Civilisation/Law and Order

From Quiz Revision Notes


The Bow Street Runners have been called London's first professional constables. They were founded in 1749 by the novelist and magistrate Henry Fielding and originally numbered just eight

James Maclaine was a notorious highwayman with his accomplice William Plunkett. He was known as the ‘Gentleman Highwayman’ as a result of his courteous behaviour during his robberies. He famously robbed Horace Walpole, and was eventually hanged at Tyburn in 1750

John the Painter was a Scot who committed acts of terror in British naval dockyards in 1776–77

First convicts sent to Norfolk Island in 1788

The Texas Rangers are believed to have been unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835

‘Sus’ law was based on the Vagrancy Act 1824

Burke and Hare murders (also known as the West Port murders) were a series of murders committed in Edinburgh over a period of about ten months in 1828. The killings were attributed to Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses of their 16 victims to Doctor Robert Knox as dissection material for his anatomy lectures

Metropolitan Police introduced by Robert Peel in 1829

First US bank robbery in 1831 at the City Bank of New York

Mathematician Evariste Galois was killed in a duel in Paris in 1832, aged 20

Slavery abolished in British colonies in 1833, France in 1848, USA in 1865, Saudi Arabia in 1962

Caroline Norton left her husband in 1836, following which her husband sued her close friend Lord Melbourne, the then Whig Prime Minister, for criminal conversation. The jury threw out the claim, but Caroline was unable to obtain a divorce and was denied access to her three sons. Caroline's intense campaigning led to the passing of the Custody of Infants Act 1839

La Amistad (Spanish: ‘Friendship’) was a ship notable as the scene of a revolt by African captives being transported from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba in 1839

M’Naghten Rules – (sometimes spelled McNaughton) test for criminal insanity. Named after Daniel M'Naghten, a Scottish woodturner who assassinated English civil servant Edward Drummond while suffering from paranoid delusions in 1843

Pinkerton National Detective Agency, usually shortened to the Pinkertons, is a private security guard and detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired Pinkerton agents for his personal security during the Civil War

Broadmoor opened following the Criminal Lunatic Asylums Act of 1860

Franz Muller was a German tailor who murdered Thomas Briggs in the first murder committed on a British train, in Hackney in 1864. Subject of the book Mr Briggs’ Hat by Kate Colquhoun

John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln using a Derringer pistol. Lincoln was watching Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington in 1865

Samuel Mudd was a Maryland physician implicated and imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

John Wilkes Booth was tracked down and shot by Boston Corbett in Virginia

Michael Barrett was the last man to be publicly hanged in England, in 1868, for his part in the Clerkenwell bombing

James McParland was a Pinkertons detective who infiltrated the Molly Maguires during the 1870s

The affair of the Tichborne claimant was the celebrated 1871 legal case of Arthur Orton, an imposter who claimed to be Sir Roger Tichborne, the missing heir to the Tichborne Baronetcy

Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed by Jack McCall while playing poker in the Number Ten Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory in 1876. He was holding a dead man’s hand (pairs of black eights and aces)

John Wesley Hardin was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West. When Hardin went to prison in 1878, he claimed to have killed 42 men

Charles Guiteau was an American lawyer who assassinated President James A. Garfield in Washington on 2 July 1881. He was sentenced to death by hanging in 1882

The Phoenix Park Murders were the stabbings in 1882 in the Phoenix Park in Dublin of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke. Cavendish was the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke was the Permanent Undersecretary, the most senior Irish civil servant. The assassination was carried out by members of the ‘Irish National Invincibles’

Special Branch set up in 1883 to deal with Irish terrorists

Three attempts were made to hang John Lee in Exeter in 1885. All ended in failure, as the trapdoor of the scaffold failed to open. As a result, Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt commuted the sentence to life imprisonment

Jack the Ripper murders took place in 1888

The first person to be executed via the electric chair was William Kemmler in New York's Auburn Prison in 1890

Edward O’Kelley killed Robert Ford in 1892

Lizzie Borden allegedly killed her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts. Subject of the children’s rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks…”

Marie Carnot served as the President of France from 1887 until his assassination in 1894, stabbed by an Italian anarchist on Lyon

In 1895, John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, was sued for defamatory libel by Oscar Wilde

The first woman to be executed in the electric chair was Martha Place, at Sing Sing Prison in 1899

