Report of Diss U3A April 2013 Meeting

After welcoming the audience and the committee to the April meeting Janet Bloomfield, the new chairman for 2013, concluded her opening remarks with the hope that in this the 10th anniversary year, under her stewardship Diss U3A will continue to enjoy the success that it has enjoyed since its formation in 2003.

This month’s guest speakers were Louis and Anna from the Time Travel Team who told the story of Charles Peace a “Victorian criminal.”

For more information on Diss U3A please visit the website or telephone 01379 642674

The next meeting will be on 2nd May at Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am

Born in Sheffield in 1832 Peace began his road to infamy in 1851 with the theft of a gentleman’s gold watch which earned him the first of his many prison sentences, an occupational  hazard that would eventually see him spend more than half his life in prison. As well as being a prolific burglar it was not long before Peace added violence and  murder  to his catalogue of crimes. He remained unmoved as he sat in the public gallery of a courtroom watching an innocent man being tried and convicted for the murder of a policeman for which he was responsible. It was not until he was due to hang for a later murder that he confessed to the earlier one, resulting in the release of William Habron who had already served several years in prison for Peace’s crime. Although more than capable of earning an honest, living Peace enjoyed his life of crime and took huge satisfaction at being able to outwit the police and the public, seemingly leading a blameless life by day whilst thieving by night. His masterly use of disguise allowed him to effectively change his appearance by looking much older and darker skinned than he actually was. There is no doubt that Peace was a talented intelligent man who despite his poor upbringing had the ability to succeed in any number of honest occupations. Had he chosen a more conventional lifestyle he may not have ended his life at the end of a hangman’s noose at the age of 46.

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