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2018-05-01 Real Crime

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BRITAIN’S BEST-VALUE CRIME MAG
“I ESCAPED
MANSON”
105 VICTIMS OF WORBOYS
BLACK CAB
MONSTER
How the cops left him free to
attack again and again
‘Hurtcore’ sadist Dr. Fald
er
laughed at their pain
KILLED IN BALLROOM GIBSON GIRL &
CONFESSION BOGEYMAN THE MAD HEIR
Father Feit kept his dark
secret for 57 years
PLUS
Could ‘Bible John’ and Peter
Tobin be the same killer?
A glamorous affair, jealousy and
murder in Madison Square Garden
Issue 037
WHO KILLED THE
GORILLA LADY?
POISONED SPY’S LONG GOODBYE – CUBAN MAFIA – EVIL IN EINDHOVEN – BUSTED BY HER OWN CAR – AND MORE
WELCOME
A
t the turn of the millennium police in
London began to crack down on an
epidemic of unlicensed taxi drivers. These
unscrupulous cabbies would take advantage
of drunk or desperate partygoers in England’s
capital, charging them extortionate fares,
practically holding passengers to ransom and
even worse crimes. The message was clear:
avoid unlicensed taxis, look for the Hackney
Carriage badge, black cabs are safe. That logic
still stands, but the arrest of John Worboys
(now John Radford) in 2008 gave the country
pause for thought. Black cab driver Worboys
already had a string of complaints from young
women against him when he was arrested in
2008, with allegations of date-rape drugs and
serious sexual assault dating back to 2002 that
the police, for one reason or another, hadn’t
acted upon. His wholesale abuse of his position
of trust and the often vulnerable woman who
unwittingly placed themselves in the custody
of this prolific sexual predator sickened Britain.
Could he ever be considered rehabilitated?
BEN BIGGS
EDITOR
Worboys carried crushed
sedatives, condoms and
sex toys in his cab,
offering spiked drinks
to his victims
CONTRIBUTORS
MARTYN CONTERIO
A freelance film critic
and crime writer based in
London, England, Martyn
has a long-time obsession
with the crimes of Jack
the Ripper and the Zodiac
Killer. He’s taken on
the sickening case of Cambridge academic Dr
Matthew Falder and the grim reality of ‘Hurtcore’
perverts, in Darknet Blackmailer on page 74.
DR JOANNA
ELPHICK
Jo is an academic lawyer
and lecturer specialising
in criminal law, forensics,
crime and deviance. She
has created courses and
given talks on subjects like
Jack the Ripper. Her book, Murderous East Anglia,
is available on Amazon. She’s explored the Peter
Tobin and ‘Bible John’ connection on page 56.
ROBERT WALSH
A freelance writer based
in Cornwall, England,
Robert is best known for
his true crime as well as
his military history writing.
His specialist areas are
organised crime, serial
killers and the history of capital punishment.
This issue, he’s detailed the murder of Russian
defector Alexander Litvinenko, on page 50.
SETH FERRANTI
Seth began his career in
journalism having served
a 21-year stretch of a
25-year sentence for an
LSD kingpin conviction.
He is now free and writes
regularly for Real Crime.
Seth has delved into the East Coast’s murky
Cuban connection and the life – and death – of its
powerful don, on page 42.
TANITA MATTHEWS
Tanita has a background in
reporting and newspaper
journalism and, as Real
Crime’s resident writer,
she’s had a hand in
multiple parts of the
magazine. She’s written
our lead feature on rapist John Worboys, who used
his status as a licensed black cab driver to lure
women into sexual assault. Read it on page 14.
DR NELL DARBY
/REALCRIMEMAG
/REALCRIMEMAG
Nell is a criminal historian
and freelance writer who
has written extensively
for newspaper, magazine
and website outlets. She
also has four books to her
name, and the latest, on
crime and the Victorian theatre, is available now.
Nell takes us back to New York’s Gilded Age and a
murderous millionaire, on page 82.
3
XXXXXXX
CONTENTS
CASE NOTES
06 BYE BYE BABYFACE,
FROM PUTIN WITH
LOVE?, TUNNEL TO
FORTUNE, AND MORE
Stunning crime photos, present and
past, from around the world
14 BLACK CAB MONSTER
John Worboys drugged and sexually
assaulted dozens of women
who got into his taxi. Can he
ever be rehabilitated?
24 KILLED IN CONFESSION
After 50 years, the shocking
truth of who killed a young
beauty queen in her church is
finally revealed
UNSOLVED CASE
34 WHO KILLED THE
GORILLA LADY?
Conservationist Dian Fossey
would give anything for gorillas
in Africa – even her life
42 WELCOME TO THE
CORPORATION
How Cuban Mafia godfather José
Miguel Battle came to America and
ruled the East Coast for decades
MINUTE BY MINUTE
50 POISONED SPY’S
LONG GOODBYE
When Russian defector Alexander
Litvinenko received a fatal dose of
radioactive polonium, he had a few
weeks to solve his own murder
56 THE HUNT FOR THE
DANCEHALL MURDERER
The identity of a Scottish serial killer
has been a mystery for decades
– but could police have had their
man this whole time?
BREAKTHROUGH
64 AN EVIL KILLER
IN EINDHOVEN
Teenager Nicole van den Hurk’s
brutal murder in the Netherlands
was unsolved for years. But even
when cops caught the suspect, it
raised more questions than answers
4
BiBle john’s
unholy aka
CONTENTS
66 MY ESCAPE FROM THE
MANSON FAMILY
A member of the murderous Manson
hippie cult from ages 14 to 17, Dianne
Lake tells us what life with Charles
Manson was like, and what happened
when she discovered their dark deeds
74 DARKNET BLACKMAILER
Respected and well-liked researcher Dr
Matthew Falder thought his vile acts
of online sadism could never be traced
back to him
82 MURDER IN MANHATTEN
Spoiled and obscenely wealthy socialite
Harry Thaw blew his love rival’s brains
out in public in a jealous rage – and
practically got away with it
REVIEWS
90 THE THIRD MURDER,
MEMBER OF THE FAMILY,
SHETLAND SERIES 4, SAVE
ME, AND MORE
The latest crime film, mystery fiction
and true tales reviewed
AUTHOR INTERVIEW
94 C.J. TUDOR
We’re relieved to discover the debut
crime author of The Chalk Man really
hates a happy ending
STRANGE CASE
98 HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER
HANDED IN BY HER CAR
After wheelspinning away from the
collision, Cathy Bernstein thought
she was in the clear, until her own car
reported her to the police
DISCOVER
MORE REAL CRIME
SUBSCRIBE
PAGE 32
the jealous rage of a
spoiled millionaire
5
CASE NOTES
Salisbury, UK, 15 March 2018
FROM PUTIN
WITH LOVE?
A police officer stands guard next to the public
bench on which former Russian spy Sergei Skripal
and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious,
allegedly poisoned by agents of the Kremlin
ormer Russian spy Sergei Skripal
probably thought he and his family
were safe in sleepy Salisbury, but
the Kremlin’s poisonous reach extends
into all corners, and it is now widely
believed that Russia’s mysterious agents
have attempted to murder a man they
view as a traitor.
Once an employee of Russia’s
secret service, Skripal became a British
informant in the 1990s, supplying
MI6 with sensitive information until
his sudden arrest outside his home in
Moscow in December 2004.
After his apprehension, Skripal
spent almost two years in custody
before finally being charged in August
2006 under Article 275 of the Russian
Criminal Code, which relates to
high treason. Skripal was promptly
sentenced to 13 years in a labour camp
and stripped of both his military rank
F
6
and decorations. However, he would in
fact only spend four years imprisoned
before being released in July 2010 as
part of a high-profile spy swap deal
with the UK.
Settling in the Medieval city
of Salisbury in Wiltshire, Skripal
attempted to piece a new life together
with his wife (who has since died),
and regularly enjoyed visits from his
sons (both of whom have since died
in suspicious circumstances) and his
daughter Yulia, with whom he was
found unconscious on a bench in early
March of this year.
With evidence that a Russian nerve
agent known as ‘Novichok’ was used to
poison them, the UK quickly moved to
expel 23 Russian diplomats in response,
an action Russia has mimicked. Both
Sergei and Yulia remain in a critical
condition at the time of writing.
© Getty Images
CASE NOTES
7
CASE NOTES
Illinois,USA,28November1934
BYE BYE
‘BABY FACE’
Police examine the body of notorious gangster George ‘Baby Face’ Nelson,
who met a fittingly gruesome end in a hail of FBI bullets
n a scene that would be unthinkable now, police oicers
poke and prod the corpse of a feared gangster in front of
gripped photographers. While this may seem undigniied,
the desire to display the body of George ‘Baby Face’ Nelson is
perhaps understandable considering he was responsible for a
number of police oicers dying in the line of duty.
