Date Of Execution: 11 Aug 1954
Crime Location: Room 14, 112 Western Road, Hove
Execution Place: Wandsworth
Executioner: Albert Pierrepoint
William Sanchez de Pina Hepper murdered Margaret Rose Louise Spevick 11 who he strangled in Room 14, 112 Western Road, Hove on 4 February 1954.
William Sanchez de Pina Hepper was a 62-year-old painter who had a studio in Brighton and lived in a flat in Chelsea. He had led quite a full life and, in his time he had been a translator for the BBC and had spied for the USA in Spain.
His own daughter had a friend, 11-year-old Margaret Rose Louise Spevick, who had broken her arm in an accident. Seeing his chance Hepper wrote a letter to the the girl's mother and suggested that the girl could go with him to his studio in Brighton where she could both rest her arm and at the same time sit for him as a model. Mrs Spevick thought this was a marvelous idea and agreed. The pair of them travelled to Brighton on 3rd February 1954.
Mrs Spevick decided to surprise her daughter and travelled down to see her on 7 February but, when she got there she could not get an answer from the studio. She managed to find the caretaker who let her in and it was then she found her daughter's raped and strangled body on the bed.
Hepper was tracked down quite quickly and was arrested in Spain on the 10th February and extradited. His trial took place at Lewes Assizes in July 1954. He tried to plead insanity and demonstrated his paranoia by collapsing in the witness box. He was found guilty and was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 11th August 1954.
see National Archives - PCOM 9/1719, ASSI 90/62, ASSI 36/179
see "Hepper Remanded On Murder Charge." Times [London, England] 25 Mar. 1954: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 16 June 2016.