Last kiss? Final hours of loved-up gangsters Bonnie and Clyde before they were gunned down revealed in previously unseen photograph

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT?
  • Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in Texas in 1930 before going on brutal crime spree together
  • They are said to have committed 13 murders and several robberies between 1932 and 1934
  • The duo became infamous as they traveled across America's Midwest and South, holding up banks and stores
  • A never-before-developed photograph shows them embracing before they were brutally shot dead

A new picture of an affectionate embrace between Bonnie and Clyde has emerged showing the murderers shortly before they met their gruesome end.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in Texas in 1930 and are believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries by the time they died.

The duo became infamous as they traveled across America's Midwest and South, holding up banks and stores with other gang members.

And a never-before-developed photograph has emerged showing them kissing in Missouri shortly before they were brutally gunned down in an ambush.

The picture of the gangsters' embrace was taken in?Joplin shortly before their pursuers got wind of their whereabouts and they had to flee quickly.

This affectionate shot of Bonnie and Clyde, believed by new owner Thomas Yurkin to be from a film they were unable to develop at the time because they had to flee officers who had discovered they were in the vicinity

This affectionate shot of Bonnie and Clyde, believed by new owner Thomas Yurkin to be from a film they were unable to develop at the time because they had to flee officers who had discovered they were in the vicinity

Around 107 rounds were said to have been fired at Bonnie and Clyde after they were ambushed in Louisiana  - their bodies took 50 bullets each

Around 107 rounds were said to have been fired at Bonnie and Clyde after they were ambushed in Louisiana - their bodies took 50 bullets each

Their bodies were pulled through the city, where people tried to cut off hair, clothing, fingers and even an ear off of Clyde - his and Bonnie's bodies each took 50 bullets according to reports

Their bodies were pulled through the city, where people tried to cut off hair, clothing, fingers and even an ear off of Clyde - his and Bonnie's bodies each took 50 bullets according to reports

Photographs Do Not Bend (PDNB) Gallery, in Dallas, Texas, USA, exhibited the gruesome end for the notorious criminals, snippets of their love story and their apprehension.

Bonnie and Clyde began their two-year crime spree in 1932, ruthlessly robbing banks and small businesses and killing anyone who got in their way.

The public were enamoured by the lovestruck pair, real names Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, during the Public Enemies era during the great depression in America.

After evading the cops countless times, their luck ran out in 1934 when on High 54 in Louisiana, they were ambushed by officers who fired 107 rounds of bullets in less than two minutes.

But their infamy and legend live on to this day in the unseen images that document the end for Bonnie and Clyde, who died aged 24 and 23, along with other memorable moments.

The photographs include one of their bullet splayed car, their bodies on the gurney after each being struck by 50 bullets and the corpses being paraded through town, the arresting officers and a previously undeveloped picture of the couple smooching.

Also in the collection is a copy of Clyde's criminal record detailing robberies and murder his fingerprints, and the warning: 'this man is very dangerous and extreme care should be taken when arresting him'.

People gather around Bonnie and Clyde's bullet-sprayed car after they were killed in an ambush?

People gather around Bonnie and Clyde's bullet-sprayed car after they were killed in an ambush?

Burt Finger, 74, PDNB Gallery Director, said: 'There are certain outlaws that become iconic, like Billy the Kid, Al Capone and others, who live on forever.

'Bonnie and Clyde were certainly that, they were both handsome people, were nobodies, and they robbed banks at a time when banks were not loved by everyone.

'They had eluded capture for many years, their apprehension was strategic and tactical, it worked like a military operation.

'It was planned out to the letter, officers didn't want Bonnie and Clyde to get away and to potentially go on to kill other police officers and civilians.

'The previous owner had acquired the photographs from her uncle who worked at the local newspaper at the time of the event.

'The images are like a storyboard to a movie, but it reminds you that these were actual people aside from the portrayals and preconceptions.

'Some of the photographs are gory, they were killed in a horrible manner, but they were killers too - I'm like a doctor and look at them in a clinical way.

