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Murder at the Odeon Bristol 1946

1946 Thursday May 30th - Bristol Unsolved Murder.


'Detectives investigating the death of Mr R.N. Parrington Jackson, 32-year-old general manager of the Odeon Theatre, Bristol, found shot through the temples in his office last evening, have solved one mystery and are faced with two more. 'The mystery they have solved is the identity of the patron who phoned them from the cinema to report the shooting.


This man has now come forward and has volunteered 'a most helpful statement'. 'The police are still trying, however, to find the weapon and a motive. Late this afternoon they reported 'absolutely no new developments'. They expected to be engaged at the Odeon all day today and possibly tomorrow.


'Mr Jackson's wife was at his bedside with police on hand when he died at Bristol Royal Infirmary at 3.35 a.m. today. It is understood he was unable to describe what had happened. 'Mr Jackson, who lived with his wife and four-year-old son at Zetland Road, was appointed manager of the Odeon in March 1940. He resumed his duties only seven weeks ago after 6 years in the Royal Navy. 'In true showman like fashion 'the show went on' after Mr Jackson had been shot. But for a notice flashed on to the screen to appeal for a doctor, patrons watching a presentation of 'The Light That Failed' had no inkling of the drama which was being enacted in another part of the building.' It was, and still is, one of Bristol's most sensational murders.


The film playing at the moment when the dashing, dinner-jacketed manager who had acted in the movies, driven across America by car in just five days and worked as a radio announcer was shot, was a thriller. Six shots rang out. Five of them were on the soundtrack of The Light That Failed. The sixth was for real. Forty-eight hours later, the police were no wiser, as the Evening Post revealed. Friday's Post reported: 'While a watch was being maintained at Temple Meads and other West-country stations and at Avonmouth and other docks, police officers were taking statement after statement.


'All likely places, including blitzed ruins, have been combed for the weapon, but so far without result. There is strong reason to believe it was a .45 Service revolver. 'Police Have Two Theories. 'Several lines of inquiry are being pursued, following a day of methodical search, conferences, interviews and at- tempts to reconstruct the shooting, with officers impersonating Mr Jackson and his assailant. 'Police worked all night in the office where the shooting took place. 'Silhouetted against the curtains could occasionally be seen the figures of C.I.D. men who, with finger-print experts and photographers, were still scrutinising every inch of the room for possible clues.


'The possibility of suicide has been ruled out, leaving the theories of: 1 —Mr Jackson returning to his office to surprise an intruder intent on robbery who shot his way out. It is known that Mr Jackson had taken the takings from the box-office to the safe in his private office. He then visited the operating box and was shot on returning to his office. 2—Mr Jackson being shot in a private quarrel with the intruder.' No money had been taken. The key to the safe was found in the dying man's pocket. The mystery remains unsolved.

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Taken on December 1, 2007