Planned or Spontaneous

“...this was supposedly carried out in a drunken rage. You’d expect the method to be the same for each of them. But the fact that he used different methods suggests that he had time in between each of the killings to consider what he was going to do next. And that implies some kind of pre-meditation in this case.”
Dr Elizabeth Yardley, Criminologist
On Monday 16 April 1973, David McGreavy made a 10 minute appearance at Worcester Magistrates Court. He was charged with the murders of the three Ralph children.
The public gallery was packed with people, many of them women. This was most unusual for a court hearing at that time:
“...there were women with prams outside the court, and I think if they could have got at him, they would have lynched him.”
Tony Bishop, Court Reporter
 

McGreavy appeared in court ten times for remand hearings. He was granted legal aid.
On Thursday June 28 1973, nine weeks after the killings, he appeared at Worcester Magistrates court.
“He looked very down...He looked at the public gallery occasionally...I think he was obviously resigned to his fate...there was a definite atmosphere there. The police were pretty anxious that he wasn’t in court for too long. They shepherded him out quickly – they didn’t bring him in till the last minute, till the magistrates were ready, and they took him out straight away.”
Tony Bishop
Some of the injuries McGreavy inflicted were so horrific, the prosecution didn’t detail them. But with no defence plea, no motive and with not even a plea of diminished responsibility, the hearing lasted just eight minutes:
“In some ways, it was quite surreal, because...a murder of this horrific nature was one where you might have expected a lengthy hearing. You might have expected a lot of material to come out in the cross-examination of the accused. But, of course, because he pleaded guilty, it was over pretty quickly. And it was a slightly anti-climatic hearing in one respect. You didn’t have the high drama of denials that you’d come across, for example, in the Moors Murder case – it’s not edged on the national psyche in the way that Brady and Hindley are.”
Paul Connew, Ex-Editor Sunday Mirror
On Monday 30 July 1973, David McGreavy was sentenced for the murders of Paul, Dawn and Samantha Ralph.
In the same year that McGreavy killed, he was tried, sentenced and sent down.
Mr Justice Simon, the High Court judge said they were ‘exceptionally horrific crimes.’ He said McGreavy should serve at least twenty years before release was even considered.
The only reason McGreavy offered for the killing was that Samantha was crying for her bottle.
So sickeningly sadistic and senseless were the crimes that many expected him to die behind bars.
But McGreavy was determined not to let that happen...