Leon Czolgosz was the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley. In the last few years of his life, he was heavily influenced by anarchists like Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. He shot McKinley on 6 September 1901, at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo

In 1901 the first United Kingdom Fingerprint Bureau was founded in Scotland Yard. The Henry Classification System, devised by Sir Edward Richard Henry with the help of Haque and Bose, was accepted in England and Wales

Charles Bonaparte created the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) in 1908. He was a great-nephew of Emperor Napoleon I of France. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity – motto of the FBI

Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch was one of the loosely organized outlaw gangs operating out of the Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming during the Old West era. In 1908, Cassidy and Sundance were killed in a shootout with Bolivian cavalry

The Siege of Sidney Street, popularly known as the ‘Battle of Stepney’, was a notorious gunfight in London's East End in 1911. It ended with the deaths of two members of a politically-motivated gang of burglars supposedly led by Peter Piaktow, a.k.a. ‘Peter the Painter’, and sparked a major political row over the involvement of the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill

Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from The Louvre in 1911

Judges’ Rules were first issued in 1912 by the judges of the King's Bench to give English police forces guidance on the procedures that they should follow in detaining and questioning suspects. Codified the right to remain silent

In 1914, while Frank Lloyd Wright was in Chicago completing the Midway Gardens project, Julian Carlton, a male servant whom he had hired several months earlier, set fire to the living quarters of Taliesin and murdered seven people with an axe as the fire burned

George Smith was an English serial killer and bigamist. In 1915 he was convicted and subsequently hanged for the slayings of three women, the case becoming known as the ‘Brides in the Bath Murders

Roger Casement was tried for treason and executed in 1916 for his involvement in the Easter Rising. His Black Diaries exposed him as a homosexual

KGB is the Russian-language abbreviation for Committee for State Security. The first of the forerunners of the KGB, the Cheka, was established in 1917. The Cheka underwent several name and organizational changes over the years, becoming in succession the State Political Directorate (OGPU) (1923), People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) (1941), and Ministry for State Security (MGB) (1946). From 1954 to 1991 the KGB was the umbrella organization name for the Soviet Union's premier security, secret police, and intelligence agency

Zapata was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution which started in 1910. He was killed in 1919

First women in UK juries in 1920

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-born anarchists who were convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster during the armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in South Braintree, Massachusetts in 1920 and were electrocuted seven years later

Henri Désiré Landru was a French serial killer and real-life ‘Bluebeard’. Executed in 1922

Clarence Darrow was the defence lawyer in the 1924 trial of the ‘thrill’ killers Leopold and Loeb

Scopes monkey trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1926 and tested the Butler Act. Clarence Darrow (defence) vs William Jennings Bryan (prosecution). Judge – John Raulston

Violet Gibson shot Mussolini in Rome in 1926

OVRA (Italian for ’Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Anti-Fascism’) was the secret police of the Kingdom of Italy, founded in 1927 under the regime of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and during the reign of King Victor Emmanuel III

Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan – Earp brothers. Wyatt Earp was the last surviving Earp brother and the last surviving participant of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral when he died in 1929

Bugs Moran’s gang was defeated in the St Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929

Bruno Hauptmann was a German carpenter and former criminal, sentenced to death and executed for the abduction and murder in 1932 of Charles Augustus Lindbergh II, the 20-month old son of famous pilots Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The Lindbergh kidnapping gained international infamy, and has become known as ‘The Crime of the Century’

Murder, Inc. was the name the press gave to organized crime groups in the 1930s through the 1940s that acted as the ‘enforcement arm’ of the Jewish Mafia and American Mafia

Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenagers accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial. Granted posthumous pardons in 2013

Al Capone was imprisoned in Alcatraz in 1932 (prisoner number AZ 85)

Ralph ‘Bottles’ Capone was the older brother of Al Capone. His nickname may have been tied to his lobbying the Illinois Legislature to put into law that milk bottling companies had to stamp the date that the milk was bottled on the bottle

John Dillinger was fatally shot outside Biograph Theatre in Chicago, after watching Manhattan Melodrama. John Dillinger was betrayed by the ‘lady in red’ in 1934

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were killed in1934

Huey Long, nicknamed The Kingfish, was a Democrat who was assassinated a month after announcing that he would run for president in 1935

J Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI from 1935 to 1972

Melita Norwood was a British civil servant and KGB intelligence source who, for a period of about 40 years following her recruitment in 1937, supplied the KGB (and its predecessor agencies) with state secrets

White-collar crime – term coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939

The GRU is Russia's largest (military) intelligence agency. It deploys six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR which is the KGB intelligence successor. Formed in 1942

Nuremberg Trials – the first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 22 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany. It was held from 21 November 1945 to 1 October 1946. The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); among them included the Doctors' Trial and the Judges' Trial. Goering took a cyanide capsule the night before his execution

Airy Neave served as a barrister at the Nuremberg Trials

William Joyce, the man generally associated with the nickname Lord Haw-Haw, was a fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was executed for treason in 1946 at Wandsworth Prison as a result of his wartime activities. He was the penultimate person to be hanged for a crime other than murder in the United Kingdom. The last was Theodore Schurch, executed for treachery the following day at Pentonville. In both cases the hangman was Albert Pierrepoint

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was convened on 29 April 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: Class A, Class B and Class C

Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) was a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency. It was created in 1944

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was created with the National Security Act of 1947 signed by President Harry S Truman, and is the descendant of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) of World War II, which was dissolved in 1945 and its functions transferred to the State and War Departments. Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was appointed as the first Director of Central Intelligence

Securitate – Romanian secret police. Founded in 1948 with help from the Soviet NKVD, the Securitate was abolished in December 1989, shortly after President Ceausescu was ousted

The Mossad was formed in 1949 as the ‘Central Institute for Coordination’, at the recommendation of Reuven Shiloah to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Shiloah became the first Director of the Mossad

FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives is a most wanted list maintained by the FBI. The list was started in 1949 by J. Edgar Hoover

Thomas Holden – first person on FBI Most Wanted List

Albert Pierrepoint executed many Nazi war criminals at Hamelin Prison. John Haigh, Derek Bentley and John Amery were all hanged by Pierrepoint

Timothy Evans was hanged at Pentonville Prison in 1950 for the murder of his daughter (he was also suspected of having murdered his wife). It was subsequently discovered that Evans' neighbour, John Reginald Christie, was a serial killer. He was executed by Pierrepoint in1953 at Pentonville. Timothy Evans received a posthumous pardon in 1966

Alger Hiss was controversially tried for perjury and for being a Communist while in federal service in 1950

King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1951

First ever drugs bust in UK took place at Number 11 Club in Soho in 1952

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were American Communists who received international attention when they were executed for passing nuclear weapons secrets to the Soviet Union. The couple were executed at sundown in the electric chair at Sing Sing in Westchester County, New York, in 1953

Derek Bentley was hanged in 1953 for the murder of a police officer, committed in the course of a burglary attempt. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the murder, by the English law principle of ‘joint enterprise’. This created a cause célèbre and led to a 45-year-long campaign to win Derek Bentley a posthumous pardon, which was granted partially in 1993, then completely in 1998

Organization of the Secret Army (OAS) was a short-lived, French far-right nationalist terrorist organization during the Algerian War (1954–1962). The OAS used armed struggle in an attempt to prevent Algeria's independence

Ed Gein exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein confessed to killing two women in 1954 and 1957. His case influenced the creation of several fictional killers, including Norman Bates (Psycho) and Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs)

Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be executed in the UK. She was convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, and hanged at London's Holloway Prison in 1955. She was executed by Albert Pierrepoint

Helen Duncan was a Scottish medium, best known as the last person to be convicted, in 1956, under the British Witchcraft Act of 1735

Sam Giamcana was an Italian-American mobster and boss of the Chicago Outfit from 1957 to 1966

John Birch society – conservative American organization founded in 1958 to fight a perceived Communist infiltration

Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabbed Lana’s lover Johnny Stompanato to death in 1958

Prime Minister of Ceylon Solomon Bandaranaike was assassinated by Taiduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk, in 1959

Militia of National Security Volunteers (MSVN), commonly called the Tonton Macoutes, was a Haitian paramilitary force created in 1959, which reported directly to François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’, until the younger Duvalier's ousting in 1986

In 1959 Charles van Doren confessed before the United States Congress that he had been given the correct answers by the producers of the show Twenty One. Subject of the film Quiz Show

Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. Regina vs Penguin Books

Caryl Chessman – last man to be executed in California, in a gas chamber at San Quentin Prison in 1960

