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Episode 10 – The “Monster of Worcester”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-eq3vb-7da8e6

This week on The True Crime Enthusiast Podcast, we go back to the English city of Worcester in 1973 – where the actions of one man would leave so many people shocked and sickened by his horrific crimes, crimes that still affect even now, many years later…….

 

 

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This week’s recommended podcast – The Asian Madness Podcast

The Rampage Of Kevin Weaver

“You’ll find my gun in the car. I just wanted to shoot my girlfriend. I’ve wanted to kill her for two years, but when I saw her I couldn’t do it. I changed my mind. You were lucky I didn’t shoot you” – Kevin Weaver to police

The majority of people have had romantic relationships break up. At the time, it can feel like the end of the world but most of the time, time is a great healer and people eventually move on, forget their heartbreak and meet somebody else. But equally, for some people they are unable to move on and forget that person they believe and feel to be “the one”. That person may occupy their every waking thought and moment, lovesickness it could be called, and if it doesn’t pass then an unhealthy obsession with the object of your affection may develop – as we see in Hollywood films like Fatal Attraction and Play Misty For Me.

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Kevin Weaver

24-year-old Kevin Weaver was very similar to Michael Ryan in ways. He lived at home with his mother and sister, in a small terraced house in the Roseberry Park are of the East Bristol district of Redfield, and like Ryan, his father had died some years before. Weaver was a former accounts clerk who was over-indulged and spoilt by his mother – whatever he wanted, he got – this seems to be a recurring theme really, perhaps is it some sort of misguided attempt to compensate for the loss of a parent?

Described as an “overweight and spotty loner”, Weaver had had no job for years and instead lived off his mother’s meagre earnings as a box office attendant at the Hippodrome Cinema, spending his days skulking around the family home, watching violent action and horror films, and over indulging in whisky. Again, like Ryan, Weaver was a gun and survivalist fanatic, having many weapons that his mother had bought him and some he had ordered through mail order. He was a licensed shotgun holder and was a member of a nearby clay pigeon gun club.

Weaver hadn’t always been this listless, but his life seemed to have spiralled downhill since 1985, as since then he had been lovesick and his mental state had deteriorated. For two years, he had sat at home brooding about his failed relationship with his former fiancée, 21-year-old Alison Woodman.

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Weaver’s ex fiancee, Alison Woodman

Weaver and Alison had met in 1983 when she was just 16, and had become engaged just a year later. But by 1985, Alison had finally ended their romance after the latest in a string of fights and rows caused by Weaver’s erratic and possessive behaviour. They had split up, and for two years Weaver had constantly hounded Alison in an attempt to win her back. He had plagued her at home with phone calls, followed her from her home in Blackhorse Lane in Bristol’s Downend district, and had waylaid her in the street constantly. It would be classed as classic stalking today, but back at that time it wasn’t perhaps as a widely accepted problem as it is today, and the legislation has certainly changed in this day and age. Alison had resisted all of this attention, wanting to remain on good terms but adamant that their relationship was over – which Weaver took badly.

The death knell for their relationship had finally come when, after a particularly turbulent period in their relationship where they had actually long split up at the time, Alison had due to her good nature agreed to meet Weaver for some talks over some drinks one evening in February 1987. However, whether Weaver had tried it on with Alison or had yet again pleaded for her to get back with him and she was having none of it, this evening hadn’t gone well because he then held her prisoner in his car against her will, and threatened to kill her and then himself. She had managed to escape when Weaver got out of the driver’s side of the car and went around to the boot – where a loaded shotgun and ammunition lay concealed under a blanket. When Alison fled, Weaver made no attempt to go after her – instead fleeing himself where he was finally discovered fast asleep in his car in a remote area of Aberystwyth, in mid Wales – and the shotgun and cartridges were still beside him. Facing charges of kidnap and possible firearms offences, Weaver was arrested and his shotgun was taken from him, along with the other firearms he held at home. But for some inexplicable reason, Alison, who must have been very forgiving and good natured indeed, contacted police telling them she was refusing to press any charges against him, and that as far as she was concerned no crime had been committed.

Weaver was not charged with any offence as a result of this letter, but he did have all his guns taken away, and his firearms licence was withdrawn. He continued hassling Alison and she continued trying to be nice and stay on good terms with Weaver, and was later to even write a letter to Avon and Somerset Police asking them to give Weaver his guns back. She even went as far to say that Weaver was:

“a genuine and responsible person”

It took a similar request from his mother, and a report from a police doctor who had examined Weaver following his arrest in Aberystwyth saying that he could find no evidence of mental illness with him, and Weaver had his weapons returned to him and his firearms licence reinstated.

But that was enough for 21-year-old Alison, who decided that was it for their relationship and attempted to sever all ties with him once and for all, thinking that for the best. It was from this point that Weaver began to become more and more obsessive – and more and more deranged. For months, he continued drinking heavily, brooding about Alison, following her and hanging about outside her workplace and home, caring about nothing except Alison and his bitterness at the fact that she had broken off their engagement. Then it reached August 1987 – and on 19th August 1987, Michael Ryan committed the Hungerford massacre.

Weaver became obsessed with it – he recorded every piece of news footage that he could about Michael Ryan’s rampage, and watched it obsessively. Perhaps watching the actions of Ryan and learning about the horror that he had created flicked some kind of switch in Weaver’s mind – for from that point onwards, he decided that Alison was better off dead than alive. At least to him.

14th October 1987. Kevin’s mother Margaret had risen early that morning and had headed out shopping, leaving Kevin and his sister Linda fast asleep in bed. Kevin Weaver awoke that day with something having snapped in his mind, and he had decided that this was it, this was the day Alison had to die. But he had to get to her, knowing she would be at her work as an office temp at Alexandra Workwear in nearby Patchway, an outer suburb of Bristol, and at the time, due to his drinking, his mental state and or a combination of both, Weaver had no car, having been banned from driving. But this wasn’t stopping him.

His sister, 27-year-old Linda Weaver, who Kevin got on very well with usually, did have a car – but Weaver knew that she wouldn’t let him use it, due to his ban and her disagreement with him hassling Alison. Rising early, Weaver went downstairs in the family terraced house, opened a bottle of whisky, and began drinking. He then went into the understairs cupboard and found his tool box. Taking a heavy hammer from the box, he closed the cupboard door and crept back upstairs, passing his own bedroom and walking into the bedroom where his sister lay sleeping.

Weaver raised the hammer, and smashed it into his sister’s skull at least thirty times. He put all 16 stones of his weight into the blows, and such was the force used to kill Linda that the handle of the hammer snapped. He then dragged his sister’s mangled corpse out of bed, into the bathroom, and placed her into the bath. Something in the dark recesses of his mind that day then decided that his mother Margaret, the mother who doted on him and spoiled him, should never find out what he had done. Arming himself with a different hammer, he waited inside the hallway for his mother to come home from shopping. Margaret arrived home just before dinnertime, having bought some pies for lunch for herself, Linda and Kevin.

It is impossible to imagine Margaret’s thoughts when she opened the door and walked into her hallway, to be greeted with the site of her son, covered with blood and wielding a hammer, but mercifully, it would have only been a fleeting thought. Weaver was hiding behind the hall door, then proceeded to batter his mother to death with the same maniacal rage that he had just killed his sister with, striking her time and time again with the hammer. He then carried his mother upstairs, placed her body in the bath on top of his sister’s body, then filled the bath with water.

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The weapons of Weaver’s rampage

Weaver then calmly washed his bloodstained clothes, then tumble-dried them and redressed like nothing had happened. On top of the clothes he had been wearing when he had committed familicide, Weaver placed on Armalite body armour that he had purchased some months before – and now it was off to see Alison. Weaver again went to the cupboard under the stairs and came out with a golf bag, in which he placed an Italian made 12 bore shotgun, a Russian made 12 bore shotgun, a Spanish made sawn off shotgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Then, emulating Ryan’s actions, Weaver turned on all of the gas appliances in the house, and rigged up a detonator mine to the underside of the living room coffee table. This was a shotgun primed with a tripwire that would fire if tripped, and with gas escaping into the house, would cause a massive explosion. He then left the house, carrying the golf bag, the bottle of whisky and a bottle of lemonade, placed these in the car, and then in his sister’s white Marina car drove the 6 or so miles to Alison’s workplace.

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Alexandra Workwear – the scene of Weaver’s second lot of bloodshed that day

Arriving at Alexandra Workwear a short time later, Weaver removed the Italian made single barrelled pump action shotgun from the golf bag, and several rounds of ammunition. He then fully loaded the shotgun and entered the factory, heading for the computer room as he knew exactly where Alison would be working that day. Weaver found her at her desk, surrounded by her colleagues, and the sight of an armed man striding up to her desk caused a commotion. There were nearly 30 people in the office, and the usual office chatter and bustle stopped. Some people burst into tears whilst others stood rooted in shock. However, Weaver was oblivious to all except Alison, and when he reached Alison he grabbed her by the wrist and said:

“Come on Alison, we’re leaving. You’re coming with me”

But Alison screamed and broke away, running to the other end of the room in an attempt to get to safety. Hearing the commotion, 29-year-old office manager David Purcell came out of his side office to see what was going on, and immediately sprang into action. David was a former policeman, and perhaps he still had that instinct to act or heroic nature, but he immediately made to disarm Weaver. Weaver however, was just a fraction too fast for him and taking aim, blasted David in the shoulder from close range. This caused a horrendous wound and David was left on the floor, screaming in agony.

