William Thomas Hughes [Billy] (B.H.) was born in 1946, the eldest of 6 children. He spent his early life between Lancashire & germany as his father was a soldier. From 15yrs onward he was in trouble. At various times he'd stolen a motorbike, did some breaking & entering & assaulted a police officer; so he'd gone through the court system from probation to going to an approved school to going to Borstal & then prison. He learned how to play the Court system which helped him in his escape later.
August 1876 he attacked a young couple in the Queen's Park Annex; badly beating the lad & raping the lass.
At the time he had left his wife & was living with his girlfriend Mrs Teresa O'Doherty at 6 Boythorpe Crescent. Also living there were Mrs O'Doherty's sister in law Mrs Pat Millan & her husband. The house was used by the council for emergency accomodation. Billy Hughes was arrested & remanded to Leicester prison.
B.H. knew the court system & messed about with court proceedings to delay the trial 9 times. Each time he travelled to Chesterfield then back again so got a look at the route.
12 January 1977 8.20 am was another court date in Chesterfield. The authorities of Leics. prison didn't see B.H. as a risk so he was allowed to work in the kitchens - where he'd stolen a meat boning knife. As he was considered a category B prisoner he wasn't frisked well before his journey to Court & a prison vehicle wasn't used; a taxi was used driven by a David Reynolds. There were 2 warders who accompanied B.H. Donald Sprintall & Ken Simmonds. Simmonds was manacled to B.H. in the back of the taxi; Sprintall sat beside the driver.
The taxi reached Junction 29 at Heath & turned onto the slip road to Chesterfield when B.H. struck. He hit Sprintall at the back of the neck with the knife & Simmonds on the chin & thumb. They went through Chesterfield, Matlock Rd., & passed Slatepit Dale. When the incline to Stonedge approached B.H. made the others get out & robbed them of their money & left them on the side of the road. A motorist later picked them up & took them to hospital. They recovered.
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B.H. crashed the car into a wall in the village of Beeley. There was bad weather - snow & blizzards so he needed shelter. He made his way to Baslow Rd., Eastmoor, Pottery Cottage. Inside was 72yrs old Arthur Minton & his wife 70yrs old Amy Minton. Later came their married daughter Mrs Gillian Moran to the cottage; then came Mrs Moran's adopted daughter 10yr old Sarah & last to arrive her husband Richard Moran. B.H. tied them up in different rooms.
During this time the police had tried to find them but the weather hindered them & then they got false info. that B.H. had gone to Lancs.
B.H. murdered Arthur Minton & Sarah Moran but didn't let on to the others.
Thursday 13 January: 2 council workers arrived to clean out the septic tank. Mrs Moran spoke to them & they saw nothing wrong. Phone calls were made to Sarah's school & Mr Moran's works explaining they couldn't attend because of illness. B.H. allowed Mrs Moran to go alone to Chesterfield for newspapers & cigarettes. At teatime B.H. tried to go to Chesterfield taking Mr & Mrs Moran with him but the weather stopped them. Then he tried to go to Sutton in Ashfield to see a friend - taking Mrs Moran with him - they only travelled 32 miles before returning.
11.30 Friday morning B.H. allowed Mr & Mrs Moran to go to Chesterfield by themselves where they visited shops & the petrol station. 5pm B.H. took Mr Moran to his place of work, Bretts Plastics, in Staveley where he was a sales director. Mr Moran got £200 from the safe for B.H. B.H. wasn't happy so they went back in a got another £100.
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8pm that night B.H. had trouble with the car & sent Mrs Moran next door for help. Mrs Moran finally told someone she needed help. She told her next door neighbour, Leonard Newman, about B.H. & the trouble. Mr Newman went to Charles Smart's poultry farm to inform the police. B.H. got impatient & took Mrs Moran with him to the nearby farm to ask for a tow to the main road. He then left Mrs Moran in the car whilst he went back to the house to 'look for maps'. He then murdered Mr Moran & Mrs Minton.
The police arrived & there was a police chase northwest through New Mills & Whaley Bridge & B.H. was cornered by police vehicles when he crashed into a wall in the Cheshire village of Rainow. He threatened Mrs Moran with an axe. Chief Inspector Peter Howse was trying to negotiate with B.H. & had given him shoes & cigarettes & was talking to him through the passenger's window of the car. When a light went on in a house B.H. flew into a fury & said "your time is up!". The inspector hurled himself through the window towards B.H. & tried to protect Mrs Moran. Although he got hurt he later recovered. When this happened police marksmen shot at B.H. The 1st shot hit him in the head but it didn't stop him. The 2nd & 3rd hit him but he carried on. The 4th shot stopped him.
Plans to bury B.H. in Boythorpe Cemetery upset local people & the grave that was dug was filled in by hand to stop the funeral. Also locals had chained the gates & padlocked them to stop him being buried there. B.H. was cremated at Brimington even though there were people with placards there protesting against it happening. The ashes were given to his wife. 4 days earlier the victims of B.H. had been cremated at Brimington.
'More Fould Deeds & Suspicious Deaths in & Around Chesterfield' by Geoffrey Sadler.
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