It was a bad night in Bethlehem when a couple of travellers found themselves forced by a housing crisis to sleep in a lowly cattle shed. Yet, on an ordinary night in England nearly two thousand years later, Jake Sudworth frequently has to do the same.
Stories from 1990:
Just after sunrise on a bleak November morning seventy five years ago, five men in uniform stood in line in the exercise yard of Utah State Penitentiary near Salt Lake City, raised rifles to their shoulders, took aim at a solitary figure tied up against the wall and shot him to death.
Oliver Golden grew up like any other young black man in Mississippi at the turn of the century, dirt poor and nigger humble. His parents had been born in slavery. When he was a child, he went to the black school and the black church; when he grew up he worked in the cotton fields; when he was old enough, he ran away to New York.
Tiny Rowland, as everyone knows, is a bastard. He is greedy, ruthless and arrogant, a capitalist red in tooth and claw. As a boy, he was a member of the Hitler Youth. During the war, he was interned with Mosley’s fascists on the Isle of Man. As a businessman, he has made selfishness a way of life, turning an ailing African mining company called Lonrho into an international giant by pillaging his way through the third world, bending rules, breaking opponents and incidentally besmirching the reputation of the Observer newspaper.
The decline of the English criminal was most obvious in the violent end of Colin Grindley. Right up to the moment that he was handcuffed and shot through the back of the head, he had led an entirely unremarkable life. He was aged 33 and worked for British Rail. Much earlier that day in the spring of last year, he had left his wife and two young sons with his mother-in-law in Croydon for a short holiday and set off on the long drive home to Warrington in his Vauxhall Astra Estate.