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David Purcell

Weaver then calmly walked up to him and shot him again at close range, killing him instantly, and then began firing indiscriminately about the room. A shot went through an office partition wall and struck 48-year-old accountant John Peterson in the back, mortally wounding him. John was to die in the ambulance rushing him to hospital. By now, the remaining staff in the room were cowering under their desks, and daring to peek out they saw Weaver reloading his shotgun, and then stalk up to Alison.

He stopped by her, readied the gun, aimed it at her head. Alison looked up at Weaver, expecting any moment to be killed – but nothing. He had changed his mind, claiming later that he suddenly realised he couldn’t go through with killing Alison – because he still loved her. He altered his aim slightly and fired into the floor beside her. Still holding the shotgun, he simply said to her:

“This is your lucky day”

Can you imagine just how frightening that must have been? Weaver then turned, left the computer room, and headed back out of the factory. In a matter of minutes, he had gunned down two people and forever changed the lives of many. The employees of Alexandra Workwear had all scattered now in fear, fleeing out of the factory closely stalked by the psychopathic Weaver. As the twenty employees who had witnessed the horrific and frightening events that had taken place just minutes before fled through the car park, terrified that they would become the next victim of the madman, one member of staff lagged behind the others. Linda Smith had suffered polio, and as a result could not flee as quickly as the rest of the workforce, so she made it as far as a row of parked cars, but exhausted, had to stop and take shelter by crouching behind the nearest one, a white Marina….

Unfortunately, the car she had picked to shelter behind was the car that Weaver had brutally murdered his sister to use.

As 20 year old Linda lay exhausted through fear and the effects of her illness, two lorry drivers parked at a nearby depot had heard the commotion and witnessed the employees fleeing the building, and at first thought there had been an accident or perhaps a fire. Seeing Linda crouching behind the car and thinking that she may be hurt, the two men approached her to give assistance. It was at that moment that Weaver came striding across the car park.

As Linda looked up and screamed, and the drivers both saw the reason why people had fled in a panic, Weaver got to the car and raised the shotgun as if in preparation to take his next victim. But one of the lorry drivers – perhaps through a knee jerk reaction without thinking or just pure bravery – shouted out to him:

“Don’t be silly – put it down”

This must have struck a chord somewhere in Weaver’s mind, because he lowered the shotgun and instead said:

“I’ve done what I came here to do”

He then got into his sister’s car, placed the shotgun on the passenger seat, and sped off. Once sure he was gone, the hysterical staff contacted police and emergency services, who arrived at the scene shortly. A manhunt was immediately launched for the crazed killer, who was warned to be armed and dangerous, and teams of armed police were assembled to track down Weaver. Whilst Alison, who had been Weaver’s intended target that day spoke to police and gave them his address and vehicle details, medical staff went to tend to the wounded, but there was little they could do for either man who had been shot.

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John Peterson

David Purcell had already succumbed to his grave wounds, and John Peterson was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Meanwhile, with a description of him issued and details of the car he was driving, police began the manhunt for Weaver, and their first port of call was to his home address to see if he was either there, or Weaver’s family knew where he was.

Before police officers reached his house, however, just 45 minutes after the shootings, Weaver was apprehended by unarmed PC’s Mark Nicholson and Peter Pugsley about eight miles away from the scene of the double shooting, on the A37 road between the nearby towns of Pensford and Whitchurch. The two officers had spotted the white Marina car pulled over at the side of the road, and whilst one stopped the traffic, the other used a police loudhailer to order Weaver to lay down his weapons and exit the vehicle with his hands raised high. He got out of the vehicle, but in his hands held the bottle of whisky – which he continued to swig from, and a newspaper. He then staggered to the side of the road, sat down and spread the newspaper across his knees.

He offered no resistance when cuffed by police, and was immediately arrested in connection with the two murders at the factory, and taken into custody.

Once in handcuffs, Weaver talked immediately, expressing surprise. He said:

“Was it only two? I thought I had shot at least three people”

Weaver then also said that officers should be careful if they went to his house, as he had left them a little surprise…..

Arriving at the Weaver house in Roseberry Park, armed officers approached the door with caution. They had just arrested a deranged killer with a bag full of guns who had freely admitted to killing two people and planning to kill another – and who had left police a surprise at his house. Knowing that Weaver lived with his mother and sister, and with no answer at the door, the priority was to try to find his mother and sister and to make sure that they were safe, and to see if they could shed any light on Weaver’s actions that afternoon. At the door of the property, however, police noticed an overpowering smell of gas, and decided that it was unsafe to enter the property – not knowing what Weaver had left for them? All houses in Roseberry Park were evacuated, the fire service were contacted and upon their arrival at the scene, arranged for the gas supply to the property to be turned off, and then smashed the windows of the property to allow the built-up gas to escape. When it was eventually deemed safe for them to do so, armed officers entered the house.

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Police activity at Weaver’s house

Making a sweep through the house, all the more urgently due to the massive amounts of blood that they found covering the hallway walls and carpet, officers found and disarmed Weaver’s detonator mine. He had wanted to cause a giant explosion that would no doubt have claimed the lives of many people. They also found the horrifically mangled bodies of Margaret and Linda Weaver lying submerged in the bath, and realised that Weaver was at least a quadruple killer.

Aside from the guns recovered from Weaver’s car, a search of the Weaver home later revealed a mass of ammunition, two home-made garrottes, masses of survivalist literature and handbooks, a set of handcuffs and an extensive library of ultra-violent action and horror films. Weaver’s extensive coverage of the Hungerford massacre news reports that he had recorded was also found, and the parallels with Michael Ryan’s rampage of just eight weeks earlier were drawn. But back at the police station, Weaver was offering no explanation for his actions that day, except he woke up determined to kill Alison that day and nothing or no one was going to stop that. But when it came to it, he couldn’t do it – because he claimed he still loved her. He went on to describe the struggle in which David Purcell had attempted to disarm him, saying:

“I felt threatened by him. I thought that he was going to overpower me, so I shot him. I shot him a second time to stop him suffering.”

Weaver was charged with the murders of his mother and sister, Margaret and Linda Weaver, office manager David Purcell, and office accountant John Peterson, as well as several firearms offences, and was remanded in secure custody to await trial.

Weaver’s trial began at Bristol Crown Court nearly five months later, on 28th March 1988, where he pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Queen’s Counsel for the prosecution, Paul Chadd, told the court that Weaver had modelled himself on the mass killer Michael Ryan by emulating his actions, and pointed out the parallels between Ryan and Weaver – both had been brought up in female dominated households, both were spoilt, both were brooding loners and heavy drinkers, and both spent many hours watching violent films such as Rambo and Death Wish.  Perhaps as a result of all of these, the most striking parallel was that both had developed a fascination and strong enthusiasm for guns. Paul Chadd claimed that Weaver had even planned some sort of bizarre “pilgrimage” to visit the town of Hungerford. Weaver had told police that it was only Alison he had intended to kill that day, but to do so he needed his sister’s car – which he knew she would not relinquish to him. He simply decided to kill her and his mother and just take it.

Weaver was described as a psychopath, one who’s responsibility was severely impaired by his extreme bouts of depression. This was accepted by the court, and Weaver faced Mr Justice Webster – who sentenced him to be committed to Broadmoor Maximum Security Psychiatric Hospital for the rest of his life, labelling him:

An appalling danger to the public at large

With that, Weaver was taken away to Broadmoor to begin his sentence, where he remains to this day. His actions that October morning had left four people dead in the most horrific of ways, and countless lives changed forever – including making two widows – and twin baby girls fatherless. David Purcell had, only three months before Weaver’s rampage, become the proud and doting father of twin daughters. Alison Woodman for a long time unfairly blamed herself for Weaver’s actions that day, tortured by her culpability in helping Weaver get his confiscated weapons back. But how could she have known what a psychopath would have done? The prosecuting counsel at Weaver’s trial were quick to emphasise that it was Weaver who had committed the orgy of violence that day and should feel remorse if anyone did, not Alison, claiming of her:

“She is an ordinary young woman, like millions of others who break off engagements. She played no part in this disaster”

And as for Weaver’s remorse? Detective Chief Superintendent Ray Sarginson, who headed the investigation into Weaver’s rampage was to say of him later:

“He is a cold, ruthless killer who inflicted some of the worst injuries I have ever seen in 25 years’ experience. He has not shown one iota of remorse”

 

The True Crime Enthusiast

 

Episode 8 – One Man’s Fatal Obesssion

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7cm4e-7bbae2

This week on The True Crime Enthusiast Podcast, we go back to the city of Bristol in 1987, just eight weeks after the infamous Hungerford Massacre, and learn how one man’s obsession with it was to spill out into an orgy of violence, that was to leave many lives destroyed…..

 

 

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Episode 7 – The Cold Case Of Norah Trott

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pehan-7aa154

This week on The True Crime Enthusiast Podcast, we look at a horrific and vicious sex killing that remained unsolved for many years, until a cold case review came to it many years later……..

Also this week, the recommended Blog mentioned in the podcast can be found at: The Keeley Chronicles

 

 

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The Newcastle “Halloween” Murder

“This was a frenzied attack so there must have been blood all over the house, but it’s possible not all of that blood is the victim’s, Miss Armstrong had defence wounds, which is very significant. She clearly put up a fight and it’s a possibility she caused her attacker to bleed.” – Police Officer

Number 12 Goldspink Lane in the Newcastle Upon Tyne district of Sandyford is a large property, once known as Doncaster House, today sadly one that looks quite run down and in decent need of some much-needed TLC. It’s an old building and the lane looks a nice enough place to live, and I don’t know whether it is occupied right now, but I do know that over the years it has had many occupants. The occupant for many years, right up to the early years of the 1960’s, Lillian Armstrong, was a retired school headmistress.

