02 – Ideological purity reaches the superficially cosy world of the nursery. In an attempt to excise any taint of racism, all new editions of Enid Blyton’s Noddy books will be shorn of the traditional black golliwogs, who will be replaced by neutral gnomes. Traditionalists are appalled and claim that such “sanitisation” will destroy many classics.
03 – 49 people are killed when a Brazilian Varig airliner crashes near Abidjan on the Ivory Coast.
05 – Genetic fingerprinting is used for the first time in a criminal investigation in Leicester, UK.
06 – Elton John cancels all performances for the next year following throat surgery.
06 – Three warders are taken hostage by prisoners who stage a rooftop protest at Barlinnie Gaol in Glasgow, alleging brutality. Nine other officers are trapped inside, and more than 30 are injured by missiles. The siege ends after five days when the prisoners give themselves up, having released their hostages unharmed.
11 – 25 people are publicly lashed for staging an unofficial car race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
15 – A London police officer who shot and paralysed a mother-of-six is cleared of all criminal charges. The shooting happened when Inspector Douglas Lovelock led a police raid on a house in Brixton in September 1985 looking for Michael Groce, a man they had been told could be armed. He was not at home, but in the confusion, his mother, Cherry Groce, was shot in the chest. She is now paralysed from the waist down. The shooting sparked riots in Brixton which led to the death of a photographer, hit on the head by a brick.
20 – Police carry out a series of dawn raids and make 26 arrests in their biggest operation so far against soccer hooliganism in England. The raids – codenamed “Operation Fulltime” – were synchronised and took place at 0600 GMT at 30 addresses in London, the Home Counties and the Midlands.
21 – Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, is kidnapped by a terrorist group in Beirut, Lebanon. Waite is in Beirut to negotiate for the release of other kidnap victims.
22 – Caught up in a bribery and corruption scandal, and facing a maximum of 55 years in prison, Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer calls a press conference to give a speech during which he produces a .357 Magnum handgun and fires a single shot through the roof of his mouth and into his brain, collapsing to the floor, dead. Five television news cameras record the event.
24 – 162 police and 33 demonstrators are injured in violent riots outside Rupert Murdoch’s News International printing plant at Wapping, UK.
29 – President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino forces a group of heavily armed rebels who have occupied a television station for the last two days to surrender as her troops fire tear gas into the Channel 7 building in Manila.
02 – In a referendum in the Philippines, 81% approve a new US-style constitution.
04 – Stars & Stripes wins back the Americas Cup for USA.
04 – Paino-playing showman Liberace dies of AIDS (b. 16 May 1919).
07 – South Korean police make hundreds of arrests in the country’s biggest demonstrations for six years. The rallies were to commemorate the recent death in custody of student Park Chong-choi.
11 – Party planner Cynthia Payne is acquitted of nine charges of controlling prostitutes at her home in south-west London. Her life is eventually dramatised in two British films – Personal Services and Wish You Were Here.
17 – A group of Tamils from Sri Lanka seeking asylum in Britain protest at Heathrow airport by removing their clothes as they are about to be deported. Amid a frenzied scuffle with security personnel, they are forcibly placed onto the awaiting aircraft, which is bound for Dhaka.
22 – US pop artist Andy Warhol dies in New York aged 56, after routine gall bladder surgery.
22 – A force of around 7,000 Syrian troops enters West Beirut in an effort to end fighting between Muslim and Druse forces.
26 – The Tower Commission investigating US arms sales to Iran criticises senior White House staff.
03 – American screen star Danny Kaye dies in Los Angeles.
06 – Two hundred cross-channel passengers are feared dead after a car ferry capsized in the bitterly cold waters off Zeebrugge. The Herald of Free Enterprise, belonging to the Townsend Thoresen company, rolled over and sank a mile outside the Belgian port (pictured). First indications are that the bow doors were open, allowing water to pour into the car deck.
10 – The Vatican condemns surrogate parenting, test tube babies and artificial insemination.
11 – Four New Jersey high school dropouts die of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in an apparent suicide.