While not as well known as the likes of his associate John
Dillinger, in 1930s America George Nelson was a loathed
bank robber with a reputation for shooting his way out of a
tight spot. Having begun his criminal career at just 13, Nelson,
known for his childish looks, was arrested in 1931 for robbery,
but somehow managed to escape while being transported to
face a separate robbery charge the following year.
Joining forces with the enigmatic Dillinger in 1934, Nelson
shot and killed an FBI agent as he led a hideout in north
I
8
Wisconsin, before then becoming America’s Public Enemy
Number One following John Dillinger’s death in July of the
same year.
Despite his best eforts, Nelson wouldn’t avoid the law
forever. Spotted driving a stolen car in Barrington, Illinois, by
FBI agents, Nelson attempted to shake them. However, when
he realised that he wouldn’t be able to, the gangster stopped
the vehicle (which also contained his wife Helen Gillis and a
man by the name of John Paul Chase) and began shooting at
the pursuing law enforcers. He killed agents Herman Hollis
and Samuel Cowley in a gunight that also saw Nelson hit 17
times. Despite managing to inally make his escape, Nelson
succumbed to his injuries the following day, and his body
was later discovered nearby to St Peter Catholic Cemetery in
Skokie, Illinois.
© Getty Images
CASE NOTES
9
CASE NOTES
Berlin,Germany,28January2013
TUNNELLING
THEIR WAY TO
A FORTUNE
The wreckage from an ingenious burglary
lies scattered across the basement of a Berlin
bank, the culprits long gone with the loot
hile no law-abiding citizen would ever condone breaking the law,
it is often the case that well-executed burglaries, in which nobody
gets physically hurt, capture both the public’s imagination and, to
an extent, their admiration. The skill involved in pulling of this particular
heist is deserving of both the full weight of the law and acknowledgement
of its brilliance.
Starting out in a car park approximately 45 metres away from their
target, a group of burglars (the sheer scale and complexity of the break-in
has led authorities to conclude this was no solo job) managed to dig their
way through not one but two reinforced concrete walls before breaching
the walls of the Steglitz district bank, where they emerged into a room
illed with safes containing valuables and money.
Having collected a haul worth an estimate £8.3 million, the burglars
scurried back up the tunnel they had so expertly bored and set ire to it,
thereby destroying the tools they had used and any DNA evidence they
may have left behind.
The entrance to their charred excavation was only discovered when a
local resident reported a ire in the car park and ire ighters arrived on the
scene. By this point the criminals responsible for the heist had led, along
with a life-changing amount of money.
W
10
© Getty Images
CASE NOTES
11
CASE NOTES
Malaybalay, Philippines,2015
VICTIM OF
DEPRAVITY
Police study the bones of an 11-year-old girl found below a property
being rented by alleged sexual predator Peter Scully
n a series of horrible revelations that has shocked the
Philippines and sparked heated debates in its House
of Representatives, former Australian businessman
Peter Scully stands accused of 75 crimes, including
murder, rape, torture and selling videos of children
being sexually abused on the dark net for $10,000 each.
Having escaped his native country in 2011 to avoid
fraud charges, Scully, 53, is believed to have quickly
established a child porn empire, distributing utterly
vile material to international buyers. One of the worst,
titled ‘Daisy’s Destruction’, features an 18-monthold girl being sexually abused while suspended by
her ankles – an act of such depravity that it brought
hardened police oicers to tears when they watched it
as part of the evidence collected against Scully.
Scully also stands accused of raping an 11-year-old
girl before strangling her and burying her beneath a
I
12
property he was renting. On top of this, it is alleged
that he held two teenage girls captive, subjecting them
to a horrendous ordeal of rape and torture before
instructing them to dig their own graves. Thankfully,
the girls managed to escape.
Despite currently being on trial for this catalogue of
ofences (which may also include human traicking),
Scully is set to avoid the death penalty as a result of
a bill passed by the Philippine government in 2017
that, while reinstating capital punishment for eight
drug-related ofences, does not extend the same
sentence for crimes such as rape. It is a move that
Pantaleon Alvarez, speaker of the Philippine House of
Representatives, passionately argued against, quoting
Scully’s case as a prime example of a situation in which
a suspected child killer and torturer will avoid this
ultimate punishment.
CASE NOTES
13
14
ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC SEX OFFENDERS TO TARGET THE STREETS OF LONDON, TAXI
DRIVER JOHN WORBOYS DUPED, DRUGGED AND ASSAULTED DOZENS OF WOMEN. CAN AN
OFFENDER WITH A RECORD THIS SERIOUS EVER CHANGE?
WORDS TANITA MATTHEWS
15
JOHN WORBOYS
ohn Worboys, ‘the black cab rapist’, dominated headlines
nearly a decade ago in the UK thanks to a string of attacks
on women who climbed into the London cab driver’s
vehicle, only to be drugged, sexually assaulted and, in at least
one incident, raped. Given an indeterminate Imprisonment
for Public Protection (IPP) sentence in 2009, his victims,
estimated by police to total more than 100, were told that
he would spend life behind bars. IPP sentences were
abolished in 2012, as the IPP system was confusing and led
to inconsistent sentencing. Despite this, more than 4,500
prisoners who were already serving these sentences were
left in limbo without clear guidelines as to when they could
expect to be released.
In 2017, after serving slightly more than the minimum of
his indeinite sentence, Worboys was considered a safe bet by
the Parole Board and was set to be granted his freedom. The
news caused outrage, particularly from his victims. A review
of the decision enthralled a nation and prompted a backlash
that forced the authorities to reconsider the parole decision.
Real Crime spoke to Durham University criminologist Nicole
Westmarland about the rehabilitation of ofenders and the
efect that releasing Worboys after just nine years might
have on his victims. After a tense and very public review,
Worboys’s freedom was revoked by England’s High Court,
but the fact that one of Britain’s most proliic sex ofenders
was almost freed continues to send ripples of fear throughout
the country.
J
Average John To
Tantalising Terry
Born in Enield, Middlesex, in 1957, Worboys’s life got of to
a sad start. At the age of 13 his mother died from cancer and
John Worboys, his father Alan and younger sister Barbara
had to adjust to life without a much-loved member of their
family. Intellectually average, he left school at the age of 16
with four CSE qualiications. Work prospects were slim for
the young Worboys, who shuled between menial jobs to
make a living. In the 1980s, in the prime of his life and living
in Rotherhithe, London, Worboys became a stripper and
kissogram worker.
His stage name ‘Terry the Minder’ took inspiration from
popular British comedy drama Minder – a series centred
on an optimistic yet shady west London wheeler-dealer
and his bodyguard Terry, often referred to as his ‘minder’.
Worboys’s signature performance was gyrating to the show’s
seedy theme tune. While working as a stripper he met his
irst wife, and the pair tied the knot in 1991. Worboys became
a stepfather to her three children. After only eight years of
marriage Worboys and his wife divorced, reportedly because
he had sexually assaulted her young teenage daughter, and
also admitted to following another woman home, where he
assaulted her.
Behind the doors of a lat he owned in the southern town
of Poole, Dorset, Worboys – under the pseudonyms ‘Terry’
and ‘Paul’ –starred in pornos produced by a director friend,
ABOVE Worboys relished the
attention he received from
working in the stripping industry
as well as performing on camera
in porn films, which gained
him a small cluster of followers
and fans
ABOVE-INSET A stripper who
once worked alongside Worboys
told local West Midlands
newspaper The Birmingham
Mail that Worboys would perform
a Full Monty routine for eager
punters, describing it as “nothing
short of legalised rape”
WORBOYS KNEW THAT THE ORANGE BEAM
OF HIS TAXI LIGHT WAS A SIGN OF SAFETY AND
TRUST TO UNSUSPECTING WOMEN
16
who hired out the Park Pine Mansions property. In 1996
he began working as a black cab driver in London and on
occasions Bournemouth, a neighbouring seaside town to his
Poole accommodation. In the capital, his was one of 25,000
black cabs operating at the time. An increasing concern for
public safety prompted the message for women not to take
unlicensed, unmarked minicabs across the county’s capital,
but to instead rely on the sterling reputation of regulated and
enforced black cabs.
Speaking to Real Crime, Nicole Westmarland, a
criminologist and director of the Durham Centre for
Research into Violence and Abuse, explained how taxi
drivers in London were divided into stereotypical ‘good’ and
‘bad’ thanks to now-outdated ideas about violent predators.
“I think one of the things that was very much the case back
then was that people were focussed on non-black cab drivers
and particularly unlicensed drivers as threats to women,”
she explained. According to Westmarland, in the early 2000s
there was “this idea that you could split taxi drivers into the
kind of unregulated, unlicensed, dangerous ones who might
sexually attack women, and the good taxi drivers who were
driving black cabs and who were fully licensed.”
BLACK CAB MONSTER
Worboys began visiting the doctor complaining of trouble
sleeping and was prescribed sedatives, which he began to
stockpile for a new sexual fantasy that he wanted to act out
on the women he ferried across London.
