1965 – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are arrested for murder

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were a couple who seemed made for each other. He was a would-be neo-Nazi, she was a survivor of domestic abuse who had been taught that violence was the only way to win respect. When they met, he was 27 and she 23 – he had already done some prison time, she had already been through a failed engagement. They each saw themselves as an outsider, and both wanted to make a mark.

Unfortunately, the only way they could think of to do so was to commit murders. From July of 1963 through to October of 1965, they abducted and murdered four people, burying the bodies on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester where they and their victims lived. In each case, Brady would commit the actual murders, and often, he would sexually assault the victims, too.

They were eventually caught when Brady tried to include Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, in their crimes. Although he played along, Smith later went to the police, and told them of the murder he had witnessed. Hindley and Brady were arrested the next day, and both eventually received sentences for lifetime imprisonment for what the British press dubbed ‘the Moors Murders’.

Referenced in:

Mother Earth – Crass
Very Friendly – Throbbing Gristle
Suffer Little Children – The Smiths

1431 – Jeanne d’Arc burned at the stake

After a trial lasting from January 9 until May 24, Jeanne d’Arc was convicted of heresy by her somewhat less than unbiased prosecutors. Jeanne (the French original of her name, equivalent to the English Joan) had led the French to several victories over the English, claiming divine inspiration.

Her accusers and judges were, unfortunately for her, strongly influenced by English interests in the matter, and she was found guilty and forced to abjure. Finally, she was executed by being burnt at the stake in Rouen, France. After her death, the coals were raked back in order to expose her charred body – so that no one could claim she had escaped alive – and then her body was burned twice more to reduce it to ashes. Her remains, such as they were, were cast into the Seine to prevent any collection of relics.

Referenced in:

Joan of Arc – Leonard Cohen
Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark