Shepherd's Bush Police Killer Harry Roberts to Be Freed

Roberts, now 78 shot two officers in Braybrook Street in 1966

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Harry Roberts, the notorious criminal who murdered two police officers in Shepherd's Bush in 1966 is to be released after serving 48 years in prison.

Police Killer Harry Roberts

Roberts is now 78 years old, and could be released from the low security Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire within days. After release he will have to adhere to strict conditions.

Today a memorial marks the spot in Braybrook Street, on the edge of Wormwood Scrubs, where the shooting took place.

 


At about 3.30pm on Friday, August, 12, 1966, three plain clothes police officers, all attached to Shepherd's Bush police station, stopped their unmarked car in Braybrook Street, close to Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

The three officers were Detective Sergeant Christopher Head, Detective Constable David Wombwell and PC Geoffrey Fox. They approached a battered blue Standard Vanguard Estate car with three suspects inside in Braybrook Street, and Christopher Head and David Wombwell questioned the
occupants.

The suspects were John Witney, owner of the car, John
Duddy, and the infamous Harry Roberts. It was Roberts who pulled out a gun, and turned a routine police stop into a gruesome murder by shooting David Wombwell. Roberts then pursued Christopher Head towards the police car and shot him as well, whilst Duddy shot and killed Geoffrey Fox.

The three criminals raced away from the scene, and the biggest manhunt for many years began. It had been the first time that three officers had been murdered in one incident since three City of London officers had died in Houndsditch in the prelude to the Sidney Street siege of 1911, and the whole of the police service was shocked at the outrage.

Public reaction was no less intense, and there were many calls or the re-introduction of the recently abolished death penalty for some types of murder.

Fortunately the number of their car had been taken. John Witney was the first to be arrested, having been traced through his ownership of the car, and he admitted the involvement of Duddy and Roberts. Duddy was traced to Scotland, but Roberts was on the run for about three months before he was caught camping out in Hertfordshire.

Witney and Duddy have since died but Harry Roberts has remained in prison till today.

Public sympathy for the families of the victims resulted in the establishment of the Police Dependants' Trust  to assist the welfare of families of British police officers who have died or been incapacitated in the line of duty.

Today, the Police Federation chair Steve White has issued an angry statement, saying: " Life should mean life.

" I am appalled to learn that police killer, Harry Roberts, is being released from prison. Let’s not forget, this menace murdered three unarmed police officers in cold blood and it is abhorrent news.

" This decision by the parole board is a slap in the face for the families of the three police officers he brutally murdered who, once again, are forced to re-live their pain and loss. It will spark fury among everyone in the police family who will feel badly let down."

You can read the full statement here.

 

October 23, 2014