Monday, 22 February 2010

Egon Von Bulow

A question for readers of this Blog.

In 1974 two police officers, PC's John Schofield and Ray Fullalove were on a night shift patrolling Caterham, Surrey in their car. They were later joined by their sergeant Jim Findlay. In the early hours of the morning, they saw a man walking down the road carrying a holdall. This was unusual and they stopped to speak to the man.

Without any warning, as Ray Fullalove, the front seat passenger got out of the car, he was shot in the stomach with a handgun by the man. The man then walked to the drivers side of the car and shot John Schofield as he was still sat in the driving seat. Jim Findlay got out of the rear of the car and was also shot. The man ran off persued by Jim Findlay but he escaped. John Schofield died of his wounds. The other two officers survived.

A week later Egon Von Bulow was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 with a recommendation that he served at least 20 years.

Since 1975 Von Bulow has protested his innocence. He has never engaged in any rehabilitation while in prison. He has never shown any remorse for his crimes. His latest psychiatric assessment described him as suffering from a severe personality disorder.

Despite this, he is still being released from prison. Over the last few years he has been allowed out for periods of time to reside in Probation Hostels and to integrate him back into society. The proposal now is to release him permanently under licence.

There are those that believe that anyone who murders a police officer should die in gaol. Others would be willing to tolerate their release after 35 years if there was some reassurance that he was rehabilitated, expressed remorse and was no longer a threat to society.

I fail to see how a man who committed this cold blooded murder and attempted murders and is still suffering from severe personality disorder, is safe to be released and he should remain in custody. What are your views?


  1. I know nothing of the case, but assuming the original conviction was safe (you mention he's protested his innocence the whole time, I'm guessing he's guilty anyway) the guy has been in prison for 35 years and his sentence is long served regardless of whether he's expressed remorse or not. A decision about his release should be based on whether or not he's safe to release. If he's bonkers, or revels in his crimes and seems likely to commit more, that doesn't seem safe.

    I can't think why anyone would believe that someone who murders a police officer should be treated differently to someone who murders anyone else. A police officer is no more important a human than a beggar, a royal, or the CEO of a major company. They're just people. However, I do believe that because of their special responsibilities in respect of upholding the law and protecting society from crime, police officers who deliberately commit any crime whatsoever should expect to spend the rest of their natural life in jail.

  2. I know very little about the case either but I think the real test has to be is he still a danger? You state that 'His latest psychiatric assessment described him as suffering from a severe personality disorder'. Is this by any chance because he is still protesting his innocence? How thorough was the original conviction? Read up on FTAC - truth & innocence has very little bearing there....... I also don't think that a policeman's life is more important than anyone elses. One could even take the view that policemen are like soldiers & it's the risk of the job? If there are going to be 'spescial' sentences for certain types of killers then IMHO child murderers should face the most severe penalties not police killers. Going back to the question, assuming he's guilty then it HAS to be is he still a risk to the public? And if so - don't let him out. This must be a very difficult time for the Schofield family - this will he/won't he be released must bring it all back to them. I will be thinking of them & hoping, whatever the outcome for Von Bulow, that they come through OK.

  3. Presumably von Bulow was not the name he was born with?

  4. TP, you seem to be implying that it should be punished more heavily to kill a policeman than say a doctor, a fireman, a paramedic or a nurse? Curious!
    I'd like to see the death penalty brought back for those who murder the vulnerable, as one of your other commentators remarked; children, the elderly, the disabled etc. If a policeman feels he belongs in this vulnerable category, I'd suggest he's in the wrong job. All this presupposes that the suspect in question has been correctly identfied as the culprit beyond any question.

  5. Anonymous answers his own question as to why the murder of a police officer should be treated differently. 'Because of their special responsibilities......'
    Or perhaps, it is, as usual, one-way traffic?

  6. dickiebo. All citizens have a responsibility to uphold the law and protect fellow citizens. Officers in uniform are nothing special in that regard. It's that assumption that a police officer is somehow a more important human being which results in so many idiots in uniform on a power trip, doing harm to society.

    The special responsibilities held by police officers relate to the oath they take and maintenance of public trust in those charged with protecting them. That makes them subservient to the public, not the other way around. Which is why the betrayal of such responsibilities should be met with the harshest sentence available, whether for stealing a paperclip from the station or for murder.

  7. They should have hung the bastard. Don't let him out ever and yes Police who could be called to risk their very lives at any moment do in fact deserve special consideration. They are the last line of defense in our society. They need to know they are protected just as we are.

  8. Seems fairly straightforward to me. If he still poses a danger to society = should be still inside. If a deterrent is to be sent to others = should be still inside.

    Why bother having a "life sentence" option if nobody ever dies in prison?

  9. A man convicted of murdering a policeman and attempting to murder two more has won damages after successfully arguing that his human rights have been violated.

