28th July 1947

Murderer sentenced to death in three hours

Murderer James Ozanne was sentenced to death after a trial lasting just three hours. The 53-year-old labourer had stood accused of shooting his house keeper, 40-year-old widow Clara Ogier, in the head. She had died of her injuries.

Although found guilty, for which the court could only pass a sentence of death, the judge made a strong recommendation for mercy.

His life was spared

His sentence was thus commuted to penal servitude for life two weeks later. He served only nine years of his life sentence and was released on 27 July 1956.

The case had received widespread coverage beyond Guernsey, and the Gloucester Citizen reported, on 16 August, that the auctioneer who was tasked with selling Ozanne’s house had made “constant reminders during the bidding of the urgency for a high price”. He wasn’t just trying to earn himself more commission: “The future of Ozanne’s children Pearl (10) and Harold (15), said the auctioneer, ‘depended entirely on the proceeds of the auction.’ Both children watched the sale.”

The house where the killing had taken place eventually sold for £2100 – and the contents for £46.


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