Boston Strangler – Alberto DeSalvo. Killed 11 women between 1962 and 1964. First victim – Anna Slesers

Assassination attempt on General De Gaulle in 1962, over the independence of Algeria

Adolf Eichmann was captured by Israeli Mossad agents in Argentina and tried in Israeli court on fifteen criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and hanged in 1962 making him the only person ever officially executed by the State of Israel

William John Vassall was a British civil servant who spied for the Soviet Union under pressure of homosexual blackmail. He provided details of naval technology that were crucial to the modernising of the Soviet Navy. He was sentenced to 18 years’ jail in 1962

Keith Bennett was killed by Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between 1963 and 1965. His body has never found

Great train robbery – a £2.3 million train robbery committed in 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire. The Royal Mail's Glasgow to London travelling post office (TPO) train was stopped by tampered signals. A 15-member gang was led by Bruce Reynolds and included Ronnie Biggs and Buster Edwards. The train driver, Jack Mills, was hit on the head with an iron bar. Thirteen of the gang members were caught after police discovered their fingerprints at their hideout at Leatherslade Farm, near Oakley, Buckinghamshire

John F Kennedy was killed when the motorcade turned in front of the Texas Schoolbook Depository in Dallas, on 22 November 1963. Two days later, Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby

Mary Meyer was an American socialite, painter, former wife of Central Intelligence Agency official Cord Meyer and close friend of John F. Kennedy. Meyer's murder in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C. during the fall of 1964, would later stir speculation relating to Kennedy's presidency and assassination

Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt contributed to the Soviet cause with the transmission of secret Foreign Office and MI5 documents that described NATO military strategy

The actions of Donald Maclean are thought to have contributed to the 1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin and the onset of the Korean War

Kim Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing secret information to the Soviet Union. He was Graham Greene's supervisor and friend at MI6

Death penalty in England abolished in 1965

South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd was stabbed and killed in the Parliament building by radical Dimitri Tsafendas in 1966

Charles Joseph Whitman was a student at the University of Texas at Austin who shot and killed 13 people and wounded 31 others from atop the University's 27-story tower in 1966

The Miranda warning is a police warning that is given to criminal suspects in police custody in the United States before they are asked questions relating to the commission of crimes. Police may request biographical information such as name, date of birth and address without reading suspects their Miranda warnings. Compulsory confessions will not constitute admissible evidence unless suspects have been made aware of and waived their ‘Miranda rights’. The Miranda warnings were mandated by the 1966 United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona as a means of protecting a criminal suspect's Fifth Amendment right to avoid coercive self-incrimination

In 1967, Kenneth Halliwell bludgeoned Joe Orton to death at their home in Islington with nine hammer blows to the head, and then committed suicide

John Anthony Walker was a former United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer and communications specialist convicted of spying for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985. During his time as a Soviet spy, Walker helped the Soviets decipher more than one million encrypted naval messages

Two months after Martin Luther King's death in Memphis on 4 April 1968, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured at Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the UK on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia

Kray twins were arrested in 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment

Manson family lived at Spahn Ranch, near Los Angeles

Six people were murdered at the house of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate on 9 August 1969, which used to be occupied by record producer Terry Melcher, who turned down Manson for a record contract

Mr and Mrs LaBianca were murdered by the Manson family on 10 August 1969

Helter Skelter – Manson’s war against blacks, named after a track on The White Album

Linda Kasabian provided evidence against the Manson family

Zodiac Killer murdered victims in California in late 1960s. The killer originated the name ‘Zodiac’ in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press

The South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS) was established in 1969, and replaced by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in 1980. The Bureau's job was to monitor national security. It was headed by Hendrik van den Bergh

Alphabet murders took place in the early 1970s in the Rochester, New York, area; three young girls were raped and strangled. The case got its name from the fact that each of the girls' first and last names started with the same letter and that each body was found in a town that had a name starting with the same letter as each girl's name

John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Rome in 1971

Frank Serpico – an American retired NYPD officer who is most famous for testifying against police corruption in 1971. The majority of Serpico's fame came after the release of the 1973 film, Serpico

Community service orders were introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1972

Roe v Wade was a landmark controversial decision in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Norma McCorvey was the plaintiff in Roe v Wade

