Francis “Flossie” Forsyth and Norman James “Flash” Harris.


On the evening of Saturday the 25th June, 1960, 23 year old Allan Edward John Jee had been out with his fiancée, Jacqueline Herbert.  Having walked her home he caught the bus to Hounslow in Middlesex, where he lived.  Getting off the bus, he went down James Street where four young men were standing in the shadows waiting for someone to rob.  They were Norman James Harris, aged 23, Christopher Louis Darby, 20, Francis Forsyth, 18; and Terence Lutt, 17.
As Allan Jee got close to them, Lutt who weighed some 17 stone, blocked him and punched him in the face.  Allan fell to the ground.  As he was on the ground Allan Jee struggled and shouted out “what do want me for”. To keep him quiet repeatedly kicked in the head by Forsyth, who was wearing winkle picker (pointed) shoes that were the then fashion.  The gang went through his pockets but actually missed the 10 shilling note that was all the money Allan had on him.  They ran off empty handed, passing Anthony Cowell, who was able to give reasonable description of them.  The attack occurred at 11.17 pm.
Allan was rushed
to the West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, (about a mile away) where he died from his head injuries two days later on Monday the 27th of June.


Forsyth had served time in an Approved School and at the time of the murder was on bail for assaulting two police officers at Heathrow Airport. 
Here is a photo of Forsyth and here a photo of Harris.


The police investigation, led by D.S. Fred Hixon, interviewed a large number of youths in connection with the attack, including Norman Harris on the 29th of June.  They then circulated descriptions of them and this led to a breakthrough.  On the 17th of July, Kevin Cullinan told police that a friend of his, Francis Forsyth, had been boasting about the crime.  He was also able to name the other three youths, whom he had seen in a coffee bar on the night of the attack.

All four were arrested on the 19th of July.  In his statement, Harris admitted holding down Mr. Jee. “I put my hand in his inside pocket to get his wallet,” he said, “but there was nothing there at all. Forsyth was standing above us and I realised he had put the boot in.”


The four came to trial at the Old Bailey before Mr. Justice Winn, on the 20th to the 26th of September 1960.  All pleaded not guilty.  Mr. Mervyn Griffiths-Jones led the prosecution and told the jury “Allan Jee was knocked to the ground, and was held there while his pockets were gone through. He was kicked into unconsciousness and left dying, bleeding and moaning on the ground, while these four young men made good their escape.”

Lewis Nicholls of the Metropolitan Police Laboratory testified that there were blood stains on Forsyth’s shoes and trouser bottoms.  Pathologist Dr. Donald Teare testified that Allan Jee had been kicked five times in the head.

With the agreement of the judge Darby’s charge was reduced to non-capital murder, the Crown having accepted his denial that he had struck or kicked Allan Jee and had simply been the look out.

As the crime was committed in the furtherance of theft, the other three would be guilty of capital murder, even though nothing was actually taken.  It took the jury just 40 minutes to return guilty verdicts against all four men.


As he was 17, Terrence Lutt could not be sentenced to death and instead had to be sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. He served ten years.  Christopher Darby was jailed for life and Harris and Forsyth were sentenced to death.  By this time the words of the sentence were as follows : “It is ordered and adjudged by this Court that - prisoner’s name - do suffer death in the manner authorized by law.”  Forsyth appealed and this was dismissed on the 24th of October.  Forsyth was permitted to have a meeting with his 17 year old girlfriend, Margaret Catlin, whom he claimed was carrying his child.  The Home Secretary, R. A. Butler, saw no reason for a reprieve.


At 9.00 am. on Thursday the 10th November, 1960, Harris was hanged at Pentonville by Robert Leslie Stewart and Harry Robinson, while Forsyth was hanged at Wandsworth by Harry Allen and Royston Rickard.  Forsyth was given a drop of 7 feet 2 inches.  It has been reported that when Harry Allen entered the condemned cell, instead of Forsyth being sat with his back towards him, it was the chaplain, Rev. Phillips, who was nearly pinioned instead.

Francis Robert George “Flossie” Forsyth was the last 18 year old to be hanged in the U.K.

On the day of Forsyth’s execution his friend, Victor John Terry committed murder during a bank robbery for which he too would die on Wandsworth’s gallows.  See next month’s article.


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