Leigh & District

Crime & Punishment 1

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

The meeting in February 2019 will take place on MONDAY 25th FEBRUARY with a repeat session on TUESDAY 26th FEBRUARY.

Both sessions start at 1pm at the Miners. I understand that our topic will be covered in a BBC drama doc later this year so it will be interesting to know something about the events prior to watching the tele version. In 2011 a young woman went missing from Swindon town centre and it was realised by the police that she had been abducted. Through excellent police work her abductor was identified rapidly and he confessed to the police and took them to her grave site. He also confessed to an earlier murder (2003) and led police to that site. Two young women killed and two families at least aware of where their daughters/partners were buried. What happened following the confession was remarkable and contentious. You will have strong views about this one way or the other - was it a travesty of justice or a police error which threatened the rights of an offender? Please feel free to join us on either session. No need to book and you will be made most welcome.

Our January meeting was very well attended and most informative. One of our members, Marlene, gave a talk on a topic close to her heart - which was crime at Kenyon Junction. The Junction was the first of its kind in the world (IE a junction between two railway company services) and it provided many crime opportunities. Marlene looked at the railway itself, gave us examples of the crime opportunities that railways created and then looked a the punishment meted out at Kirkdale Prison in Liverpool. Very interesting and thanks to Marlene for giving us her time and her knowledge.

I am always on the look out for presentations around crime. If anybody else has a prepared presentation I would be happy to shift the calendar around for you to deliver it. I would be happy to put anything onto Powerpoint and to provide the laptop/projector.

Hope to see you on 25th or 26th February. March's topic is about poisoners and in particular Mary Wilson - the last woman to be sentenced to death in England and Wales.


Our usual December meeting will not take place at the usual time as the 4th Monday and Tuesday of the month is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. HOWEVER there will be one meeting on FRIDAY 28th December starting at 1pm at the Miners. Bring your leftover Christmas food and crackers and we will be having a (very) lighthearted quiz on the topic of Crime and Criminals!

The November meeting looked at lying and crocodile tears. We examined some of the academic work behind lie detection and the way in which some criminals attempt to convince the public of their innocence via press conferences where they lie and cry.

Any member wanting to see examples of Karen Matthews, Ian Huntley, Tracie Andrews, Stuart Hazell and Mick Philpott in full flow can find lots of video on Youtube. Very illuminating.

Hope to see you on the 28th December but meanwhile a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2019 to all our members.


Our November Meeting will be held on Monday 26th and repeated Tuesday 27th at The Miners Welfare starting at 1pm. We will look at how offenders lie to the Police, Courts and the Press and how to tell if they are lying through various clues.

At the October meetings we looked at The Hillside Stranglers. The best book on the subject is By Darcy O'Brien 'Two of a Kind - The Hillside Stranglers'. A difficult read but a very well written book which combines fact and with some fictional (but not made up) elements. Strongly recommended. There is also some interesting material on Youtube showing film of Kenneth Bianchi attempting (unsuccessfully) to prove that he had at least one evil persona (Multiple Personality) called Steve. He later brings 'Billy' in for good measure. One of our Monday attendees mentioned a Richard Gere film which examined a genuine multiple personality case. The film is called Primal Fear.

There will be one meeting only in December as the usaul dates coincide with the Christmas holidays. Watch this space for the date which will likley be between Christmas and the New Year holiday. Meanwhile please feel free to attend the November meetings - no need to book. You will be most welcome.


CALENDAR FOR 2019 - these are the topics for next year - meanwhile we have our meeting on November 26th and repeated on 27th 2018 about lying to the police and media - and how criminals attempt to fool by using dishonesty

Kenyon Junction – Crime on the early railway January 28th/29th 2019
Christopher Halliwell – police procedures found wanting February 25th/ 26th
Mary Wilson – last woman to be sentenced to death in England and Wales March 25th/ 26th
British renegades and traitors in World War 2 April 22nd/ 23rd
Police corruption May 27th/ 28th
Civil disobedience June 24th/25th
MPs in trouble – Honourable Members who have acted dishonourably July 22nd/ 23rd
Profumo – the 1960s scandal August 26th/27th
Turning point trials –Trials that changed opinion and often resulted in changes in the law September 23rd / 24th
Cold cases – old unsolved cases reopened October 28th /29th
Julia Wallace case- murder in Liverpool November 25th/26th
Christmas Meeting Date to be advised

Monday 22nd 2018 and repeated Tuesday 23rd October at 1pm

We will look at The Hillside Stranglers. They were cousins called Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono who murdered 10 women in Los Angeles during the period 1977 to 1979. One of the men, Kenneth Bianchi almost succeeded in convincing psychiatrists that he was insane (a ruse to avoid the death penalty). Please feel free to join the group - no need to book and you can attend on either of the two days.

The September meetings were well attended and we examined how the law has changed over the past 150 years in order to reflect greater tolerance of homosexuality.

At Mondays meeting one of our members Michael spoke about Oscar Wilde and recommended a book. This was The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna.


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 Feb 25th Christopher Halliwell – police procedures found wanting
Mon Mar 25th Mary Wilson – last woman to be sentenced to death in England and Wales
Mon Apr 22nd British renegades and traitors in World War 2
Mon May 27th Police corruption
Mon Jun 24th Civil disobedience
Mon Jul 22nd MPs in trouble – Honourable Members who have acted dishonourably
Mon Aug 26th Profumo – the 1960s scandal
Mon Sep 23rd Turning point trials –Trials that changed opinion and often resulted in changes in the law
Mon Oct 28th Cold cases – old unsolved cases reopened
Mon Nov 25th Julia Wallace case - murder in Liverpool
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More Group Pages
Art Appreciation Astronomy
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 Mixed Crafts
Musical Instruments Play Reading
Poetry Appreciation Quilters & Needlework
Relaxation/Support Scrabble
Shakespeare Singing for Fun
Ukulele Watercolour Painting
Women & History