9th September 1965
A young girl is stabbed to death
“Butcher denies he killed sister, 11,” said the Daily Mirror of 24 March 1966. Reporting on the trial of 23-year-old Alan Norton for the killing of his 11-year-old sister on 9 September the previous year, the paper claimed that Norton had no answer when asked how sawdust had got into her clothes and the marks of a saw blade on her fingers. She had been found with more than 30 stab wounds.
Norton denied killing her and disposing of her body in a field.
Bolton-born Alan Norton, a butcher by trade, was accused of killing his sister at their home in St Lawrence. He had been charged at a 90-second hearing, following which, “a crowd of 800 was broken up by police yesterday after a brother of 11-year-old Joy Norton… was charged with her murder… demonstrations broke out as he was driven away from the building,” according to a short report in The People on 3 October.
Reports stated that Norton had visited several betting shops on the afternoon Joy had been killed, which would have given him an alibi. However, police believed that a gap of almost 20 minutes in the sequence gave him time to kill his sister.
He was found guilty after two and a half hours’ deliberation and, on 26 March 1966, the Daily Mirror carried a story by Alan Gordon, which began, “I sat next to a killer today as a red-robed judge sentenced him to death”. However, Norton was “the first man in the British Isles to hear the death sentence since the no-hanging Bill became law last November.”
Gordon also reported that “Norton had hoped that a sex maniac who has assaulted nineteen children in Jersey would be blamed for the killing.” This was a reference to the so-called Beast of Jersey who was still at large at that time.
Norton spent 32 years in prison following his conviction but maintained his innocence and, in 2012, the BBC reported that he was “demanding DNA tests to overturn his conviction after passing a lie detector test”. DNA testing had not been available at the time of his trial and, according to the BBC report, “Jersey’s Attorney General’s office said that none of the agencies to whom forensic samples were sent in 1966 had retained them”.
FREE Jersey history newsletter
Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.