The Royal Gazette has published an article today (11/3/13) -  CLICK HERE to see the article - about a new book by British author Mel Ayton providing details of the assassinations and murders committed in 1972 and 1973 by Erskine “Buck” Burrows and Larry Tacklyn who were both hanged in 1977 for their involvement. “Justice Denied” implicates a third man, who is not named, as a key accomplice.

The book is available at local bookstores although all copies have been sold this week and more have been ordered. For anyone living overseas ‘Justice Denied’ can also be ordered from (CLICK HERE for details).

Amazon's description of the book is as follows:-

Justice Denied - Bermuda's Black Militants, the 'Third Man' and the Assassinations of a Police Chief and Governor is the first full account of the 1972/1973 assassinations of Bermuda's Governor and Police Chief. The book includes a Foreword by Dr. Carol Shuman,  psychologist, former newspaper reporter,editor and author. 

During the 1970s, a black power organization in Bermuda who modelled themselves on the American Black Panthers, conspired to bring about social change "by any means necessary", including assassination. The struggle for equal rights in Bermuda during this period both imitated events in the United States and was heavily influenced by them, especially the role American black militants played in encouraging Bermuda's youth to challenge the white power structure on the island. Bermuda became the first nation to suffer the violent effects of the importation of 1960s-style American Black Power militancy. As a result, Governor Richard Sharples was murdered as well the island's Police Chief George Duckett and others.

Justice Denied points the finger of guilt at a faction of the black militant group, led by the 'Third Man', who controlled the convicted assassins. The author names the Bermuda businessman, a convicted drug dealer, who assisted the assassins in financing their political aims through drug deals and bank robberies. He also concludes that the real story about the assassinations was 'whitewashed' by consecutive Bermudian Governments in the interests of racial harmony.

This investigative book is based on interviews with police officers involved in the investigation into the assassinations and murders as well as interviews with prison officers familiar with two members of the assassination team. Additional material for the book was gleaned from the previously secret Scotland Yard Murder Files, British Foreign Office Files, court records, newspaper archives and interviews with the Governor's widow.

For those of us who served in the Bermuda Police at the time of the murders this should be a fascinating read. We had hoped to provide a brief review of the book but missed out on purchasing the first copies and we await the next order arriving.











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#10 Mel Ayton 2016-12-19 06:49
Thank you Carol and Hannah for your kind comments. You can read a Crime Magazine article here:
#9 Sally 2016-12-17 10:44
I have just ordered this book as a surprise Christmas present for my father. We are related to George Duckett & have a photograph of him at my Great Aunt's wedding. We had no idea of the existence of the book but are so looking forward to reading it. We will happily share the photograph if it is of interest to Mel.

Editors note - Many thanks for writing Sally. The book is a very interesting read. I would like to obtain contact details for Mrs Duckett or her daughter and if you are in contact with either of them I would ask that you send them to me, or have them write to me at
#8 Carol Hannah 2015-10-23 02:31
Mel Ayton
Thank you for publishing this book. It took me 4 years to get my hands on a copy. We were with the Canadian Military at CFS Daniel's Head from 1974 - 1978 and lived through the riots and hangings. We especially remember your Constable "Steve Smedley" Our son still asks about him. Very happy you and many of your FINE officers were there to Protect us. Many Thanks . Excellent Book.
Daniel, Carol & Christopher Hannah.

Appreciate your not displaying our e-mail address.

Editors note - Many thanks for writing to us Carol. Will forward you comment on to Steve Smedley. It is our policy NOT to publish email address. telephone numbers etc.
#7 Mel Ayton 2014-11-10 07:49
Hi Paul,
Yes, I remember you well. You arrived from Barbados (I think!) with a Mr Bourne. Have you been in touch with any of the Dirty Dozen who arrived from the UK in September 1971? - Pete Sayers, Robbie Aldred, Robbie Robertson, Terry Jamieson, etc? You can contact me via my website
#6 Paul Singh 2014-11-09 14:06
I worked with a Mel Ayton at HM Casemates prison in the 70's- is this the same Ayton??

Editors note - Yes, Paul. One and the same.
#5 MEL AYTON 2014-02-10 08:26
My apologies Peter - the information was taken from the Inquest Report.

Editors note - Many thanks for responding Mel. It is much appreciated.
#4 Dale Thurstan 2013-10-18 20:42
I was assigned to the Deputy PC, on the evening before the executions. I will never forget patrolling the grounds at his home overlooking Hamilton, when the sky turned orange, after an explosion. Followed by machine gun fire. I took a deep breath, patted the .38 and listened intently to the radio. Hoping earnestly that more ammo would be on the way. It turned out that it was a liquor warehouse that was set on fire and the bottles exploading rapidly was the source of the 'machine gun'. The following months were challenging and memorable. I look forward to reading this book.
#3 Terry Cabral 2013-05-02 14:49
Peter, I do believe that this matter has been addressed between you and Mel Ayton. I am aware of such.
Frank DeAllie just happened to be there when the shots were fired.
There were many 'first responders'.
A great day to all.
#2 Peter Brown 2013-05-01 16:10
Interesting book but slightly inaccurate as I was first officer at scene and not Ken Van Thal as stated in the book.I was duty driver at Hamilton and on starting night duty made my way to the scene as result of alarm activation.Mike Rickards was my Sergeant and should be able to verify.This incident stayed strong on my mind for many years.Pity that Mel Ayton got it wrong.

Editors note - We have no doubt that minor errors would be found in any book packed with this much information, and chances are that Mel Ayton received this information from someone who believed they were accurate.
#1 Terry Cabral 2013-04-05 18:33
It was a privilege to work with Mel on this historic and factual book.

8 years of work along with others was well worth it. It stands alone with no comparison except court documents.
I hope many enjoy the book and keep it as a piece of history to be passed on.

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