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On the night of 15th May, 1948, June Anne Devaney, a little girl of three years eleven months, was stolen from her cot in the Queen's Park Hospital, Blackburn, taken into the hospital grounds, criminally assaulted, and then brutally killed by dashing her head against a wall.
Finger-prints were found on a Winchester bottle in the ward, and the police proceeded to take the finger-prints of all males over sixteen in the Blackburn area -- the first time mass finger-printing had been contemplated in England. Eventually the prints were traced to a young ex-guardsman named Peter Griffiths, who was arrested and tried for the murder at the Lancaster Assizes in October, 1948.
The defence plea was that the accused suffered from schizophrenia, and strong medical evidence was brought to support this contention. His father had been in an asylum for two years for this very complaint. Griffiths was condemned to death and hanged.
With an Appendix by C. Stanford Read, M.D. Schizophrenia and Other Mental Disorders of Medico-Legal Import