Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Murder of John Pull & The Execution of Victor Terry

The execution of young murderers seemed to not have any effect on young criminals who went out to rob and were prepared to kill.  The morning of November 10th 1960 saw the executions of Francis Forsyth, 18, and Norman Harris, 23, for Capital Murder.  But this seemed not to bother Victor Terry, Alan Hosier & Philip Tucker as they set out to rob a branch of Lloyds Bank at Durrington, near Worthing in Sussex.  The branch was opened by Andrew Barker, whilst John Pull went into the back to put the kettle on.  Two young men walked in, went behind the cashiers desk, and so were asked by Mr Barker what they were doing.  one produced a sawn off shotgun from under a coat and they demanded money.  Mr Pull emerged from the back room and stood in front of the two men.  Suddenly the gun went off, hitting Mr Pull severely, resulting in his death a few minutes later.  Mr Barker handed over £1,372 to the robbers who fled in a waiting car.  Mr Barker immediately summoned Police and an ambulance but it was too late for Mr Pull.

    A big break occurred for Police when a taxi driver, upon hearing about the robbery, told them about picking up two young men at Worthing train station, and taking them to the seafront.  They paid their fare with a £5 note and seemed to have a very thick wallet.  Police arrested them and found one with £60 in his pocket, the other has £120 - a very substantial amount of money in those days.  They claimed it was saved for a holiday, but they were both taken in for questioning.  Andrew Barker identified one of them as the youth who took the money, but was not the gunman.  He was 16 year old Philip Tucker.  The other young man was identified as 20 year old Alan Hosier, who turned out to be the getaway driver.  Realising the very serious consequences, they told Police all.  The shooter was 20 year old Victor Terry, ironically, a friend of Francis Forsyth, who had been executed an hour before the robbery.

    They said they used the home of Terry`s girlfriend, Valerie Salter, 18, as a place to plan the robbery.  But when Police raided it, they were gone.  Detectives managed to trace their movements to Littlehampton, Portsmouth, London, then up to Glasgow, in Scotland.  There, a landlady recognised a picture of Valerie Salter that had been published in newspapers, and alerted Police, who arrested them both.  Put on trial, the defence Terry put forward, was that he was on drugs at the time and therefore not in total control of his faculties.  He claimed that Mr Pull grabbed the end of the gun and jerked it forward, and with a finger on the trigger, it went off accidentally.  It was not believed by the Jury and Terry was sentenced to death for Capital Murder.  He was executed at Wandsworth Prison on May 25th 1961.  Hosier was jailed for life for murder, Tucker, being 16, was ordered to be detained and Salter received probation for one year.  At the end of the day, they took a loaded firearm on a robbery, and a man died.  I could not see the family and friends of John Pull being bothered by the execution of Victor Terry, he chose a dangerous path and paid the price.