GREAT CRIMES AND TRIALS: Donald Hume
In October 1949 a farm worker found a large parcel floating in the Essex marshes. Opening the parcel he found it to be the torso of a man minus the head and legs. Am examination revealed that the man had been killed by stab wounds. The man was Stanley Setty, a used car dealer. He had recently disappeared with one thousand pounds in his possession. His car had been found abandoned. The gruesome crime attracted the attention of the press. As a result of the publicity the police were contacted by the United Services Flying Club at Elstree who said that a club member called Brian Douglas Hume had hired a plane and been seen to load a large parcel.On arrival at Southend there was no parcel in the plane although there was some damage to the window of the plane. Further enquiries revealed that after the flight Hume had paid for a taxi from a roll of notes.
Hume was arrested but told the Police that the parcels were being carried on behalf of a smuggler who had given him the parcels which they said contained forged petrol coupons and asked him to throw them out over the sea. The money was pay for doing the task. Police searched the house and found that blood was present under the floorboards of the hall and living room. Hume said that he found the blood in his house and cleaned it up as he assumed that Setty had been murdered by the smugglers. Hume was charged with the murder but the jury were unable to reach a verdict. The prosecution offered no evidence but preferred a charge of being an accessory to murder. Hume pleaded guilty and was given a life sentence for which he served twelve years imprisonment.
He later confessed to the murder, and described his crime in a popular newspaper. However, the law of double jeopardy meant that he could not be tried again.