Monday, January 22, 2007

A Tribute To Penny Laing

This should have been posted on Xmas Eve, but as I was just thinking about Neil Best, I thought I'd post this as well.

Penny Laing was murdered on Xmas Eve 1989, glassed in the throat in a Newcastle nightclub, and bled to death just outside. I was at home when I heard the news report on the radio that day, my mother screamed, horrified by the news.

When we'd lived in Annitsford, we'd known her and her family well. They lived on Front Street and her dad had a farm shop opposite the Post Office. He also rescued someone from the old cinema when it caught fire. Penny was in the same class as me all the way through Primary School. I once bet her 5p that Christopher Columbus's real name was actually Cristobel Colon.

The guy who killed her, Stephen Craven, left the country straight away (his dad paid for the flight) and was arrested when he came back. He protested his innocence, despite the evidence being pretty damning and witnesses actually seeing him, but was convicted in 1991. He appealed the sentence in 1993 and having the appeal turned down, appealed again in 1995. In 1997 it was referred to the Court of Appeal and eventually dismissed in 2000.

Eleven years and three appeals later, he's still protesting his innocence, despite DNA evidence from Penny's boyfriend's shirt meaning a billion to one chance it not being him. According to this report, he has been released from prison on a life licence.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your tribute to Penny. From
Penny's sister.

Blogger silas said...

Hey Lesley. Well, I'm guessing you're Lesley anyway. Hope you are well, and you are more than welcome. Just wish there was more that could be said.

I don't know if you'll recognise me, but my mum used to run the sheltered housing place on Jubilee Court when it first opened, so that should give you some clue as to who I am.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Silas. I'm well thanks. Of course I remember you. I'm living in Cheshire now with my hubby Phil.
Mum and Ian are doing well too! Hope all is well with you. Lesley

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the case of poor Penny very well. I was a "Studio" regular then, back in the day, although wasn't there that terrible night.

Bizarrely, I did get to DJ there some years later. Weird.. I know.

RIP Penny.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi JB. Hope you're well. This is Hakin (Molly). You can reach me at if you'd like. It would good to hear from you.

Blogger jayne cheung said...

One of my best friends. Always missed always remembered x

Blogger jayne cheung said...

Worked with penny at the time. Always think of her. Was meant to go clubbing with her after work that night, I didn't go. Never forgotten her.

Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Julie Errington said...

I didn't know Penny or any of her family but remember this vividly. Over the years have often thought about her and her family as I was really sickened by this tragic attack on a young girl who had simply gone out to enjoy the beginning of her Christmas with her boyfriend and friends.... I have over the years told the story to mamy about how one moment in time/incident can completely change a persons life forever. So so sad. RIP Penny. Gone but not forgotten.


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