In 2002 reports started making their way to police
involving lone female victims, usually a professional working
woman. A jolly black cab driver would ofer them a drink
while driving them home, followed by a period of time
these women couldn’t quite remember that was marred by
disturbing, dream-like lashbacks of that same jolly cabbie
being a little bit too close for comfort. While living and
working in the Dorset area, it is feared that Worboys attacked
at least four women, but London became a notorious hunting
ground for the sex-crazed cabbie.
Despite the alarming rate at which these attacks were
taking place, still many more victims were too afraid to
come forward, fearing they wouldn’t be believed or would
be discredited because they had been drinking that same
night. Worboys knew that the orange beam of his taxi light
was a sign of safety and trust to unsuspecting women, and
the predator was able to hide behind his black cabbie status.
He often waived the fee for trips when he felt a victim might
slip out of his grasp, fearing she hadn’t got enough money
to pay the fare. As his victim climbed into the back, a rape
kit sat just centimetres from their feet in the front passenger
footwell: condoms, a torch, vibrators, surgical gloves and
stockpiled sleeping tablets he had acquired from his GP, as
well as over-the-counter medicine, which he would crush up
in an ash tray, ready to administer at a moment’s notice.
Knight In Black
Lacquered Armour
BELOW Women assumed that
the London black cab they were
climbing into was a place they
would be safe. But instead, once
inside, they were trapped in the
driver’s sick fantasy to dominate
professional and smart women
In October 2006 a 25-year-old woman walked into a west
London police station to report that she had been picked up
by a black cab on the Kings Road after a night out, and that
the journey home – at least what she could remember of
it – had frightened her into believing that something horriic
had happened to her. After she complained of a headache, the
driver had handed her what she believed to be two aspirin
tablets, which she gratefully took. She described how, after
popping the seemingly innocent little white pills, the driver
had jumped in the back with her and reeled of a story about
a substantial windfall of cash he had won that day. Holding
a bottle of champagne in his hand, he had attempted to
persuade her to celebrate with him. She recalled that at that
point she had sufered “major brain struggles”. Dream-like
lashbacks replayed startling scenes: the cabbie’s hand on her
leg, his ingers brushing up her skirt and suddenly she was
back at her home violently vomiting. She had felt weak, like
a rag doll. She gave her clothes to investigators for forensic
testing but after a few weeks felt unable to continue down the
road of a formal investigation.
In May 2007 Sarah Craigie encountered Worboys after
leaving a nightclub in London’s West End. A few drinks
worse for wear, Sarah had also had an argument with her
boyfriend that night, and the pair had stormed of in separate
directions to cool of. A black cab had approached her. The
driver seemed not to mind her lack of funds for a full fare
17
JOHN WORBOYS
RIGHT Metropolitan Detective
Inspector Dave Reid wrote to
victims after Worboys’s 2009 trial
and said that a total of 85 women
had come forward to report
attacks with similar methodology
to Worboys’s modus operandi
BELOW Antoni Imiela, who died
in March 2018 in prison, was
serving seven life sentences
for a series of rapes and sexual
assault. He opined on the
controversy over Worboys’s
possible release
and instead insisted he would rather see she got home safe.
Relieved to be going home, Sarah agreed and sat in the back
seat of the cab.
As the journey progressed out of London Sarah said the
driver began detailing how he had won a substantial amount
of money at the horse racing that day and that he was in the
mood to celebrate. He ofered his passenger a selection of
drinks – wine, whiskey, champagne – but Sarah
opted for a soft drink. Over the cabbie’s
shoulder, a pillar-box red Coca-Cola
can appeared. Sarah accepted the
refreshment, sipping at it slowly.
Suddenly, a wave of nausea took
over. She texted her boyfriend
and asked him to meet her at
the taxi drop-of, telling him
she was feeling increasingly
unwell and scared.
A little while later, the cab
pulled over and the driver
announced he needed a
toilet break. On his return
he opened the door beside
her and crawled into the
back seat with a glass of
champagne and a bag loaded
with cash. An overwhelming
feeling of intimidation washed
over Sarah as the cabbie shuled
closer and closer to her, invading
her personal space centimetre-bycentimetre. “This just isn’t right – you
should not be drinking. Just take me
home,” she cried. The driver became hostile,
telling her, “Don’t get out of your fucking pram
– I only wanted to celebrate my good fortune with
you.” Huing and puing, he stormed back to the front of the
cab and carried on driving. As Sarah stumbled out of the taxi
into her waiting boyfriend’s arms she could barely remember
the rest of the night, falling into a deep sleep before waking
up the next day still feeling sick from the night before.
Weeks later, in July, a teenager was picked up in Covent
Gardens. The 19-year-old student told southeast London
oicers that a chatty cabbie had pulled £3,000 from a plastic
bag and reeled of a story of a grand win. Replacing the
cash in the bag, he handed her a glass of champagne and
ordered her to “drink up” and celebrate with him, becoming
even more insistent when she attempted to decline the
drink. As she meekly sipped the drink, the driver
swerved and she spilt the remnants of her
glass on the loor. Undeterred, the driver
handed her another glass. This time
it was even fuller, and he became
aggressive when she tried to tell
him she didn’t want any more.
She recalled that he had shown
her three small pills and
attempted to force one into
her mouth before she blacked
out, waking up the next day
in her bed. Her tampon had
been removed.
When she reported
the incident to the police,
CCTV footage led police to
Worboys. It was a chance
missed to put a stop to
Worboys, who admitted he
had picked the teenager up
that night but denied he had
done anything untoward to her.
Manipulating the situation, he
explained that she had become lirty
with him during the journey and that
after she got out of the cab she had kissed
him. While the young woman’s blood sample
showed signs of a sedative, when police further
inspected the same footage used to identify Worboys, they
saw the young woman plant her lips on Worboys’s. A sample
of his DNA was taken but no traces were found on the
young woman, and she inally left the police station feeling
humiliated and defeated.
FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES
A LETTER FROM THE NOTORIOUS M25 RAPIST ANTONI IMIELA, PENNED FROM HIS
CELL IN HMP WAKEFIELD BEFORE HE DIED IN EARLY 2018, ATTEMPTED TO WEIGH
IN ON WORBOYS’S RELEASE
“When John got the word about parole we all knew he would face a shit load of
agro. How it even came to be so blown up is anyone’s guess. It seems an attempt to
circumvent the parole system. Don’t forget each year hundreds of so-called rapists
and murderers are released and less than 5 per cent ever appear in a criminal/law
situation. Maybe the most horrible of deeds want the heaviest of punishments. But
that is decided in law, in a court by a judge. The case we’re talking about had now
become itself subject to review in a court that has never before been purposed to
challenge a parole decision. Don’t believe all you read and hear. Yet there are those
willing to make claims for cash!”
18
BLACK CAB MONSTER
Running Red Lights
Obviously feeling like he was untouchable, Worboys’s attacks
seem to have escalated following his release from police
custody. Over the next few months at least 29 other women
reported similar attacks. Five months after Worboys was let
go, a 26-year-old woman reported that a cabbie had raped
her as she had lain, barely conscious, in the back of his cab.
Semen detected on the waistband of her jeans was examined
but no matches were found, despite the fact that Worboys’s
DNA had been taken months earlier. In January 2008 a
29-year-old insurance broker told a similar story to police,
detailing how she had crouched on the floor of the cab so
that he would not see her pouring the champagne he’d given
her away. Sitting in the back of the cab with her –as he did
with all his victims – he obstructed the door so that she could
not escape and sexually assaulted her. His victim cried out in
anguish and wet herself in terror, eventually managing to flee.
Worboys called after his victim, “You can’t go and say that
you’ve been raped because I always use Durex.”
A 34-year-old advertising executive was targeted, and
although she did not go to the police, when Worboys was
later arrested and his home searched, her DNA was found on
a sex toy found in his flat. Only five days later, a new mother
with a wedding to plan had gone out with some friends
for the evening to have a few drinks, and by 11pm she was
intoxicated, ready to go home to bed. The taxi her friend
hailed down was Worboys’s. “Please will you make sure she
WORBOYS CALLED AFTER HIS VICTIM, ‘YOU
CAN’T GO AND SAY THAT YOU’VE BEEN RAPED
BECAUSE I ALWAYS USE DUREX’
gets home safely?” she asked. It should have been a journey
of less than an hour, yet she could barely remember her
fiancé banging on their bathroom door at 3.20am while she
was violently sick into the toilet. She felt that her arms and
legs wouldn’t move no matter how much she tried. She slept
in the hallway bundled up in a duvet, only to wake up the
next morning shaking, sickened and sweating, with the heavy
citrus scent of Issey Miyake cologne clinging to her skin.
When her concerned cleaner tried to press her for details of
how she ended up so sick, she broke down and told her, “I
think I have been raped.”
