Killer on run leaves trail of death

1982 The hunt for a man who terrorised North Yorkshire for 18 days and whose murdering instincts led to a police siege of Malton began on June 17.

PC David Haigh had set out to deliver a summons to a poacher in the Washburn Valley but did not return. A colleague and friend, Mick Clipston, found David Haigh's police car with its doors open and Haigh dead beside it, shot in the forehead. The police officer was not the only one to die at the hands of Barry Prudom in the ensuing days. Eventually Prudom was cornered in Malton and this is how we described the climax.

"FUGITIVE Barry Prudom died yesterday as he had lived for 18 terrifying days, by the gun, when his bizarre final plan to kill more policemen went fatally wrong.

When the end came for the man who had killed three times and baffled almost 1,000 police hunting him for more than two weeks, he seemed to have a death wish of his own.

Four shots from high velocity police rifles ended the life of 37-year-old Prudom at breakfast time as he cowered in a corner of Malton Tennis Club, only 300 yards from the town's police station, the search headquarters.

The survival expert, Eddie McGee, called in to track Prudom almost fell across his quarry, hidden beneath a plastic sack and shouted the alarm.

Police used SAS-style stun grenades in a desperate effort to take their man alive, but Prudom was determined to force a gun battle on the tennis courts.

He had limped there on badly-swollen feet from a large semi-detached house 50 yards away where he had held a family hostage throughout Saturday night. He left elderly Mr and Mrs Maurice Johnson and their son, 43-year-old Mr William Johnson, bound and gagged at 3.30 a.m.

Prudom, who had learned from newspaper and TV reports while with the Johnsons that he was being tracked by survival expert and former Para Mr McGee, showed cunning to the end. After leaving the terrified family prisoners in their home he proceeded to lay a false trail which he hoped would leave McGee in the opposite direction.

He then carefully and skilfully hid beneath a plastic bag under a derelict lean-to in the north-west corner of the tennis grounds and waited.

But he had reckoned without the determination of Mr Johnson and his family, who managed to free themselves at 5.5 a.m. and call the police.

The one vital clue for Eddie McGee, on the fifth day of a hunt that had covered hundreds of miles of countryside, led him to the feet of the triple killer, Barry Prudom.

As Mr McGee, an expert tracker, leaned over, the wanted man lashed out with his foot, hitting him on the knee.

Mr McGee yelled to the alarmed detectives behind him – "He's here ..." – and jumped backwards.

He added: "I retraced my steps, disappeared behind a building and the policemen hit the ground."

Mr McGee went straight to the cottage where the hostages had been held before they telephoned police yesterday morning.

He said: "The floor was damp and there were bits of sacking and plastic bags." He went outside and almost immediately found the vital clue – a fresh footprint in the soft earth.

He marked it and went back to report the find. He resumed the search and found another two footprints.

He marked these, dropped down on to his stomach and crept slowly forward examining the ground.

He said: "There was a heavy dew on the ground – I ran my hand over the ground and said to the detectives: "Look, this man has gone out of here in less than an hour.

"As I looked ahead I saw some cobwebs glistening with the dew."

One looked as though something had brushed against it and Mr McGee moved forward, still on his stomach, with his hands feeling in front of him until he saw a portion of plastic bag on the ground.

"It seemed to move. As I put my hand forward, suddenly a foot flew back and hit me on the knee. The plastic bag had been on top of him. I could not even see him."

This is how the police operation had reached the final showdown with Prudom.

When police officer David Haigh was murdered his colleagues discovered a clipboard under his body with a date of birth, a name and a car registration number. It did not lead anywhere since the name was false and the car was eventually found abandoned three days later, 25 miles away.

On the fifth day of the police hunt, a gunman entered the home of Sylvia and George Luckett, shooting both in the head before escaping in their car.

Mr Luckett died instantly, his wife crawled next door for help and survived.

Two days later, police dog-handler Ken Oliver stopped a car during a routine check in Dalby Forest.

The occupant shot Ken Oliver in the face and shot his dog but the police officer was able to escape. The gunman drove into Dalby Forest, where his car was later found burnt out. By dawn next day, 1,000 policemen with marksmen and helicopters were on the hunt. In Leeds, PC Martin Hatton cross-referenced the information on David Haigh's clipboard and came up with the name Barry Edwards, wanted for wounding. Police searched his flat and found his real name was Barry Prudom – a man known to them as a keep-fit fanatic, obsessed with weapons and the military.

They also found a manual on survival techniques written by Eddie McGee – a former paratrooper and experienced tracker. Prudom had been on one of McGee's courses.

On the 12th day of the hunt, Constable Mick Wood saw his colleague Sergeant David Winter challenging a man in the centre of Old Malton.

It was Prudom. There was a gunshot and David Winter lay dead on the grass, 200 yards from the police station. The police threw a cordon round Malton where on July 3 Prudom got into the home of the Johnsons.

Britain taps into its North Sea oil

1975 As prices at petrol pumps rocket due to the instability in Saudi Arabia, here's a reminder than we once hoped to be free of the tribulations in the Middle East by becoming more self-sufficient in fuel. When the first big oil finds were made in the North Sea in the late 1960s, Harold Wilson boasted that we were a country built on coal and surrounded by oil. When the first of the oil came ashore on June 19, 1975, the Yorkshire Post referred to it as "black gold." Would it make us as rich as the arab states?

This is how we reported it.

"The Energy Secretary, Mr Anthony Wedgwood Benn will today open the valve which will bring ashore Britain's first North Sea oil. The oil arrived at the BP refinery on the Isle of Grain, near Rochester, Kent, last night on board the Liberian-registered tanker Theogennitor. The 18,000-ton cargo of "black gold" came from the Argyll Field, 225 miles off the Scottish coast.

