IN 1958, during his swivel hipping hey day, there cannot have been many people who voluntarily walked out of an Elvis Presley film half way through.

Yet having paid good money to see Jailhouse Rock,  labourer Alfred Gwynne told police he left the Central Cinema in Kidderminster just after the scene in which Elvis hits a warder, because he wasn’t enjoying the movie. It was a claim that was to have life long consequences for him and fatal consequences for a nine-year-old boy.

 When young Lenny Hall was found dead on wasteland off Hoo Road, Kidderminster in May 1958, naked from the waist down except for his shoes and socks, which the little lad had put on inside out,  fear spread through the neighbourhood.

 As was usual back then when murder was involved, special assistance from New Scotland Yard was sought and Det Supt Joseph Kennedy was immediately despatched to the carpet town to help detectives of the Worcestershire Constabulary with their enquiries. Ultimately it was to be one of his more straightforward cases because both victim and main suspect were well known in the area. Lenny was a child often seen larking about, while the man he was last seen with had distinctive ginger hair.

 Lenny’s body had been discovered at seven in the evening by two other nine-year-olds out playing. It was lying beneath a hedge at the bottom of a slope and at first they thought whoever it was might be asleep. But when they fetched the nearest “grown-up”, who happened to be a railway fireman, it soon emerged the boy was dead. His trousers and underpants were found nearby neatly draped over a bush.

 Pathologist Dr Albert Hunt reported that Lenny had been strangled and also violated, either just before or immediately after his death. He had scratches on  his chest, abdomen and upper thighs consistent with human fingernails. There were blood spots on his shirt which did not come from any of his injuries.

 Police investigations soon bore fruit. Witnesses came forward to say that Lenny, who had gone out to play and not returned home, had been seen in the company of a ginger-haired man on the afternoon of his death.  Within 12 hours officers were knocking on the door of a house in Queen Street, Kidderminster. It was one o’clock in the morning when Det Insp Rex Jones roused 36-year-old Alfred Gwynne from his bed and asked if he wouldn’t mind getting dressed.

Gwynne, who had ginger hair and matched the description of the man last seen with Lenny, had lived in the area most of his life. Indeed it subsequently turned out he was well known to the dead boy’s father. Despite the fact he must have known what was coming or in an effort to bluff his way out of the situation, Gwynne unhesitatingly agreed to go to the police station.

 He told detectives that on the previous afternoon he had been to the Central Cinema to see Jailhouse Rock but hadn’t enjoyed it and walked out at about five o’clock, immediately after a scene in which Elvis clashed with a warder. However, cinema manager Victor Sims soon confirmed this piece of action was actually shown at 2.27pm.

 Several people who knew both Lenny and Gwynne contacted police and one of them, park keeper John Wilkes, said he had seen the pair going into the gent’s toilets in St George’s Park about 3.15pm. Other witnesses also saw them together during the afternoon.

 When Det Supt  Kennedy told Gwynne he was going to put him in an identification parade, the labourer was still defiant. “I’ll have the identification,” he said. “It was all true what I said in my sheet.” (His police statement in which he denied any part in Lenny Hall’s death or even meeting the boy that day).

 Suddenly he added: “I can’t figure things out half the time. I just can’t think. You may think I’m pulling your leg. Maybe I did do it, but I cannot explain. I admit I didn’t go to the pictures.”

 Then as he was changing clothes for the identification parade, he burst into tears, sobbing: “I want to say it was just a sudden urge. It’s all true. I killed him. I don’t know what came over me.”

 Alfred Gwynne went on to make a full confession to the murder of young Lenny Hall. He pleaded guilty to the charge at Birmingham Assizes on July 15, 1958 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.