Her memory was hazy, but as she tried to piece together
the events of the night before she vaguely recalled the cabbie,
who had told her his name was ‘Peter’ or ‘Paul’ – she couldn’t
quite recall – before climbing into the back seat with a bottle
of wine, boasting about a win on the horses. Before reaching
her home, he reversed the taxi, telling her they were going
for another drink. She had been scared, she couldn’t move.
The woman, a lawyer, was fully aware that time was of
the essence in such cases and she went straight to the police.
BELOW-LEFT Searching the home
of the man who the world would
one day know as the ‘black cab
rapist’, police found evidence
that his attacks had been
meticulously plotted, including
storing numerous bottles of
alcohol and sedatives
BELOW-MIDDLE The boot of
Worboys’s personal Fiat Punto
car was a treasure trove of
evidence against the cabbie who
had evaded capture for years
BELOW-RIGHT While driving
women home, Worboys would
flash the cash to unsuspecting
victims to solidify his story as a
lonely cabbie who had struck
gold and wanted to celebrate
19
JOHN WORBOYS
BELOW-LEFT Charged with a total
of 23 offences at his 2009 trial,
John Worboys pleaded not guilty.
His defence lawyers attempted to
persuade the jury that, while he
was regarded as an “oddball”, it
didn’t make Worboys guilty
BELOW-RIGHT The scores of
women Worboys attacked
thought that his sentence would
mean life behind bars, but in
2018 were shocked to learn that
he could soon be free once again
OPPOSITE Kathy Martin,
Worboys’s girlfriend at the time
of his arrest, attended most
days of his trial. She said she
had not known anything about
the attacks that had occurred in
Worboys’s taxi
Examined by medical staf, she was found to have abrasions
to her neck, the top of her back and right thigh. Tests on
her underwear proved positive for a lubricant used in 60
per cent of condoms. The victim’s story was so similar to
earlier reports made to police in December and January that
the three cases were handed to the Metropolitan Police’s
Homicide and Serious Crimes unit.
It took six days before police realised that they potentially
had a serial rapist on the loose in London and launched a
public appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
A timely call from a sexual referral unit blew the case wide
open. Westmarland told us that, since the ‘Me Too’ campaign
drew attention to the identities of sexual predators, better
working relationships between the police and sexual referral
clinics have been established, but back in the days of the
Worboys investigation the relationship was lacking. “When
you look back at the Worboys case, even though there were
so many reports made to the police at the time, it still wasn’t
the Met Police who picked up the links... It was sexual assault
workers in sexual assault referral centres who picked up
that there seems to be a link between the women who were
coming forward with these stories,” she told Real Crime.
Westmarland added that, “We now know that not all men
or women come forward to report rape, certainly not straight
away, and it may be the rape crisis centres and sexual assault
referral centres that have the valuable information that can
WORBOYS’S DEFENCE TO THE ATTACKS WAS
WEAK AND PATHETIC. HE BLAMED A SAD AND
AFFECTIONLESS CHILDHOOD
20
be used to join the dots and show that there is a serious
sexual predator on their hands.” A call from the sexual
referral clinic divulged information to police on a black cab
driver who’d attacked a young student the previous summer.
Their information led police once again to Worboys’s lat.
No One Cuddles
Little John
“What’s it all about?” shouted Worboys from his lat window
as police hammered on his door below. Maybe he knew
in reality that his time was up, or perhaps he didn’t think
police would ind anything to secure his arrest and decided
to let them in to prove to himself he was invincible. But it
was a gamble that didn’t pay of, and he was arrested and
taken in for questioning. A search of his home and private
vehicle unearthed enough evidence for police to believe that
they had inally caught the prowling London rapist. The
discoveries included his rape kit, a supply of sedatives and
booze and notebooks containing the addresses of a number
of victims who had reported being attacked. An explanation
for his actions, penned by Worboys after his 2007 arrest, was
also found in a safe in his garage, ready for if he was arrested
and questioned again. He was charged with 23 counts of rape,
sexual assault and administering a substance with intent.
Worboys’s trial began in January 2009. The defendant
pleaded not guilty. Worboys’s defence to the attacks was weak
and pathetic. He blamed a sad and afectionless childhood
and a need to seek out companionship and afection: “All my
friends were getting the attention and cuddles and I don’t
think I was getting the attention. No disrespect to my dad, he
was bringing two children up, I just didn’t get the attention
at home.” In total 14 women took the stand to relive the
night they had been attacked by a trusted black cab driver.
BLACK CAB MONSTER
WHY WAS HE
PAROLEDTA?SKED
D
THE PAROLE BOAR
WORBOYS
WITH EVALUATING
POSED
ACCEPTED THAT HE
A REDUCED RISK OF NUMBER
A
REOFFENDING FOR ING…
UD
OF REASONS, INCL
Worboys claimed all the encounters had been consensual,
but on 13 March Worboys, by then 51, was found guilty of 19
ofences committed over a period of eight months between
2007 and 2008: one count of rape, ive sexual assaults, one
attempted assault and 12 drugging charges.
Sentenced the following month at Croydon Crown
Court, it was a bittersweet moment for his victims. While
not all of the reports made against him made it to trial,
the victims were told that Worboys was to expect a “very
substantial term of imprisonment”. He was handed down an
Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence – a punishment
that had been implemented by Labour Prime Minister Tony
Blair only four years earlier. As part of his IPP sentence,
Worboys was given a notional sentence of 16 years, with an
order that he could apply for release after eight years.
Despite this seemingly vague punishment, special
casework lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service Anthony
Connell wrote to victims to explain that “to all intents and
purposes, it is a sentence of life imprisonment”. The London
Metropolitan Police came under increasing ire for their
eforts to put a stop to Worboys, and the Independent Police
Complaints Commission launched an inquiry into why the
Met arrested Worboys back in July 2007, only to release him
without charge.
Back To the Streets
In late 2017 the CPS special caseworker’s words would come
back to haunt Worboys as whispers from the Parole Board
of England and Wales began to gather momentum. Worboys
was banished to HMP Wakeield, a Category A prison
holding some of Britain’s worst ofenders, but he had refused
to admit any guilt. Yet suddenly in 2016, as his parole date
ck, the
Nick Hardwi of the
former headd, oversaw the
Parole Boar that granted
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approached, he changed his stance and began to show some
contrition for his crimes, facing a three-member panel later
that year to tell them he had “found God” while in prison,
accepted responsibility for his crimes and attended a sex
ofender’s rehabilitation course. The parole board, unaware of
the suspected tally of Worboys’s past crimes, made a decision
without hearing from his victims, and in November 2017 the
panel members agreed to approve Worboys for release back
into society, providing the sex ofender followed “stringent”
conditions. Many of Worboys’s victims are understood to have
opted to be informed when decisions regarding his sentence
are made, yet they claim they were not made aware at any
stage that he could be released.
Within days of the new year, the BBC reported that
Worboys, now 60, was to be released from prison later that
month. The news was a devastating shock to Worboys’s
victims. Within days of the announcement, two victims
launched a legal bid to have a full judicial review of the Parole
21
JOHN WORBOYS
THERE’S A HUGE QUESTION MARK OVER
WHAT PRISONS ARE DOING IN TERMS OF THE
REHABILITATION OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT MEN
THE TRUE
TOLL OF
BLACK CAB
RAPIST’S
SPREE
Board’s “irrational” decision and to keep him behind bars.
It was also argued the 360-page dossier, which led to their
recommendation that he was no longer a risk to the public,
should be fully disclosed. Lawyers for the victims questioned
why Worboys was denied the option to move to an open
prison in 2015, but less than two years later was granted
his freedom. It was recommended by the Parole Board
that, upon his release, he should be banned from London,
allowing many of his former victims to go about their lives
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS PROVES HOW DANGEROUS WORBOYS WAS AND THE
NUMBER OF ATTACKS THAT WERE NEVER BROUGHT TO JUSTICE
12 Years Worboys was a registered taxi driver
105+ Police estimate of his victims
6 Weeks of imprisonment per victim served when granted parole
23 Offences Worboys was charged with in April 2008
19 Offences Worboys was convicted of in April 2009
12 Women who received justice for being drugged and sexually assaulted by Worboys
2007-2008 Period when the 19 offences he was convicted of occurred
6 Suspected years as an active sex offender
22
BLACK CAB MONSTER
Worboys that had been denied the chance to bring their case
before the Parole Board, only to ind out Worboys was to be
released based on the limited evidence they had, would sufer
devastating efects in the long term. “I just don’t think that in
any way, shape or form is delivering justice for the victims of
sexual violence,” she said.
Nick Hardwick , the now former head of the Parole Board,
admitted that it was a “widely held practice” of the board
not to look at ofences for which a prisoner seeking parole
had not been convicted. Hardwick also argued that the High
Court judges ruling on the case had said that the dossier
on Worboys, supplied to the independent parole panel by
the Ministry of Justice, did not contain suicient detail on
Worboys’s alleged wider ofending.
