The Craig and Bentley Case
Your honour, members of the jury, my learnered friends,A vulnerable and mentally disabled boy, with no gun, and under the strict watch of P.C Fairfax – accused for the murder of Police Constable Sidney Miles?… It is just inexplicable! What ever happened to scientific evidence?It is obvious that Christopher Craig, a gun collecting lunatic is the maddened killer. Might I bring to your attention that, Craig had a motive, a very profound statement – to avenge his brother’s 12 year sentence.
.It is irrefutable also that the gangster films, which Craig watched four times a week could have motivated him. I concede that Craig was never good at target shooting, nevertheless the fact that he did carry a gun and plenty ammunition, on the night of the shooting cannot be dismissed. Therefore I question the crown and state that, this ‘shoot out’ was not a collaborated act.According to Craig, their common intent that night was burglary.I say it was Craig’s intent and certainly not my clients’.
It is evident that Bentley knew nothing forehand of that evening’s happenings.”Just for the ride, sir. An ordinary ride”These were the words of Bentley’s innocent answer when asked, why he had taken the 109 bus.My client clearly states that they walked down to Reeves’ Corner and crossed over and then they came back up. They looked into the window of the sweet shop.A Confectionery Store – that would have sounded divine to any young boy, and this point mitigates Bentley.
Bentley had been bombed twice during a blitz, which resulted to two head injuries, leaving him below average intelligence and with a mental mind of a 9 year old.The prosecution clearly seems to be jumping to sweeping assumptions, that my client was the accomplice of Christopher Craig.ACCOMPLICE? – There are several points I would like to clarify here;For one, it was Craig, who called on Bentley at around 8:30 of November 2nd.It was Craig, who handed Bentley a small knife and a knuckle-duster, saying he made it, which was later found in Bentley’s possession during his arrest by P.
C. Fairfax and which Bentley voluntarily handed them over to P.C. Fairfax.
Perhaps to Bentley, carrying these items reflect the unmistakable emerging spirit of teenage rebellion, who is trying to compensate his intellectual failings, and wanting to be more associated with Craig whom he rather admires. Therefore by accepting these items from Craig, my client took them with no attention to commit any act violence, but rather he saw these objects as a “gift” from his hero. Thus Bentley accepting them, just as any nine year old would if they were presented with a “present”.It was Craig, who was witnessed by a woman, to have jumped over the iron fence of the warehouse first, followed by my client.
Bentley, with a mind of a 9 year old, wonders for a few minutes what he should do. His friend is already on the other side of the fence. Suddenly, a motor comes around the corner, it is a dark night. He will be safe with his hero. He waits for the motor to go by. Then decides to jump over the fence and follows Craig to the roof.
This proves without doubt that my weak minded client was easily led by his well admired hero – Christopher Craig.Craig, was the one to lead the way to the roof of the ware-house. In fact, it was Bentley who followed him.It wasn’t the sound of the approaching police van that alerted them, but the flashlights sparked by the officers. My client is silent. He waits for Craig’s instructions – who says,”Coppers.
.. hide behind here”.My client instantly obeys Craig, by hiding behind the lift shaft. This proves that Bentley depends on Craig, for decision making.
My hypothesis is that, as they were on a flat roof, and with poor vision, it is clear that they were never directly spotted. According to P.C Fairfax, he states that he got a hunch to the accused whereabouts, from a footprint on the window-sill.After about 10 minutes, P.C Fairfax had caught on to their hiding place behind a stack, and had only managed to get hold of my client, keeping him captive.
I therefore concede that at that moment my client said:”Let him have it Chris.”This statement, is what “supposedly” incited Craig to shoot. Craig denies hearing anything. Of course, Craig is in denial. He knows that Bentley is innocent, a feeble minded boy, who could be manipulated easily by Craig.
.., who is considered a hero. No wonder he chose Bentley to the other two friends, Norman Parsley and Frank Fazey. They went for “Just a drive. An ordinary drive.
” While all this while, Craig knew exactly what he was going to do.However it is critical to emphasise on the statement “Let him have it Chris”. It can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. However, to my client it meant – SURRENDER or LET THE POLICE HAVE THE GUN CHRIS. This can be proved simply because, during the whole episode, Bentley showed no signs of struggle to escape from P.C Fairfax, when he had numerous opportunities to do so.
For instance, when Craig shot at Fairfax who was bruised on the shoulder, Bentley was used as a shield, by Fairfax when he recruited to a safer place. On hiding behind the staircase head which was on one side of the roof, Fairfax went to help P.C McDonalds, (who was having problems climbing up the pipe at the side of the roof.) During this process, Fairfax claimed to have let go of Bentley.My client had the opportunity to easily run away and joined Craig, or for that matter, he could have effortlessly pushed both police officers off the roof.
It is unequivocal that a body builder like Bentley would not be able to fight the wounded Fairfax.Might I stress the conversation at that time?When Fairfax told McDonald of his injury, Bentley’s sympathetic response was:”I told the silly bugger not to use it.”Therefore it is unjust to say that the statement..
.” Let him have it Chris.” meant “SHOOT”. However, by interpreting all the evidence in this care, I am sure that it will be plain to you that – what Bentley meant by this statement was simply – “Let him have the gun Chris.Several minutes later reinforcement arrived, and an estimated 6 guns, were issued to police. P.
C Miles had then arrived at the crime scene and having obtained the key, entered the warehouse, taking the staircase leading to the roof. As he steps onto the roof a bullet hits his head, above his left eyebrow and shot out horizontally at the back, leaving him dead. At this dreadful instant, Derek William Bentley was in the company of two policemen. Would you say my client to be responsible for the cold blooded murder of P.C Miles?I further point out that when McDonald asked Fairfax:”What sort of gun has he got?”Bentley’s immediate intervention was:”He’s got a .
45 Colt and plenty of ammunition.”This proves that my client was eager to caution the police of the danger that they are dealing with; and also his willingness to co-operate with the police.On Jaggs’arrival Bentley was obviously disquiet thus warned Jaggs saying:”You want to look out. He’ll blow your head off”When Bentley was being taken down by the police officers, he is not sure what Craig might do next. He is afraid of death, afraid of being shot.
So he cries out:”Look out Chris, they are taking me down”.To my client, this was the only way he could stop Craig from shooting. Hoping he would care for his friend’s life.Craig on the other hand is not afraid to die. He does not care to go to prison.
He cries out:”I’m Craig! You’ve given my brother 12 year! Come on you copper! I’m only 16″In this statement, Craig is clearly insinuating that he is not afraid of going to jail, (which would only be about 12 years as he is still a juvenile.) Let us also not let the fact of -‘Craig’s motive’ slip our mind.Also, with no ammunition left, and Fairfax threatening Craig with a .32 automatic, Craig glorifies himself by jumping off the roof of the warehouse, in attempt to commit a deliberate but unsuccessful suicide and killing a policeman.
In Concluding, Bentley a boy of below average intelligence, who is easily led by his hero – Craig. It is Craig who is the cold-blooded killer, who deliberately shot dead P.C. Miles and wounded P.C.
Fairfax. All this evidence proves that Bentley is innocent and I plead with you, the member of the jury not to condemn the defenceless.