to November 16, 1968 and
Raymond Leslie Morris, cevered with a raincoat, is taken to Cannock
court, charged with the murder of Christine Darby.
Cannock Chase killer Raymond Leslie Morris was jailed for life
at Stafford Assizes for the brutal murder of seven-year-old Christine
Darby some 18 months earlier.
The verdict ended the seven-day trial of Morris which had attracted
unprecedented public interest with queues more than 100-long forming
each day for seats in the public gallery.
Morris, who is frequently referred to as being responsible for
the A34 murders, was only ever convicted of that of Christine who
had been enticed from her home in Walsall.
Many attempts have been made over the years to get Morris - aged
39 at the time of his trial - to killing two other little girls,
Diane Tift and Margaret Reynolds.
The charges were allowed to lie on the file and have been lying
there ever since.
The biggest murder hunt in the region had been sparked off by
the discovery of the bodies of these two girls in a ditch at Mansty
Gully on Cannock Chase more than three years earlier.
It took 15 months for the police to arrest Morris, an engineer
who was living at the time opposite Walsall police station.
His name had come up as a potential suspect five times during
the course of the long investigation.
Wolves ace Knowles in quit shock: Wolves footballer Peter Knowles,
thought by many to be one of the greatest players of the decade, sensationally
quit the game to become a Jehovah's Witness.
played his last game for Wolves on September 7 against Nottingham
Forest leaving the football pitch for a new pitch in the streets
of the town trying to convert others to the sect.
It had been a closely-guarded secret and even then Wolves manager
Bill McGarry was taken aback by the suddenness of it all with the
announcement coming just a few days before.
There were to be many rumours of a comeback by the man later immortalised
in the Billy Bragg song "God's Footballer" but Knowles was never
to be seen in a professional football match again.
Hospitals at full stretch as The Grippe bites: It was the year
of one giant leap for mankind in space and the year in which Concorde
first took to the skies but at ground level the West Midlands was
in the grip of a huge epidemic which science or technology could not
The decade ended and the new one began with several deaths across
the region from a deadly flu virus known as The Grippe
Doctors and hospitals found themselves working at full pitch and
a combination of the epidemic coupled with the Christmas and New
Year holiday period resulted in funerals being postponed by anything
up to 10 days.
The outbreak had started in Europe and quickly found its way across
the Channel and up into the Midlands.
Some ambulancemen refused to carry flu victims and in Wolverhampton
British Oxygen reported that demand for their product in hospitals
had rocketed by up to 50 per cent since the start of the outbreak.
Absenteeism at firms across the region rocketed causing severe
production problems while rail and bus services were also hit and
Christmas deliveries of mail disrupted.
The Royal Hospital in Wolverhampton was unable to admit booked
people on surgical waiting lists because of the pressure caused
by the epidemic and the town's chemists isued a joint appeal urging
people to return all unused medicine bottles.
Priest offers prayers for repayments: The Swinging Sixties
were coming to a close and more mundane considerations like the struggle
to pay the mortgage were returning to the headlines.
To this end a a parish priest from Chasetown near Lichfield offered
special prayers for young couples struggling to keep up with the
Father Geoffrey Tucker, of St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church,
was taking prayers at Lichfield Rural Council's annual civic service
In his prayers Father Tucker asked the congregation to pray for
the couples so they could maintain their payments and keep their
Afterwards he said: "I frequently pray for things like this that
affect my congregation.