In April 2018 the long-awaited decision from the High
Court was delivered. Worboys’s dream of freedom was
revoked and he was ordered to remain in prison. Following
this landmark case Hardwick was forced to resign – a
conclusion, Westmarland said, “shows the strength of the
public feeling and also some admission of ‘We made errors
here.’” For now, Worboys remains behind bars, unable to
strike fear into the hearts of women walking the streets
of Britain, but the fact that he was so nearly released
continues to cause a storm. Such issues and concerns
will hopefully continue to be ironed out ahead of
Worboys’s next parole hearing – which isn’t likely to
be for many years from now.
BELOW Protesters across
England joined forces to make
their feelings clear on the news of
Worboys’s potential release after
serving the minimum term of his
sentence. After a review of the
Parole Board’s decision he was
returned to prison indefinitely
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual abuse
you can contact the Rape Crisis Helpline on
0808 802 9999 or at rapecrisis.org.uk
© Alamy; Getty Images; Shutterstock
safe in the knowledge that Worboys could not reach them – a
decision the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, agreed should be
implemented. While the legal battle was thrashed out, John
Worboys remained in prison.
Westmarland argued that “a lot of women who live in the
same area as the person who attacked them, whether they
are convicted or not, often live in daily fear of running into
that person.” She agreed that there was just cause in banning
Worboys from London, although it would not necessarily
make the female population any safer from Worboys should
he decide to strike again, blaming “a lack of belief in victims”
of sexually violent crimes. When we asked Westmarland
about the Parole Board’s decision to release Worboys due
in part to his supposed change of conscience, she told us, “I
think there’s a huge question mark over what prisons are
doing in terms of the rehabilitation of sexually violent men
and domestically violent men. Worboys had been on a sex
ofender course, but only recently he had admitted that he
had committed the ofences. Well you can’t or shouldn’t
be on a sexual ofender rehabilitation course if you haven’t
already taken responsibility, so there’s some questions over
the timings of that.”
Westmarland also drew attention to the fact that Worboys,
by the very nature of his crimes, had been manipulative, and
she argued that such a trait should be expected from him.
She also felt it important to highlight that “the newspapers
were full of reports of an
estimate of more than
100 women who had
been sexually assaulted”
by the former cabbie.
The victims of
23
KILLED IN
CONFESSION
ABOVE REPROACH FOR MORE THAN FIVE DECADES, FORMER PRIEST JOHN
FEIT BELIEVED HE WAS SAFE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE CHURCH HAD
PROTECTED HIM FROM CORPOREAL PUNISHMENT FOR HIS MORTAL SIN,
UNTIL A STARTLING CONFESSION CONDEMNED HIM
WORDS TANITA MATTHEWS
24
25
JOHN FEIT
IN AN EERIE PREMONITION...
IRENE WROTE, ‘REMEMBER THE
LAST TIME WE TALKED, I TOLD
YOU I WAS AFRAID OF DEATH?
WELL I THINK I’M CURED’
huling through the courtroom doors at the Hidalgo
County Courthouse in Edinburg, Texas, 85-year-old
former priest John Feit looked docile and harmless. A
married father of three, a grandfather and a senior citizen,
his list of ailments included stage-three kidney disease,
bladder cancer and sclerosis. His wrinkled face and frail
body, supported by a Zimmer frame, hardly resembled that of
a stone-cold killer, but after a six-day trial in December 2017
the verdict was in: guilty. Like a baptismal wave, the jury’s
unanimous ruling washed over Texas, gently cleansing away
decades of anguish regarding what had happened to Irene
Garza 57 years ago.
The day before Easter Sunday 1960, the 25-year-old school
teacher and devout Catholic had made her weekly trip to
confession at the Sacred Heart Church in her hometown of
McAllen. She was never seen again. A week later her body
was pulled from a canal. Thanks to a cover-up by members
of the Catholic Church, police had no evidence to bring her
killer to justice. However, after a startling change of heart
by the only person able to corroborate police’s suspicions,
detectives honed in on Feit who, having gotten away with
murder for almost six decades, had nowhere left to hide.
S
ABOVE Irene’s disappeance
shocked the small, religious
community. Within days of
Irene’s disappearance, a reward
totalling $2,500 was offered for
“information leading to an arrest
and conviction”
OPPOSITE Feit, 27 at the time of
the murder, continues to deny
that he played any part in Irene’s
murder, despite the testimony
of a former monk who said Feit
confessed to killing. Feit was also
the last person to see Irene alive
26
A Rare McAllen Rose
Born in 1935 on the south side of McAllen, Texas, a town
that fringes on the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley,
Irene’s life was humble and modest, much like her. Growing
up in a deeply divided and racist region, her hard-working
parents Nicolas and Joseina owned a dry-cleaning business
in the town. Thanks to the business’s ever-growing success,
when Irene was 15 her family relocated to the wealthier
north side of town, where they were able to aford a much
more aluent lifestyle. Even as a young woman Irene stood
out from the crowd and was often an exception to the rule,
rising with grace and elegance above the stringent social
conditions Mexican Americans faced.
She was the irst in her family to attend college and
graduate from school. At her high school, predominantly
Caucasian students roamed the halls, but Irene, with her
clear complexion and beautiful features, was like a swan
among pigeons, and was the irst Latina head drum majorette
in the school’s history. She was crowned her high school’s
prom queen as well as homecoming queen at Pan American
College. In the prime of her life, Irene became an elementary
school teacher for disadvantaged second grade pupils at
Thigpen Elementary. A charitable and generous woman,
Irene often bought her students clothes and books from her
own pay packet. So beautiful was she that in 1958, at the age
of 24, Irene was crowned Miss All South Texas Sweetheart.
In a inal letter to a friend, postmarked 9 April 1960,
Irene spoke of her new-found conidence at work, having
recently been elected head of the PTA: “This may not
sound like much, but to me it means a great deal, it means
I’m overcoming my terrible shyness and becoming surer of
myself,” she penned, adding, “I’ve made quite a few friends
this year and am much happier than I’ve ever been.”
A devout Catholic and a member of the Legion of Mary,
it was Irene’s faith that she cherished the most. She also
found serenity in her weekly visits to her local church to take
confession: “Irene’s going to confession whether she needed
it or not,” her family would often joke. During that inal
letter to her friend, in an eerie premonition of her upcoming
murder, Irene wrote, “Remember the last time we talked, I
told you I was afraid of death? Well I think I’m cured. You
see, I’ve been going to communion and Mass daily and you
can’t imagine the courage and faith and happiness it has
given me.”
On Saturday 16 April, the day before the celebration of
Easter Sunday, Irene took the family car to go to confession.
She promised her mother she wouldn’t be long and left her
home at around 6.30pm to travel 12 blocks to The Sacred
Heart Church. A number of people recalled seeing Irene
that evening. One parishioner recalled watching Irene make
the sign of the cross as she entered the sanctuary. Another
spotted the lonesome beauty perched on a pew in the ifth
row. A third remembered asking Irene if she could cut in
front of her in the lengthy confession line because she was
running late. Some saw her drape a white lace veil over her
face, preparing to ofer contrition. Others said they saw Irene
step out of the line, as if she had been turning to go. Nobody
saw her leave the church that night.
KILLED IN CONFESSION
UNHOLY OFFERINGS
IN THE SEARCH FOR IRENE, FRANTIC
RESIDENTS AND DETECTIVES
DISCOVERED A TRAIL OF CLUES THAT
EVENTUALLY LED THEM TO THE GRIM
REALITY OF HER DEATH
SHOE
The shoe, which fit a woman’s
left foot, was discovered on
an empty stretch of McColl
Road, just five centimetres
from the curb two days after
Irene disappeared. It was
slightly scuffed and missing its
heel tap.
HANDBAG
Found in a field, Irene’s
patent leather handbag was
scuffed up and battered.
It contained Irene’s driving
licence and looked as though
it had been tossed from
a car.
Unholy Act
When Irene failed to return home that evening, her family
assumed that perhaps she had become engrossed in
conversation with the priest or another parishioner and had
decided to stay for Mass, as she sometimes did. But when
3am rolled around and with no sign of Irene, they began to
worry and reported her missing to police. As the sun rose
over McAllen on Easter Sunday, the car Irene had taken to
confession remained untouched, parked down the street
from the Sacred Heart Church. Police began searching for the
young woman.
Two days later a single beige Fiancées heeled shoe was
found on a stretch of road. When Irene’s family conirmed
that she had worn the same shoe to confession, alarm bells
began to ring for investigators, who stepped up the search.
Irene’s lonesome shoe was the irst in a long line of clues
that yielded no answers to the missing school teacher’s
whereabouts. The young woman’s disappearance prompted
what was at the time the largest and most extensive
investigation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s history. In the
days that followed, as many as 70 members of the Hidalgo
County Sherif’s Posse scoured every centimetre of McColl
Road, most of them on horseback. The search party foraged
through mesquite thickets and orange groves for clues.