Until Halloween night 1963 – when Lillian was brutally murdered in her home in a crime that sparked the biggest murder hunt that Tyneside had seen for many years.

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A younger Lillian Armstrong

70-year-old Katherine Lillian Armstrong, known by her middle name, was your classic school marm – she had been retired since 1957, and had for many years before that been the headmistress of Denton Road Junior School. She was known as a spinster, having never married and had lived alone for all her life in Doncaster House, what was in 1963 the corner property of the lane and the current number 12. She was a very proud, very independent woman as seemed to be the standard for that generation, and after her retirement from schooling, her life seemed to revolve around the Central Methodist Church, on Newcastle’s Northumberland Road, where as a devout Methodist she had been a part of the congregation for more than 40 years, and had been an active part of the choir for the same length of time. Her social life consisted of very little more than regular choir practice at 7:30pm on a Thursday night, of which she was due to attend on Halloween night, 1963.

Lillian never made it to that choir practice.

The following morning, at about 10:30, Lillian’s cousin who lived nearby, Ada Ridley, called around to Doncaster House for a routine morning visit. Knowing that Lillian was a woman of habit who was a habitual early riser, Ada became concerned when there was no answer to her repeated knocks on the front door, and that all the curtains at the property remained closed – something which Lillian would never do. Concerned that her cousin was hurt or ill, and with a general feeling that something was amiss, Ada decided to alert police.

When police arrived, uniformed officers made the decision to force their way into the property – and were confronted with a ghastly sight.

Lying in the passage of her home, near the bottom of the stairs, was the body of Lillian Armstrong. She was fully clothed, wearing a dress and carpet slippers, and had a nylon stocking tied tightly around her neck. Her face and neck were also heavily bloodstained – and it was later determined at post mortem that cause of death had not been due to strangulation, but Lillian had died from shock and blood loss due to being brutally battered and stabbed no less than 28 times about the face and neck. The scene was heavily bloodstained, and blood was found throughout the entire house. It must have been a frenzied attack, yet defence wounds on her hands suggested that Lillian had put up a struggle against her killer.

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Doncaster House in 1963

A murder enquiry was immediately launched, and police searched for a motive for the horrific killing. There was no sign of forced entry to the house and no signs of ransacking – and Lillian had not been sexually assaulted. There was no murder weapon found at the scene, no fingerprints or footprints. Police had no clear motive and no suspects, and they really didn’t know where to begin. Sensing that this was going to be a massive enquiry, all police leave was cancelled and those already on leave were recalled to assist in the investigation. A 60-strong team of detectives began the hunt for Lillian’s killer.

The search got underway for the murder weapon – thought to have been a long-bladed instrument – and all bins, drains and grates in the area were searched in an attempt to find it, with police working on the theory that the killer would have discarded it after leaving the scene. Parks, streams and gardens were searched for it, but to no avail. Meanwhile, house to house enquiries got underway, with police revealing that they planned to speak to more than 5,000 householders in the biggest house to house enquiry that Newcastle had ever seen. By November 4th, just three days after the murder, police had taken more than 200 statements, and detectives were still midway through the task of knocking on every door within a half mile radius of the murder scene. But not one person spoken to claimed to have seen or heard anything suspicious, and with still no suspects or motive, by this time Scotland Yard had been called in.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner had sent Detective Superintendent Eric Reid from the Scotland Yard Murder Squad to oversee the investigation, and Reid was quick to utilise the press in an appeal for witnesses and information. In an interview at the time with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, he revealed that there was no sign of forced entry to the property and that it was considered possible that Lillian knew her killer.

He revealed that police were considering the possibility that more than one person could have been involved in Lillian’s murder, and that they were considering teens as being connected, as well as studying the files of known older male criminals who had served prison sentences for crimes utilising violence against older women. The main focus of the enquiry saw detectives trying to piece together the last hours of Lillian’s life – and they had a window of about 18 hours to try to fill in. Lillian had last been seen at about 6:30pm the following evening, where two children passing the house spotted her looking out of the window. She was expected at choir practice just an hour later – but never arrived there. Was she already dead by this time?

By the end of November, 50 detectives were still searching for Lillian’s killer in an 18-hour working day – and by the time the inquest was held into Lillian’s death at the end of January 1964, police had spoken to more than 16,000 people in the area. But the investigation had still drawn a blank, and Lillian’s murder sadly remains unsolved to this day.

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Ada Ridley

Lillian’s cousin, Ada Ridley, offered her own theories to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about what had happened. She was convinced that teenagers were responsible for the brutal murder, and had killed Lillian after entering her home as part of a Halloween prank. She also expressed regret that Lillian had not moved from Doncaster House to live closer to her family, saying:

“My cousin’s home was big, dark and gloomy. It got no sun. Time and time again I told her she should leave and take a flat near me. But she was very independent and said she was not at all afraid of living alone.”

This is a tragic and shocking crime, and as I feel I have made clear in previous episodes, I hold a special contempt for those who commit crimes against the elderly. This is a church going lady who had lived through two world wars, only to have her life taken in such a horrific way in a motiveless crime. It is almost a forgotten case due to the large passage of time, and I find that quite sad really. What then, can be estimated about the crime? I must stress in no way do I offer the following as definite, it is purely hypothesis based on what we know.

Lillian hadn’t been sexually assaulted and her clothing hadn’t even been disturbed, so a sexual motive seems unlikely. I would agree with this – an offender who has sexual assault as a motive likely commits this no matter what. There were no reported signs of ransacking, and nothing had been reported as having been taken, so robbery perhaps would seem unlikely. But that is not to say that this wasn’t the motive for her killer or killers being in the house. Indeed, blood was found throughout the house so this would suggest at least a cursory search of the house was made by the killer.

Lillian was last seen alive at 6:30pm by two children passing her house, who claimed that she was looking out of the window. She didn’t make it to choir practice an hour later – so was she already dead by that time? I believe this is a very real possibility, but of course, it is not definite that she was dead by 7:30.  This is an era where telephones were not commonplace and Lillian may have been feeling ill and decided not to go to choir practice – therefore, who would she call to say she wasn’t attending?

I believe the murder at least began as a prank or a burglary, and that this killing was committed by a youth, but more likely youths. The night of Lillian’s murder was Halloween, it’s dark early and there would have children and teenagers out Trick or Treating and generally up to devilment – we were all young once and I’m sure some of us have played the odd prank as a youngster. It’s a rite of passage and would have been no different back in 1963. What if some teens had knocked on the door in an attempt to scare an elderly woman as a Halloween prank, forced their way in and then killed her in the heat of a struggle when she attempted to fight back? Lillian was a strong, stern woman and had the type of character that would have been instilled in a headmistress of the time. She would have been the exact type to admonish someone, and tell them exactly what she thought of them.

Or what if Lillian had disturbed a burglar or burglars, who were taking advantage of the early darkness. Did she then challenge him or them, drawing on her years of experience as being a figure of authority – and instead of causing the perpetrator to flee, this instead angered them? But then why didn’t they just flee? The possibility has struck me that Lillian may have known or recognised her killer – perhaps ex pupils? and when she revealed that she knew them they killed her out of fear of discovery.

I believe that there is more than one killer involved her, and I believe this for as follows: Firstly, why the overkill? Why do you stab someone 28 times about the face and neck, and then strangle them? Is it just pure bloodlust – or is it more than one person acting, either through fear, peer pressure or bravado, so that each equally share the culpability? Two methods of killing suggest more than one killer to me, perhaps an experimentation. Burglars also commonly work in pairs at least. The murder weapon was never found, and I do not believe it was actually disposed of.

At the time, it was commonplace for boys and teenagers to habitually carry knives as a status symbol, so I believe the killer or killers took them away with them and kept them. I think that the killers were from the local area and either knew or knew of Lillian – no one was seen leaving the area in a blind panic or hurried rush – and on Halloween there would likely have been people out on the streets at that time, out taking children trick or treating – so whoever it was knew the area well enough to know exactly how and where to effect a quick escape and without drawing attention to themselves. They had to know that an elderly woman lived alone in that house, and that there was no likelihood of breaking in to be confronted by a 20-stone son that was built like Basingstoke. It is likely that this person or persons had come to police attention previously, possibly through offending as a youth. This is a level of violence in someone that would have been hard to control, so it is likely the killer or killers had offended before, and after Lillian’s murder. They would likely have been in police files, they were most likely even spoken to during the course of the investigation.

Had this crime occurred today, with all of the developments in forensic science, technology, and offender profiling – then the possibility of a detection would be high. And of course, if evidence from the crime scene in 1963 is still in storage, then it is possible that DNA from the killer may be obtained, if not from an exact match then through a possible familial DNA match. Due to the large passage of time, however, if Lillian’s killer or killers are still alive, they would be likely about her age by now. They may have families of their own, and may have pushed their horrific actions as far to the back of their mind as possible. Or they may be coming to the end of their own life, perhaps in a hospital or care home. Or they may of course have even died themselves by now, and managed to escape justice for Lillian’s murder. Sadly, it looks likely that unless new evidence comes to fruition, a deathbed confession perhaps in an attempt to clear someone’s conscience, we may never know. Somebody must have known who killed Lillian Armstrong, but never said. Why? Was it out of fear, or guilt?

There is a strange postscript to this story. Lillian’s house stood empty for a few years, and by 1973 new tenants had moved in after the family who had lived there before them had left hurriedly, having only lived there for a couple of months. They had left there, the new tenant said, because the house was reportedly haunted.