Luis Carrero Blanco Spanish PM killed by ETA in 1973

DINA was the Chilean secret police in the government of Augusto Pinochet. Established in 1973

Chris Denning was one of the original DJs on BBC Radio 1. He was convicted for sexual offences in 1974, and he has spent three decades in and out of prison in Britain and overseas

Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan disappeared on 8 November 1974 after his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, was found murdered in Belgravia

John Stonehouse was sentenced to seven years prison for fraud in 1975

James Riddle ‘Jimmy’ Hoffa (disappeared 1975, date of death unknown) was an American labour leader. As the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, Hoffa wielded considerable influence. He is also well-known in popular culture for the mysterious circumstances surrounding his unexplained disappearance and presumed death

Carlos the Jackal (born Ilich Ramírez Sanchez(1949-10-12)) is a Venezuelan convicted in France. After several bungled bombings, he achieved notoriety for a 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, resulting in the deaths of three people

Ross McWhirter was murdered by IRA in 1975

Jeremy Thorpe was forced to resign as Liberal Party leader in 1976. He denied the claims of a homosexual affair and was charged with conspiring to murder Norman Scott, though he was acquitted of these charges in 1979. George Carman successfully defended Jeremy Thorpe. Scott’s dog Rinka was shot dead by a hitman

David Richard Berkowitz, also known as the .44 Caliber Killer and the Son of Sam, is an American serial killer. Shortly after his arrest in August 1977, Berkowitz confessed to killing six people and wounding seven others in the course of eight shootings in New York City between 1976 and 1977

The Red Army Faction (commonly known as Baader-Meinhof Group), was postwar West Germany's most violent and prominent militant left-wing terrorist group. It described itself as a communist ‘urban guerrilla’ group engaged in armed resistance. The RAF was formally founded in 1970 by Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof and others. The Red Army Faction operated from the late 1960s to 1998, committing numerous crimes, especially in the autumn of 1977, which led to a national crisis that became known as ‘German Autumn’. Hanns Martin Schleyer, one of the most powerful industrialists in West Germany, was abducted in a violent kidnapping in September 1977, and killed in October. It was responsible for 34 deaths

Gary Gilmore was gained international notoriety for demanding that his own death sentence be fulfilled following two murders he committed in Utah. Gilmore was executed by firing squad in 1977

Rainer Rupp (born in Germany) was a top spy who worked under the pseudonyms Mosel and later Topaz for the GDR in the NATO headquarters in Brussels from 1977 until 1989, releasing documents of the highest importance to the Eastern Bloc

John Gacy, also known as the Killer Clown, was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of a minimum of 33 teenage boys and young men in a series of killings committed between 1972 and 1978 in Chicago

Dan White was a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, in 1978, at City Hall. In a controversial verdict that led to the coining of the legal slang ‘Twinkie defense,’ White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder in the deaths of Milk and Moscone. Less than two years after serving a sentence of five years, White returned to San Francisco and committed suicide

Ted Bundy murdered dozens of young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978 and was the first person known as a serial killer

Theodore (Ted) Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, is an American anarchist infamous for his campaign of mail bombings that killed three and wounded 23. He sent bombs to several UNiversities and Airlines from the late 1970s through early 1990s. In his ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’ (commonly called the ‘Unabomber Manifesto’) he argued that his actions were a necessary (although extreme) ruse by which to attract attention to what he believed were the dangers of modern technology

Aldo Moro was the Prime Minister of Italy assassinated by the Red Brigades in 1978

United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations in 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon which Israel had invaded five days prior, restore international peace and security, and help the Government of Lebanon restore its effective authority in the area

A total of 920 people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project (Jonestown) and Georgetown, Guyana in an organized mass suicide/killing in 1978. Casualties included the leader, Jim Jones, and US Congressman Leo Ryan

Genette Tate became a famous missing person case when she went missing at age 13 while delivering newspapers in Aylesbeare, Devon in 1978

The Bridgewater Four was the collective name given to the men who were tried and found guilty of killing 13-year-old paperboy Carl Bridgewater, who was shot in the head at close range near Stourbridge in 1978. Their convictions were overturned in 1997

Brenda Ann Spencer wounded eight children and one police officer and killed Principal Burton Wragg, and head custodian Mike Suchar, in a shooting spree at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, on Monday, 29 January 1979. When the six-hour incident ended and the sixteen-year-old was asked why she had committed the crime, she shrugged and replied, “I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