The oil is being produced by a consortium which includes the American Hamilton Brothers company, RTZ, Texaco and Associated Newspapers. The consortium plans a big welcome when the oil is pumped ashore from the tanker this morning. Mr Benn will open a ship-board valve to allow the flow to begin.

Argyll is the smallest commercial North Sea oilfield and will soon be producing 35,000 barrels of oil a day. Another company confirmed its plans to land its oil in England by the end of the year. Mobil, whose development in the Beryl Field, 95 miles south-east of the Shetlands has been going ahead on schedule and and they expect oil to begin flowing in December.

Mr Benn yesterday hit back at Conservative claims about the vast cost of Government participation in North Sea oil. Some Tories have quoted figures as high as 5bn. Mr Benn said, "Our aim is that these outgoings will ultimately be recovered in such a way that participation places no net burden on public funds. It will, over a time, be self-cancelling."

Mr Benn said it was not possible at this stage to put a figure on the cost of participation. The first oil pipeline did not become operational for another six months when the Queen opened the 130-mile BP pipeline serving the Forties oilfield 110 miles east of Aberdeen in December. Production was 10,000 barrels per day and the Forties field was expected to provide about a fifth of Britain's oil consumption.

North Sea output grew as major discoveries continued throughout the 1980s 1990s until it was knocked back by the 1997-1998 oil price collapse. After years of declining production and job losses, the industry in Scotland was given a boost in 2001 with the discovery of the Buzzard oilfield near Aberdeen which is now coming on stream.

The North Sea boom is over although the industry reckons that we've probably only produced half of what's available. It's such a difficult environment to work in that it's not possible to extract all North Sea oil economically. The price of oil determines how much of it is worth going after.

White flags flying

over Port Stanley

1982 The Falklands War ended when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told a packed House of Commons on June 14 that a ceasefire between British and Argentine forces had been agreed. Negotiations for the surrender of the Argentine junta's army on the islands were under way.

Mrs Thatcher told the Commons land forces commander General Jeremy Moore had decided to press forward to the capital Port Stanley after a series of successful attacks on enemy troops. "Large numbers of Argentine soldiers threw down their weapons – there are reported to be flying white flags over Port Stanley," she said.

Some 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen died in the war.

The Falklands victory greatly boosted the popularity of Margaret Thatcher's government which went on to win the next election. Argentine president General Leopoldo Galtieri was deposed and served three years in prison for military incompetence. Argentina returned to civilian rule in 1983 but it was 1990 before full diplomatic relations with Britain were restored.

New test for pupils

1984 In the biggest exam shake-up for over 10 years, GCE O-Level and CSE exams were to be scrapped and replaced by a new examination for 16-year-olds. On June 20, the Education Secretary, Sir Keith Joseph, said schools would begin teaching the General Certificate for Secondary Education, GCSE, in autumn 1986, with the first pupils sitting the exam in 1988.

The new system would put all children on the same scale on a range of seven grades from A to G. The 29 examination boards were to merge into five groups to reduce the large and complex system of assessment. Sir Keith said, "The system we propose will be tougher, but clearer and fairer. It will be more intelligible to users, better than O Levels, and better than CSE. It will stretch the able more and stretch the average more. It was also more intelligible and therefore more useful for employers. Fred Jarvis, of the National Union of Teachers, said, "This is one decision of Sir Keith's which will be applauded throughout the teaching profession".

Do you have any views about the switch to GCSEs or do you have memories of any other exams? Write to the contacts at the bottom of this page.

Notes of discord after Beatles awarded MBEs

1965 In May, some brown envelopes from Downing Street were delivered by hand to one of Brian Epstein's secretaries. From there they went to film studios at Twickenham, where the Beatles were filming Help! George Harrison said: "About a day later we just found them, and we thought we were being called up for the army. And then we opened them, and we found out we weren't."

The brown envelopes contained notification of their MBEs awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours List and the Beatles were able to go public about it on June 11.

Pop stars did not get that sort of treatment in those days. Several previous recipients of the MBE felt the award was demeaned, and returned theirs. The Beatles received their MBEs (Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen in October.

Edward Heath in Number 10

as Tories score surprise victory

1970 Harold Wilson had been

Prime

Minister for six years and a good showing in the local elections in May 1970 convinced him that Labour could win an early election on June 18.

But Edward Heath scored a remarkable victory winning 330 seats to Labour's 287.

Overall there was a swing of 4.7 per cent from Labour to the Conservatives. The Liberals won six seats and the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists also did poorly, despite their strong performance in by-elections.

New faces for Labour included John Smith and Neil Kinnock and for Conservatives Kenneth Clarke, Kenneth Baker, Norman Fowler and Geoffrey Howe. The Reverend Ian Paisley was the new MP for Antrim North.

The result was a deep shock for Labour, and for the pollsters.

A low turnout didn't help Labour

and poor trade figures released just three days before polling may have

been the deciding factor for many floating voters.

Welcome to the Lives & Times page which appears here every Tuesday until the end of the year. It is designed as part of the celebrations to mark our founding, 250 years ago this summer, as the Leeds Intelligencer. Our big day –the anniversary on July 2 –is approaching and we would like to invite readers who feel they might wish to send us their congratulations to do so. We will publish their letters throughout the celebration week. We would also like to hear from readers who have any stories to tell which involve the Yorkshire Post. Perhaps your life was changed through answering an advertisement –maybe for a job, or for a house or car, or even for a friend or partner. Maybe you were once one of our newspaper boys or girls. Has the Yorkshire Post been a tradition in your family and if so, for how long? Are there particular stories which have been especially memorable for you, or have moved you or made you laugh? Contact us at the address below.