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Locked Public Records

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Locked Public Records

Old 29th Apr 2019, 14:49
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Locked Public Records

You never know the knowledge and expertise hidden on this forum so perhaps someone can help with this. I am trying to find details on a murder in the UK back in the 70's: my wife thinks I should write a book about it. There is something in the national archives ( just says public record) which was locked for 77years (2054). I have submitted an foi request but no idea if it will succeed not having done this before. Anyone know if it is usual to lock records relating to a crime for this length of time? Also, is there anyway to see if a D Notice was issued to suppress publication?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 15:41
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I stand to be corrected but it seems unlikely that the records of a murder trial would be locked away in that manner. It might be helpful to give some details of the case you are referring to - some people on here might know something about it.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 15:46
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Originally Posted by Captivep View Post
some people on here might know something about it.
I'm not owning up to anything . . .
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 15:47
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...I wasn't even there...
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 16:43
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They probably are not locked but more like not published on the net.

PM me details and I will try to find out
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 16:43
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"I've never seen him (or her) before in my life...guv."

On a serious note: could well have been on the d-list. No way to check I'm afraid.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 17:36
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Originally Posted by Auxtank View Post
"I've never seen him (or her) before in my life...guv."

On a serious note: could well have been on the d-list. No way to check I'm afraid.
Could a friendly journalist have some sort of direct route to easily find out why the information is not available?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 18:00
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Not without a tad more detail as to the original story old chap.

Come on! Unleash the PPRuNe bloodhounds.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 18:13
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Court proceedings are a matter of public record unless the court was held in camera. Your first line of enquiry will be to check local newspaper records as nearly all court hearings were attended by a reporter in those days. You are unlikely to find any records on the internet dating back to the 1970s. Police records are only held locally for six years. Official documents and records may be archived with a lock date set so that anyone involved or affected by the case will probably be dead before the records can be publically accessed. The dead are not subject to data protection legislation, but the living certainly are.

Freedom of information requests may be denied on the grounds of cost in retrieving the records. This should not be interpreted as confirming some sort of official cover up.

So your first and most likely best source will be local newspaper reports. Many regional papers include names, addresses and additional details that never appear in national publications.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 18:22
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Ok, Google Neil Rutherford red gables. Should have occupied the Sunday People for months but nada. No interviews with family or relatives of any of them. No- one seems to have heard of it ( we used to go there, the town not the hotel, on holiday when I was a tot so I would have picked up on it). No paying guests at the time.
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C11497405
​​​​​​
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 18:59
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The catalogue record says that it is closed under an FOI exemption for "Health & Safety" so it's unlikely that your FOI enquiry will have much success. Such records are often closed to prevent distress being caused to the relatives of those involved. Section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 states:
"Health and safety.
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to—
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
(b) endanger the safety of any individual."
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 19:46
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Might also be closed to prevent copy cats of the means to repeat the murder
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 19:48
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https://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifest...ne-one-9488907

(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or

In all probability said indivdual suffered from severe mental health issues.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 20:07
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I throw myself on the mercy of this court. My memory isn't as good as it used to be.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 20:25
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Given the fact of the murder and the nature of it, gunshot, what fact remains to be disclosed that is a threat to anyone's mental health?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 20:41
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How interesting! I guess there would have been an inquest into the deaths - have you tried to find that? Those records are kept in local county record offices.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 20:49
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Coroner's record exists according to a forum, maybe this one. Haven't found out much else, no interviews, no relatives seeking ' the truth', nothing.

Murder Most Foul.... - page 1 - Times Past - Three Towns Forum - Talk about Llandudno, Colwyn Bay & Conwy
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 06:38
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Technically, was the accused actually found guilty of this crime by a court of law?

It seems that there is a supposition, based on the balance of probability, that he murdered the others, and I'd guess that may have arisen from the verdict of the coroner's court. If there was no criminal conviction, though, is there any right for the information to be in the public domain?

The accused is assumed to have shot himself, but as he wasn't convicted of murder, presumably he's still innocent in the eyes of the law, and so any remaining relatives have the right not to have him considered to be guilty until such time as he's tried and convicted (which will probably never happen now).
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 07:00
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A couple of stories here;

It doesn't strike me that there was any significant blackout of the events. It would seem to be a tragic case of a retired RN Officer - very possibly with undiagnosed PTSD/ booze problems going AWOL from his senses after a particularly hard bender.

The story DID make the Sunday People on 26 Sep 1976 but unfortunately there is no online archive of that newspaper as yet.

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/business...mments-section

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/nor...s-back-2758115
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 07:26
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I am always curious about the 'handles ' attached to people. In this instance 'former Naval officer'. He had retired from the Navy in 1959 aged 37 some 16 years before the murders.

Another recently the person was 29 a former university student. The media seem desperate to hang an employment label, no matter how irrelevant, to everybody. Unless in a reserved occupation almost all men up to the sixties were former Servicemen.

It is as if 'we' are all presumed to fit in one box or another, housewife, builder, doctor, lawyer, MP and does not recognise that we are complex individuals as alike or as different from our neighbour.

He was also a former school boy, former boat builder, gardener etc. They mention these but latch onto one almost exclusively.
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