Mrs Joan Black, the new tenant told the Chronicle at the time:

“The family who were here before said the place had a ghost and was spooky. They had sensed a presence, and more than once had claimed to have seen a figure stood watching out of the corner of their eye, but that there was no-one there when they turned. We don’t believe it is true, although the first lodger we had was convinced there was something unusual about the place.” 

“It was always at the bottom of the stairs”

Does Lillian still occupy her home, at least in some capacity?

 

The True Crime Enthusiast

Episode 6 – The Halloween Murders

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-6gddf-79be54

Join The True Crime Enthusiast, as this week on the podcast we look back at the cases of a pair of brutal and unsolved murders from the cold cases of the UK that took place on this very night, Halloween night, many years apart…….

 

 

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Newcastle Evening Chronicle Article

Bristol Post Article

Episode 5 – “Back In 2 Minutes”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-i26yi-79106f

Join The True Crime Enthusiast, as this week we take a look back at one of North Wales’ strangest cases, the disappearance of middle aged shopkeeper Trevaline Evans on a hot summer’s day in 1990…..

 

 

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Episode 4 – The Stockwell Strangler (Part 2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bwq2p-7836e9

Join The True Crime Enthusiast as this week on the podcast we conclude the disturbing case of The Stockwell Strangler – the evil killer who caused fear and carnage to the elderly throughout South London over the hot summer of 1986…

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The Ossett “Exorcist” Murder

“You don’t want to see this one son. I’ve seen nothing like it before and I’ve seen a few. It’s the wife. She’s got no…He’s ripped at her son. It’s a right mess in there. There’s not much of her left. You don’t want to see it, eh?” – Police Inspector

This week on TTCE it is my pleasure to bring you the strange and compelling story of the case known as The Ossett “Exorcist” murder. This was the case featured in the premiere episode of The True Crime Enthusiast Podcast – links to which can be found at the end of the blogpost.

In 1974, in a case that shocked the nation, a particularly violent and shocking murder was committed by a peaceful and loving family man, who was overcome either by inner demons, or literal ones.

Ossett is a market town near the city of Wakefield, in the English county of West Yorkshire, and the kind of town that wouldn’t strike most people as the sort of place where a sensational bloody, horrific murders, talk of exorcisms and demonic possession would stem from. But it is in Osset where the sinister story begins.

The Taylor family called the Osset district of Havercroft their home in 1974, and this family consisted of 31-year old Michael Taylor, his wife Christine, their five children, and their family dog. The family and their home was considered mostly a cheerful and happy one by their friends and neighbours, and Michael in particular was described by those who knew him as mild mannered, but a generally kind and loving father and husband.

michael-christine-taylor

It was noted, however, that he was sometimes prone to minor bouts of depression, the cause of which had been due to a severe back injury he had received a number of years before, and which had left him with chronic pain and an inability to find long term employment. Apart from this observation, nothing else seemed to be amiss or unusual in the Taylor household.

At the time, Osset had a highly religious population and most people regularly attending church, but the Taylors had never been particularly devout, mostly skipping church services that were held near where they lived.

In a belief that Michael’s periods of depression could be somehow eased with a spiritual intervention, a friend of Michael’s called Barbara Wardman took it upon herself to introduce  him to a church group called the Christian Fellowship Group, which was led by 21-year-old pastor Marie Robinson.

Whereas Michael had previously been non-religious, he soon began to attend regular meetings of the group, and he became an active member of the congregation. He became well acquainted with their teachings, and quickly fell under the spell of the charismatic Marie Robinson.

Michael began spending what seemed an inappropriate amount of time with Robinson, attending more and more meetings and gatherings of the group, and joining Robinson in congregations where they would use “the power of God” to “exorcise” people of their sins and speak in tongues.

They also began to engage in private rituals, in which both Michael and Robinson would stay up all night making the sign of the cross at each other in order to ward off what they believed was the evil power of the full moon. In fact, it soon became clear to the rest of the congregation that Michael had become rather enamored with Robinson.

Unsurprisingly, Michael’s attitude at home towards his family began to change as a result. He was spending less and less time at home with them, and when he was there he was sullen and irritable, and very argumentative. This was a total character change from the easygoing and peaceful way Michael had once been, and the assumption was that the church group was somehow exerting a negative influence on him. The character change and increasingly bizarre beliefs, erratic behavior, and bad attitude was clear to see to anyone who knew him.

But most notably to Christine Taylor, on whom it was not lost that Michael had an infatuation with Robinson.

During one congregation, Christine suddenly decided to publicly confront Michael about his relationship with Robinson, and openly accused him in front of people of being unfaithful.

Now, if it already didn’t sound bad or strange enough, it was at this point where Michael’s behavior would take a turn for the worse.

Michael is reported to have felt “an evil influence cast a shadow over him”, and then compelled by this force, vented a sudden fury on surprisingly not Christine, but Robinson. He lashed out at her, verbally and physically, to the point that several other churchgoers in the congregation had to physically restrain him, fearing that he would seriously hurt himself or someone else.

Perhaps as a good example of the religious mania that was running through the group, Marie Robinson herself later testified as to what happened when Michael attacked her: She said:

“I suddenly glanced at Mike and his whole features changed. He looked almost bestial. He kept looking at me and there was a really wild look in his eyes. I started screaming at him out of fear. I started speaking in tongues. Mike also screamed at me in tongues… I was on the verge of death and I seemed to come to my senses. I knew that only the name of Jesus would save me and I just started saying over and over again ‘Jesus’. When Chris (Christine) heard me calling on the name of Jesus she started saying it too, and I believe firmly that it was only by calling on His name that I was not killed”

Michael would claim later to have had no memory of this incident.

Surprisingly, despite this frightening violent outburst, the following day Michael was to receive full forgiveness and a church absolution from Robinson for what had happened. But none of the rest of the congregation could forget the outburst, and Michael was closely watched following this episode.

It soon became apparent that his deteriorating, out of character behavior seemed to now be permanent, and was in fact getting worse as time went on, with his sanity clearly slipping. The seriousness and frightening condition that Michael was in was so severe that several local ministers became involved, and came to the realization that Michael might be under the influence of demonic forces. Finally,  the local vicar came to the controversial conclusion that an exorcism should be performed on Michael.

Two ministers, by the names of Father Peter Vincent and the Rev. Raymond Smith were brought in to carry it out, and the exorcism was set to happen for midnight on the 5th of October, 1974, at St. Thames Church in Barnsley. That night, in front of the congregation of the Christian Fellowship Group, the two ministers began the harrowing ritual, which would prove to last throughout the night and well into the next morning.

As soon as the exorcism had started, Michael went into uncontrollable convulsions and fits, and bouts of scratching, spitting, and biting, requiring him to be forcefully tied to the floor. Over the next 8 hours, Michael was subjected to all sorts of indignities, such as having crucifixes shoved into his mouth and being doused with holy water. All throughout, Michael was growling and snapping at anyone who came near him. The priests in charge of the exorcism claimed that the ceremony had managed to ascertain that there were about 40 demons inhabiting Michael’s body, representing such traits as incest, bestiality, blasphemy, lewdness, heresy, masochism, and carnal knowledge. As one can imagine, these alleged demons did not go easily from Michael, each one having to be reportedly dragged out kicking and screaming. After 8 hours of this, by 8 AM on October 6th 1974, the priests carrying out the exorcism could no longer continue through exhaustion.

Strangely, it was decided that the exorcism would have to be finished at a later time, although the priests claimed that three demons, those of insanity, anger, and murder, were still stubbornly possessing Michael and had not been successfully removed yet.

Apparently, the congregation who had been present for the exorcism agreed in part, for one witness to the terrifying events, a minister’s wife named Margaret Smith, was to claim later that she had received a warning in her mind from what she believed to be God, saying that the demon of murder was going to escape from Michael and kill Christine. She pleaded with the two priests to complete the exorcism, but they dismissed her warnings and instead told Michael and Christine to go home to rest and prepare for the next and final part of the exorcism, which was to be performed the following day.

Now, whether there were really demons still infesting Michael Taylor’s body or not, or whether he had succumbed to a full on psychosis and had been tipped over the edge by the events of that night, what would follow that day was nothing short of pure evil and insanity.

It was about 09:45 the next morning, October 7th, and not two hours after Michael and Christine had been sent home to rest up to prepare for the next part of the exorcism, that a police patrol car passing through the normally quiet streets of Osset came upon a shocking and un-nerving sight.

Coming around a corner, the officer in the car, PC Ian Walker, was confronted by the sight of a man stumbling around in the middle of the street, naked, and covered head to toe in blood. His body was slicked with it. Stopping the car and approaching the man, PC Walker saw the man curl into the foetal position, and heard him ranting and screaming over and over:

“IT IS THE BLOOD OF SATAN”

Unsurprisingly, this had attracted a crowd of onlookers, some of which knew the disturbed man.

It was Michael Taylor.

The police officers who had approached the man immediately called for an ambulance, fearing that Michael had hurt himself or someone else, and tried his best to talk to and calm Michael, who was still screaming and senseless, ranting only about Satan. He continued screaming as the ambulance from the local hospital arrived and he was placed into it and taken away. The crowd of onlookers who had crowded around the ambulance now told the police that the deranged maniac was Michael Taylor, and gave the officer his address, to which the patrol car then went to.

PC Walker, upon arrival at the Taylor house, was surprised and perhaps apprehensive to find a police car there already, which he later found out had been summoned for by frightened neighbours who had heard a commotion. PC Walker approached the house but was stopped by the sight of his Inspector emerging from the front door, bending over, and vomiting.

“You don’t want to see this one son. I’ve seen nothing like it before and I’ve seen a few. It’s the wife. She’s got no…He’s ripped at her son. It’s a right mess in there. There’s not much of her left. You don’t want to see it, eh?”

