This case gained the nickname ‘The Cleft Chin’ murder, as the murder victim had a cleft chin. Also one of the suspects was an American serviceman and so could have been courts-martialled by the Americans. Instead they waived their rights under the Visiting Forces Act, and he was tried with his accomplice in a British Criminal Court.
The Case Details
A 34 year old London Taxi Driver called George Edward Heath was shot dead at Staines on 7 October 1944. Some tyre tracks on a grass verge near the body were made by his Ford V8 car. Several days later a police officer spotted the car parked in London’s Fulham Palace Road. An American army officer emerged from a near-by house and entered the parked car. He was arrested by the police officer, and later questioned by the American Army Criminal Investigation Department. After initially giving his name as Richard John Allen, he correctly gave his real name of Private Gustav Hulten. He was absent without leave, and in procession of a stolen pistol. He stated that he had spent the night of the murder with his girlfriend Georgina Grayson.
Georgina Grayson, whose real name was Elizabeth Jones, stated that she had met Hulten on 3 October 1944 and spent several days with him. Hulten continued to deny the shooting, but Jones confided to a friend that “If you had seen what I have seen, you would not be able to sleep …”. The friend then informed the police of her remarks. During a later questioning, Jones informed the police that Hulten shot the taxi driver and told her to go through his pockets, looking for money. The total proceeds from the crime were 95p, a silver pencil and cigarette case.
The US Authorities waived their rights to courts-martial Hulten, and so the trial of Hulten and Jones started at the Old Bailey on 16 January 1945. The trial judge was Mr Justice Charles, the Prosecution case was presented by Mr L.A. Bryne. Hulten and Jones were defended by Mr J. Maud and Mr J.D. Casswell respectively. Mrs Lloyd Lane also represented Jones. After their 6 day trial, both Hulten and Jones were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Hulten was hanged at London’s Pentonville Prison on 8 March 1945, 5 days after his 23rd birthday.
Two days before her execution, Jones was reprieved. Jones was released under licence in January 1954, when she was aged 27 years’ old.