Sir Ludovic Kennedy was born in Edinburgh in 1919, son of a naval officer. He was educated at Eton, where he played in a jazz band with Humphrey Lyttleton. After serving in World War II, Kennedy studied at Oxford, and later took up journalism and broadcasting. He married the dancer Moira Shearer in 1950, and they had four children. He died on October 18, 2009, aged 89.
Kennedy’s greatest achievement was in uncovering miscarriages of justice. In his book, 10 Rillington Place, he argued that Timothy Evans’ murder conviction was unsound. It was later discovered that John Christie was responsible. Kennedy also investigated the case of Derek Bentley, the last man to be hanged in England. He also wrote at length about the Lindbergh kidnapping and the Birmingham Six, and advocated liberal causes from atheism to euthanasia. Kennedy was a fiercely eloquent critic of the justice system, and a much-admired free thinker.
After the recent passing of Ludovic Kennedy, I re-read his 1964 book, The Trial Of Stephen Ward. It is one of the best studies of the Profumo Affair, and an invaluable record of the shortcomings of English criminal procedure. Ward’s trial and the outcry it caused was also the subject of my own first novella, Wicked Baby (2004.) Continue reading