Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Bristol Odeon Cinema Murder

Sometimes a murder case is closed many years after it occurred, usually by a deathbed confession or a family member comes forward.  The murder of cinema manager Robert Jackson remained unsolved for 47 years, until a family member revealed all details to the Police.  It was 29th May 1946 when the Odeon was screening films featuring Ray Milland & Olivia DeHavilland, Ida Lupino & Ronald Colman.  Mr Jackson was found shot in his office, a wound to the side of his head.  He died the following day.  Theories ran wild, as is usual, with stories circulating that it was a local villain named Blackie Alan.  Another was that it a criminal from the USA who had been spirited away to safety by American authorities - considering how many US servicemen were executed in the UK during the war, makes this absurd - then another was that the felon was a staff member.  Mr Jackson was said to have been a bit of a ladies man, and that revenge had been exacted by a jealous husband.  Strangely enough, none of the night`s takings was missing.  Despite all efforts by Police, it went unresolved.  Until 1993.

    That year, a man approached Bristol Police and said that the killer of Mr Jackson was his father.  He said that his father told his family all the details, including a vital clue withheld by Police.  His father died in 1989, and so was a second man who was with him on the robbery.  "Dukey" Leonard.  He stated that they had no money so travelled from South Wales coalfields where they worked on broke into the cinema.  Mr Jackson attempted to raise the alarm but was shot in the head.  Not once, but twice; something the Police held back.  After firing a gun, they grabbed loose change and ran, missing the real money.  Tragic that somebody was ruthlessly cut down just for a load of change.  At least there is closure for the family of Robert Jackson.