John Straffen, the Man Who Escaped to Murder Whilst in Broadmoor
His actions changed the landscape of the hospital forever.
Usually, I don’t cover these cases. But, as some may know, my next true crime book is about Broadmoor. So I would not be doing the book justice by not covering Straffen, as he played a big part in the changes there.
Straffen was born on 27th February 1930 in Hampshire. His father was in the army, so it wasn’t long before Straffen and his family lived in India. In 1938, the family returned to the United Kingdom and settled in Bath.
Within a couple of years, Straffen found himself in trouble at school. He was a thief and regular truant. At the age of ten, he was sent to a school for ‘backward children,’ his IQ was measured and was 58. An IQ of 100 is average.
On 27th July 1997, Straffen assaulted a young girl of thirteen. He walked over to her and asked, ‘what would you do if I killed you?’ He then put a hand over her mouth.
Later, when she was released, the police arrested Straffen for the crime. It was discovered during this initial interview that he had recently strangled several chickens after a girl had upset him.
Straffen developed a hatred for the police. At the same time, a young girl Christine Butcher was murdered. Some speculated that this was what drove Straffen’s killing sprees. He felt killing children would cause the police the most distress.