Savak – secret Iranian police force, until 1979

In 1979, Jacques Mesrine kidnapped millionaire Henri Lelièvre and received a ransom of 6 million francs. Mesrine had become ‘French Public Enemy Number One’

Charles Harrelson was convicted of assassinating federal judge John H. Wood, Jr. in 1979, the first federal judge killed in the 20th century. He was the estranged father of actor Woody Harrelson

Blair Peach – Anti-Nazi League protestor killed at Southall in 1979

Mark Chapman was carrying Catcher in the Rye when he shot John Lennon in 1980

Liverpool riots in 1981 were triggered by the arrest of Leroy Alphonse Cooper in Toxteth

Anwar Sadat was assassinated during the annual 6th October victory parade in Cairo in 1981. The assassination was carried out by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization who had infiltrated the Egyptian Army

Brink's-MAT robbery occurred in November 1983 when six robbers broke into the Brink's-MAT warehouse at Heathrow Airport. They stole £26 million worth of gold, diamonds and cash

Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher killed outside the Libyan embassy in 1984

In response to this desecration of the Golden Temple in 1984, two of Indira Gandhi's own bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, assassinated her with machine guns in the garden of the Prime Minister's Residence in New Delhi. She was to be interviewed by Peter Ustinov

Bernard Goetz was dubbed the ‘Subway Vigilante’ by the New York press. He became a symbol of New Yorkers' frustrations with a high crime rate when he shot four muggers intent on robbing him on a subway train in Manhattan in 1984

Justice Popplewell chaired the inquiry into Bradford City fire of 1985 where 56 people were killed

Brixton riot of 1985 was sparked by the shooting of Dorothy "Cherry" Groce by the Metropolitan Police

PC Keith Blakelock was killed during the Broadwater Farm riot in Tottenham in 1985. Winston Silcott was convicted, then released

In 1986, Richard Buckland was exonerated despite having admitted to the rape and murder of a teenager near Leicester, the city where DNA profiling was first discovered. This was the first use of DNA fingerprinting in a criminal investigation.

In 1987, in the same case as Buckland, Colin Pitchfork was the first criminal caught and convicted using DNA fingerprinting

Olaf Palme was prime minister of Sweden, assassinated in Stockholm in 1986. The crime remains unsolved

Michael Ryan killed 16 people in Hungerford in 1987

Monkseaton shootings occurred in 1989 in Monkseaton, North Tyneside when Robert Sartin killed one man and left 14 other people injured during a 20 minute shooting spree

The 1990 Strangeways Prison riot resulted in the government announcing a public inquiry into the riots headed by Lord Woolf. The resulting Woolf Report concluded that conditions in the prison had been intolerable, and recommended major reform of the prison system

Robert Maxwell fell to his death from the Lady Ghislaine in 1991

Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender. Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys – many of whom were of African or Asian descent – between 1978 and 1991

Aileen Wuornos was sentenced to death by the state of Florida in 1992. She ultimately received five additional death sentences. Wuornos admitted to killing seven men, in separate incidents, all of whom she claimed raped her (or attempted to) while she was working as a prostitute. She was put to death via lethal injection in 2002. The 2003 movie Monster, starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, tells Wuornos' story

The gallows at Wandsworth Prison were kept in full working order until 1992

John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City. Known as ‘The Teflon Don’. Imprisoned in 1992

Waco siege of a compound belonging to the religious group Branch Davidians by American federal and Texas state law enforcement and military was in 1993. The Branch Davidians, a sect that separated in 1955 from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was led by David Koresh. 76 people died during the attack

Fred and Rosemary West were brought before a magistrates' court in Gloucester on 30 June 1994; he was charged with 11 murders and she with 10. Immediately afterwards, Fred West was re-arrested on suspicion of murdering Ann McFall, whose body had been found on 7 June 1994. On the evening of 3 July 1994, he was charged with her murder. On 1 January 1995, Fred West hanged himself while on remand in his cell at Winson Green Prison, Birmingham. Lived at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester

Interahamwe is a Hutu paramilitary organization. The militia enjoyed the backing of the Hutu-led government leading up to, during, and after the Rwandan Genocide in 1994

Megan’s Law – US parents can get information on pedophiles living in their area; resulted from the murder of Megan Kanka in 1994

