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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother (horizontal),</i> silver print, 1936. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Group of 32 WWII-era identification badges for manufacturing & military-related companies, 1940-50s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Julia Margaret Cameron, <i>Alfred, Lord Tennyson,</i> albumen print, 1869. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Arnold Genthe, <i>Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt,</i> silver print, circa 1908. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Edward Curtis, <I>Oasis in the Badlands,</I> toned platinum print, 1905. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Francis Frith, three volumes, approximately 140 photographs, 1860-70s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Eugène Atget, <i>20 Photographs,</i> gold-toned silver prints by Berenice Abbott, 1898-1927. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Neil Leifer, <i>Muhammad Ali,</i> chromogenic print, 1965. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b><br>A group of approximately 50 Photomatic selfies of the same man taken over a period of time, 1940s. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STEINBECK, John (1902-1968). <i>The Pastures of Heaven.</i> New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam, 1932. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). <i>Tender is the Night.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STOKER, Bram (1847-1912). <i>Dracula.</i> Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> GOLDING, William (1911-1993). <i>Lord of the Flies.</i> London: Faber and Faber, 1954. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> SALINGER, J. D. (1919-2010). The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). <i>The Torrents of Spring.</i> New York: Scribner's, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HUXLEY, Aldous (1894-1963). <i>Brave New World.</i> London: Chatto & Windus, 1932. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> WELLS, H.G. <i>The Time Machine, an Invention.</i> New York: Henry Holt, 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> DAHL, Roald (1916-1990). <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.</i> New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HERBERT, Frank (1920-1986). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1965. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> KESEY, Ken (1935-2001). <i>One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.</i> New York: The Viking Press, 1962. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> VONNEGUT, Kurt, Jr. (1922-2007). <i>Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade.</i> New York: Seymour Lawrence Delacorte Press, 1969. $2,000 to $3,000.

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