Hired To Murder

COPENHAGEN: Danish police have arrested a man for killing Wolfgang Ihns in Hamburg late last month and claim he says he was hired to kill Ihns by Frau Ihns’ 24-year-old girlfriend.

The police arrested a young Dane called Danny Nielsen, an invalid living on a disability pension. They say he immediately admitted to committing the murder in Germany.

According to the police, Nielsen said he had been hired for £175 to “get the husband out of the way”.

Official sources add that 34-year-old Frau Ihns and the girl had been living together earlier this year.

Offensive Badge

LONDON: Julie Frost, one of the GN editors and members of the paper’s editorial collective was stopped and questioned by Chelsea police, who after asking him for his name and address, took a ‘Glad to be Gay’ badge away, calling it an “offensive weapon”.

Julie was walking home to Lennox Gardens from a GLF discotheque. He turned into Pont Street and was stopped by two policemen.

The police asked Julie what he had in the carrier bag he was carrying. In it they found a copy of GN9, a GLF diary he’d been given for the GN office and his cheque book

When he was asked his name and address, Julie gave it to them. The National Council for Civil Liberties told him the next day that he should not have given his name and address. The NCCL’s legal department told Julie to complain to the Commissioner of Police at Scotland Yard against his treatment at the hands of the Chelsea Police.

The police questioned Julie about the paper in his bag and about his working for GN.

The NCCL said that, strictly speaking, Julie could bring an action for assault against his person by the policeman who removed his Glad to be Gay badge, saying it was “an offensive weapon”.

The Commissioner now has that complaint and Julie is waiting for his reply.

Longford Withdraws

LONDON: Lord Longford, the self-appointed arbiter of Britain’s morals and his publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, have issued a statement admitting that at least one section of the Longford Committee’s report on pornography was inaccurate.

Longford and Hodder Paperbacks had been challenged by Derek Hill, the founder of the controversial New Cinema Club, which has always tried to erode absurd obscenity laws, that a ‘quote’ from Mr Hill in the Longford report was a fabrication. Now they have admitted it.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Longford Study Group on Pornography and Hodder Paperbacks: “In the Longford Report published last month, Derek Hill was stated to have told the study group on pornography that to ,afford to show experimental minority interest films and to insist on the principle that cuts are unacceptable … he was forced to offset losses on an audience of, perhaps 50 to 150 people, by also putting on sexploitation films which would attract perhaps 5,000 and … most of the national critics.’

“In fact Mr Derek Hill has never described any films presented by the New Cinema Club as ‘sexploitation’ films, as Lord Longford on behalf of the Study Group and Hodder Paperbacks, the publishers of the report, are glad to acknowledge. They accept that the Club does not select films to offset losses and that Mr Derek Hill did not make the statement attributed to him.”

That may be just one small part of the report; but how much would Longford and Hodder have to withdraw if everyone misquoted by the official report were to take the same stand as Derek Hill? Makes you wonder who you can trust these days.

Mental Check For Gay

JERSEY: Assistant magistrate Sir Graeme Finlay sent a gay for a ‘medical check’ after he had refused to stop interrupting the police case against him, calling the case a “bloody farce”

Twenty-nine year-old David, of Oxford, and another man, Edward, were charged with ‘gross indecency’ after police had arrested them in the island’s Weighbridge cottage.

Det Sergeant D. M. Watkins told the court that he and another policeman were on duty on the cottage roof keeping an eye on gay activity under them. When the sergeant reached the bit of his evidence saying that David and Edward went into the cottage, David shouted what the local press described as a ‘four-letter word’ to describe the ‘evidence’.

The Assistant Magistrate told David to shut up and control himself. But David shouted: “This is a load of rubbish. It’s a bloody farce.” and Sir Graeme walked out of the court in disgust, while David was removed to the cells.

The detective tried to chat David into apologising for his behaviour, but he stood his ground and refused.

When Sir Graeme deigned to return to the courtroom, he said he wasn’t prepared to go on with the case “under these circumstances.” Then David was brought back into the dock and stood there with his hands in his pockets. Sir Graeme said he was going to order a medical report to be made on David because he didn’t know whether he was fit to plead, David just shook his head and grinned.

When David and Edward were remanded until the next hearing, Edward was given £20 bail and David was remanded in custody.

Gay Tried For Acid Murder

LONDON: A staff supervisor from Paddington wept in the dock as he was jailed for four years by a judge in the Old Bailey at the end of his trial for killing his former lover.

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.

Library Goes Gay

NEWCASTLE: The city’s library service is now subscribing to Gay News and putting it on display — but only at the central library, and only after the paper has been vetted by “a senior librarian”.

This follows Newcastle’s GLF’s repeated demands for the library to stock GN with all its other periodicals and newspapers.

At its city’s libraries group, Councillor Mrs Marion Abrahams said it would “corrupt children” if GN were put on display in an open room.