Feeling that he had go in, PC Walker stepped into the Taylor house and was to see exactly what his shook his inspector had meant.

The interior of the front room was destroyed, with signs of destruction apparent even from a cursory look. Blood covered every surface of the room, along with flesh, pulp and brain matter, and on the floor of the living room lay the bodies of Christine Taylor and the family pet dog, almost unrecognisable. The blood that had covered Michael Taylor was Christine’s blood. At about 09:30 that morning, in the Taylor family home, Michael had killed his wife Christine, the woman that that he loved and the mother of his children.

michael-christine-taylor

In a maniacal and deranged attack, Michael had stripped off and strangled Christine, and had literally torn off her face. There was no murder weapon involved – He had gouged out her eyes and ripped out her tongue with his bare hands, tearing the rest of her face down to the bone, so much so that she was left unrecognisable. Whilst Christine had died of shock and asphyxiation on her own blood – mercifully quickly – Michael had turned his attentions to the Taylor pet dog, strangling it and literally ripping it limb from limb. He had torn its legs from their sockets, and hair and teeth and eyes from the skull. He then left the house screaming, and was found by PC Walker a short time later.

It was described as being the most horrific crime scene that any police officer who had attended it was ever to see

Michael was taken into police custody from the hospital, and when interviewed some hours later – when he was deemed rational to talk, he was asked to try to explain what had happened: He told Detective Inspector Brian Smith about the exorcism that had occurred only hours before, saying:

“It was a long night. They danced around me and burned my cross because that was tainted with the evil. They had me in the church all night. Look at my hands. I was banging on the floor. The power was in me. I couldn’t get rid of it and neither could they. They were too late. I was compelled by a force within me to destroy everything living within the house”

Although Michael claimed he could remember nothing of the actual murder, claiming to deeply love his wife, when asked by DI Smith how he felt, Michael replied:

“Released. I am released. It is done. The evil in her has been destroyed.”

Although he appeared to have no motive for his actions, Michael Taylor was charged with the murder of Christine Taylor and was remanded to Broadmoor secure hospital in Berkshire to await trial. Whilst on remand, Michael was reported to have spent most of the time in silence or sleeping. Perhaps some part of him never wanted to face what had happened, and how five children had in the space of a single day lost a mother – and a father.

The crime was a sensation – horror such as this belongs in fiction and should not happen anywhere, let alone in a sleepy Yorkshire market town. It created a media frenzy, and the bloody crime, coupled with the background of exorcisms and alleged demonic possession drew huge amounts of interest to Michael Taylor’s upcoming trial.

Michael Taylor’s trial for the murder of his wife Christine began in March 1975, and upon it commencing, the jury were advised by the barrister for the prosecution, Mr Geoffrey Baker QC, that the evidence they were about to hear:

“will make it difficult to believe that you are not back in the Middle Ages”

Neither prosecution nor defence denied at the trial that Michael Taylor had severe mental issues. Michael himself testified, again claiming that he had no recollection of the actual killing, that he had deeply loved his wife and had been under the control of evil supernatural forces, and that he had suspected that Christine had also been possessed by demons. He offered no other explanation.

The lynchpin of his defence was the discrediting of the Christian Fellowship group, and the Anglican and Methodist priests who had carried out the exorcism. Mr Ognall QC, for the defence, claimed that the Christian Fellowship Prayer Group was actually more of a fanatical cult, and had managed to influence Michael by using potent mind control and indoctrination, feeding his already existing mental issues. At one point, he  described the group as:

 “Neurotics, feeding neurosis, to a neurotic”

Blame was also apportioned to the exorcism itself. The prosecution claimed that the ritual had taken its toll on an already mentally disturbed man, and coupled with the warped religious ideals and beliefs that the Prayer Group had instilled in him, these negative influences had pushed Michael over the edge into a realm of madness and murder. Mr. Ognall made an impassioned personal statement during the trial that illustrated just how much responsibility the church was viewed to have held in the horrific crime, saying:

“I am aware that it is generally regarded as improper for an advocate to express any personal feeling or opinion about the case in which he is engaged. I am afraid I find it quite impossible to observe such constraints in this case. Let those who truly are responsible for this killing stand up. We submit that Taylor is a mere cipher. The real guilt lies elsewhere. Religion is the key. Those who have been referred to in evidence, and those clerics in particular, should be with him in spirit now in this building and each day he is incarcerated in Broadmoor, and not least on the day he must endure the bitter reunion with his five motherless children.”

The jury found Michael Taylor not guilty of the murder of his wife by reason of insanity. Deemed to be both clinically and legally insane, he was sent to Broadmoor Secure Hospital, where he would remain for 2 years, followed by another 2 year sentence at Bradford Royal Infirmary before being released back into the world, apparently cured.

The aftermath of the trial was a public outcry over the use of exorcisms within the church, and indeed this became the last recorded exorcism to be carried out by the Anglican Church. But they defended themselves to the full. Throughout the trial, and in the years following it, the chief Anglican priest who had been in charge of Michael’s exorcism, Father Peter Vincent, continued to insist that Michael Taylor had indeed been inhabited by demons, and that the Osset case had indeed been an authentic case of demonic possession. Father Vincent’s career in the Church was unaffected following the case, and even he seemed to be, almost having little consideration for a family destroyed and the horror of what had happened. He would only simply say:

“God will bring good out of this in His own way”

It was only Peter Vincent’s partner in exorcism, the Reverend Raymond Smith, that seemed to admit that the situation had not been handled well and that the “exorcism” had indeed failed. He was quoted as saying:

 “If people come to me in trouble of any kind, I will try to help. I would give such comfort as I could, but I am only an ordinary human being, with human failings”.

What then, became of the main player in this horrific story? After his release from hospital, it is reported that Michael Taylor went back to live in Osset, although one can only wonder at the relationship he would have had back there after such horror. How would his relationship with his children have been – if there even was any type of relationship? How does a person even begin to start again after such horror?

Michael would continue to display odd behavior and to suffer bouts of depression, as well as making a total of four suicide attempts over the following years, still haunted by his actions that October morning. These involved cutting his wrists and jumping from a bridge, in which he badly injured his back and legs. Surprisingly for such a sensational and chilling crime, he dropped out of the news and the public eye for many years.

But Michael Taylor would enter the news again in July 2005, when he was arrested for sexually harassing and having inappropriate conduct with an underage girl. During his court hearing on these charges, Taylor was said to have told police that it was all his fault, and then said:

“Am I going to Broadmoor for murdering my wife?”

Taylor had spent a week in custody over the sexual assaults, and during this incarceration the psychiatric problems that had existed in 1975 had manifested themselves once again. Upon being bailed, however, they had disappeared. His previous charges from thirty years before were deemed to have no bearing on the current case, and he was deemed to have a low to medium risk of re-offending. This led him to a relatively light sentence of a 3-year stint of community service, but with a condition of psychiatric treatment.

The case of Michael Taylor and the Osset Exorcist Murder raises many questions for debate.

Could someone who had committed such a horrific crime and was found insane really be well enough to rejoin society within four years? Is evil an outside force that can infect a person, or does it always lurk within? It perhaps ventures into the realms of the supernatural, but what if there really are such things as demons that can possess a person and drive them to commit heinous or violent acts that that person would normally never commit? Or is it just simply a form of psychosis?

Many people connected with the Osset murder will have debated these points long and hard over the years they have had to remember and think about it. Five children, who undoubtedly have families of their own now, lost a mother in a horrific way that they will never forget. How do you even begin to rebuild your lives following such horrific events? Michael Taylor himself has been so tortured by not being able to understand his actions that he has attempted suicide four times. Members of the jury and the court who sat through the trial will never forget what must have been some of the most horrific crime scene photographs ever shown in a court, and disturbing and frightening accounts that they were to hear. But perhaps the effect that the case was to have on people is best summed up by an account given by PC Ian Walker, when interviewed about the case as one of the officers on the scene years after his retirement. He said:

“Of all the incidents in which I was involved in 30 years of Police work, nothing affected me like this one. The stupidity and futility of it all, the complete and utter waste of life and destruction of a family, not to mention the death and other traumas, are far beyond anything else I have ever come across. Obviously my wife asked questions but there are some things that you do not take home, and this was one of them. However, within the next 24-48 hours the news hit the national newspapers and the TV news bulletins. You just bury it and get on with your life as best you can. Before this event I was agnostic… and now I was an atheist.”

 

The True Crime Enthusiast

 

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Who Murdered Alan Wood?

“Why do that to such a gentle man? If they had wanted his money, he would have given it to them” – Sylvia Allett (Alan’s sister)

The rural hamlet of Lound, in the county of Lincolnshire, UK, should be unremarkable from many other English villages the length and breadth of the country. The Domesday Book even depicts Lound as consisting of nothing more than “18 households, 2 mills and a church”. And Lound would have stayed that way, had it not found itself to be the setting of one of the most brutal and horrific murders that not only Lincolnshire Police have ever seen, but within British criminal history also. A murder that still to this day remains unsolved.

Lound was, in 2009, the home of 50-year-old self-employed gardener, Alan Wood, who lived in Manor House, a small bungalow on a rural road just off the A1621. A link to a Google Map image of Alan’s bungalow circa 2009 can be found here

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Alan Wood

Alan was popular and well liked, and was considered by his family and friends as being laid back in nature, but a kind-hearted hard worker who enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. The eldest of three children of Jim and Maureen Wood, Alan had been born in Gillingham but had grown up in the village of Careby along with his sisters Janice and Sylvia. Upon leaving school, Alan had gone to work in the printing industry and found a role at Warners Printers in the Lincolnshire town of Bourne. However, after many years working there he was made redundant, and as an avid gardener, Alan decided upon a new direction in life. He had spells of employment at Rassells Nursery in Little Bytham, and later Barnsdale Gardens, before creating his own gardening business, Gardens TLC.  Since 2006, Alan had also began working at the Sainsbury’s store in Bourne as a supplement to his income during the winter months where gardening work was scarce. By all accounts he was just as popular there, and enjoyed working the night shifts.

