cream is very interesting as a Victorian murderer.

We looked at 2 murderers in our February meeting. These were Neville Heath and John George Haigh. They were contemporaries and both operated in the Kensington area. However they were motivated to kill for very different reasons. Haigh was almost certainly what we would now call a psychopath. Heath was possibly psychotic (insane) but he was found sane at his trial and was hanged for two sadistic murders in 1946. Haigh was hanged 3 years later and their wax works were placed side by side in Madame Tussauds House of Horrors. Horrendous indeed.

The book mentioned in the meeting which chronicles the life of Heath is SEAN O'CONNOR 'HANDSOME BEAST' - a good, well researcjed true crime read

Please feel free to join us - each monthly topic makes sense in its own right so you can dip in and out as you think fit. Whether you attend once in a while or every month you will be made to feel most welcome and in spite of the subject the sessions are designed to be informative and enjoyable.

For more information please contact Barbara Joyce or phone 07516 225608 or 01942 517494.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • When and where does the group meet?

The group meets on the fourth Monday of each month and is repeated on the fourth Tuesday. The meeting takes place in the lounge if you choose the Monday group or upstairs if you attend on Tuesday at the Miner’s Welfare. It starts at 1pm and ends at 3pm with a short break for drinks. The notice board in the Foyer at the club will tell you which room.

  • Can I attend either group?

Yes – or even both if you wish! You can attend, for example, the Monday one month and the Tuesday the next – both sessions will look at the same topic. On months where the Monday is the bank holiday (May and August) the Tuesday group will always run but check for the Monday please.Just check the web site.

  • How many others attend?

This varies but generally about 30 – with a mix of men and women members

  • Do I need to know anything about criminology to attend?

No – just a general interest. Some of the group members have worked in prisons, police or solicitors but most are just interested in crime. If you find the group is not for you there is no compulsion to explain why - and nobody will pursue you to ask why you are not attending!

  • Do I need to prepare work for the session?

No – although any member is welcome to lead the session, and some members have read up around the topic before the session, but it is not necessary to do so.

  • Will I have to take any exams?

No. Nobody is ‘put on the spot’ to answer questions, do written work or to say anything unless they choose to. We generally enjoy a discussion around the topic and learn from each other.

  • Do I have to pay?

You will have to pay your membership to attend the groups and then £1 for room hire and refreshments

  • What kind of topics does the group look at?

So far we have looked at things like drugs and crime, alcohol, crimes in Leigh in the past, transportation to Australia, homicide, serial killers, sectarian murders and domestic abuse. Future sessions include a talk by a police officer who worked in the 60’s and 70’s, forensics, criminal profiling, cyber-crime, crime on TV and in novels and crime in Victorian times. As you can see the topics are varied and reflect the members interests! The topics can be challenging and the group is sometimes dealing with difficult issues but is not ‘heavy’.

  • Sounds ok – how do I join?

Just check the date and arrive – you will be made most welcome.

See also the Crime & Punishment 2 page for the Tuesday dates.

Dates for your Diary
Mon Sep 24th Prosecution of Homosexual Men
Mon Oct 22nd The Hillside Stranglers
Mon Nov 26th Crocodile tears
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More Group Pages
Art Appreciation Bird Watching
Board Games Book Reading & Armchair Critics
Bowls Creative Writing
Crime & Punishment 1 Crime & Punishment 2
Culture Club Egyptology
Family History French
iPads & Tablets Italian
Knitting Local History
Luncheon Club Maths
Musical Instruments Play Reading
Poetry Appreciation Quilters & Needlework
Relaxation/Support Scrabble
Shakespeare Singing for Fun
Spanish Ukulele
Watercolour Painting Women & History