Meanwhile, kilometres of residential area surrounding the
church where she was last seen were combed through by
police, who went from door to door to enquire about the
missing school teacher. The irrigation canals that trickled of
VEIL
A piece of lace from the veil
Irene had been wearing
before she disappeared was
found crumpled in the brush
north of the area where her
bag was discovered.
SLIDER
A light green Eastman
Kodaslide viewer with a long
black cord was found in the
canal following the discovery
of her body. Reverend Feit
confessed that the item
belonged to him.
27
JOHN FEIT
the Rio Grande were searched, and two Border Patrol planes
circled overhead. 65 National Guardsmen were also part of
the search party for Irene.
During their search they followed up on hundreds of
leads, including a man who had threatened a waitress, saying
that he had killed Irene and that she would be next. When
questioned, he admitted he had downed one too many
tequilas and had been “joking” with the waitress. Police
also received a call from a distressed woman claiming to be
Irene, saying that she had been kidnapped and holed up in
a Hidalgo motel room. When police raced there hoping to
recover Irene alive, they discovered that the call had been a
hoax. Five days after she was last seen the McAllen detectives
received a call early in the morning, reporting that something
had been spotted loating in the Second Street canal.
Dozens of McAllen residents gathered, craning their
necks to witness police lift a rectangular hessian sack tied
with string out from the water on some tarpaulin. It was
Irene. Her waterlogged body was discovered fully dressed
except for her shoes and underwear, which were missing.
At irst police were tight-lipped about rumours that Irene’s
body had been mutilated, but a witness recalled that when
the young woman’s body had been unwrapped on the canal
HER WATERLOGGED BODY WAS DISCOVERED
FULLY DRESSED EXCEPT FOR HER SHOES AND
UNDERWEAR, WHICH WERE MISSING
28
bank the right side of her face was badly bruised, and she
had two black eyes. The autopsy would later determine that
she had been beaten with a hard object and sufocated. The
state of decomposition suggested that she had been dead for
less than four days, causing investigators to speculate that
she been held captive for up to a day before she was killed.
Pathologists were able to verify that she had been raped
while she was unconscious.
Impure Thoughts
While police were busy dredging the canal for clues, rumours
about the identity of her killer circulated. 500 people were
questioned by investigators in the weeks following the
murder. McAllen police oicers took statements from Irene’s
friends, family members, ex-boyfriends, co-workers, and
anyone who might have seen her the night she disappeared.
Because the autopsy revealed that Irene had been raped
before her death, sex ofenders across the valley were also
interrogated, as well as suspects from as far away as El
Paso, several hundred kilometres to the west of McAllen.
Suspicion was cast on a prominent resident who had died of
a heart attack just days after Irene was last seen, but police
had nothing concrete to connect him to the slain school
teacher. Another theory was that a frustrated suitor had
attacked Irene out of anger. Police polygraphed 61 local men
– those who had courted Irene or made their attraction to
her known – but still no one came to the forefront of police
suspicions. The theory that many refused to concede had
KILLED IN CONFESSION
also occurred to the police: if Irene was last seen in
a church as she was about to take confession,
could a priest have committed the ultimate
sin and killed Irene? Almost as though he
was aware of the suspicion sinking into the
McAllen community, Father Richard Junis
implored a large prayer congregation
at Sacred Heart not to listen to or
spread salacious gossip about the young
woman’s killer.
On the canal bank a short distance
from where Irene’s body had been found
was a strand of her hair encased in a
shoe print, which police estimated to be
a male shoe between the sizes eight and 11.
Tyre tracks and a faint imprint of the victim’s
petticoat closely followed the shoeprint. It seemed
clear to detectives that whoever had killed Irene had
dumped the body in the canal, having transported
it with the use of a vehicle. The rain that had
fallen over the course of the investigation
had soaked the ground and dissolved the
footprint beyond recognition. Weeks
later, police’s suspicions were further
aroused when a light green Eastman
Kodaslide (a slide projector) with a long
black cord was found in the canal near
to the location of Irene’s body. Believing
it to be a clue, police appealed to the
public to find its owner. Reverend John
Feit came forward, admitting that the item
was his, purchased the year before from a
nearby town. He could not explain how his slide
projector had ended up at the scene of a murder.
OPPOSITE Five days after she
went missing, Irene’s body was
pulled from an irrigation canal
close to the church where she
was last spotted
LEFT Edinburg school teacher
Maria America Guerra had
been attacked by Feit just three
weeks before Irene went missing
from the town of McAllen, 16
kilometres away
‘FORGIVE ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED’
FATHER JOSEPH O’BRIEN TOLD POLICE THAT, DURING AN INFORMAL CONFESSION YEARS AFTER IRENE
WAS DISCOVERED DEAD, FEIT HAD DETAILED TO HIM HIS INVOLVEMENT IN IRENE’S MURDER
1CONFESSION
CAPTURE
PENANCE
2 UNJUST
On her way out of
confession, Irene
stumbled across
John Feit, who took
her to the rectory,
where he attacked
her. He kept her
there overnight in
the basement, where
he beat and sexually
assaulted her.
A PRIEST
3
WITHOUT A
CONSCIENCE
John Feit performed
Easter Sunday
Mass to a large
congregation, but all
the while Irene was
trussed up in a tub.
When Feit returned
from the ceremony
he found she had
suffocated to death.
When Feit had to
leave to conduct
the Easter Sunday
service at the Sacred
Heart Church, he
left Irene tied up in
a tub. He put a bag
over her head, and
as he left heard Irene
say, “I can’t breathe. I
can’t breathe.”
4 GUILTY
AS SIN
To dispose of Irene,
Feit discreetly drove
down to the canal
and dumped her
body. Police believe
Feit used the cord
on the Eastman
Kodaslide viewer to
tie her up and as a
weight to help sink
the body.
29
JOHN FEIT
On the night in question, 27-year-old clergyman Feit had
been on hand at Sacred Heart Church to hear confessions
and take part in the midnight Mass. Born in Chicago and
ordained in San Antonio in 1958, the priest had come to
McAllen in recent months for pastoral training and was
regarded by parishioners as a bit of a loner with an aloof
personality. He admitted to his superiors that he had met
with Irene in private the night she disappeared, but when
questioned by police his story about the encounter was
vague and shifting. At irst he had said that Irene came to the
rectory for confession and that he had directed her to the
church. However, he then recounted that he had heard her
confession in the rectory after she had expressed concerns
that she would be overheard by other parishioners.
When quizzed by detectives, Father Joseph O’Brien
discussed several strange scratches he had noticed on Feit’s
hands when they met to drink cofee after Mass. Feit’s
explanation was that he possessed a nervous habit of playing
30
with his glasses when hearing confession. His glasses had
snapped under the strain of his incessant iddling and
therefore he had returned home, eight kilometres away,
to fetch a new pair, only to ind himself locked out. He
claimed he had scaled up the building to the second loor
in order to get inside and retrieve another pair of his muchneeded glasses. Feit became the prime suspect in the case,
but McAllen police oicers seemed to do very little to put
pressure on him.
Beauty and the Priest
Shiftier still, an allegation had been made by Maria America
Guerra, a 20-year-old school teacher living in a neighbouring
town. Only 23 days before the attack on Irene, Maria said
she had visited a church in Edinburg, close to McAllen.
Outside the sanctuary she had noticed a man with dark hair
and horn-rimmed glasses in a blue and white sedan-type car
watching her. She had been kneeling in a pew praying, when
someone had approached her from behind and attempted
to stile her screams with a handkerchief. Throwing her to
the loor in front of the altar, her attacker continued to try
to silence her until Maria, fearful for her life, had bitten her
attacker’s inger so furiously she had drawn blood.
Her assailant tossed her against a wall and led. She
noticed her attacker’s dark clothing and said he had
been ‘dressed like a priest’, but claimed she had been too
embarrassed to suggest that a clergyman had tried to attack
her, as priests were considered beyond reproach. To accuse
a priest of something so serious was sacrilegious and could
result in excommunication from the church for the accuser.
However, both Maria and an eyewitness who saw a man
leeing the church after the attack picked Feit out of a lineup.
For two days in June Feit was subjected to intense
questioning in a Holiday Inn hotel room by premier
polygraph experts John E. Reid and Associates. Throughout
the interview Feit was evasive, and the examiner noted that,
as well as attempting to control his breathing, “the subject in
very deliberate and explicit words stated there will never be
any evidence turning up in the future in this case. Further,
that without a confession on his part there is not enough
evidence in either of these cases to convict him or that a good
defense attorney could not tear holes in.” Despite his best
eforts to hide the truth, the examiner was convinced that
Feit was complicit in both crimes.
While there was enough evidence to charge Feit for the
attack on Maria, sadly there was not enough to link him
to the murder of Irene. In 1962 Feit stood trial in Hidalgo
County for the crime against the 20-year-old school teacher
and was charged with intent to rape. But the trial jury
deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. However,
rather than face another trial, Feit pleaded no contest and
was convicted of the lesser crime of aggravated assault –
although he later claimed that he had not known he would be
found guilty through a ‘no contest’ plea. Feit was ordered to
pay a $500 ine for his crime.
