This post was prompted by one of my regular readers in regards to the use of the Mental Health Act to manipulate it so you can commit whatever crimes you want and be allowed to get away with it. Sadly, this has gone on for many decades. Child killer John Straffen may have been subnormal but he still managed to work out how to escape from Broadmoor, and killed children just to "get back at the Police." Sounded like a man who was not quite as retarded as they thought. Or how about one man condemned for some murders but diagnosed as insane by three Psychiatrists. The Prison Doctor, an ordinary quack, said he was not insane but in total control of his faculties. Also, the killer was working class. So he hung.
Now let us look at the case of Angus Ronald True, whose mother married into a very wealthy family. He murdered a prostitute, was convicted, but reprieved because helpfully, three Psychiatrists diagnosed him as insane. No doubt about it, he had severe mental problems, but they did not hinder him in his role as a con man, thief and fraudster, and ultimately, killer. Also, his remarks to a witness showed that he was trying to slow down the discovery of a dead person, and give him more time to escape. But another trial that had just ended had thrown a political spanner in the works. That of Henry Julius Jacoby.
True was born in Manchester in 1891 and was educated at Bedford School. His family found him jobs working overseas due to his increasingly bizarre behaviour. During World War One, his erratic behaviour did not stop him being accepted into the Royal Flying Corps but he had become addicted to morphine and this led to him being discharged the following year. His family had arranged for him to visit the USA in 1912 and in 1917. He married Frances Roberts on his second trip there, where she bore him a child. They returned to the UK where his family gave him an allowance to live on. Over time, his behaviour worsened and he decided to leave his wife and child. He continued to live on the allowance his family provided. He supplemented this with acts of petty theft and fraud. It was in March 1922, that he had been frequenting a 25 year old shop girl and prostitute named Olive Young. He had spent the night with her on a couple of occasions but found him a bit strange and also discovered money missing. She refused to see him again, but he plied with messages and eventually she relented, letting him stay the night with her. It was the wrong decision.
The following morning, he was leaving her flat in Finborough Road, Earls Court, when he encountered her maid. He told her not to disturb Olive as they had been together all night. The maid found her naked, with a dressing gown cord wound tightly around her neck and a towel forced down her throat. He was quickly arrested and charged with murder. His trial took place in May 1922 at the Old Bailey. His defence was one of insanity. Sir Richard Muir led for the Crown and cited the M`Naghten rules stating that as long as a person knows right from wrong, he is not insane. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Home Secretary Edward Shortt ordered a medical examination and three Psychiatrists declared him insane, prompting a reprieve. But Henry Jacoby, an 18 year old working class pantry boy, had just been executed for the murder of Lady White in a London hotel. Jacoby was a simpleton, though not as bad as Derek Bentley, showing that very feeble mental issues does not automatically grant a reprieve. They were both working class also. Lady White was a titled lady, Ronald True came from a wealthy family. Of course class never came into it!!!!!!! True was packed off to Broadmoor and died in 1951.