Mass suicides of the Solar Temple cult took place in Quebec (1994 and 1997) and Grenoble (1995)

OJ Simpson was acquitted of the murder of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995

The Oklahoma City bombing on 19 April 1995 was aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City. The attack claimed 168 lives. Timothy McVeigh was found responsible and executed by lethal injection

Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995 in Tel Aviv by Yigal Amir

Achille Lauro was an Italian cruise ship hijacked by PLO in 1995

Erich Priebke was extradited from Argentina in 1995 and convicted of war crimes. He was a Waffen SS captain

The FSB is a domestic state security agency of the Russian Federation and the main successor of the Soviet Cheka, NKVD, and KGB. Its headquarters are in Lubyanka Square, Moscow. Formed in 1995

Headmaster Philip Lawrence was stabbed by death by Learco Chindamo in London in 1995

Maurizio Gucci, the former head of the Gucci fashion house, was gunned down by a hired hit man in 1995

Marc Dutroux is a Belgian serial killer and child molester, convicted of having kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused six girls during 1995 to 1996, ranging in age from 8 to 19, four of whom he murdered

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (1990 – 16 December 1996) was an American girl and child beauty pageant contestant made famous by her Christmastime murder and the subsequent media coverage. She was found dead in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado nearly eight hours after she was reported missing. The case is still unsolved

Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and one adult at Dunblane in 1996

In 1996, Tupak Shakur was shot in the Las Vegas metropolitan area of Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center, where he died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest six days later

Russia suspended capital punishment in 1996

In 1997, Christopher Wallace (also known as Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G.) was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles

In 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate group based in San Diego who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following Comet Hale–Bopp

Capital punishment was abolished for murder (leaving only treason, piracy with violence, arson in royal dockyards and a number of wartime military offences as capital crimes) in 1969, the last execution having taken place in 1964. It was abolished for all peacetime offences in 1998

Edgar Pearce was convicted of the Mardi Gra bombings after admitting a three-year blackmail and terror campaign in the London area between 1994 and 1998

The Columbine High School massacre occurred on 20 April 1999, at Columbine High School in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado. Two teenage students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, carried out a shooting rampage, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 24 others, before committing suicide

Admiral Duncan pub in Soho nailbombed by David Copeland in 1999

In 1999, an inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence headed by Sir William Macpherson examined the original Metropolitan police investigation and concluded that the force was “institutionally racist”

Europol (short for European Police Office) is the European Union's criminal intelligence agency. It became fully operational in 1999. HQ in The Hague

Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was a breakaway religious movement from the Roman Catholic Church founded in Uganda. In 2000, followers of the religious movement perished in a devastating fire and a series of poisonings and killings that were either a group suicide or an orchestrated mass murder by group leaders after their predictions of the apocalypse failed to come about

Sarah’s Law calls for a range of measures to curb and control pedophiles. Follows the conviction of Roy Whiting for the kidnap and murder of Sarah Payne in 2000

Paul Kelleher beheaded statue of Mrs Thatcher at Guildhall in 2002

International Criminal Court (ICC) sits in The Hague. Began functioning in 2002. It has only succeeded in gaining two convictions – against Thomas Lubanga and Germain Katanga, both warlords from DR Congo

Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002 while campaigning for the presidency of Colombia, and was rescued by Colombian security forces in 2008

Just before the United States declared war on Iraq in 2003, initiating the second Gulf War, Saddam Hussein pulled off the biggest bank heist in history, by having his son steal $1 billion from the Iraqi Central Bank

Phil Spector killed actress Lana Clarkson in 2003

John Rusnak was a former currency trader at Allfirst bank, then part of AIB Group, in the United States. In 2003 he was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for hiding US$691 million in losses at the bank. Known as the ‘Brogue Trader’

Beslan school hostage crisis of September 2004 involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages ending with the death of over 380 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic separatist militants occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia

Lynndie England and Charles Graner were convicted in 2005 by the Army courts-martial in connection with the torture and prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad

Itsu sushi bars became a well known name across the UK after Alexander Litvinenko fell ill under suspicious circumstances, and subsequently died, after a meeting with Mario Scaramella at the Itsu Piccadilly shop in 2006


Current Met Police Commissioner – Cressida Dick

Current Chief Inspector of Prisons – Charlie Taylor

Current Director General of MI5 – Ken McCallum

Current Chief of MI6 – Richard Moore

Current Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales – Ian Burnett, Baron Burnett of Maldon