'People are intrigued by Bonnie and Clyde and our exhibit at Photographs Do Not Bend was well received.

'I am the gallery director but have been a photo collector for things like this and these vintage photographs are really important.

'I thought it would be great for our gallery to own them for a while, the exhibit had a larger than money value.'

The photographs were on show at 22-year-old gallery Photographs Do Not Bend, which exhibits work from the 20th century, up until recently when they were bought by a private collector.

Several of the images now hang in the home of Thomas Yurkin, 55, from Dallas, Texas, who purchased them after developing an interest in the incredible snapshots of history.

Here are the officers and marksman who apprehended Bonnie and Clyde after they were sold out for a bounty

Here are the officers and marksman who apprehended Bonnie and Clyde after they were sold out for a bounty

Thomas, a creative director, said: Thomas said: 'I see them as historical photographs, I am their owner and custodian, they are an important part of American, Texas and local Dallas history.

'My favourite photograph is the two of them embracing, which they had taken while they were in Joplin, Missouri,

'Shortly after they were discovered in the area, so had to escape pretty quickly - there was film that had been unprocessed, I believe this was one of the photos from then.

'The other photos show Clyde's arrest warrant, his record, another shows the officers and individuals that ambushed them in Louisiana and I have a couple of the car that they were driving.

'As they were dragged into the city towed by a car, people were cutting off their hair and clothes, one guy was trying to cut off Clyde's ear, another tried to cut off his finger.

'I have one image that shows some of their clothing and when they were killed as well as other pictures of them lying on the gurney table.

'Bonnie and Clyde were both buried here, Bonnie had 20,000 people show up to her funeral which is pretty amazing for back then it's the equivalent of a celebrity.

'I have five of the photos up in my house, not the gruesome ones but the images that are more the iconic moments that show their life.'

It wasn't long after loved-up pair met in 1930 that Clyde was imprisoned for Grand Theft Auto and lovesick Bonnie helped him to escape from prison by smuggling him a gun.

He was captured shortly after his escape and after his release two years later, the crime spree would then begin with gang members W.D. Jones, Raymond Hamilton, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, Henry Methvin, and Clyde's older brother Buck Barrow and his wife, Blanche.

The pair's love story was adapted into an eponymously named film in 1967 but a world away from the fiction the unseen images keep their legend alive.

Thomas said: 'It explains the whole public enemy era, a little bit of their love story and that there were a lot of victims, as well as delving into what was happening during the depression era.

'It was like they could never get caught and always seemed to just about escape, they were always really lucky

'I was more interested in their life and how they got to that point then the way they went out in that ambush.

'They supposedly shot two young officers in South Lake, that's when public opinion is supposed to have changed towards them, up until that point they were championed

'One of the people who was with them sold them out, which is supposedly how they became trapped and they were ambushed.

'Bonnie and Clyde did kill people; but often times when they took somebody's car, they would give them a clean shirt and money to go home, so they must have had some elements of a nice side.

'When you look at them and see how young they were when they died, aged 23 and 24 it's pretty shocking to see.'

The criminal record of Clyde Chestnut Barrow, aka Clyde. On the list is murder, robbery and more - as well as warning he was dangerous and to take caution when approaching him

The criminal record of Clyde Chestnut Barrow, aka Clyde. On the list is murder, robbery and more - as well as warning he was dangerous and to take caution when approaching him

At?9.15am on May 23, 1934, two small-time Depression-era bank robbers named Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow died on a lonely road outside Gibsland, Louisiana.?

They were killed by a 16-second hail of 187 automatic rifle and shotgun rounds, fired at their Ford V8 sedan.

Immortalised in Arthur Penn's classic 1967 film, in which they were played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, the pair the American press called 'Romeo & Juliet In A Getaway Car' earned themselves a place in the criminal hall of fame - joining infamous mobsters such as Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

But the true story of Bonnie and Clyde is very different from the Hollywood fantasy.?