She said: “Young boys might get hold of it, and it would not be suitable for them.”

Councillor Edward Pugh, the group’s chairman, said: “We have to come to terms with a modern community. It may be a tragic age we are living in, but these are the facts of life.

“We are beginning to pull things out from under the carpet where they were brushed by the Victorians who refused to face them.”

ED: Thanks to Newcastle GLF for the type of guerilla action needed to get people like libraries to stock GN, which is, after all, a serious newspaper.

It’s this sort of repeated request that makes libraries and bookstore owners/managers realise that Gay News is a newspaper as valid as any other. If only more people would work as hard as Newcastle GLF on WH Smiths, John Menzies and Selfridges, all of whom have refused to handle GN, even though they won’t stock GN or wholesale it while carrying the usual newsagent’s rack of soft porn, to give in. This is the sort of way where a newspaper that is already used in sociology courses will be given the shelf-space we think it deserves.

BBC Opens Doors

LONDON: The BBC is to start a series of programmes open to minority groups, which means that gays should be able to get 40 minutes of air-time free to get their views across to the public.

The idea of the programme, provisionally called Open Door, is that any group that wants to put its opinions across can go along to a house in Hammersmith Grove and ask to be given space in the programme.

Producer Rowan Ayers, who used to run Line-Up, will arrange for ten minutes of film to be shot for the programme. The groups who take the opportunity of using television will have to pay no fee for the time, and they will be paid no fee for appearing on television.

The BBC says there will be no more censorship on the programmes. Whilst the Open Door series will not be open to individuals – only to groups – it will be screening the opinions of any group representing the opinions of anyone from GLF to Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford.

Rowan Ayers said: “I will try to ensure that a balance is kept over the 50 week series, and every four weeks we will give other groups and individuals the right of reply to the three previous programmes. The only bars are against advocating the breaking of a law or appealing for money.”

Harrow Is Hard

HARROW: The Harrow area has one of the highest rates of convictions of gays of any courts of London, claimed a priest who runs a group that aims to integrate the gays and heterosexuals as a “social experiment”.

The Rev Keith Gilley, who’s the Unitarian minister of Golders Green was talking about what goes on at Golder’s Green’s Integroup group to the Harrow Humanist Society.

Reiernng to discrimination against gays he said Harrow had one of the highest rates of homosexual convictions of any part of London. “In the year up to last February there were about 200 convictions in Harrow for homosexual behaviour,” he said. “The person convicted usually receives heavy fines, and worse, a mention in the local newspaper.”

Mr Gilley condemned the police for using spy holes in two cottages in Harrow and added that policemen in “camp” clothing were put on duty outside cottages.

He said “Integroup is a society meeting to promote better understanding of human relationships, both within the group and among the general public, an even balance of men and women is maintained, although no-one is asked to state their preference.

“As far as we know, human sexuality has always been extremely variable. The situation at the moment is one of non-knowledge.”

Blackmailed Spy Freed

MAIDSTONE: William Vassall, the self-confessed spy, who was blackmailed by the Russians into spying for them because he was gay and homosexuality was illegal in Britain, has been released from prison, on parole — after waiting nearly four years.

William, who has changed his name by deed poll while in prison, was rushed out of prison by his lawyer after serving ten years of the 18 year sentence passed on him for handing over Government secrets to the Russians.

He said at his trial that he was a homosexual and that the Russians had blackmailed him by getting him involved in gay sex while he was working in Moscow. This they filmed through a mirror. Because gayness was illegal when William Vassall was tried for treason, this “blue” footage was excellent blackmailer’s stock.

While he was working as a spy, William received ridiculously little for the work he was doing. His danger-man work added a mere £700 a year to his income as a junior clerk at the Admiralty.

It was this trial that caused the further erosion of public trust in the Admiralty, which controls Britain’s own secret service. Evidence at the trial also named a senior official at the Admiralty who, it was said, was planning to escape with Vassall to Russia, Mr Thomas Galbraith.

Mr Galbraith was a much more important man in the navy department than William Vassall and the Macmillan Government had to set up the Radcliffe tribunal to investigate Britain’s security measures.

The weaknesses in Government bureaucracy shown up by the Radcliffe tribunal which jailed two pressmen who refused to disclose their sources of information, helped to destroy popular trust in the Macmillan administration, which fell in 1963.

Happy days may be here again for William Vassall, but there are several questions worth asking:

Why was a ‘model prisoner’ (E. Standard) kept waiting four years for parole?

Why were the papers given so much detail about the day-to-day life of the man they used to call Aunty at the Admiralty?

How long will papers such as the Evening Standard brand him a traitor and keep him in its viewfinders? He may have been a spy, but he’s done ten years in prison and he’s now on parole.

What will the police check on when he makes his regular parole calls on the local constabulary? His sex-life?