In common law, a hue and cry was a process by which bystanders were summoned to assist in the apprehension of a criminal who had been witnessed in the act of committing a felony

Claimant replaced plaintiff in English law

A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. Grand juries are today virtually unknown outside the United States. England abandoned grand juries in 1933

Geographic profiling is a criminal investigative methodology that analyzes the locations of a connected series of crimes to determine the most probable area of offender residence

Negative misprision is the concealment of treason or felony

Right to light is a form of easement in English law that gives a long-standing owner of a building with windows a right to maintain the level of illumination. It is based on the Ancient Lights law

Double indemnity is a clause or provision in a life insurance or accident policy whereby the company agrees to pay the stated multiple (i.e. double) of the face amount in the contract in cases of accidental death

Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is retroactive: an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place

Forensic entomology is the application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters

Release – a UK agency that provides legal advice and arranges legal representation for people charged with the possession of drugs

Supermax (short for ‘super-maximum security’) is the name used to describe ‘control-unit’ prisons, or units within prisons, which represent the most secure levels of custody in the prison systems of certain countries

Royal Assent is the name for the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law or letting it be promulgated as law

Sumptuary laws are laws that attempt to regulate permitted consumption

Court of Protection has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Among its various roles the Court of Protection is responsible for determining disputes as to the registration of powers of attorney

Vexatious litigation – legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary

Queen’s Regulations – rules and orders for the running of the Armed Forces

The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the second most senior judge in England and Wales, after the Lord Chief Justice. The Master of the Rolls is the presiding officer of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal. The first record of a Master of the Rolls is from 1286. The Master of the Rolls was initially a clerk responsible for keeping the ‘Rolls’, or records, of the Chancery court, and was known as the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery

Master of the Rolls – judge who admits solicitors to the role of solicitor

Law Society – regulates solicitors

Procurator Fiscal – Scottish coroner

A bill has to be read three times before going to the House of Lords

High Court has three divisions – Family, Chancery and Queen’s Bench

Queen’s Bench division – deals with libel cases

Inquests (England) – known as Fatal Accident Enquiries (Scotland)

Law Officers – Attorney General and Solicitor General

Attorney General – senior law officer of England and Wales

Birth of a child must be registered within 42 days

Summary arrest – made without a warrant

A will has a maximum of four executors

Six weeks between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute

Small claims court handles claims up to £3000

Official Receiver – appointed by DTI to manage the estate of a debtor

House of Lords is highest court of appeal in UK

Earl Palatine – had royal authority in an area

Salic law – prohibits women from ascending to the throne

Judge Advocate – at a military trial

Whitehall 1212 – phone number of New Scotland Yard

Bench – group of judges or magistrates

Lord High Steward – the first of the Great Officers of State. Although initially the position was largely an honorary one, over time it grew in importance until its holder became one of the most powerful men of the kingdom. Position is revived for coronations

Lord Steward or Lord Steward of the Household, in England, is an important official of the Royal Household. He is always a peer and a Privy Councillor. Position currently held by James Hubert Ramsay, 17th Earl of Dalhousie

Supreme Court –the court of last resort in the UK. Based in Middlesex Guildhall

Misdemeanor is a ’lesser’ criminal act. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies

Belonger status – a legal classification normally associated with British overseas territories. It refers to people who have close ties to a specific territory, normally by birth and/or ancestry

Broken windows theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crime

Circuits – six judicial areas in England and Wales

Legal tender – payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt

The position of Attorney General existed since at least 1243, when records show a professional attorney was hired to represent the King's interests in court. The position first took on a political role in 1461 when the holder of the office was summoned to the House of Lords to advise the government there on legal matters. In 1673 the Attorney General officially became the Crown's advisor and representative in legal matters

Suspects pleaded the Fifth Amendment in the USA communist trials

Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States, and leads the federal judiciary. It consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed with the ‘advice and consent’ (majority vote) of the Senate. Once appointed, Justices effectively have life tenure

LoJack is an American vehicle tracking system that allows vehicles to be tracked by police, with the aim of recovering them in case of theft

In the United States, the federal government generally considers a crime punishable with incarceration for one year or less to be a misdemeanor. All other crimes are considered felonies