Friday, 22 March 2013

The Execution of Ernie Jones

Ernie Jones was never a household name in the annals of crime, and the only claim he could have had was being on the long list of executed persons in the twentieth century in Britain.  So what is the story of Ernie Jones?  Ernest Raymond Jones lived in the Wyke area of Bradford, in Temperance Street.  The year was 1958 and he had come up with a job to make himself some money.  However, this job was to have the most tragic circumstances for an innocent man and ultimately, for Jones himself.

    His plan was to steal around thirty thousand cigarettes from a Co-operative store in Lepworth, near Huddersfield.  He broke in and was busy packing cigarettes into a big bag when he heard a noise.  He hid and then a man walked into the store.  It was store manager Richard Turner.  Jones made his escape but in the resulting scuffle, Richard Turner died.  Jones told his best friend what happened, and as a result, the friend reported it to the Police and Jones was arrested.

    Jones was committed for trial at Leeds Assizes on December 10th 1958, but what was unusual was that his trial was one of four murder trials going on there that month.  One was for murdering a child, another was a gang attack on a man using knives and choppers!  Jones` trial was the only one that was for Capital Murder!  It was said by Police that Jones stated that he hit Mr Turner, only to knock him out.  Jones in evidence said that he pushed Mr Turner out of the way and he fell down some stairs.  Jones was found guilty and sentenced to death.  His appeal against his death sentence used the defence that he already had his haul and the accidental death of Mr Turner did not constitute "Murder in the FURTHERANCE of theft" and so did not fall in the boundaries of the new Homicide Act.  This was rejected and his sentence stood.  Ernie Jones was hanged at Armley Prison on February 11th 1959. 

    The argument that would be presented these days was that Jones was guilty of manslaughter but it must be remembered that a man died whilst his store was being robbed, and Mr Turners` family suffered the ultimate loss.