True Crime Deep Dive Thread.

  • Hi all, please be aware that CHB will NOT be closing on the 31st July, arrangements are being made to take over the website. Further details will be confirmed in due course. The new owners will be revealed/reveal themselves in the near future at a more appropriate time. TL;DR CHB IS SAVED!
Mar 23, 2019
131
164





In 1978, Mary Vincent had every reason to look to the future with optimism and hope. She was 15 and a competitive dancer, her instructors confident she could have a career in dance if she wanted it. She dreamt of traveling the world performing. But one night when Vincent was hitchhiking to her grandfather’s house in California, the future she’d envisioned for herself was torn away from her. Not just her future, either — what happened to Mary Vincent that night, and the events that unfolded in the decades following, have changed California law.


Hitchhiking was a common practice in 1978, in a time when many people didn’t own cars. Vincent was with two other hitchhikers at the time, trying to escape the conflict between her parents, who were in the middle of a divorce, and stay with her grandfather instead. Lawrence Singleton, a 50-year-old man, pulled to the side of the road and offered a ride to Vincent only, claiming there wasn’t room for anyone else in his empty van. He promised he’d take Mary as far as Interstate 5, and 15-year-old Mary Vincent climbed into the van.

But Singleton hit on her during the van ride and did not stop at Interstate 5. When Vincent pointed it out and demanded he turn back, he pretended it was an honest mistake and turned the van around. After a few more miles, Singleton pulled the van to the side of the road, saying he needed to go to the bathroom. Vincent got out too, to get some fresh air. While she was bent tying her shoe, Singleton hit her over the head with a hammer. He tied her hands and shoved her in the back of the van. Singleton raped her repeatedly over the course of the night. The next morning, he cut off both of her arms with a hatchet, apparently in an attempt to make it more difficult to identify her body, and threw her into a 30 foot culvert pipe where he left her to die.


As traumatized and broken as she was, 15-year-old Mary Vincent was not ready to die. She packed the stumps of her severed arms with earth to try to stop the bleeding and then climbed up the 30-foot incline and back to the road to try to find help. She kept her arms raised in the air to prevent further blood loss and, according to court documents, to prevent muscles from falling out. She walked three miles from the culvert pipe where Singleton had dumped her.



One car drove right past her after the two men in it saw Mary’s condition. The next vehicle, carrying a young couple, immediately pulled over and rushed Mary to the hospital.


Mary’s description of Singleton was so clear and detailed that when the police sketch went live, Singleton’s neighbor immediately recognized him and reported him to police. Tragically, the laws at the time were so lenient that the maximum penalty Singleton could receive was 14 years in prison, which was the punishment he got after being found guilty of kidnapping, attempted murder, rape, and a series of other serious crimes.


Larry Singleton was released after eight years for “good behavior” even though at the trial, as he was leaving, he told Mary, “I’ll finish this job, if it takes me the rest of my life,” and even though multiple psychiatrists at the San Quentin prison where he was held had reported he was “a paranoid personality, severe,” “schizoid” and capable of “angry and destructive outbursts on those weaker than he.”

Sure enough, in 1997, 19 years after he tried to kill Mary Vincent, Singleton attacked again, this time a woman named Roxanne Hayes, a 31-year-old mother of three and sex worker. He’d been living in Tampa, Florida, and stabbed the woman to death in his own home.

Mary Vincent is 58 now. She’s lived a difficult life filled with trauma and PTSD because of the man who attacked her. But she had two sons and became proficient at tinkering with spare parts from broken down refrigerators and old stereos to create her own prosthetics, as high-end prosthetics are incredibly expensive.
 
Mar 23, 2019
131
164


In 1957, John and Florence Pollock received condolences: two of their children died in a terrible car accident. A few years later, the family appeared in the media spotlight, as Florence gave birth to two daughters, who were the spitting image of their dead sisters. They could tell the names of the deceased girls’ toys and recognize the school they attended.



Jennifer had precisely the same birthmark as the deceased Jacqueline. Furthermore, she had a very distinct white line on her forehead, exactly where Jacqueline had a scar.

When the twins were about three, Florence showed them the toys Joanna and Jacqueline used to play. Though siblings often fall out over possession of toys, those were an exception. Gillian immediately took Joanna’s doll, whereas Jennifer claimed Jacqueline’s. Both girls said the dolls were their Christmas presents from Santa Claus (as they were for Joanna and Jacqueline). Then, without any doubt, they recalled the names of the dolls and the names of stuffed toys that used to belong to their deceased sisters.



