“She was dead under the hedge when I left her.”
John Straffen, when questioned about the murder of Cicely Batstone
Straffen is questioned by the police about the murder of Brenda Goddard, but because of lack of evidence they don’t arrest him. However, there is an eyewitness to the second murder: a policeman’s wife sees Straffen walking with Cicely Batstone and tells her husband, as she thinks it is odd. When the little girl is reported missing the couple go in search of her and discover her body under a hedge, near where the woman saw Straffen with Cicely.
On 9 August the police come for Straffen, arresting him for the murder of Cicely. When questioned his statements are muddled and childish, he doesn’t appear to understand that he has killed the child, but says that he had left her dead.
“I don’t think that Straffen has a concept of guilt. I think he’s so educationally challenged that he has no concept of right or wrong. He doesn’t have the moral development that would allow one to say he was conscious of guilt or, indeed, innocence. He has no way of marrying up his behaviour to the consequences of his behaviour.”
Professor David Wilson, Fred Dinenage: Murder Casebook
After he is charged with Cicely’s murder he also confesses to killing Brenda, even though there is no evidence to tie him to the case.
When Straffen is questioned about the murder of 5-year-old Linda Bowyer a year later he denies killing the little girl on the bicycle, before the police even have a chance to mention why they have come to interview him.
Two days later Straffen is charged with murder.