Over the holiday weekend, notorious British killer Harry Street (formerly known as Barry Williams) passed away. Street was infamous for his seemingly random 1978 killing spree, which left five people dead. Perhaps more compelling than that is the story of what happened next, and how police narrowly avoided a second killing spree.
Street made headlines in 1978 after going on a shooting spree that left 5 people dead. There was no apparent reason for the rampage. Street”s first victims were his neighbors, a father and son who had worked on a car in their driveway, along with their mother. Several other neighbors were also wounded as Street fled the scene, firing his handgun seemingly at random.
During his attempted escape, Street stopped at a gas station, where he killed the owners, a husband and wife. Street then took officers on a chase through the English countryside. Police eventually rammed his car. They were then able to overpower and arrest him. The press at the time dubbed Street”s spree an “orgy of terror.”
Street was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia before his trial. Because of his impaired mental state at the time of the spree, he was found guilty of five counts of manslaughter rather than murder. Street then spent the next 15 years at a secure mental health facility for his crimes.
Surprisingly, Street was released from his indefinite detention in 1995. Officials at the time deemed him fit to be reintegrated into society. However, not long after his release, trouble started up once again for Street. He began to harass his neighbors in very much the same way he had prior to his 1978 killing spree.
After numerous complaints, police investigated Street”s house in October 2013. Inside, they found a veritable arsenal which included at least 50 homemade bullets, an improvised bomb, two pistols, and a revolver. Street pled guilty to the weapons charges, and he was once again indefinitely incarcerated in a mental health facility.
On this past Christmas Eve, Street was pronounced dead at the U.K.”s high-security Ashworth Hospital. Officials believe he suffered a heart attack.
While the death of an individual is always a tragedy, you might be forgiven for having mixed emotions about the death of Harry Street. Regardless, our thoughts are with the families of those affected by Street”s actions, and with the family of Street for their loss.