18th May 1949
A mainland murder with a Guernsey connection
Guernsey played a bit-part in a sensational murder trial, which gripped the nation in May 1949.
George William Jackson, a 38-year-old salesman, didn’t deny that he’d killed his 21-year-old lover, Maglona Jenkins Jones. He even had a note in his wallet that would appear to have been intended as his own suicide note.
It is our last request that we are cremated together and that our ashes are put aboard the morning plane from Southampton to Guernsey, the plane we flew on last October for the best week of our lives, and dropped in the sea. We shall then sleep peacefully far from this world of hypocrisy called civilisation.
Jackson was married, but he and Maglona, a chorus girl said to have had a promising career ahead of her, were living as man and wife at her parents’ farm nonetheless.
Jackson told the court that he had written the note when they’d been talking about suicide. Later, he and Maglona had gone to the 554m (1818ft) Moel Fammau. She’d watched him put two cartridges in his shotgun and he’d shot her in the back of his van. When he tried to kill himself the same way, the barrel was too long and he was unable to reach the trigger. At that point, he’d called the police and told them what he’d done.
However, despite admitting to the killing, which had occurred on on 28 February, Jackson pleaded not guilty. His defence relied on the fact that they had a suicide pact. However, as reported in the Lincolnshire Echo and Northern Daily Mail, the prosecution stated “that does not make any difference at all. If he shot her intending to kill her that is murder”.
The jury took just eight minutes to find him guilty of murder after having been directed to do so by the judge. He was immediately sentenced to death. Upon hearing the sentence, Jackson said he was quite in agreement with it.
However, his sentence was commuted early the next month. The records relating to the case, which are held by the National Archives at Kew, were sealed for 75 years.
Known as the Mother of Hills, or Hill of Mothers, Moel Fammau is one of the highest spots in north Wales. It is now more often known as Moel Famau or Moel Fama. It sits on the border between Denbighshire and Flintshire and is crossed by Offa’s Dyke footpath. An incomplete tower, built in the style of an Egyptian obelisk, sits at the top. Had it not collapsed, it would have stood in commemoration the golden jubilee of George III.
What else happened in Guernsey in May?
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