The Pollocks left Hexham and moved to Bexley Bay when Gillian and Jennifer were about nine months old. Three years later, they revisited the city for the first time. As they walked to the park, the twins said they wanted to go to the swings and showed the way there without any hesitation. They also recognised the school Joanna and Jacqueline had formerly attended.




Florence once overheard her daughters discussing the accident, in which their elder sisters died — the accident, the details of which the twins were not supposed to know. Then she occasionally came across Gillian touching Jennifer’s head and saying, “The blood’s coming out of your eyes. That’s where the car hit you”.
As for the twins themselves, as they grew older and their ‘past-life’ memories disappeared, Gillian and Jennifer went on to live everyday lives. Though they accepted their parents’ idea that they were their deceased sisters’ reincarnation, they were sceptical about this notion in general.





--------------










On the 7th of December, 1992, the gang lured her from her stepfather’s home back to their home under the pretence that a guy who she fancied was there and was wanting to see her. Once inside, Suzanne was held down while Glyn shaved her head, eyebrows, and pubic area. Afterwards, he placed a plastic bag over her head and walked around her while hitting her on the head. Laughing and shouting, the gang took turns hitting her with belt buckles and large ornamental wooden spoons. The beating was so severe that one of Suzanne’s arms would hang useless by her side for the rest of her imprisonment. Following the beating, Suzanne was locked in a cupboard.

Out of fear Suzanne’s cries and screams were disturbing Jean and Bernadette’s children who also lived in the grimy home, the gang moved her to Bernadette’s abandoned home which was just a few doors down. Here, Suzanne was shackled spread eagle to an upturned bed with chains and ropes. She had socks stuffed in her mouth to muffle any screams. Over the next five days, Suzanne was subjected to a catalogue of torture. Her two front teeth were pulled out with pliers and another was snapped in half, leaving the nerve exposed. She was injected with amphetamines and burned on the face and body with cigarettes. After the stench of Suzanne lying in her own excrement became unbearable, she was shoved into a bathtub filled with concentrated disinfectant and scrubbed with a yard brush until her skin came off. Through all of the torture and abuse, Suzanne was subjected to a tape of Chucky repeating: “I’m Chucky, wanna play?” through headphones as well as rave music at maximum volume.

In the early morning hours of the 14th of December, 1992, Suzanne was forced into the boot of a Fiat Panda car that the gang has stolen. They drove her to remote woodland near Stockport where she was forced out of the car and shoved down an embankment, rolling through dank leaves and brambles, with thorns cutting her bare feet. Bernadette poured petrol over the terrified teenager and they set her alight. “She went straight up in flames and was screaming,” said Jean. The gang presumed she was dead and left the scene laughing and singing “burn, baby, burn.”2 However, Suzanne didn’t die as quickly and anonymously as the gang had hoped… Somehow Suzanne managed to survive the brutal attack. She staggered up the embankment and was found by Barry Sutcliffe, who was driving to work. When she was found, Suzanne repeatedly thanked Barry before muttering: “Over there, in the field. They burnt me, they put petrol on me…”3 Barry did not need to be told what had happened to Suzanne, it was clear from the skin hanging from her battered body. Suzanne had suffered from burns to 80% of her body.

Unfortunately, Suzanne died four days later in Withington Hospital but not before she named all of her killers.

During the trial, the gang turned on each other to alleviate the blame from themselves. Also, all of them distanced themselves from the final act of horror of the burning of Suzanne. According to Jean, she sat in the car while the others set Suzanne alight.

During the sentencing phase, Judge Francis Potts called the murder “as appalling a murder as it is possible to imagine.” He sentenced Jean Powell, Bernadette McNeilly and Glyn Powell to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years. Jeffrey Leigh was sentenced to 12 years. Anthony Dudson was detained indefinitely with a minimum tariff of 18 years. Clifford Hayes was sentenced to 15 years. In 2012, Jean Powell’s sentence was reduced by two years after she allegedly showed remorse and helped prevent a jail escape. Bernadette McNeilly (who enjoyed a romance with Myra Hindley behind bars), Jeffrey Leigh and Clifford Hayes have all since been released.