Friday, July 26, 2019

The Farsley Double Murder 1970

The Farsley Double Murder 

Just after midnight on 15th February 1970 a robbery was taking place at the Sunnybank Mill in the centre of the town of Farsley in West Yorkshire. A man with previous experience in safe blowing and theft was armed with a shotgun and within minutes of him entering the grounds he had shot dead the night watchman, local man Ian Riley aged 32. 

Alarms alerted the police to an incident and without realising how serious it was going to be the police arrived on scene and surrounded the buildings. Inspector Barry Taylor climbed over the main gate and found the gunman instantly. Without any regard for human life the burglar opened fire again and shot him before taking off into the night. 

With two dead this now became a huge manhunt across Yorkshire with headlines announcing the tragedy of the unarmed men faced with a dangerous killer in such a quiet little town. Road blocks were set up in the hope of catching him with army helicopters scouring the countryside. 

Just two days later 31 year old Neil Adamson was arrested in Colne, Lancashire. That day he was officially charged with double murder. John Depledge was charged with assisting an offender, giving Adamson food and water and helping his journey across the country. 

The evidence was pretty much open and shut, with the killer pleading guilty to the two murders and 7 further charges of burglary. He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 30 years. A few months later his friend was locked up for four years. Adamson never did get released, he died behind bars in 2000. 

With almost fifty years since this attack on two unarmed men it is becoming part of the history of this country that is fading from memory. Few people remember what happened there and even fewer know the story. 

A few years ago I decided that I would campaign for a plaque at the site (or close by) and write the story of what happened in a book. This story is not just a brutal killer taking lives, but it is of heroes who hunted him down, the investigators who brought him to justice and those families who were left behind to cope alone. 

Today I have had the backing of the relatives of both Inspector Taylor and Ian Riley for a memorial and for the story to be told in as much truth as possible. The Mill owners are also in talks with us to make this a reality which will hopefully be in time for the 50th anniversary. 

In order to achieve this I would very much like to speak to other people who were there that day, the police teams involved or the locals who remembered the search. Any information on this would be helpful. 

I can be contacted or through the Facebook group Remember the Farsley Murders 1970. 

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