Mother tells of suffering 25 years on from gun horror

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The message had been quickly written and was of no great significance. Left on the kitchen table, it simply read: "Mum. This is your tea for tomorrow. Don't forget it.'

But those seemingly mundane few words speak volumes to Jannette Osborn. They were the last written by her daughter Louise Winspear before the 22-year-old left their Wolverhampton home for work and was shot dead.

That is why the small scrap of paper is still pinned to the kitchen noticeboard at Mrs Osborn's bungalow exactly 25 years later.

The passing of time has neither soothed the pain nor eased the feeling of loss since the senseless slaughter of Miss Winspear.

The trainee legal executive was just five weeks into a job she loved when she and bailiff Dennis Hull, aged 61, were shot dead at point-blank range in a Wolverhampton street.

The two victims had arrived with a court notice ordering the eviction of 57-year-old Charles Whitehouse from his home in Tynedale Crescent, Ettingshall Park. He answered the door armed with a double-barrelled shotgun and blasted both of them to death before turning the gun on himself.

The shock of that dreadful day continues to reverberate through the lives of Miss Winspear's family a quarter of a century later.

Mrs Osborn, now a 73-year-old grandmother sat in bed and wept last Saturday, the 25th anniversary of the October 6, 1987 tragedy.

She explained at the house in Penn she shares with Peter her second husband: "I do not wake up every October 6 and cry my eyes out all day. I try to be quite a cheerful person but this year I did cry first thing in the morning.


"My husband and I were sitting in bed having a cup of tea and I was talking about Louise. I said to myself that I was not going to cry but the feeling kept coming up into my throat.

"Then my husband got up to go into the kitchen to start some breakfast and I just burst into tears on my own. I had a good old cry and that was it for the day.

"I live every October 6 watching the clock and thinking about what was happening at the same time on that fateful day in 1987. It just comes into my head but I do not say anything to anybody

"I try to carry on like any other day. It does not paralyse me. She would not want me to be like that and would have said something like 'cheer up you miserable old bugger.' My husband just puts an arm round me and says' I know what you are thinking.'


"But time does not heal the wound. It gets a little better as the years go by but you never replace the hole in your heart.

"I think of Louise everyday but especially on October 6 and Mothers Day when she used to make such a fuss. It also upsets me now and again to hear a tune on the radio that she used to like."

Mrs Osborn, who also has a son Paul, now a 49-year-old father of three, continued: "She was such a thoughtful and loving person who was never without a smile on her face.

"She had lots of friends. One girl came round on the anniversary with a bunch of flowers just like she has every year since it happened. She and the man who is now her husband used to go out as a foursome with Louise and her boyfriend.

"She has grown-up children now and although I love them it hurts to think that Louise would probably have had children like them and would probably have wanted me to look after them when they were young and she was at work.

"People see you going about your business, shopping and everything else and they think 'she seems alright.' But you are not alright.

"You are just coping with life and trying to make the most of it."

Mrs Osborn continued: "I have had a happy life and a very good second marriage but you still cannot help thinking 'what if?' and 'if only.'

"I really feel for the families of those two policewomen who were murdered while on duty in Greater Manchester recently. Those girls went out to work one day and never came back, just like my daughter. We were the best of friends.

"She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have to live with that and without her.

"The last time I saw her I was rushing to get to work early and left saying ' I will see you tonight.' That was the only morning that we did not kiss each other. That hurt a lot."

Mrs Osborn concluded: "What we need is a criminal justice system the protects communities and can be relied upon by the general public to give criminals lengthy sentences.

"I also think that people who kill police officers on duty should be hanged."

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