Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2016 Issue

A Conviction and Life Sentence for Bookseller's Killer

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Murdered bookseller Adrian Greenwood.

Michael Danaher, a 50-year-old unemployed man from Peterborough, UK, has been convicted of the murder of Oxford bookseller Adrian Greenwood, 42. After a three-week trial, it took the jury less than three hours to reach a guilty verdict. Danaher was sentenced to life in prison, which means he must serve a minimum of 34 years.

 

The tale as told by the prosecution was grisly, to say the least. Greenwood suffered 33 stab wounds, one very deep, others superficial punctures which a pathologist described as consistent with someone being tortured for information. He also had been beaten with blunt force and stamped on. "It takes a certain sort of person to have done what the defendant did to Adrian Greenwood," the prosecutor remarked. Danaher had only superficial scratches, including one on the cheek for which he stopped long enough to take a "selfie."

 

Danaher had lost his job after a dispute with his boss. He survived by selling low-priced items on eBay. It was at an auction where he bought such items that Danaher met Greenwood. The two conversed, became friendly, and Danaher later bought some low-priced books from Greenwood.

 

The prosecution centered around damning evidence found on Danaher's computer and cell phone. Police found what was described as a "hit list" on his computer. It contained the names of several people of means, including Greenwood and model Kate Moss. There was also a Conservative MP and several party donors, described as "Tory" or "scum Tory." Danaher held his share of resentments for those of wealth. Next to Greenwood's name, Danaher wrote, "Expected take: rare books," "reason: tosser," and "modus: Any!!"

 

Internet searches on Danaher's computer were equally revealing. He had searched for information on owning rifles, how to buy samurai swords, opening locks without keys, "the technique of silent killing," "Hacking for Profit," "rare books Oxford," and "Wind in the Willows." Danaher stole Greenwood's copy of Wind in the Willows, which Greenwood had listed for £50,000 (around $75,000 in U.S. currency at the time). He also searched the names of various other wealthy people, including Simon Cowell.

 

There was similarly unfavorable evidence on his cell phone. It showed that he had driven to the home of wealthy businessman Adrian Beecroft. A man disguised as a delivery driver had attempted to force his way into Beecroft's home but fled when his wife screamed.

 

Danaher attempted to explain all of this as being the work of a large, but otherwise unnamed man who had stayed with Danaher and terrorized him. He said the man was given access to Danaher's computer and cell phone, and allowed to borrow his car. The man warned him, claimed Danaher, of terrible "consequences" if he named him. Danaher also claimed such threats were made to him while he was in prison awaiting trial. Obviously, the jury did not believe a word of this.

 

As for what happened in Greenwood's home the day of the killing, Danaher claimed he went there to discuss books. Greenwood, he said, for some unknown reason, suddenly attacked him with a knife. Danaher said he killed him in self-defense. The need for 33 stabbings, a beating and stomping if this was self-defense, is hard to understand, and evidently was hard for the jury to understand as well. It was cited that Greenwood could have a temper, and perhaps that partly explains why he became the victim of such a brutal murder, but the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to Danaher as the guilty party, a conclusion the jury had little difficulty reaching.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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