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Gunther Podola



Gunther Fritz Erwin Podola




8 February 1929
Kill Total:


Kill date:

13 July 1959

Kill Place:

Kensington, London






DS Raymond Purdy
D.O.B. 1916




The Old Bailey


Mr. Justice Edmund Davies


Maxwell Turner


Frederick Lawton








Podola was born in West Berlin, His father died on the Russian front during the second world war his mother died in 1955. He had been an active member of the Hitler youth.

In 1952 he applied to emigrate to Canada, and spent 6 years there drifting from place to place and job to job.

He wax sentenced for 11 house burglaries and sent to prison for 2 years, in 1958 upon his release he returned to Germany.


May 1959, Podola flies to London, unemployed he drifts, squatting and sleeping rough.


Monday 13th July 1959, Podola was in a phone box next to Kensington tube station, he was attempting blackmail on a Mrs Schiffman. She had already informed the police on a previous occasion when Podola had attempted to blackmail her.

On this occasion Detective Sergeant Purdy and Detective Sergeant Sandford attended and arrested Podola, as they were taking him to the car h escaped and ran into a block of flats. The 2 policemen chased and caught him, while DS Sandford went to get the police car, DS Purdy was left alone with Podola.

Podola distracted the detective Sergeant, and pulled out a pistol, he shot 43 year old DS Purdy through the heart, the policeman dying instantly.


Thursday 16th July 1959, After investigation police were led to The Queen's Gate hotel in South Kensington, they charged into Podola room, a scuffle broke out, which ended in Podola being taken to St. Stephen’s Hospital, Fulham Road. The hotel was searched, and the gun that killed Detective Sergeant Purdy was found in the hotel attic.


18th July 1959, Trial starts at The old Bailey in London,

his defence claimed that he had no memory of the events, caused by the scuffle that had broken out in the hotel room. If this was the case then Podola was unfit to plead.

The judge ordered the jury to consider if Podola was fit to plead.

After 3 hours the jury returned saying they believed the loss of memory was faked.


19th July 1959, Again at the old Bailey with the same judge and barristers, but with a new jury the trial proper started.

In his evidence from the dock, Podola said that he could not make any defence as he could not remember the crime itself or the circumstances leading up to it.

After retiring for just 35 minutes, the jury found Podola guilty of capital murder.

Judge Mr. Justice Edmund Davies sentenced Podola to death.


October 1959, an appeal was heard but rejected.


2nd November 1959, The Home Secretary, decided that the law should 'Take it's course'.


5th November 1959, Podola was hanged at Wandsworth prison. He was buried in the prison grounds.


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