Victor John Terry - “Legs Diamond”.
20 year old Victor John Terry was a wannabe
gangster from Chiswick in
On Tuesday the 8th of November Terry purchased a shotgun and some cartridges. The following day he two friends, 16 year old Philip Tucker and 20 year old Alan Hosier stole a green Wolsley car in Chiswick and drove down to Worthing to visit Valerie. They arrived around 8 am. on the morning of November the 10th, 1960 and Valerie’s mother made them a cup of tea before leaving for work.
Just after 10 am. on
that Thursday morning, Terry,
Valerie, Tucker and Hosier drew up outside of Lloyds Bank at
The bank had been opened by Andrew Barker, the cashier, and 61 year old John Pull, the bank’s guard. Terry and Tucker entered the bank and Terry produced the shotgun and demanded money. There was perhaps some hesitation and Terry fired at Mr. Pull at close range, the pellets hitting his forehead. Tucker was told that the money was in the bag but picked up a Gladstone bag. Andrew Barker told him that it was the wrong bag and that it was in the attaché case next to it. The gang netted £1,372, some in used notes that the manager had bundled specially for return to the Bank of England in exchange for new ones. Mr. Barker dialed 999 and set off the bank’s alarm. He was able to tell police that the gang had escaped in a green car. Sadly Mr. Pull succumbed rapidly to his massive injury.
The group split up the money and parted
company. Tucker and Hosier took a cab and asked the driver to take them from near
Threatened with a
murder charge, Tucker gave police the name of Vic Terry and told them that the
bank raid had been his idea. He also
gave the police the name of Terry’s girlfriend, Valerie Slater. Tucker told police that he had left Terry and
Valerie at her mother’s house and that they were all to meet up at
Terry and Valerie had
taken a bus to Littlehampton and from there a taxi to
Amazingly the cab was
stopped at three police road blocks but waived through on each occasion. On the last occasion, near
Terry and Valerie had
spent Thursday night in
Terry, Tucker and
Hosier appeared before
This took place at Lewes Assizes on the 20th to the 26th of March 1961, before Mr. Justice Stable. Geoffrey Lawrence and Peter Crowder led the prosecution and Alan King-Hamilton and John Bolland the defence.
Terry’s defence was that a) the shooting was an accident when Mr. Pull tried to push the gun away, b) that he was high on drugs and c) that he laboured under the delusion that he was possessed by the spirit of American gangster, “Legs Diamond”. The forensic examination of the gun found no fingerprints from Mr. Pull on the barrel of the gun. There was no evidence for Terry being high on drugs and the jury weren’t willing to accept the “Legs Diamond” argument, so Terry was convicted of capital murder. Tucker and Hosier were convicted of non-capital murder and Valerie of being an accessory. It took the jury two and a half hours to reach their verdicts.
Terry was sentenced to death, Hosier to life in prison, Tucker to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure (as he was under 18) and Valerie to a year’s probation. Terry arrived at Wandsworth prison on the 28th of March and became prisoner number 5413. He went before the Statutory Board on April the 15th to determine his sanity. Terry thought “they were all potty” but they didn’t think he was! His appeal was heard on Monday the 8th of May was dismissed.
He was duly hanged at Wandsworth by Harry Allen and Samuel Plant at 8.00 a.m. on Thursday the 25th of May 1961. Allen gave him a drop of 7’ 3”.
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