18 – The Reverend Sylvia Mutch becomes the first woman to conduct a marriage ceremony in Britain when she officiates at a wedding at St James’s Church, Clifton in York.
19 – Evangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club following revelations of sexual encounters with church secretary Jessica Hahn.
20 – The Australian Federal government approves the use of AZT (azido-thymidine) on AIDS patients, although the drug is criticised by some for its expense ($10,000 per year per patient) and its many side effects.
23 – Thirty-one people are injured after an IRA car bomb explodes at a British army base in West Germany. 27 West Germans and four Britons are hurt in the bombing at 2230 local time.
27 – Irish band U2 film a music video for the song Where the Streets Have No Name on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, California. The video shoot is shut down by police due to security concerns.
28 – Oxford beats Cambridge by four lengths in the 133rd University Boat Race.
29 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits Moscow.
29 – Crocodile kills US model in Northern Australia.
30 – A Japanese insurance company buys Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for $53.9 million (£22.5 million) – The highest price ever paid for a painting.
30 – The Vietnam war film Platoon is voted best picture at the Academy Awards in Hollywood. Paul Newman wins best actor for The Color of Money and Marlee Matlin nest actress for Children of a Lesser God.
02 – Jazz drummer Buddy Rich dies of a brain tumour, aged 69.
03 – The late Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery is sold for £31m ($50m) – six times the expected figure – during a two-day Sotheby’s auction in Switzerland.
04 – ‘Maori Venture’, ridden by Steve Knight, wins the Grand National at Aintree.
05 – Arsenal beats Liverpool 2-1 in the Littlewood’s Cup final at Wembley.
14 – Mikhail Gorbachev announces that the USSR is prepared to remove short-range missiles from Eastern Europe.
16 – Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appears at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in central London charged with three acts of gross indecency with one male and one act of gross indecency with another – both teenagers. Proctor resigns as MP for Billericay, pleads guilty and is fined a total of £1,450.
17 – Carlton Barrett, famed as drummer for Bob Marley & The Wailers, is shot dead by his wife and her lover at his home in Kingston, Jamaica.
21 – More than 100 people are killed when a bomb explodes in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Nearly three hundred others are wounded when the device, planted in a car, detonates at Colombo’s main bus terminal during rush hour. The Sri Lankan authorities believe the bomb was planted by Tamil extremists – known as the Tamil Tigers.
04 – Australian Supreme Court rules that Rotary Clubs must admit women.
04 – Blues bandleader Paul Butterfield dies of a drug overdose at the age of 44.
06 – In the South African general election, the ruling National Party wins an overwhelming victory.
06 – In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Miroslav Milhailovic begins a 54-hour joke-telling marathon. Milhailovic claims to know over 287,000 jokes but doesn’t guarantee they’re all good.
08 – The Presidential hopes of the former Senator Gary Hart are ended after one of the shortest campaigns in history. He announced that he was withdrawing from the campaign, in which he was the Democratic frontrunner, after newspaper exposure of his relationship with Donna Rice, a 29-year-old model. The Miami Herald reported that Hart, who is married, saw Miss Rice on a yacht called Monkey Business, and spent the night with her in Washington. Hart said that the press should ignore candidates’ private lives.
12 – Australian crime boss Robert Trimbole dies in Spain.
14 – Actress Rita Hayworth dies at the New York home of her daughter, Yasmin. For a number of years, Hayworth had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
17 – Iraqi Exocet missiles blast US frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 crew. Iraq apologises for the incident, insisting that the missiles were fired by mistake.
28 – 19-year-old West German, Matthias Rust, flies his Cessna plane through heavily defended Soviet air space from Helsinki to Moscow and lands next to the Kremlin in Red Square, Moscow. He is arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison, but will be released after 18 months.
29 – A bid of $50,000 by Michael Jackson to buy the remains of “Elephant Man” John Merrick is rejected.
02 – Australian mother Lindy Chamberlain – who was found guilty five years ago of murdering her nine-week-old daughter Azaria – is pardoned. In 1988, the story will become a movie starring Meryl Streep.
09 – Neil Kinnock says of Margaret Thatcher: “She only went to Venice because somebody told her she could walk down the middle of the street”.
