The Plea of Tony Mancini










I was recently reviewing photos related to a 1931 American trunk murder.  They put me in mind of the Brighton Trunk Murder trial in 1934 in London, as described in A Second Companion to Murder.  The accused was Tony Mancini, a thief and lowlife.  The body of Violette Kaye, a prostitute with whom Mancini had been living, had been found in a trunk in his residence.  He asserted she had died in a drunken fall.  Who would believe him?  However, he was defended by the finest advocate in England, Mr. Norman Birkett, and Birkett made an impassioned argument on his behalf.  Mancini’s story was simple.  He had not fetched the police when he found Kaye dead, he said, because, “Where the police are concerned, a man who’s got convictions never gets a square deal.”  Mancini said he had no ill feeling against Kaye.  “I did not kill her,” he said.  “Strange as it is, I used to love her.”  The jury acquitted him.