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Voice 35 Years: Woman walks free from murder trial

FREEDOM: Leroy Faulkerton, pictured with his fiancee, was celebrating a sentence appeal

TWO INTRIGUING court stories dominated the front page of The Voice 35 years ago as the newspaper published its 41st edition on June 25, 1983. The lead story was on a 21-year-old woman who walked free from an Old Bailey trial despite admitting killing her father, while the Colin Roach Inquest was interrupted as tempers between the family and the police boiled over.

Under the headline: ‘Girl cleared of father’s murder’, The Voice’s lead story reported that Yvette King from East Ham, east London, was found guilty of manslaughter, but with mitigating circumstances, in relation to the death of her father, Fitzroy King, who, the court heard, had ruled his household with a rod of iron. Ms King was placed on probation for two years.

The court heard how Yvette and her six brothers and sisters lived in fear of their 57-year-old father who in the past had hit one of them with an axe an also attacked his 52-year-old wife Muriel on more than one occasion.

The Voice article described how on the day of his death Mr King began swearing and shouting about an expensive phone call Ms King had made before he lashed out at her with his belt, knocking her to the floor. She told the court that she grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him. She said: “I just wanted him to stop hitting me. I didn’t intend to kill him nor injure him, I was scared.”

THE WEEK’S NEWS: Court cases and violence the front page while pages two and seven explore the news

In pronouncing the probation sentence on Ms King, the judge said: “This is a very sad case and you have suffered much already. I don’t think any public purpose would be served by sending you back into custody.”

The Voice story was accompanied with a picture of Ms King as she left the court.

The other story on the front page carried the headline: ‘Uproar at Colin Roach inquest’ and revealed that the Coroner in the case had to suspend the hearing for some time while tempers cooled and even threatened to close the court if the outbursts from the family of the deceased continued.

It was Colin’s father, James Roach, who the coroner singled out for his warning after a testimony from the lead policeman on the case was challenged.

Det Chief Supt Robertson told the tense courtroom how James Roach became distraught, burying his head in his hand on being told of his son’s death and saying: “Why did my Colin die? How will I tell his mother?” Mr Roach stood up shouting: “Lie, lie, lie. He’s telling lies all the time.”

At another exchange during the hearing, Mrs Roach also shouted at the Coroner, Dr Douglas Chambers, that he was biased. The Voice article said a verdict was expected as the inquest went into its final phase.

Over on page two, the lead story heralded the news that the conversion of the Stonebridge Bus Garage into a multi-purpose Community Complex in Harlesden, north west London was well underway.

Headlined: ‘Bus garage project is progressing’, the article said locally hired building workers have been converting ancillary rooms of the garage into workshops, offices and a canteen.

A further 17 building workers and supervisors were taken on for the project and were involved in painting, decorating and carpentry work.

When finished, the complex would provide sports, leisure, business and education facilities for the community with funding coming from the GLC, Brent Council and the EEC. Organised by the People’s Community Council, a spokesperson had told The Voice: “We are very pleased with the progress. We get a lot of people coming to down to have a look and the general impression is that it’s fantastic.”

Turning over to page three, the lead story showed that Leroy Faulkerton, a painter and decorator from Brockley, south east London was celebrating after getting his nine year prison sentence for various offences reduced to six years after he won an appeal.

The Voice reported that two years earlier Faulkerton and an accomplice attempted to rob a post office by holding a family hostage.

The accomplice went to the post office with the subpost master, while Faulkerton stayed with the family held captives. After a few hours Faulkerton became apprehensive and left the flat where he was holding the family.

Outside he met a police officer who instructed him not to run, but instead Faulkerton ran to his car.

The officer shot him in both arms. Faulkerton was charged with five main offences, attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm to a police officer; holding a family against their will; conspiracy to rob and possession of a firearm.

However, the attempted murder charge was thrown out by the Department for Public Prosecution (DPP) when the jury dismissed the police claim that Faulkerton tried to run over the police.

Afterwards, Faulkerton wrote a letter to The Voice in which he said: “I was shot by the police despite the fact I was unarmed and in no way threatening the officer or anyone else.

“I was trying to evade the police and found it necessary to run to my car and was about to drive off when a policeman approached my car a shot me through the side window.”

The relationship between the police and the community was the focus of the lead story on page 7 which had the headline: ‘Police role should be taught in school’.

The story outlined a call from the chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Committee, Mr Ronal Darrington that police forces should run courses in schools to explain their role to the public.

He said: “The community must see that the objectives police are following are ones which they share. The police must be seen as ‘us’ not ‘them’.”

The Voice is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Share your The Voice memories, comments and birthday wishes on social media using the hashtag: #Voice35Years. Each week we will be digging into The Voice archive and publish a front cover from its first year of publication as we look back over 35 years.

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