And as two books revealed, it is even more extraordinary.?

Their deaths were certainly violent in the extreme.?

On the day of their demise, Clyde Barrow, who was just 25, was driving along in his socks, while Bonnie was eating a sandwich in the passenger seat.?

Near Gibsland, they stopped to greet the father of one of their gang members - but it was a trap.?

A six-man posse of Texas and Louisiana troopers was waiting in ambush and opened fire.?

No warnings were issued and the couple were given no opportunity to surrender. Clyde died instantly - the first shot took off the top of his head.

But Bonnie was only wounded and began screaming - a scream so terrible that their principal pursuer, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, fired two more shots into the defenceless 23-year old at close range.?

'I hate to bust the cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down,' the laconic Hamer said afterwards. 'But if it wouldn't have been her, it would have been us.'

Their bodies were riddled with 50 bullets each, even though Bonnie Parker had never been charged with a capital offence.

The pair had become notorious after two years on the run and the crime scene quickly descended into a bizarre circus.?

Three of the posse left to collect the local coroner - but the remaining three allowed souvenir-hunters to swarm over the car.

Bonnie Parker holds a shotgun to the midriff of Clyde Barrow, pictured in 1933

Bonnie Parker holds a shotgun to the midriff of Clyde Barrow, pictured in 1933

One man tried to cut off Clyde's finger with a pocket knife; another attempted to cut off his left ear. Blood-stained pieces of Bonnie's dress were removed, as were locks of her hair.

When coroner J.L.Wade arrived, he recalled: 'Nearly everyone had begun collecting souvenirs, such as shell casings and slivers of glass from the shattered car windows.'

Wade asked Hamer to control the crowd, and ensure that the car - complete with the bodies - was taken intact to the local town of Arcadia.

But the freak show didn't end there.

After the four-door saloon had been towed back to the Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Parlour in Arcadia, and the bodies laid out for examination, the coroner allowed sightseers to view the remains.

Within 12 hours, the town's population had ballooned from just 2,000 to an estimated 12,000, with spectators travelling across the state to see the grisly remains of Bonnie and Clyde - and the price of beer in local bars doubled in price as a result.?

But it wasn't just the public who were fascinated by the death of thesetwo outlaws.The lawmen who shot them also wanted their piece ofhistory.

Hamer and his men took the arsenal of machine guns, rifles and pistols they found in the car, as well as the 15 false number plates that Clyde used to confuse his pursuers.

All were later sold as souvenirs.

Bonnie Parker's clothes and saxophone, which had also been in the Ford, were taken by the lawmen, too. When her family asked for them to be returned, their request was refused.

They, too, were sold as souvenirs.

Even the 'Death Car', as it was known, became the subject of a bitter battle. Although it had originally been stolen by Bonnie and Clyde from Ruth Warren of Topeka, Kansas, the local Parish Sheriff in Arcadia, Henderson Jordan, a member of Hamer's six-man posse, claimed it as his own.

Ms Warren hired a lawyer to reclaim it and within weeks was renting out the car for £100 a week - a staggering sum in those days - to Charles W. Stanley, who called himself 'The Crime Doctor'.

He took it around the country to help plug his popular crime lectures.

Stanley made a fortune out of the fame of Bonnie and Clyde - a fame that was fanned by their funerals. After the bodies had been transported to Dallas, where their families lived, the funeral directors put them on show.

Ten thousand people - many of them drunk - turned up to see Clyde Barrow's body before the Dallas police were called to disperse the crowd.

One man even offered Clyde's father £7,500 for the corpse.

Bonnie Parker's mother, Emma, estimated that 20,000 people filed past her open casket - although for the most part they remained orderly.

Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger sent flowers. But amidst all the hype and hoopla, one truth remains.

The myth that has surrounded Bonnie and Clyde since that fateful morning 75 years ago bears little resemblance to reality.

As American reporter John Guinn says in a new book, Bonnie and Clyde were, in fact, 'perhaps the most inept crooks ever'. He calls their two-year crime spree 'as much a reign of error as of terror'.