With no justice for Irene, her family despaired that the
prime suspect seemed to have been placed out of reach of the
law. Father O’Brien told Irene’s parents that if the suspected
priest had been responsible, he would face a far greater
punishment at the hands of the Catholic Church than at the
hands of police. Following his conviction against Maria, Feit
disappeared from McAllen and was passed between various
monasteries in and around Texas. The search for Irene’s
KILLED IN CONFESSION
killer all but stopped for more than four decades. Her only
advocates were her family, including her cousins Lynda De
La Viña and Noemi Sigler, who had been only children when
Irene was murdered.
A Wolf In
Priest’s Clothing
It was a spring afternoon in 2002 when the phone of San
Antonio Detective George Saidler rang. On the other end of
the line, a man identiied himself as Dale Tacheny, a former
Missouri monk who now resided in Oklahoma. The ex-monk
confessed that, while residing at a Trappist monastery some
40 years ago, a wayward priest had been welcomed into
their community – John Feit. Tacheny had counselled monks
during his time in Missouri, but one confession had stayed
with him: Feit had confessed to murdering a woman in San
Antonio during Easter 1960. Saidler asked Tacheny to send
the details in a letter, which arrived shortly after their phone
call. “The priest took her to the parish house to hear her
confession,” the letter said. “After hearing her confession
he assaulted her, bound her, and gagged her.” Feit had also
told Tacheny that the Catholic Church, already aware of
his crime, had protected him from police and authorities.
However, Feit had fed the former monk the wrong details,
and with a backlog of 1,420 unsolved murders, the detective
was unable to link Feit’s crime to any available record. He set
the details aside and moved onto another case.
The letter Saidler received would shake up the entire
investigation when months later, in November, Texas
Ranger Rocky Millican stopped by Saidler’s oice to pick up
some evidence in a case he was working. As he and Saidler
discussed the cold case iles McAllen oicers had been tasked
with as part of a new cold case unit within the force, Millican
made a remark about a historic murder detectives had been
working on. “A woman was murdered on Easter weekend,
and the main suspect was a priest,” Millican said, prompting
Saidler to reach out to the unit’s leader, San Antonio-based
Texas Ranger Rudy Jaramillo, with the information he had
OPPOSITE Feit (right) with his
attorney on his way to turn
himself in for assault and rape.
His peers from Arizona said he
was “the last person you would
suspect” of a crime
ABOVE The elderly Feit is now
destined to spend the rest of his
life in prison. The Missionary
Oblates of Mary Immaculate,
the order Feit belonged to at the
time of the murder, has strongly
denied protecting him from
facing justice for so long
received from Tacheny. It soon became apparent that the pair
were investigating the same case.
When questioned in 2016 by Richard Schlesinger, a
journalist and CBS crime documentary correspondent for 48
Hours, Tacheny admitted that he had helped to keep Feit’s
secret, believing at the time he was bound by the priesthood
to keep the identity of Irene’s killer to himself. However,
he admitted he had changed his mind when an author
approached him regarding writing a book on his experiences
as a monk. It was then, Tacheny told Schlesinger, that he
realised he should talk to police irst about what Feit had
divulged to him all those years ago.
But Tacheny was not the only witness to come forward.
Father O’Brien had also confessed that Feit had purged his
soul and detailed Irene’s murder to him. However, District
Attorney Rene Guerra felt that the case was too old and that
evidence was not suicient to present to a grand jury. It took
two years for him to change his mind, but neither O’Brien or
Tacheny were called to give evidence, and it was ruled that
there was still insuicient evidence to indict Feit for murder.
The following year, O’Brien passed away, and with Tacheny
well into his 80s, the worry that justice may come too late
weighed heavily on the minds of Irene’s family.
In 2014 Feit’s luck inally ran out. A man named Ricardo
Rodriguez ran against Guerra for the position of district
attorney and won, promising that his victory would result
in him reopening Irene’s case. With the evidence put
before a new grand jury, Feit was indicted in February 2016
for murdering the school teacher and was arrested in his
Phoenix, Arizona home where he now lived. Feit denied that
he had anything to do with Irene’s murder, and although
at irst he attempted to ight extradition, he was eventually
transported back to Texas to face the music.
Throughout the trial, which began on 8 December
2017 at the 92nd District Court in Hidalgo County, Feit sat
emotionless. It was the exact same courtroom he had been
in more than ive decades previously when answering the
allegations made against him by Maria. Feit’s three courtappointed attorneys attempted to raise reasonable doubt:
the footprint found near the bank where Irene’s body was
found did not belong to Feit, they said. They also drew
jurors’ attention to a timeline inconsistent with investigations
throughout the decades. In his closing argument, Hidalgo
County Assistant District Attorney Michael Garza called Feit
“a wolf in priest’s clothing waiting to attack. He attacked once
and then he caught his prey.” He urged the jury to “ind John
Feit guilty of murder by malice of forethought.”
The seven men and ive women of the jury deliberated for
just over six hours before delivering their verdict at 8.17pm to
the courtroom. Unanimously, they found Feit guilty.
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Feit to 57 years
in prison – one for every year Irene’s murderer had evaded
justice. Feit’s lawyers argued for a more lenient sentence due
to Feit’s failing health and age, but with a swift smack of the
gavel, the judge sentenced the former priest John Feit to life
behind bars.
© Alamy; Getty Images; Peter Kavanagh/The Art Agency; Shutterstock
TO ACCUSE A PRIEST OF SOMETHING
SO SERIOUS WAS SACRILEGIOUS AND
COULD RESULT IN EXCOMMUNICATION
FROM THE CHURCH FOR THE ACCUSER
31
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34
UNSOLVED CASE
WHO KILLED THE
GORILLA LADY?
RENOWNED ZOOLOGIST DIAN FOSSEY TREATED THE GORILLAS SHE STUDIED
LIKE HER OWN CHILDREN. IT SEEMS SHE WOULD DO OR GIVE ANYTHING FOR
THEM - INCLUDING HER LIFE
WORDS TANITA MATTHEWS
ootsteps pounding the side of the Virunga Mountains in
Rwanda broke the silence around the Karisoke Research
Center on the morning of 27 December 1985. Swahili
screams pierced the misty atmosphere surrounding a tin
cabin among the brush. “Dian kufa, Dian kufa” they cried.
Their shouting roughly translated into “Dian’s dead”. In a
remote research facility of the beaten track in east-central
Africa, her murder was the last thing anyone expected to
happen. But the 53-year-old victim, US-born primatologist
Dian Fossey, had made many enemies while studying
mountain gorillas in her self-funded and self-established
facility deep in the mountains.
Whether she had enemies or not, her death was a
devastating loss to those who admired Dian’s work – and
there were many. Despite her proile as the world’s top
gorilla expert, her unexplained death in the isolated
Rwandan bush has never been solved and most likely never
will be. Whoever killed Dian most likely had vengeance in
mind, but to date no clear motive has been established, nor
has justice for her slaying ever been delivered.
F
A Fish Out Of Water
Even as a child growing up in San Francisco, California, Dian
loved animals. Although she was not naturally gifted with
the academia required to study veterinary science, it was
clear that she had a talent for gaining the trust of animals.
As a young girl she had a goldish, but it died, and Dian’s
mother Kathryn (Kitty to her friends), along with her second
husband Richard Price, never permitted the young girl to
have another animal. This and many other things caused the
tensions between Dian and her parents to increase. Kathryn
had divorced Dian’s father George E. Fossey III in 1935 when
Dian was only three years old, and although he attempted
to keep in contact, the letters and pictures exchanged
between the pair soon dwindled and eventually ceased
35
UNSOLVED CASE
ABOVE Dian significantly
advanced the study of
primates: she recorded in
detail the daily activities of
the gorillas she observed
at her research centre in
Rwanda, and obtained a
PhD in zoology from the
University of Cambridge
ABOVE-RIGHT Dian’s
remote rainforest camp of
Karisoke was located in
Ruhengeri province, and
conducted research across
65 square kilometres of
wild vegetation
ABOVE-RIGHT-INSET Dian’s
determination to better
understand the gorilla
species, regarded by many
as bloodthirsty beasts,
made her the world’s
leading expert in the
primates’ behaviour
36
altogether, allegedly thanks to Kathryn’s disapproval of their
relationship. Dian was resentful of her stepfather, and it was
clear that there was little love lost between them. Dian was
forced to sit in the kitchen with the housekeeper to eat her
meals while her mother and new partner sat together at the
table, engaged in conversation. It seems Dian was a victim of
a generation that believed that children should be seen and
not heard. Growing up was a lonely existence for her, which
is why animals became her friends.
