Pascoe & Whitty
Pascoe, aged 24 and 22 year old Dennis John Whitty were jointly convicted of the murder of 64 year old
William Garfield Rowe at Nanjarrow Farm at
the time of the murder, Pascoe was living in a caravan at
then battered William Rowe with an iron bar and a car starting handle and stabbed
him several times, including once in the throat. His body was discovered in the doorway of an
outhouse the following morning by a
Pascoe and Whitty managed to find just £4 in the house plus a watch and a few other items, although a further £3000 was later located, stashed away. Pascoe was arrested at a police road checkpoint riding the motorbike on the 16th of August having been tipped off by one of the three girls. The police recognised him and were suspicious of the answers he gave to their questions. He was taken to the police station and confessed to taking part in the crime. Whitty was arrested a few days later. Both blamed the other for the murder. The post-mortem revealed that William Rowe had suffered skull fractures, a broken jaw, a severed finger and five stab wounds to the chest, one of which punctured his heart and killed him.
The three 19 year old girls that Pascoe and Whitty were living with were found to know quite a lot about the crime. Whitty’s girlfriend told police that she brought home the evening paper and showed it to him, asking “Did you do that?” to which he replied “Yes, I did.”
Three days later, they made the first of their remand appearances before Penryn magistrates, with their arrival witnessed by several hundred people.
They were tried at the Cornwall Assizes in Bodmin, before Mr. Justice Thesiger, between the 29th of October and the 2nd of November 1963. Norman Brodrick prosecuted and James Comyn and Norman Skelhorn defended. Pascoe told the court that he had only hit Mr. Rowe once with the iron bar and that it was Whitty he had continued the beating and done the stabbing. Whitty claimed that he had stabbed Mr. Rowe because he was in fear of Pascoe. The defence was one of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which had become a defence under the Homicide Act of 1957. Unsurprisingly the jury found them both equally guilty, after four and a half hours of deliberation.
conviction, Pascoe was sent to Horfield prison in
Whitty and Pascoe's appeals were heard and rejected on the 23rd of November 1963.
at 8 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday the 17th of December they were led to the
gallows. Pascoe was hanged by Harry
Allen and Royston Rickard and Whitty by Robert
Stewart and Harry Robinson. Outside Horfield prison in
Double hangings (side by side) had been outlawed by the Homicide Act of 1957 and where ordered, were to be carried out simultaneously in different prisons.
Douglas was one of the death watch warders at
“I can remember saying to Ken [Russell, another guard], ‘I’m not looking forward to this shift — I mean, what the hell are we going to talk about all evening?’ I was only 24 years old myself at the time, and we had built up a good relationship with Pascoe over the previous six weeks – playing cards and Monopoly and listening to the radio.
We went into the cell, and I asked Russell if he wanted a cup of tea. He said he didn’t. So I tried to coax him – ‘I’ve brought you a cream doughnut’ – I’d brought him a cream cake each day as a little treat. With that, he perked up a little and said, ‘ah go on then, I’ll have a tea’.
So we sat drinking tea for a while, none of us really saying anything. Just blathering about nothing to try to fill the silences.
Then Russell suddenly said, ‘They weighed me today, so they’ll know how far I’ll drop.’ Ken and I just looked at each other – what are you meant to say to that?”
More of Robert Douglas’ recollections of Pascoe can be found here.
Garfield Rowe was conscripted into the Army in 1917, during World War I, but
deserted and returned home a week later.
He lived at Venton Vedna
Farm at Porthleven with his parents but he was
arrested and sent to a military detention centre on the
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