FORTY years ago this year, a 48-year-old man came to live in Stafford and settled in a £4-aweek council house at Hawksmoor Road.
He had a wife who was half his age and he promptly got a job as a slinger at Stafford’s GEC factory.
What the neighbours of Albert Goozee and his young wife Rita didn’t know - but were soon to find out - was that the tenant hid a dark past in which he had been convicted of being a murderer and paedophile.
In fact, he and his young family were able to keep his guilty secret until he blurted out to the Newsletter that he was short of money needed help from the Department of Social Security.
Goozee’s crime in 1950s Britain so fascinated some onlookers that in 1997 his story was made into a film called Intimate Relations starring Julie Walters and though the characters’ names were changed, it was the torrid tale of Goozee’s early life.
Back in those days, Goozee lodged at the home of the outwardly respectable Greta Leakey and her disabled husband Thomas, a couple for whom love had grown cold and were sleeping in separate bedrooms.
When the former serviceman Goozee came on the scene, however, she would regularly slip into his bed and when her 14-year-old daughter Norma demanded the same treatment, her mother vetoed her request, allowing her to watch and issuing a warning to Goozee not to touch the teenager.
Goozee was to become caught up in a tangle of blackmail and murder when young Norma threatened to tell her father about the goings-on, a move which was to lead to the murder of both she and her mother.
When the three-some went for a picnic in the New Forest, Goozee effectively put an end to the young girl’s blackmail, killing both of them, the mother had died from a fractured skull and haemorrhage and shock from stab wounds and the girl suffered a fatal stab to the heart.
Goozee later claiming that Mrs Leakey had “gone wild” with a knife while young Norma was out of sight picking bluebells.
But a judge and jury didn’t believe his story and Goozee was sentenced to hang until the Home Secretary of the day issued a reprieve on grounds that he had been provoked beyond reason and that he should serve a 15-year prison sentence.
He was sent to Broadmoor, but following his release in the 1970s, he was later convicted of other crimes including sexually assaulting girls aged 12 and 13.
Goozee’s life in Stafford is not without record - he and his wife were parents of three children in 1975 when he was among other GEC workers on a three-week strike and spent hours trying to apply for supplementary benefit children. Stupidly, he told the Newsletter of his dilemma and threatened to dump them on the doorstep of Stafford’s social security offices. It was a move which blew his cover.
He and his wife would go on to have three more children, but by 1976, details of his gruesome past had been revealed, having rows with his Rising Brook estate neighbours and accusing them of hounding his family because of his criminal record.
He was again in the headlines in 1977 when workers at GEC refused to work alongside him because of his convictions and his aggressive behaviour.
He was sacked and during an industrial tribunal, GEC foreman Harold Clarke recalled how his men were afraid of him.
Goozee continued to court the headlines, telling the Newsletter of the misery of living in Hawksmoor Road. By now he was working at a Hixon timber yard and complained that neighbours were trying to drive him out.
He told the Newsletter in a letter: “I would go to prison to prove these people - his neighbours - guilty”. Two days later, he was behind bars for threatening a police officer with an iron bar.
The couple moved to Tamworth, but the pattern of his life continued when he was again jailed for knifing a neighbour.
The crime led to his being locked up to serve the life sentence originally imposed for killing his ex-landlady and her daughter.
In 1985, he supported a campaign for the return of capital punishment and volunteered to meet the hangman to take the punishment originally prescribed for him for the murders of 1956 By 1993, the 73-year-old Goozee was out of jail, but three years later he was jailed for six years for assaulting two school girls.
In 2009, Goozee was living in a care home in Leicestershire, where his dark past was not known and he was refusing food, lying on his bed clutching rosary beads. He died in November of that year.