Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Miles Giffard - Parent Killer

The killing of parents seems to be a bit of a sport in the USA with numerous accounts of children going off the rails and killing them or manipulating a lover to do the deed for you.  Here, we have had Jeremy Bamber and Brian Blackwell amongst the best known.  There was a case in the 1950`s in which the spoilt son of a well to do couple objected to being told what to do with his life and who he could date.  Miles William Giffard was the 27 year old son of Charles and Elizabeth Giffard, a successful couple who resided in St Austell, in Cornwall.  Their son was the complete opposite; a total failure.  Serving in the Navy, then trying real estate and law but showing an interest, he lived off his parents.  Then the problem struck.  Miles had begun a relationship with Gabrielle Vallance, but unfortunately Charles Giffard did not approve of her, and Miles was told to end the relationship, whether he liked it or not.  Miles confided to Gabrielle that the only answer he could see was to get rid of them both.

    November 7th 1952 saw Miles phone Gabrielle to say it was probable that he would be able to travel to London, to see her, for the weekend.  He said he would call her back to say if he was definitely going.  That evening, he put his plan into action.  As his father was putting the car into the garage, Miles walked in clutching a metal pipe and then proceeded to repeatedly beat his father over the head.  Thinking he was dead, he then turned and went into the house to give his mother the same.  He attacked her in the kitchen, smashing in her skull.  Calmly, he picked up the telephone and called Gabrielle to say that his father was letting him use the car and he would be with her.  Going back into the garage, Miles was shocked to see his father still alive.  He turned to go and check on his mother.  She too, was still alive.  He returned with a wheelbarrow, placed his mother in it and then took her to a nearby cliff edge, and tipped her over it.  He then did the same with his father.

    Miles now made his way to London to see his sweetheart.  Whilst there, he confessed to her what he had done.  However, the next day the bodies were discovered and Police quickly traced Miles in London.  There were clothes stained with blood inside the car.  He was arrested and charged with double murder.  His trial took place in early February 1953 in Bodmin, in front of Mr Justice Oliver.  He ran a defence of insanity, and evidence was produced to show that Miles had been seen by a Psychiatrist as a boy and it was determined that there was mental instability.  His father was shown to be repressive and very overbearing.  A doctor referred to him as "a waster" and a Psychiatrist tried to convince a Jury with Freudian explanations for Miles` actions, but they were not swayed.  He was convicted and sentenced to death.  He was executed at Bristol Prison on February 24th 1953.  Thirty years before, he could have been sentenced to Broadmoor, like Ronald True, as class distinction was still very rife, but this had seriously waned by the 1950`s ans so despite evidence that he had mental health issues, he swung.