Monday, 20 June 2011

The Dryden shootings: 20 years on


Anyone who has ever been on one of my courses will be familiar with the story of the murder of planning officer Harry Collinson in Butsfield, County Durham. It was the most remarkable day during my time as an editor. The story revolved around a bungalow that had been built, without planning permission, by an eccentric maverick called Albert Dryden. Derwentside District Council decided that the bungalow had to be demolished and Mr Collinson turned up to oversee it. While the bulldozer was preparing to break through the fence, Dryden went off to a caravan and returned wearing a gunbelt and holster with a First World War revolver. He walked up to the fence, took the gun out of the holster and shot Mr Collinson dead. He also shot and injured BBC reporter Tony Belmont and PC Stephen Campbell. Northern Echo photographer Mike Peckett took an astonishing set of photographs, recording the whole event on film. We ran them across Page 1 in a sequence (above left). It happened exactly 20 years ago today but the pictures are still as shocking now as they were then. The news-editor of The Northern Echo that day was Peter Barron, and he clearly hasn't forgotten it either. He is now the paper's editor  and today ran an interview with Mr Collinson's brother (above right) and a first person piece by Mark Summers (below), the reporter who covered the story for the Echo. It's a considered and sensitive article that tells the shocking events of the day in detail. It all vividly brings back the way the day unfolded and the decisions we made. And if it sends a chill down my spine, I can't begin to imagine what effect it has on those who were there ... or on Harry Collinson's family.












 

8 comments:

  1. Astonishing to think it's been 20 years. What a day it was.Whatever became of the photographer who was there with Mark Summers, Mike Peckett? Dryden pointed his gun right at him, as I recall.

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  2. Hi Tony. Think he works for the Chron now. He was really collected about it all. Developed all his own pix.

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  3. Is Albert Dryden still alive as a matter of interest?

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  4. harry collinson what a docile cunt along with all those idiots who stood there like lemmings.if a fuckwit pulls out a combat proven .455 webley pistol and all you have got is a white helmet and stupid middle class certainties you are fucken doomed collinson should have done the 4 minute mile and still be alive docile cunt in a way he asked for it

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  5. he was pushed to it, free him now

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  7. I feel sorry for Albert, and I hope he is out of jail, in good health, and with good friends. They pushed him too far. It was not what they were doing, but how they went about it, they made a carnival out of situation, they even fetched the TV cameras to record Alberts downfall. They weren't satisfied with just taking Alberts home from him, they also wanted to take his dignity as well. They did both, but paid dearly for them. Best wishes Albert.

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  8. alberts 10th appeal was yesterday ! he is 77 years old now still going strong ! i write to him alot he got another couple of things to get out of the way before he gets an answer ! poor bugger should be out now for god sake ! he is over his time now !

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