Alan had been married to his wife, Joanne, since 1992, but the couple had separated after eleven years of marriage. They were still on good terms and very close, however, and stayed in regular touch, even when Joanne had moved to live in Peterborough. Having no children of his own with Joanne, Alan instead devoted himself to his nieces and nephews and loved spending time with them. He was also an avid and accomplished photographer and was known to have done wedding photographs for several of his friends. Aside from photography, Alan’s other passions were cars and motorcycles, and he owned a black Triumph Speed Triple and an “E” type Jaguar. These were his pride and joy.

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Alan pictured with his wife Joanne

Alan had an active social life, although this seemed to centre around his local pub, The Willoughby Arms in Little Bytham. He was a well-known figure here, enjoying a few pints of lager and especially a packet of mini cheddars, and would always get involved in any events there. Be it a quiz night, a live music event or even a beer festival, Alan could be found there enjoying himself, and would often help out behind the bar or clearing up at such events.

So here we have a picture of a kind-hearted man, a popular and well liked man who was a hard worker and would always help anyone out. This makes what was to follow in October 2009 all the more difficult to pinpoint a motive for.

Early in the morning of Saturday 24th October 2009, a friend and co-worker of Alan’s arrived at his Manor House for a visit. However, the friend was dismayed and perhaps a bit disturbed to find both the front and back door wide open, and no response from calling out for Alan. Feeling apprehensive, the friend contacted Alan’s landlord, who arrived at the property to investigate further, and together the two entered the bungalow.

What they found was later described as being the most horrific crime scene ever witnessed in Lincolnshire police history.

Going into the living room, Alan’s body was found lying face down on the blood drenched floor. He had been dead for some time, and lay in a congealed pool of blood. His hands were bound with Sellotape, and there were massive wounds to his head that had been inflicted with a bladed object, where he had been stabbed repeatedly. Alan had been killed by having his throat cut, but perhaps most horrifically, it was determined that an attempt had been made to cut off his head. The house showed no signs of ransacking, and indeed, just Alan’s bank cards were found to be missing from the property.

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Manor House crime scene

The resulting police investigation, Operation Magnesium, was massive, and Alan’s life and last known movements were looked at to try to establish a motive, a time and date of death and hopefully, a suspect. But straight away, detectives hit a brick wall. No neighbours had reported hearing any sounds of a struggle or screams, and no clear motive was available. Alan had no known enemies or had had any known disagreements with anyone. He did not associate with any known elements of the criminal fraternity, and was not known to be involved in anything illegal or illicit.

It was established that Alan had last been seen alive on Wednesday 21st October 2009, where he was confirmed by CCTV as shopping in the Morrison’s supermarket in nearby Stamford that afternoon. He was also confirmed as to having visited his local pub, The Willoughby Arms, on his way back from here. He shared a drink and a conversation with bar staff and left at about 6:30pm. This was the last time Alan was seen alive, except for by his killer(s), so detectives had an unaccounted window of about 65 hours from Alan last being seen alive to his body being discovered. But forensic scientists examining the scene, plus a search of local CCTV and bank transactions, managed to produce a wealth of evidence that was to help pinpoint a likely time of death and point towards a local offender. Undisputable forensic evidence from the killer was also found at the scene.

What was the wealth of evidence found? This took the form of a footprint left at the scene by a size 8 Converse Mark LE Red trainer, and fragments of a bus ticket from a local Bourne transport company, Delaine, which was found stuck to the Sellotape used to bind Alan’s hands. But most crucially, a full male DNA profile from someone other than Alan was found from bloodstaining at the scene – had the killer injured or cut himself whilst attacking Alan, or had Alan caused an injury to his killer by attempting to fight him off? Unfortunately, to date no match for the sample has been found on the NDNAD in the UK, as well as an international search being made on at least 47 different databases.

Detectives believed that the likely scenario was that Alan was attacked sometime on the Thursday evening, having been disturbed from relaxing in bed reading by the sounds of a disturbance at his front door. He was then overpowered by at least one but more likely two men, who dragged him through to the living room and managed to restrain him by Sellotaping his hands. It was believed that Alan was then tortured in order for the killer(s) to gain his PIN number for his bank cards, being stabbed in the head and eye when he refused. It was believed possible that Alan may have been tortured over a period of time, with his killer returning to inflict more torture when given the wrong PIN. Alan was finally killed by having his throat slit, and then for no other discernible reason bar sheer blood lust, his killer(s) then attempted to cut off his head.

The reason that detectives were so certain that it was Thursday that Alan was attacked was that it was found that his cash cards had been used a number of times over the unaccounted last hours of Alan’s life. Eleven attempts in total were made, with only two being successful, in nearby Bourne and Stamford. CCTV was gleaned from several of these attempts which show a figure (definitely not Alan) with his features hidden using the cashpoint in West St, Bourne, at 9:00pm on the Thursday evening.

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Who was “ATM Man”?

A witness also came forward to say that she had seen two men using a cashpoint in Sainsbury’s (the same store where Alan worked) at about 9:30pm the same evening.  The CCTV was scrutinised and enhanced to provide these images of Alan’s suspected killer(s), and a photofit of one of the men seen at the Sainsbury’s cashpoint is also shown here:

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Photofit of suspect using Sainsbury’s cashpoint

“ATM Man” was described as being 5”9 to 5”11, of medium to slim build and possibly walking with a limp – which expert analysis of the CCTV revealed may be because the killer has one leg slightly longer than the other. He was described as dressing “smart casually” and wore what appears to be a distinct striped scarf. He was also a smoker as confirmed by undisclosed CCTV footage, and believed to have strong local knowledge due to being aware of the CCTV within the area and taking precautions to avoid recognition when being caught on it. The Delaine bus ticket also suggests a killer who is local, or with local knowledge.

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“ATM Man” is again caught on CCTV following an attempt to gain cash.

Footage of “ATM Man”

It would appear from this that robbery was the prime motive here, but detectives could not rule out a more personal reason for such a horrific murder. Several possibilities were suggested, including Alan having fallen foul of someone when doing some gardening work in a prison years before. It was also suggested that Alan was a casual user of sex workers, and the motive for his murder perhaps had a root in some connection with the vice world. This has never been confirmed as being the case, however. But perhaps the most intriguing, and indeed, plausible theory, was that this was a case of mistaken identity. Was Alan mistaken for someone else, or did someone mistakenly believe that he was wealthier than he actually was?

The case has received massive publicity over the years, and has been featured on Crimewatch U.K twice as an appeal. It received massive local press and interest, and appeal posters in a multitude of languages were displayed far and wide in an attempt to gain possible information that may be held within the migrant community. The CBS Reality investigative series, Donal MacIntyre Unsolved, has also covered the case in 2015. Sainsbury’s offered a reward totalling £60,000, and a website was even established by Lincolnshire police – although as of 2017, this website is now defunct. A link to it is however available through the following archive link 

Just four people have been arrested in connection with Alan’s murder over the course of the enquiry, and each has been released without further charge. It seems remarkable that despite the wealth of forensic evidence, good CCTV, and the crowning jewel of the DNA profile from the scene, that the crime remains unsolved to this day. The investigation is of course still open, but barring any new information or a familial DNA profile match, it remains upon the “Active with regular reviews” pile.

What then can be said about the killer(s)? As is commonplace on TTCE, I in no way offer the following as definitive, these are purely observations and hypothesis. To begin, I feel it very likely that there is more than one person involved in this crime. Alan was a physical worker and was relatively young, he would have likely been able to put up a struggle against a single attacker unless immediately incapacitated at the front door. Burglaries are also normally committed by offenders in pairs at least. I also believe it possible that once the PIN number was obtained from Alan through torture, one of the offenders went to the nearest cashpoint to ascertain that the number was correct, whilst the other guarded Alan and ensured he could not raise the alarm. It would be too high risk for a single killer to have tortured a person, leave him alone to ascertain he was being correct, and then return to inflict more torture if he wasn’t. More likely is the scenario that one offender tortured Alan whilst in mobile phone contact with the other one attempting to use the cash cards, and Alan was killed soon after the correct PIN number had been ascertained.  The level of violence used may have been in a rage because Alan had mistakenly or deliberately given the killers the wrong PIN number.

Out of the theories presented as possible motives, I do not believe it likely that it is because Alan was a user of sex workers. This theory has been deemed unlikely by his family, friends and colleagues and no evidence has been found to suggest that the suggestion is even correct. Also, how many people are users? Why target Alan specifically? Unlikely. The same goes for the theory that Alan had somehow fallen afoul of someone whilst doing gardening work in a prison some years before. Nothing has been found to suggest that this has root in truth. I believe that Alan would have known if he had an enemy, and that he would have confided this knowledge in his family or friends.

The most likely scenario, I believe, is that Alan was targeted deliberately – but in a case of mistaken identity. It was found that Alan bore a strong resemblance to a manager at the Sainsbury’s store where he worked. Perhaps his killers had seen him, and mistakenly followed Alan home at a previous time, mistaking him for the manager. Alan’s Jaguar car may have supported the killer’s theory, and given the impression that he was a wealthy man. A friend of Alan’s, Ella Jenkins, agreed with this:

“It was his pride and joy and it looked fabulous, but was only probably worth about £500. I saw the manager at the funeral, he was the same build and the same colouring – it was kind of at first glance it was Alan, but he didn’t have glasses. My gut feeling is that they thought he had money, or that they thought he had the keys to the store”

Was this the reason for the levels of violence? Alan repeatedly denying he had keys to the store – because he was telling the truth and this repeated denial angered his killers?