11 – Margaret Thatcher wins a record third term as British Prime Minister after beating Labour by 376 to 229 seats. The victory makes her the first prime minister for more than 160 years to win three successive terms of office.
17 – Five Sydney (Australia) men are found guilty of the abduction, robbery, sexual assault and murder of a 26-year-old nursing sister, Anita Cobby, who was raped and tortured for two hours and then murdered after being dragged into a car as she walked to her parents home in the suburb of Blacktown. The court heard that the three men had been on a binge of beer and marijuana before they grabbed Miss Cobby and took her to a paddock. One of the men, John Travers, aged 19, realised that Miss Cobby had heard his name as he raped her and that she could identify him by a teardrop tattoo under his eye. Travers slashed her throat and left her to die.
22 – Dancer and actor Fred Astaire (b. 10 May 1899) dies at home in Los Angeles at age of 88.
01 – Geoffrey Collier, former head of securities at investment bank Morgan Grenfell, is given a 12-month suspended sentence and fined £25,000 with £7,000 costs at the High Court in London – the first conviction for insider dealing since it became illegal in 1980.
02 – Moors murderer Ian Brady has offered to assist police searches of Saddleworth Moor for the first time since his conviction 21 years ago. When news of the body found at Saddleworth yesterday reached Brady at Park Lane Mental Hospital in Liverpool, he told his solicitor that he was prepared to return to the Manchester moors.
04 – Klaus Barbie, 73, the Gestapo wartime chief known as “the Butcher of Lyon”, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court for war crimes. Barbie dies in prison in Lyon of leukaemia on 25 September 1991.
05 – Martina Navratilova wins the Wimbledon tennis title for a record sixth time after beating Steffi Graf in the final.
11 – Australian PM Bob Hawke back for record third term.
11 – British veterans return to the scene of the bloodiest battle of World War I to commemorate its 70th anniversary. The fields of Passchendaele in Belgium claimed the lives of 250,000 troops of the British Commonwealth between July and November 1917. Now in their 90s, the men pay their respects at the Commonwealth’s largest war cemetery – Tyne Cot – where 11,908 soldiers are buried.
17 – President Reagan‘s National Security Adviser, Rear Admiral John Poindexter tells Congress he authorised the diversion of money from arms sales to Iran to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. “The buck stops with me,” he said. Earlier, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Poindexter’s assistant, had said he assumed but did not know, that the president knew of the diversion.
20 – UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution calling on Iran and Iraq to implement a ceasefire.
22 – US warships begin escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf to protect them from Iranian attacks.
22 – Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali is shot in the face and critically wounded outside his office on Ives Street, Chelsea (London). Naji Salim al-Ali does not regain consciousness and dies in Charing Cross Hospital on 29 August 1987.
24 – 91-year-old Hulda Crooks of California climbs Mount Fuji, becoming the oldest person to conquer Japan’s highest peak.
24 – Former deputy chair of the Conservative Party Jeffrey Archer is awarded record libel damages at the High Court. The Daily Star newspaper is ordered to pay the MP £500,000 damages, along with up to £700,000 costs, for a front-page story last November alleging Mr Archer had paid to have sex with a prostitute.
26 – Irish cyclist Stephen Roche wins the Tour de France.
01 – MTV Europe is launched.
04 – Moors murderer Ian Brady claims he was involved in another five killings. Following preliminary inquiries by the police into his claims, it is decided there is insufficient evidence to pursue an official investigation.
07 – American woman Lynne Cox, 30, is the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union. She swam the 2.7 miles (4.3 km) from Alaska to Siberia across the Bering Strait in a bathing suit despite warnings the temperature of the water – which is frozen for most of the year – was dangerously low at around 5°C. The swim took her two hours and six minutes.
09 – A youth armed with an automatic rifle and a pump-action shotgun kills six people and wounds 10 others when he takes random shots at traffic on Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, a major inner suburban road in Melbourne (Australia). Police arrest the gunman in a nearby street about half an hour after the shootings began at 9:50 pm. They say Julian Knight, 19, had been in the armed services and it is believed he had been drinking before the shootings. None of the dead knew their killer.