    The Court noted that Mr von B├╝low’s tariff under his mandatory life sentence had expired in 1998. While the Parole Board reviewed the applicant’s case in 2001, it had not had any power to order his release and could only make recommendations to the Secretary of State. Nor had any oral hearing taken place, with the opportunity to examine or cross-examine witnesses relevant to any allegations that the applicant remained a risk to the public. The United Kingdom Government did not dispute that that the lawfulness of the applicant’s continued detention was not reviewed by a body with the power to order release or with a procedure containing the necessary judicial safeguards as required by Article 5 § 4 of the Convention.

  10. Oh well, if he kills again, I am sure 'lessons will be learned' or not.

    Tony F

  11. You seem to forget that in large parts of the country anyone shooting and killing Plod will be lauded as a Hero.

  12. Not enough information to pass a reasonable judgement- and well you know it.Sounds like he has been victimised for never admitting his guilt.Wouldn't surprise me if he was stitched up for it.Banged to rights on the day of his 'victims' funeral.How convenient.What a nice present for their widows.PC Fullalove?With a name like that you just know he was a right evil cunt to anyone who couldn't help sniggering.
    Sorry copper.If you want to pluck at my heart strings you need better patter.The filth stopped being the last line of defence years ago.Target chasing cowards the lot of you.

  13. Dear Liddle, Chris Alder, Richard O'Brien, Harry Stanley, de Menezes, Tomlinson, Riggs and James Ashley all said they agree.

  14. If the system says he is to be released, then so be it. If it is the same system that has disillusioned and poisoned the attitudes of some of the commentators above, then so be it. If it is the same system that has failed to prevent miscarriages of justice or to detect corrupt police officers and, by such failures, caused huge obstacles for those who aren't, then so be it. If we can get a system that assists the police to take out the worst elements of our society for the greater good of the honest, hard working of society, then lets have it. Once we've got it, if the disillusioned and poisonous in our midst still remain totally and blindly prejudiced against the police, continuing to assume all are corrupt thugs and killers, then let them have no voice, no sympathy and no space, because they are not wanted, their voices and minds poison. They are NOT wanted.

  15. Punishment for Murder should not be distinguished by the profession of the victim.

    Each case must be determined on its individual merits, blanket 'hang the bastards' judgements allows no margin of error for the innocent found guilty by a Court made up of Humans, it also makes murderers of us all by proxy, and will not deter others, especially if mentally deranged.

    The case OH mentions shows that the State was sloppy in not having a competent authority review the case.

    If this man is a continuing danger to himself and others, and has completed his madatory sentence. He should be brought before an open Court, the Police can then make their case for continuing detention under the Mental Health Act.

    Please do not make special pleading for officers being murdered in the course of duty, De Menezes was executed in a similar fashion in cold blood. The Police officers lied to the Court,attempted to blacken his name and the State crushed any justice for the De Menezes name. Thouse involved escaped penal censure and Cressida Dick was promoted.

    We are all equal before the Law, including the Police. Though sometimes it is difficult to credit it.

    1. All equal before the law ? You are absolutely misinformed about that.

  16. Oh, purleeease. Everyone knows that there's a scale of worth.

    0.25 Black gangsta yoof
    0.5 illegals (dark), Irish, mad eyes chavs and beetroot faced lags
    0.75 Illegals (light), Welsh, Scotch, Cornish and Northern.
    1.0 Home Counties white
    1.25 Pretty white girls, public schoolboys, minor public officials; parkies, traffic wardens
    1.5 Street Plod
    2.0 Major public officials, lawyers, minor royals and judiciary
    LIFE MPs, senior royals, beaks and suit Plod

    That's how it works, or thereabouts. It's childish to pretend otherwise.

  17. It's a sad indictment of our present system that fewer and fewer people see the police as neutral enforcers of the law, but instead see them as Nu Labour's militia. If more police had stood up for common sense perhaps things would be different.
    Assuming the von Bulow is guilty, then he should spend the rest of his life in jail, as should all other murderers. I believe in Mosaic law, an eye for an eye, I don't go in for the whole Jesus thing of forgiveness. If you forgive a scumbug they just think you are weak and do it again.
    I do suffer from a mild personality disorder myself, but I don't see it as being relevant if I committed a crime. Just because I might temporarily go mad and kill someone doesn't mean I should get special treatment, because the mad moments are one part of me, for which I am ultimately responsible. But then I don't carry a gun on me, anyone who does that has crossed a line.

  18. ....then let them have no voice, no sympathy and no space, because they are not wanted, their voices and minds poison. They are NOT wanted.

    Anon - equal rights for all provided they share your views? The Stasi would love you.

  19. I have said before that someone quite famous said that, the people are the police and the police are the people. Police officers just happen to be paid to do what every citizen has responsibility for.
    If police officers are assaulted on duty they deserve the protection of the law the same as everyone else, but the penalty should carry an additional tariff as they represent law and order and the civilised society we supposedly live in.

    Ron Broxted, you have changed your identity again but I know who you are, and you are still a pathetic twisted little man.

    Liddle Towers, for God's sake grow up.

    Rogerborg, I am growing to like you.