What else then can be ascertained about Alan’s killers? I believe it very likely that the killers either live or have lived in the local area, or have very strong connections or familiarity with it. The cash machines used were within a relatively small geographical area, and there is also the evidence of the local bus ticket found attached to the Sellotape binding Alan’s hands. Plus the area in which Alan lived is a rural area and someone familiar with the area would know of a quiet way to access and egress the scene. This was possibly on foot, or a car was left nearby. I believe the killers were at the time in their late teens to mid 20’s – the overkill and amount of violence used shows an immaturity, and possibly in a drink or drug fuelled rage. “ATM Man” also appears to have the gait and dress of someone within this age range.

I believe that they knew of Alan, but did not know him personally – everyone he knew and worked with would have been spoken to and eliminated. I believe that the bungalow in which he lived had been visited or watched by the killers prior to the murder, in order to ascertain the best point of entry and exit, and to make sure there wasn’t a fierce dog or alarm system. The lack of a DNA match to the unknown bloodstaining found at the crime scene on the NDNAD is a puzzling aspect also. For someone to have used such levels of violence and to be cold-blooded, it boggles the mind that such a person hasn’t come to the attention of police before for previous serious offences, and therefore have a DNA sample on the NDNAD. They may not have killed before (and this could also explain the savage amount of violence used – because this was a first time kill) but it was certainly a person comfortable with violence and brutality. I believe that the killers were experienced thieves – this is certainly not a first time offence, and is possible that the killers may originate from the travelling community, and therefore may have escaped detection for previous crimes by moving around the country.

The crime itself shows signs of both organised and disorganised killers. Organised in that the killers managed to gain access to the house without any commotion being heard. They left no fingerprints and no murder weapon was ever found. They managed to leave the scene without drawing attention to themselves at all. When spotted on CCTV (which nowadays is practically impossible to avoid) the killers took steps to conceal their identity. Yet they carelessly left vital forensic evidence such as a footprint from a traceable shoe, a local bus ticket, and most importantly, a sample of the killers blood at the scene. They also had no way of knowing exactly when Alan’s body would be found and the alarm raised, yet still risked being captured on and possibly identified from CCTV by using the cards eleven times in the days following the murder – all for the sake of a maximum few hundred pounds that they could have gained from the only two successful transactions out of these.

To date, more than 20,000 people have been spoken to over the course of the enquiry. Manor House was kept as a crime scene for two years following the murder, before being eventually demolished. Television appeals have been made, and the murder has been the subject of both sensationalist and amateur documentaries, links to which can be found as a footnote. There is also an ongoing appeal to trace a Polish national, Pawel Wrzyszcz, a car washer who worked at a local car wash that Alan was known to have frequented with his Jaguar. Police are keen to stress that he is not a suspect in the murder, but may hold vital information. Precisely why Wrzyszcz is such a person of interest in the case is unclear.

As the eighth anniversary of Alan’s death approaches, his family and friends understandably find it a hard time. But Lincolnshire Police are keen to stress to them, and the public, that they havent and will never give up the hunt for Alan’s killers. The enquiry is still ongoing, but it seems that barring a match for the unknown blood sample appearing on the NDNAD from either the killer or a familial match, Alan’s killers will escape detection and this horrific and tragic crime will go unpunished.

But Alan is not forgotten. In the years following the crime, Alan’s family and friends created a memorial garden at his local, The Willoughby Arms, and gather there on the anniversary of his murder to remember him. A pint of lager is placed on the bar, along with a bag of Mini Cheddars. The garden has a touching tribute of a sundial that is inscribed with the following:

‘Sadly missed by all his friends and family, I’m going after this one …’ referring to words Alan often used before leaving the pub.

Anyone having information concerning the murder of Alan Wood should contact Lincolnshire Police on 101, quoting Operation Magnesium, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

 

The True Crime Enthusiast

 

Links:

Operation Magnesium Press Pack

Crimewatch U.K Reconstruction Jan 2010

 

The Murder Of Elsie Frost

“It struck me as being cold, isolated, desolate, everything about a nasty place. She shouldn’t have died there; nobody should.”- Colin Frost (Elsie’s brother)

Shortly after lunchtime on the afternoon of Saturday 9th October 1965, 14-year-old schoolgirl Elsie Frost left her home in Manor Haigh Road, Lupset, Wakefield, to go sailing at a nearby lake, the Horbury Sand Quarry or the Millfield Lagoon, as it was known locally. By all accounts, Elsie Frost was a happy, fun-loving teenager, the middle child of railway worker Arthur and Edith Frost, and was growing up in a close-knit, loving family who did a lot together. Pretty and dark-haired, Elsie was a prefect at Snapethorpe High School in Wakefield, a hard-working pupil who  had dreams of becoming a teacher and had just been chosen to be the next head girl at her school.

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Elsie Frost

She was respectable and well-liked, and had no known boyfriends. Along with some of her other friends, Elsie was a keen and regular sailor and that Saturday, Elsie had been asked to help supervise a group of younger children who were learning how to sail. It was a cold October afternoon, and Elsie dressed in a white blouse and yellow sweater, a printed cotton skirt and red quilted anorak – her favourite outfit. Putting her sailing clothes in a duffel bag and saying goodbye to her family, she put on her brand new pair of shoes and set off down to the lake.

It was the last time her family were ever to see her alive.

At 4:15pm that afternoon, local father Thomas Brown was out for an afternoon walk with his young children and dog. The family were heading on a path that skirted the River Calder and a passed by a canal, with a tunnel leading underneath some railway lines. The area was known locally as “The ABC Tunnel”, due to the 26 stone steps that led down to it from the embankment.

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The ABC Tunnel and ABC Steps in 1965

Upon approaching the tunnel, the family made a horrifying discovery. Thomas Brown was later to tell the inquest:

“When we got to within five or 10 yards of the bottom of the steps, I saw a girl lain there, whom I now know to be Elsie Frost. She was lying with her left arm on the second step and her head was lying on her left arm and her right arm was above her head on the next step. She was crouched up in an awkward position with her legs underneath her body in a kneeling type of position but more on her left hand side. I went up to her and asked her what was wrong and got my hands under her armpits and picked her up. When I spoke to her I did not get any reply. I did not realise she was as badly injured as she was. At this time, my son was at the top of the banking. I tried to persuade the children to go home but they wouldn’t.”

Within minutes, others had appeared on the scene, and whilst they waited with Elsie’s body Mr Brown ran to call for an ambulance and the police. They included lock-keeper Ralph Brewster and John Blackburn, Elsie’s sailing instructor from the lagoon, and as would be established at the inquest, the last person to see her alive. Also present was a 19-year-old amateur photographer who had been taking photographs of the river Calder. Upon arriving, police cordoned off the scene for examination, and removed Elsie’s body to Wakefield Public Mortuary where a post-mortem examination was undertaken. A search of the area for a possible murder weapon got underway, and the standard police house to house enquiries began.

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Police searching the scene of the crime

The post-mortem examination found that Elsie had been stabbed five times — twice in the back, twice in the head, and once through the hand as she tried to shield herself from her killer— with the fatal blow piercing her heart. She had not been sexually assaulted, and the pathologist concluded that she was still a virgin at the time of her death. Her cause of death was given as ‘shock and haemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds’. Seven hours after she had left home that afternoon, her father had to visit Wakefield Public Mortuary to identify her body. The Frost family was left shocked and stunned, and reeling from what had happened – so much so that Elsie’s parents both needed sedation. Whilst the family tried to come to terms with what had happened, the massive manhunt for Elsie’s killer continued. Even Scotland Yard was to lend support and officers.

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Police divers search a nearby river

Piecing together Elsie’s final known movements, it was established that Elsie had chosen to walk home a different way to the rest of her friends, and had taken the route that led along the towpath and through the 30ft ABC Tunnel, to avoid scuffing and dirtying her new shoes. It appeared that the attack had happened as Elsie walked through the ABC Tunnel, where she was savagely attacked from behind. Despite her grave injuries, Elsie had managed to stumble through the tunnel to the bottom of the steps, where she collapsed and died just minutes before being found by Thomas Brown and his children. A trail of blood leading from the place where Elsie was stabbed to the bottom of the ABC Steps confirmed this.

The hunt for Elsie’s killer was heavily publicised in the national press in the weeks following the murder, with fear and suspicion cast especially across the community of Lupset, uneasy with the thought of having a brutal killer in their midst. Children who could once play free now found themselves kept an eye on and curfewed, and such activities as Scouts or Brownies extra supervised. Police had gone door to door questioning every man who lived in the area, with some 12,000 in all spoken to, and a reconstruction of Elsie’s last known movements had been made.

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Local press at the time of the murder

Aside from the thousands of people in the locality who were interviewed, and thousands of witness statements taken during the manhunt, police did have other clues to go on. Many people seen near the ABC Steps that day were traced and spoken to, but were ultimately eliminated from the enquiry. A tan coloured 12in leather knife-sheath with a stag’s head motif had been found tossed over a wall near to the murder scene, but a knife that matched it was either missed or never found, despite a large number of knives being taken and tested as a potential murder weapon. The murder weapon has never been found. Several people also reported seeing a bearded hitchhiker in a nearby road, and a well dressed driver of an Austin Cambridge car that was parked near the scene. Neither of these men were ever traced. The film from the young amateur photographer’s camera had also been examined in case the pictures provided any clues – but this again drew a blank.