13 – Chris Marshall becomes the youngest pilot to fly a round-trip across the US. He is ten years old.
15 – David Lange’s Labour Party is returned to office in the New Zealand general election with a slightly reduced majority.
16 – A McDonnell Douglas MD80 Northwest Airlines jet crashes into a crowded highway near Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the US killing 156 people. A four-year-old girl is the sole survivor of the accident, which is caused by pilot error.
17 – Hitler’s former deputy Rudolf Hess dies at Spandau Prison in West Berlin. Hess was said to have strangled himself with a piece of electrical flex but this claim is disputed by his relatives. Hess was imprisoned during WWII and had spent 41 years behind bars at Spandau.
19 – Michael Ryan, 27, goes on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, Berkshire, in the UK, leaving 16 dead and 15 wounded. Eventually, Ryan turns his gun on himself.
24 – US Marine Sergeant Clayton Lonetree is jailed for 30 years by a military court for trading secrets for sex when he guarded American embassies in Moscow and Vienna.
24 – Wrestler Mal Kirk, aged 51 and weighing 25 stone, dies after suffering a heart attack during a tag-team bout at the Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth. Kirk, who was paid £30 for the contest, had just been “crushed” by Shirley “Big Daddy” Crabtree in a manoeuvre known as a ‘splashdown’.
28 – US Film director John Huston dies, aged 81.
29 – American actor Lee Marvin dies in Arizona, aged 63.
31 – The Notting Hill Carnival in London closes after two days during which one man is murdered, a policewoman is stabbed, 800 crimes are reported and 250 people are arrested.
05 – Eight people are killed and seven seriously injured when a lorry collides head-on with a minibus and two cars on the M6 near Lancaster.
05 – Att least 40 people, including women and children, are killed during an Israeli air strike on a Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon.
09 – Four people are killed when a lorry attempts a U-turn on the M4 near Heathrow. Two coaches and four cars are involved in the accident.
09 – Twenty-five English football fans involved in the 1985 Heysel stadium disaster are extradited to Belgium. Thirty-nine people died in the tragedy before the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool. 14 of the extradited fans are found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after a five-month trial. Seven men are given three-year prison terms and the remainder receive three-year suspended sentences.
21 – US helicopters intercept an Iranian ship caught laying mines in the Persian Gulf.
01 – An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale strikes Los Angeles, leaving over 100 injured and eight people dead.
06 – Fiji becomes a republic after two successive bloodless coups as Queen accepts the resignation of the Governor-General of Fiji at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Vancouver.
07 – A monkey aboard a Soviet satellite starts tampering with equipment during a mission to test weightlessness in animals. The monkey, called Yerosha (“trouble maker”) escapes from his chair but Tass omits to comment on his condition when the capsule returns to earth the following week.
10 – Three winemakers from Sicily drown after falling into a 264-gallon tank of fermenting grape juice.
11 – A major sonar exploration of Loch Ness in Scotland fails to find a monster. Searchers on “Operation Deepscan” spent a week using £1 million worth of equipment to scan the loch.
16 – Yesterday evening a viewer called the BBC and asked the weatherman if there was going to be a hurricane. He laughed off the suggestion. Within hours, southeast England was being battered by winds gusting up to 110mph causing greater havoc than any other storm this century. The storm kills at least 17 people and leaves a £300 million trail of destruction from Cornwall to East Anglia. Sevenoaks in Kent loses six of the oaks giving it its name.
16 – Jessica McClure is rescued after being stuck in a well shaft for three days in Midland, Texas.
18 – US destroyers attack Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in retaliation for Iranian attacks on shipping.
19 – Fifty billion pounds, or ten per cent, is wiped off the value of publicly-quoted companies in London by a tidal wave of selling that begins when dealers reach their desks at 7 am and never stops. Dubbed ‘Black Monday’, it is the worst day for shares this century. No market escapes the shockwaves and Wall Street also has its worst day ever. The collapse is blamed by analysts variously on the US budget and trade deficits, rising interest rates and computer-controlled “programme trading”.
