The prosecution’s case had been that Michael Dickinson, who was originally called Smith, murdered his lover, William Dickinson, and after stabbing him, poured acid over his body to disfigure it. The prosecution said William had been out with a sailor friend of Michael’s the night of the stabbing.
Mr Richard du Cann had appeared for the prosecution and had alleged that after Michael and William met last March they started to live together. But their relationship was stormy because William was bisexual.
Two doctors called by the defence said that Michael was mentally disturbed, and the jury found him guilty of manslaughter, and not of murder.
The judge told 36-year-old Michael: “You have taken away the life of a young man of 24. He was a person of not very good character and he behaved very badly towards you, but he was entitled to live.
“I have no doubt that all you wanted from him was a little bit of kindness and straightforward dealing and because you did not get those things you completely lost control of yourself.”
When the trial opened the Evening Standard ran a scandal-type headline as a page lead, and used seven-and-a-half inches of the prosecution’s case. During the rest of the week-long trial it reported not a word until the verdict.