The former MP for Wakefield from 1987-2005, David Hinchcliffe, was a 16-year-old youth in the area at the time, and was one of those interviewed. Years later, he described local feeling at the time:

‘The police came to my house, and they came to my friends’ houses. We were asked where we were on the day in question. I was watching Wakefield Trinity Rugby League team play at their Belle Vue Ground. There were six or seven thousand people there and I was with friends so I had an alibi. I had to produce a sheath knife. It sounds strange now, but most boys at that time would carry a sheath knife. You carved wood with it. You used it for making spears and as part of play. They did a lot of questioning of people in our area. A lot of work was put into talking to people about where they were when this murder occurred.’

Ultimately, all who were spoken to were eliminated from the enquiry. As is standard, even members of Elsie’s family were repeatedly spoken to and asked to provide their movements on the day of the murder. Elsie’s former brother-in-law was one of those questioned, and was to describe it years later:

“We were put under a lot of pressure, where were we at what times, when we had last seen Elsie. It wasn’t just that they asked you once. They would come back a week later and ask you all over again but with a slightly different phraseology to try to catch you out. They interviewed everyone. Before the questioning, everyone was pointing fingers at each other. My wife trusted me. I think she accepted the fact that I was going to be questioned because everyone was. The police had a job to do.”

The inquest into Elsie’s death was held in January 1966 and many people gave evidence. One of these was John Blackburn, the teacher who was in charge of the school sailing club, and the last person to see Elsie. He told the inquest:

“I beckoned to Elsie and took her out in a boat to give her some instruction, as she had previously got into difficulties when navigating one of the boats. I was out with Elsie Frost in the boat until about five minutes to four. She then helped me to pack away the boats before leaving”

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Horbury Lagoon in 1965

By the time the inquest was held, there was still no definitive motive for the killing, although many motives had been suggested and examined. The evidence pointed to an opportunistic crime, a random attack. Yet the savagery of the wounds Elsie received suggested an attack that was deeply personal and committed by someone filled with anger and hatred. A possible secret boyfriend who killed her after a row was suggested, and perhaps more intriguingly and credibly, it was suggested that Elsie could have been murdered to silence her after stumbling upon two men indulging in homosexual activity whist she was walking home (homosexuality was unlawful in the UK until 1967). Whilst a clear motive could never be established, the coroner’s jury did believe that it could name the culprit. The role of the inquest at that time could actually accuse a named person of murder, rather than just the role it plays nowadays which is to establish certain facts and a cause of death. Newspapers the following day reported: “Elsie: Man accused of murder”

The accused was 33-year-old Ian Spencer, a former railway fireman and labourer who had actually given evidence and appeared at the inquest as a witness. Spencer had been in the area of the murder on that Saturday afternoon, but had insisted that he had been home at least 45 minutes before the murder occurred. Simpson’s wife, mother-in-law, and a family friend could all confirm this – but were never called by the coroner to speak at the inquest. The finger of suspicion was pointed at Simpson when subsequent inquest witnesses contradicted his story, and claimed that they thought they had seen him close to the area where Elsie’s body was found at around the crucial time. The jury decided unanimously that the cause of death was murder and “that there is a prima facie case against Ian Bernard Spencer”. Basically, Spencer was being accused of the crime, and was committed to face trial. Ian Spencer spent more than two months in custody before being cleared at a magistrates court. It was here that it was concluded there was no case to answer, and the jury were instructed to find Spencer, “not guilty”. He was released, but his wrongful arrest and the subsequent case of mud sticking was to forever blight him. Police were to visit Spencer in the following years whenever another murder occurred to ascertain his movements, leading him to feel the need to document his exact movements at all times for alibi in a series of notebooks. Simpson documented dates, times, places he had been – and even the exact mileage of his car. This practice continued for many years, long into his retirement, only stopping when a series of strokes led Simpson to be taken into a residential care home. He remains there to this day. When interviewed about his accusation by a local newspaper many years after the murder, Spencer’s family said:

This has followed him all his life and we want him to be left alone. I understand that Elsie’s family want closure but we do not want his name dragged up every time. He is not a murderer. He was never convicted of anything. He is one of the softest, kindest people I know but he has had to live with this most of his life. It is not fair. He is an old man and deserves to have his last years in peace. Our family deserves to put it behind us as he never did anything and was cleared.’

But back in 1966, when Simpson was cleared, police were forced to admit that they were back at square one with their investigation.

It is not just Ian Simpson who has suffered painfully as a result of Elsie’s murder. Her family never really recovered from her death – her father couldn’t even ever bring himself to discuss the murder, or to even view photographs of Elsie. Both of her parents are now dead – her mother Edith in 1988, and her father Arthur in 2003 – but her brother and sister are still alive, and have pushed for the investigation into Elsie’s murder to be re-opened in an effort to gain some closure for the family and justice for Elsie. They have of course never forgotten their sister, nor has the local community. On the 50th anniversary of Elsie’s death, St George’s church in Lupset was packed with more than 100 mourners, and the touching tribute of 14 doves were released in Elsie’s memory – a dove for each year of her life.

Finally, her murder was the subject of an investigative BBC Radio 4 programme in 2015, which resulted in an encouraging amount of new information being received. This helped re-open the investigation that year, and the possible theories concerning Elsie’s murder were reviewed in context with the new information. The programme makes for interesting listening, and links to the full programme covering the case can be found here: Who Killed Elsie Frost?

A line of appeal focused upon in the 2015 re-investigation is the identity of a man who was seen cycling near to the murder scene around the time Elsie was killed. This man was described as:

A white male, 25 to 30 years old and riding a black bike with a basket on the front and wearing a white lab type coat possibly of the style then worn by someone who could have been a delivery boy, butcher or abattoir worker.

There was also a line of enquiry to try to establish the identity of a man seen near the murder scene at around the crucial time that day. He was described by Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Belton:

“A common description of a person of interest which has come from some of the calls has been of a man wearing a brown, potentially duffel, type coat with dark hair who was seen on the canal towpath.He was of medium to thin build and in his early 20’s. He was described as carrying a bag by some witnesses, and was possibly of what was described as a scruffy or ‘student type’ appearance.”

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Who was the man in the duffel coat?

Similar theories that were examined 50 years previously were also re-examined, including the “mystery boyfriend” theory. But there is still no evidence to support this.
And a further blow to the investigation comes with the reports that police have never retained Elsie’s bloodstained clothing – they were either destroyed or returned to her grieving family, and so there is nothing that a possible workable DNA sample of her killer can be obtained from, even though technology now exists that would make this possible. Most of the original files from the 1965 investigation have now also been destroyed. And perhaps most frustratingly, the file on Elsie’s murder has been closed at the National Archives until 2060 – for reasons that are at best, unclear. The latest hurdle in a crime in which so many details remain unexplained.

What can be the motive for Elsie’s killing? I believe that this was a crime committed in either a rage, or out of fear – that explains the savagery of the killing. It is likely, or would at least be expected, that a boyfriend would have been known by someone, if not by Elsie’s family then at least by one of her friends – and I consequently do not believe this is a serious line of enquiry, although understand the need to investigate it as an avenue. It is more likely that Elsie was chosen at random by a sex offender in the area at the time. The absence of rape or attempted sexual assault should not discount a sexual motive to this murder – it is more likely that the killer had to flee. Several reports were commonplace of men “flashing”, exposing themselves to women and girls for sexual kicks – did someone expose themselves to Elsie and then pursue the frightened girl, killing her to save themselves being caught and identified? Was this possibly the man in the duffel coat? The theory of Elsie having disturbed two men indulging in homosexual behaviour is also of course possible.

Several theories abound, and there is much more in-depth research concerning the case than is recapped here. During my own research for the TTCE post I came across several theories presented – from responsibility for the crime being laid at the feet of notorious names from the annals of British crime, such as Peter Sutcliffe, Ian Brady, and even Jimmy Saville; to reported cover-ups concerning the investigation by the West Yorkshire Police. There is much information available for the reader to delve into and form their own conclusion, and the crime is still examined today by many the armchair detective. A recommended site can be found at : http://www.whokilledelsiefrost.com/

Frustratingly, it is also unclear as to why so much emphasis was given to Ian Spencer as being a suspect in the murder. One could be led to strongly suspect that Spencer was the unfortunate victim of a case of having a suspect in the frame, with police choosing to fit evidence around the suspect in mind? Indeed, it is fortunate that a higher authority decided to see sense and that there was no case to answer concerning Spencer’s guilt – otherwise the annals of victims of miscarriages of justice would have had another name added to their lists, along with the Stephen Downing’s and the Stefan Kiszko’s of this world.

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The ABC Steps as they appear today

In 2016, a 78-year-old man was arrested in Berkshire in connection with Elsie’s murder and released on police bail, however was subsequently re-arrested in March 2017. It is reported that a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration in charging him with Elsie’s murder. However, there is no further report available as to the status of this. Reports also account that this man is being looked at by South Yorkshire Police as a possible suspect in the unsolved murder of Anne Dunwell in May 1964, which was previously recounted on TTCE, and a link to which can be found here: The man arrested is an already convicted murderer and sex offender, and on 25 August 2017 he was charged with a rape and abduction in Deepcar in 1972. Next week on TTCE his crimes will be focused upon, and an examination as to his possible culpability in the murders of both Anne and Elsie will be discussed.

 

Is it possible, that the killer of Elsie Frost may still face justice for her murder…?

 

The True Crime Enthusiast