The Plea of Tony Mancini

I was recently examining photos dealing with 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 lived, had been found in a trunk at his residence.  Mancini asserted she had died in a drunken fall, but who was to believe him? Fortunately for him, the greatest advocate in England, Norman Birkett, took his case, and made an impassioned argument on his behalf.  Mancini’s case was simple. He did not fetch 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 will against Violette Kaye. “I did not kill her,” he said. “Strange as it is, I used to love her.”   The jury acquitted.