warehouseman Victor Miller confessed to the abduction and
horrific killing of Hagley newspaper boy Stuart Gough in February
- and said he wanted the maximum sentence available.
He told Hereford magistrates in a statement: "I can never make
up for taking Stuart from his family.
"But I would ask that justice will be done, and I will receive
the maximum sentence available.
Miller, aged 32, of Lennox Gardens, Penn Fields, remained silent
as the charges were put to him in a hushed courtroom.
He was accused of murdering the 14-year-old boy and of carrying
him away. Miller was jailed for life.
In the case which horrified the nation, the victim's partially
clothed body was found in remote Herefordshire woodland.
Stuart, an asthmatic, vanished after delivering his last newspaper
in Hagley two weeks previously.
The hunt for the newspaper boy covered two weeks and his family
were inundated with flowers and letters of support - from as far
afield as Canada, Holland and Germany.
Miller's gay lover, Trevor Peacher, broke down in tears saying
he loved Miller but could not condone what he had done.
More than 170 police officers, including 80 detectives, as well
as an underwater search unit and police helicopters were used in
The Clent Hills were repeatedly scoured by dog handlers and mounted
police. West Mercia detectives eventually found Stuart's body.
Groans at verdict of misadventure: The death of Clinton McCurbin,
who died in a struggle with police while being arrested at a Wolverhampton
town centre shop, outraged the black community.
After a seven day inquest hearing in November a jury returned
a unanimous verdict of misadventure - after which came groans of
disapproval from a handful of spectators in the public gallery.
Mr McCurbin, aged 24, died the previous year in a struggle with
officers who were arresting him on suspicion of using a stolen credit
card in a clothing shop.
He died of asphyxia only minutes after two officers were called
to the shop, the inquest heard. A decision had already been taken
that the policemen should face no criminal proceedings.
'Stay away' plea: The message to motorists in May was to "stay
away at all costs" as major road works began at Europe's busiest intersection,
Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction.
Trio jailed for contract murder: Three men were given life
sentences in November for the callous contract murder of Wolverhampton
businessman, Barry Crellin.
The father-of-two, of Stafford Road, Four Ashes, was shot dead
in cold blood outside his factory. He was killed by a hired hitman
after being lured to a night-time meeting.
Describing the killing as a "horrendous crime", the judge at Birmingham
crown court said two of the killers must serve at least 25 years
in jail. The court had heard that the killing was set up by a "smooth-talking
conman" nicknamed "Fatso".
Police later described the killing as a "cool, calculated, pre-meditated
Magistrate slams judges' leniency: In February a Wolverhampton
magistrate slammed an appeal judge for "slashing" fines imposed on
prostitutes. Captain John Heydon said it made it more difficult for
courts to deal with prostitution and claimed the ruling by Mr Justice
Otton QC, had made matters worse for the agencies involved.
"A judge in scarlet and ermine descended on Wolverhampton, slashing
fines and arrears and leaving us to pick up the pieces," said Captain
Heydon. He told members of the West Midlands Police Authority that
the police and courts were struggling to cope with the problem.
The row blew up after Mr Justice Otton QC, sitting at Wolverhampton
crown court, allowed the appeal of a Willenhall prostitute. She
claimed she had to stay on the streets to pay off 1,800 in fines.
The judge cut the figure to 600.
The best and worst of times for a parent: In October 1988 the
school cruise ship Jupiter sank off Greece with hundreds of British
children on board, including parties from the West Midlands. Barry
Cox recalls the horror from a father's viewpoint.
Someone else wrote it first, but it really was the worst of times
and the best of times for my family.
In between leaving work and arriving home, the news broke of the
sinking of the cruise ship Jupiter with almost 500 school children
on board - including my 14 year old son, Stuart.
The worst of times was reading the two paragraphs on the television
screen. The Jupiter went down in, astonishingly, just 40 minutes
after being rammed by a massive tanker outside the Greek harbour
of Piraeus. Children from 15 schools, including T P Riley at Bloxwich,
and Streetly and Brownhills comprehensives, at the beginning of
an eight day cruise, found themselves in everyone's worst nightmare.
A Bloxwich teacher, a 14 year old girl pupil from Streetly and
two Greek seamen died.
Stuart was one of the lucky ones - he was not below decks when
he felt the Jupiter being pushed to one side as the tanker ploughed
into its side. He literally ran for his life and was near a railing
when one of the many small boats which sped to the scene arrived
by the side of the listing cruise ship.
Within minutes, he was back on the quayside at Piraeus.
But back home in Bloxwich, we were not to know this. Anxious minutes
stretched into desperate hours as we did what we could to get information.
All we knew for certain was that the Jupiter had sunk. Where exactly?
Why. . . how? How many had been saved?
No-one could give the answers distraught parents up and down the
country were asking.
Then six hours later, just as I had decided to fly out to Athens,
the telephone rang. "Hello, dad". . . . the relief was indescribable.
Stuart, on board another liner moored in Piraeus being used to
accommodate rescued children, had sneaked into an office containing
the only telephone with an outside line and called home. That was
the best of times.
The ordeal of many parents was far worse than ours. So was that
of children who were in the water, some injured, before being saved
as the Jupiter sank yards from them.
Over the years there have been many theories about why the loss
of life was not in the hundreds. Would the flotilla of rescue boats
have got there in time if the collision had occurred another two
miles out from shore? Did the children automatically do as adults
(their teachers) told them to do in the scramble to get off the
Whatever, the event could have been a catastrophe that does not
bear thinking about and, for some, the mental scarring remains -
11 years on.