Best Known For
Donald Hume is best known for beating a murder charge in England and then being caught for another murder in Switzerland.
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Prison life had not vanquished the chip on his shoulder and as soon as he came out newspaper editors vied for his story.
The Sunday Pictorial offered to pay Hume handsomely for his confession on condition that they would give him 10 days to leave the country. Together with a photographer they re-enacted the crime. Hume changed his name to Donald Brown when he met up with a reporter for the paper and confessed his life-story.
As a result Hume became paranoid about being recognized and began to disguise himself. He eventually took on another alias, John Stephen Bird, someone with the same age as him whom he had come across in the files at Somerset House.
In May 1958, with a bogus passport and 2,000 pounds he received from the paper, he boarded a plane for Zurich to start a new life.
It was while he was in the affluent Swiss city that Hume reckoned that banks were a pushover. He had decided on a plan to enrich himself further and begin a new life in Canada and breed huskies.
It was during a torrid affair with a girl called Trudi who lived in Zurich that Hume realized he would need money in order to continue to impress her with his elaborate lies. He treated Trudi to expensive gifts, took her out to restaurants and eventually told her that he wanted to marry her. In reality he only had 150 pounds left.
He needed money fast, and as he had also indulged Trudi with tales that he was a spy for the Americans, he felt pressure to come up with quick schemes in order to keep up the charade.
His solution was to rob a bank in London. Back in England and under the guise of Donald Brown, he made plans to raid the Midland Bank on August 1, 1958. Walking straight up to cashier Frank Lewis, he shot the bank employee in the stomach before making off with 2,000 pounds. He escaped to Kew Bridge station and within 26 hours was back with an unsuspecting Trudi in Zurich.
Luckily, Frank Lewis survived his ordeal. But for Hume his was only beginning, as the police were starting to realize that he and Donald Brown were the same man. Also Trudi, who had already questioned Hume when she noticed his passport picture was unrecognizable, had greater cause to be concerned when she stepped on a bullet.
Hume, ever the actor, put on a convincing display as he burst into tears and told Trudi that he was in fact not a spy for the Americans, but the Russians.
Desperate to make big bucks, Hume decided to raid more banks, but this time in Zurich. The bank he chose was the Gewerbe Bank, one he was already familiar with. In January 1958, carrying a cardboard box with a gun hidden in it, Hume entered the bank at 11:30 a.m. and marched straight up to one of the counters.
He aimed the gun at cashier Walter Schenkel and fired, before jumping over the counter.
But Schenkel was only wounded and managed to set off the alarm bells, prompting Hume to run out, pursued by onlookers. As he ran down a series of alleys he finally reached the embankment, turned around and fired at the encroaching crowd. Arthur Maag, a 50-year-old taxi driver, tried to stop him.
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