To discover the real Bonnie and Clyde, we need to travel back to those dusty roads of Louisiana and find out how two kids from the slums of West Dallas fell in love and traded their lives for a brief moment of celebrity - transmitted across the world by the new cinema newsreels and photo agencies.

The pictures of Bonnie Parker, for example, with a cigar between her teeth, beret on her head and a pistol in her hand, swept across the U.S, earning her the sobriquet: The Cigar-Smoking Gun Moll.

It made her and Clyde Barrow as famous as baseball player Babe Ruth or film star Mary Pickford.

But the reality was quite different. Parker didn't smoke cigars and she almost certainly never fired a shot. Clyde Barrow had mocked up the photograph to sustain their myth as glamorous gangsters.

In the flesh, they were as far removed from the images created by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as it is possible to imagine.

For a start, Bonnie was barely 4ft 11in tall and weighed just over 6 and a half stone, while Clyde was only 5ft 3in and a little over eight stone.

Often described as 'short and scrawny', he liked to wear a hat to make him look taller.

Both were also crippled. Clyde walked with a pronounced limp because in 1932 he'd hacked off his left big toe and part of a second toe to get a transfer out of the notoriously tough Eastham Prison Farm in Texas.

Meanwhile, Bonnie's left leg was badly injured in a car accident the same year.

She was trapped in the car when it burst into flames, and escaping battery acid burned her left leg down to the bone. She could barely walk for the last 18 months of her life,and either hopped everywhere or was carried by Clyde.

Their lives certainly weren't glamorous either, spending night after night sleeping in the back of a stolen car hidden deep in the woods and eating cold pork and beans from a tin.

Even as bank robbers, they were bunglers - and knew it.

Bonnie and Clyde mainly committed what Guinn calls 'nickel and dime robberies' from ' mom and pop grocery stores and service stations', stealing between $5 and $10 from hardworking people struggling to survive the Depression and the Dust Bowl drought that devastated America's farming heartland.

So how did this young couple come to hypnotise America?

Born in Rowena, Texas, on October 1, 1910, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was the second of three children born to her bricklayer father Charles, who died when she was just four.

After his death, her destitute mother, Emma, moved the family to the slums of West Dallas, known then as 'the Devil's back porch'.

Poor though she was, Bonnie was clever, attractive and strong-willed.

At school, she excelled at creative writing, particularly poetry, and rapidly became a warm-up speaker at rallies for local politicians.

She dreamed of becoming a star on Broadway, but nothing materialised, and just before her 16th birthday she married a neighbourhood thug called Roy Thornton.

The couple separated in 1929, but they never divorced, and Bonnie was still wearing Thornton's wedding ring when she died alongside her partner-in-crime five years later.

Born just south of Dallas, on March 24, 1909, Clyde Chestnut Barrow, was the fifth of seven children. His was a poor, farming family, who were forced off their land by the drought.

A car fanatic, he was first arrested in 1926 when police confronted him over a rental car he'd failed to return. His second arrest came with his elder brother Ivan 'Buck' Barrow, when the two were caught stealing turkeys.

The brothers would quickly progress to stealing cars.

Buck would eventually become a member of the bank-robbing Barrow Gang, formed by his younger brother. His wife, Blanche, would also join the gang.

On January 5, 1930, one of Clyde Barrow's friends invited him to a party, where he met Bonnie for the first time.

With his dark wavy hair and dancing brown eyes, she was instantly attracted to him. She told friends he had nice clothes 'and fancy cars', even if she knew they might be stolen.

Bonnie's mother said later: 'As crazy as she'd been about Roy, she never worshipped him as she did Clyde.' The gangster love story that was to enthrall a nation had begun.

Less than two months after their meeting, Clyde was arrested and spent the next two years in jail, some of it at Eastham Prison Farm.

Prison life did not treat the diminutive Barrow kindly: he was repeatedly beaten up and sodomised by fellow inmate Ed Crowder.