23 – Former champion jockey, Lester Piggott, is sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty of alleged tax fraud of over £3m.
08 – A bomb blast at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland kills 11 people during a Remembrance Day service. The bomb goes off without warning at the town’s cenotaph, where people have gathered to pay their respects to the war dead. The bomb was planted by the IRA, who lost support worldwide after the bombing.
08 – Australia wins cricket World Cup for first time.
11 – The painting Irises by Vincent Van Gogh is sold for $49m (£27m) – a world record for a work of art. The final price is more than twice what the painting had been expected to reach. The buyer is Australian entrepreneur, Alan Bond.
11 – The General Synod of the church in Britain votes to urge homosexual clergymen to “repent” but rejects any form of alienation or total condemnation.
12 – Van Gogh’s Irises is sold for a world record $45 million (£30.2 million).
12 – Miss Austria, 20-year-old Ulla Weigerstorfer, is chosen as Miss World.
14 – Seven people are killed and more than 30 injured when a bomb planted in a box of chocolates explodes at the American Hospital in west Beirut.
15 – Twenty-six people are killed when a DC-9 jet crashes while taking off in a snowstorm at Denver airport.
18 – 31 people die in a wooden escalator fire at Kings Cross station in London. Many passengers are trapped underground as the escalator goes up in flames.
20 – Elton John sells his share in English football club Watford FC to media magnate Robert Maxwell.
22 – Glyn Davis, who is on the run after defying a court order to hand over his three daughters to his estranged wife, is shot dead by police officers as he approaches a roadblock near Chard in Somerset armed with a pump-action shotgun.
23 – One man is killed and another wounded by police marksmen after a Securicor van is held up by an armed gang in Woolwich.
28 – 160 people die when a South African Airways Boeing 747 crashes into the Indian Ocean during a flight from Taipei to Johannesburg.
29 – 116 people die when a Korean Airlines Boeing 707 from Baghdad to Seoul crashes in Burma.
04 – Madonna files for divorce from Sean Penn in Malibu – but changes her mind a week later.
07 – Forty-three people die when a Pacific Southwest Airways jet crashes in Cayucos, California, after the pilot reports gunfire and smoke in the cockpit. A former airline employee, who had recently been sacked, is thought to be responsible.
08 – Historic INF missile treaty signed with USSR to reduce nuclear arsenals. According to the agreement, 2,611 US and Soviet medium and short-range missiles will be destroyed.
08 – A 22-year-old man armed with a high-powered rifle shoots dead eight people in the Melbourne (Australia) headquarters of Australia Post before leaping to his death from a 10th-floor window. The man, Frank Vitkovic, went to the building in Queen Street, to kill a former friend. The friend escaped, sending Vitkovic on a rampage through the offices. One worker eventually disarmed the man on the 10th floor and struggled with him but could not stop him from jumping to his death through a plate glass window.
11 – Sixty-four children are killed while on a school outing near Cairo when their bus collides with a train.
16 – The largest Mafia trial ever held in Italy ends with 19 top Mafiosi – including the Godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, Michele “The Pop” Gregco – being sent to prison for life and 300 others being sent to jail. The trial at Palermo assize court begins on 10 February 1986, and the tribunal interrogates 1,314 people. Within hours of the verdict, gunmen kill two suspected informants.
21 – Nearly 3,000 people die in a ferry disaster in the Philippines when the ferry Dona Paz collides with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island.
21 – England draws with Pakistan in the third Test match in Karachi and so lose the series 1-0.
22 – Barred by the International Court of Justice from sending any further arms or military supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras, Reagan authorises $14 million in “non-lethal” Contra aid.
28 – Gene Simmons, a retired US Air Force sergeant, kills 16 people, 14 of them members of his own family, in a 25-minute shooting spree in Russellville, Arkansas, before giving himself up to the police.
29 – Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko returns to earth after a record spell of almost 11 months in space in his Soyuz TM-3 capsule.
Quote of the year
“How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening to use nuclear weapons. And we can’t get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons”.
Martin Amis, Einstein’s Monsters, 1987.