  20. Anon - equal rights for all provided they share your views? The Stasi would love you.

    Equality? I doubt you really understand what that means. Equality has to be enforced, while freedom has to be defended. I’d rather be a defender than an enforcer.

  21. There is an argument for stiffer sentences for killing police officers - the logic being that if you have killed before, there is an incremental penalty for killing police officers trying to apprehend you. Otherwise you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

    Not sure that it has much validity in real life though.

  22. Life should mean life. He was found guilty of a muder and two atempted murders.

  23. Hi,

    I wonder if you can help me? Yesterday morning my mobile rang and I answered it as normal. I was really surprised to hear the caller say “Hello Steve, this is Chris Grayling”

    As you probably know, Chris is the potential Home Secretary if the Tories win the election. Contact up to this point had only been by e mail, but the purpose of his call highlighted a pressing need for a bit of help.

    Early in January, I sent an FOI request to each of the 43 police forces asking the questions:

    1. Please provide the total numbers of officers by rank within your force for 2009
    2. How many of those officers were assigned to response duties in 2009
    3. What are the non response administerial departments within your force?
    4. How many police officers are assigned to each of these departments, by rank?

    Inspector Gadget, Copperfield, Bloggs and many others have made frequent reference to the disparity between the resources available for response duties and those assigned to ad ministerial or clerical functions. I wanted to put actual numbers to this problem, to identify the enormity of the issue. I have been pleasantly surprised to receive detailed responses from all but 6 of the 43 forces, accounting for over 120,000 of the 143,000 officers in England & Wales. The results are in and I am sure you won’t be surprised at how dangerously low the response numbers are across the country. (45% across England & Wales, which is an absolute best case scenario, allowing forces the benefit of the doubt when we suspect they have slightly overstated the numbers).

    I am in the process of completing the report and it will be available on our site shortly. I copied Chris Grayling in on the progress. Chris telephoned me to ask if the report would be ready today/tomorrow, as he wants to include it in the Times Online week long feature on crime which starts next week. As you can guess, he has a direct link into their office and assures me that the content will go to print.


    To supplement the report, Chris is very keen to have anonymous input (via us) from frontline officers about the consequences of the response shortages you guys tell us about. I have started trawling the police blog sites looking for relevant articles and comments that will support the statistical report. I have a fair bit of material already, but as you know your own sites best, I hope you might be able to locate particular relevant links from memory. I will NOT be identifying the sites where the articles were sourced to protect the anonymity of the authors (unless you specifically request the URL to be included). I will delete usernames, dates etc unless you advise otherwise As we are all out there in the public domain anyway, I can only envisage increased visits to your sites if you choose to specify the URL, but this is entirely your choice.

    Among our initial observations are that the exceptionally low response numbers are further diminished by:-

    Splitting the officer count across three shifts
    Taking rest days, sickness, annual leave and courses into account
    The British Crime Survey section reflects head of population per full time equivalent officer
    This is massively different when weighed against purely response numbers
    The low response numbers throws serious doubts onto the ability of forces to deliver on projects such as “The Policing Pledge”

    I’m sure you can think of plenty of other implications the numbers will affect, so any views or suggestions are welcome.

    As soon as I have a draft copy I will copy everyone in.

    Hoping you can help.

    Kind Regards


    Steve Bennett (ex PC West Mids)

  24. The results opf our FOI requests about dwindling response numbers are in and they're as shocking as you might expect.

    Watch the press this week, it's expected to hit. In the meantime, have a look at the report on our site ....

    Thanks again for your support
    Kind Regards


  25. ''

    See this from 2003. He was awarded damages for an a breach of his Human Rights.

  26. I've done quite a few Parole Board cases in my time and I have to say that I would be very surprised if the Board authorised the release of somebody who has refused to take part in any form of rehab unless he is in such a frail state that he can no longer be of any risk to the public!

    I have a client who has been inside since the early 1980s. He got life for starting a fire in a school classroom late at night. No serious damamge was done to the school. The Board refuse to release him (although he is now very elderly) because he has failed to complete all of the courses they required of him!

  27. All over the world, maybe thousands of times a day police hassle people without probable cause. Some people will retaliate and some will be armed. Some will be intoxicated. Some will have armed themselves because they have unfairly been placed under scrutiny or threat. You can't assume that those that retaliate are automatically unrepented psychopaths.

    Plus we know that police routinely coerce, escalate and lie. They think they are fighting a war and that it excusable to lie. They complain that the burden of proof places them at a disadvantage so they lie. I've known two people who have been convicted of GBH etc etc. All they did was pick up an item to hold between themselves and police thugs who raided their homes.

    If you were falsely convicted would you plead guilty and feign contrition to gain release? Maybe you would.

  28. I think the police should not be treated in a different way we protect all citizens must be tried alone ... like us

  29. He walked into the police station PC Schofield was based at on the day of his funeral, armed, thinking there would be no one there. He got that wrong, cause the very brave Superintendent William Breslin arrested him.