Clyde holds up Bonnie in front of a car in a picture thought to have been taken in 1933?

Clyde holds up Bonnie in front of a car in a picture thought to have been taken in 1933?

In late October 1931, Clyde responded by beating Crowder to death with an iron pipe - his first killing. But a fellow prisoner, already serving life for murder, confessed to the crime as a favour and Clyde was never even charged.

At the end of January the following year, Barrow took an axe to his toes in an effort to escape the brutal regime at Eastham. Ironically, he was paroled just five days later.

Reunited with Bonnie, Clyde resolved never to return to jail and, to take revenge on the Texas prison system, vowed to organise a jail-break from Eastham.

In the next two years, Bonnie and Clyde's haphazard exploits became ever more dramatic, as small-scale robberies led to desperate attempts on banks, and the Barrow Gang roamed across five rural states.

Their attempts to make big money were at times laughable, though. One risky bank bust saw them get away with just $1.75.

Despite this, 'America thrilled to their Robin Hood adventures', in the words of one columnist. 'The presence of a female, Bonnie, escalated the sincerity of their intentions to make them something unique and individual - even at times heroic.'

The gang usually kidnapped, rather than killed, any lawmen they encountered, releasing them with the money to get home - which only helped to fuel their celebrity.

But there was nothing heroic about their gang's escape when they were surrounded by police at a motel near Kansas City in July 1933.

They blasted their way out using Clyde's favoured Browning Automatic Rifles, but Clyde's elder brother Buck was shot and injured, while Buck's wife, Blanche, was all but blinded by flying glass.

Six days later, they were surrounded again at an abandoned amusement park near Dexter, Iowa.

Bonnie and Clyde escaped, but Buck was shot in the back and Blanche was again hit by flying glass. Buck died five days later.

Increasingly desperate, Clyde sought reinforcements by organising a break- out from Eastham Prison Farm in January 1934, releasing at least four prisoners, three of whom joined his gang.

But during the jailbreak, a guard was killed, which brought the full weight of Texas law enforcement down on the Barrow Gang. Former Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer was charged with catching Bonnie and Clyde - for a fee.

Before he could do so, however, Clyde and one of the prisoners he'd released, Henry Methven, killed two highway patrolmen in Southlake, Texas, on April 1, 1934.

A mugshot of Clyde Barrow. In the right picture of him looking down the lens, he has a tag wrapped around his neck reading: 'Texas EX 147'

A mugshot of Clyde Barrow. In the right picture of him looking down the lens, he has a tag wrapped around his neck reading: 'Texas EX 147'

The parents of gangster Clyde Barrow, sitting in their home. Clyde's father can be seen with his hat on his lap, resting his head on the back of his hand, while his mother looks gaunt as she sits on the couch

The parents of gangster Clyde Barrow, sitting in their home. Clyde's father can be seen with his hat on his lap, resting his head on the back of his hand, while his mother looks gaunt as she sits on the couch

Those killings soured the public's attitude to Bonnie and Clyde, and indirectly led to their deaths - though Methven later confessed he alone committed the killings.

It was Methven's father who tempted Bonnie and Clyde to that lonely road outside Gibsland just a few weeks later, in exchange for a promise of leniency for his son.

And so, on that warm, muggy May morning 75 years ago, Bonnie and Clyde drove into gangster history.

In a twist of fate, within months America's other most famous gangsters met a similar fate. In July, John Dillinger was gunned down; in October, Pretty Boy Floyd was killed by Federal agents; and in November, Baby Face Nelson was shot to death.

But the infamy of Bonnie and Clyde outlives that of their rivals.

And should anyone doubt it, they need only remember that their bullet-riddled Ford, along with Clyde's blood-stained shirt, is on display in a Nevada casino to this very day.

? Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story Of Bonnie & Clyde by Jeff Guinn is published by Simon & Schuster at £14.99. To order a copy (p&p free), call 0845 155 0720.

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