As a teenager, Dian was taller and slightly more aloof than
the rest of the children, but she was a keen horseback rider
and aspiring veterinarian despite her parents’ inclination to
push Dian towards a career in business. Dian failed to grasp
enough knowledge of physics and chemistry to become a vet
and left the University of California. Instead she focused on
a degree in occupational therapy at San Jose University. In
1954 Dian graduated and spent several months as an intern
for a California hospital, before moving to Kentucky in 1955.
At the age of 23 she was a director of the Kosair Crippled
Children’s Hospital’s occupational therapy department. Her
home became a farm on the far outskirts of Louisville where,
in her spare time, Dian happily tended to the livestock.
But a farmer’s life was not what Dian had in mind, and
in 1963, at the age of 29, she combined her entire life savings
plus a loan from the bank to fund a once-in-a-lifetime trip
to Africa, visiting areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
and the Congo. While on the trip, Dian met with famous
anthropologist Louis Leakey and his wife Mary, who were
studying African gorillas. The couple took Dian under their
wing and brought her along with them during one of their
trips to the Virunga Mountains to search for wild gorillas.
It was practically love at irst sight for Dian when she
encountered the beasts, writing in her 1983 autobiography
Gorillas In The Mist, “Immediately I was struck by the
physical magniicence of the huge jet-black bodies blended
against the green palette wash of the thick forest foliage.” For
Dian, “It was their individuality combined with the shyness
of their behaviour that remained the most captivating
impression of this irst encounter with the greatest of the
great apes.” With great reluctance, Dian left Africa to go back
to the United States, but was eager to return and learn more
about the gorillas.
Back in Kentucky, Dian’s trip became the subject of
several articles for Louisville’s Courier-Journal. Louis
Leakey and Dian came face to face again at a lecture in
Louisville in 1966, after discussing British primatologist and
anthropologist Jane Goodall’s study of chimpanzees, which
was in its early years at this stage. Louis expressed his belief
that studying gorillas in the mountain forest would aid the
study of human evolution, and invited Dian to partake in a
long-term study of the animals she had grown enamoured
towards in the Rwandan mountains. Although Dian was not
an accredited primatologist and had little training for such a
project, Louis had experienced irst-hand her iron will and
determination, and felt she would be the best person for the
job. Dian accepted the ofer and left for Africa.
The Birth Of Karisoke
The irst few days of Dian’s adventure were spent in Gombe,
Congo, before she left for Nairobi in Kenya to build up a
supply of materials needed for her jungle camp. Dian lived
among the mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo with wildlife photographer Alan Root for
several months, until civil war forced the pair to leave and
head for Rwanda. It was on 24 September 1967 that Dian’s
3,000-metre ascent into Mount Bisoke in Volcanoes National
Park brought her to a stop. There she established the
WHO KILLED THE GORILLA LADY?
To prevent poach
ers from getting
to her beloved
close
a halloween magorillas, Dian would don
sk
an
d
sn
ea
k
them while the
up on
to frighten the y were hunting in order
m into fleeing
Karisoke Research Center, naming the camp after its central
location between Mount Karisimbi, which overlooked the
camp in the south, and Mount Bisoke, a smaller mountain to
the north.
As well as a first-hand study of the mountain gorillas,
Dian also dedicated her time to obtaining a PhD from
the University of Cambridge, which she obtained in 1976.
She became known by locals as ‘Nyiramachabelli’, or
‘Nyiramacibiri’, which roughly translates as “the woman who
lives alone on the mountain”. Unlike the beasts of the Congo
side of Virunga, the gorillas Dian studied in Rwanda only saw
humans as a threat. Dian had her work cut out integrating
herself into their circle, a process that took several years.
Slowly but surely she came to be accepted by the gorillas.
Newly hired National Geographic photographer
Bob Campbell travelled to Karisoke to document Dian’s
groundbreaking study of the gorillas, capturing some of the
most remarkable moments of the camp’s history. The two
became lovers despite the fact that he was married. Dian’s
friendship with the primates developed, and she began to
name them. One of the young male gorillas in particular
became her favourite. She named him Digit, having noticed
that he had an injured finger from a trap set by poachers in
the forest.
Poachers became a primary concern for Dian, who took
it upon herself to safeguard the gorillas she came to know
and love. Her hostility towards the men became a sore point
in the community. While poaching was prohibited in the
national park, poaching gorillas was a valuable source of
income to many families, as poor villagers learned that there
was money to be made in selling gorilla skulls to westerners
or selling baby gorillas to zoos for as much as $400,000.
Dian grew to despise the poachers, and her fierce
protection of the animals and harsh treatment of the men
POACHERS BECAME A PRIMARY
CONCERN FOR DIAN, WHO TOOK IT UPON
HERSELF TO SAFEGUARD THE GORILLAS
SHE CAME TO KNOW AND LOVE
Dian’s methods were sometimes abusive.
If she caught poachers she would take
punishment into her own hands – once
stripping a poacher and whipping him
with vines of stinging nettles
37
UNSOLVED CASE
she found encroaching on her home and newfound family
threatened the community. Her relationship with Bob also
eventually came to an end after almost three years of working
together, and the wildlife photographer returned to the US.
“Dian’s Dead”
ABOVE Living in the
mountains, Dian endured
harsh and uncomfortable
conditions and as a result
had bouts of ill health – her
dedication to her cause
was considered crazy and
obsessive by some
ABOVE-INSET The scene
of Dian’s death was laden
with clues regarding
the identity of her killer,
yet the Rwandan police
failed to investigate
her death successfully,
contaminating evidence
and refusing to secure the
crime scene
38
The local people believed in witchcraft and black magic,
and sensing an opportunity to spook them, Dian would run
through the forest in a Halloween mask to spark rumours in
the nearby villages of a witch living in the mountains who
preyed on poachers, cursing them for their eforts to capture
wildlife. In 1980 Dian’s methods of punishing poachers
reached a new low – a local magistrate questioned her after
she allegedly took the child of a Rwandan man she accused
of abducting a baby gorilla. She reportedly ofered the
suspected poacher an exchange – his baby for hers. She was
reprimanded but avoided further punishment thanks to her
eforts to take care of the child, feeding her and keeping her
safe until she was returned.
1978 got of to a tough start for Dian, who was informed
on New Year’s Day that her beloved Digit had been killed
defending his family from poachers. They had hacked of
his head and one of his hands in the aftermath – he was
identiied by his mutilated digit and namesake. Six months
later, another gorilla named after Dian’s uncle Albert was
killed, and piece by piece, Dian’s primate family dwindled.
Dian had drawn the battle lines against the people who killed
her gorillas. She slaughtered their cattle if they wandered
into her land, set ire to the poachers’ homes and placed
bounties on their heads. After Digit’s death Dian’s hermit-like
existence became normality, and she continued to drink and
smoke in increasing quantities.
In 1981 the Rwandan government ordered her to leave,
banning her until 1983, when she was allowed to return to
Karisoke. Graduate anthropology student Wayne McGuire
from the University of Oklahoma joined Dian’s study in July
1985, desperate to learn about the primate species. Many
graduates before him had done the same, only to leave when
they became frustrated by the living conditions, or with
Dian’s increasingly hostile attitude towards both them and
the Swahili anti-poaching team she employed (which was
funded by the Rwandan government).
Christmas was a quiet occasion, although Dian liked to
celebrate it by inviting camp workers into her home and
hosting a feast, complete with gallons of the local banana
beer Urwagwa. However, this year she had postponed her
usual celebrations until New Year, anticipating the arrival
of a delegation of conservationists. She put up decorations
outside her hut, and on Christmas Day invited Wayne and
Joseph Munyaneza for a lamb dinner. The following day
Wayne ventured out into the forest to monitor some of the
70 gorillas the centre kept tabs on. He returned to Dian that
evening to tell her that everything was OK in the centre, and
then retreated back to his cabin for the night.
Pulled from a sound slumber by Dian’s house servant the
following morning, Wayne quickly realised something was
very wrong over in Dian’s cabin, which lay only 90 metres
up the mountain, on the far edge of the camp. Entering the
cabin, Wayne saw Dian laying face up next to her two beds,
which she pushed together. Dian’s belongings were strewn
across the cabin, but it was her body that showed the most
violent signs of an attack. When he reached down to check
her vital signs, he saw that her face had been split diagonally
from a single machete blow. Only days before her 54th
birthday, Dian was dead.
WHO KILLED THE GORILLA LADY?
CLUE IGNORED MONEY
Dian’s jewellery, passport and handguns
remained inside the cabin. She also had
$1,200 in cash and more than $1,700 in
traveller’s cheques, as well as Rwandan
francs that had been left untouched, arousing
suspicion that the motive behind Dian’s
murder wasn’t burglary.
CLUE PANGA MACHETE
Years before, Dian had confiscated a
poacher’s panga machete when she
confronted him during his hunt for her
beloved gorillas. Near her body, the large
weapon was left discarded.
CLUE HAIR
CLUE FOOTPRINTS
Clutched in one hand was a tuft of lightcoloured hair, which Rwandan officials sent
off for testing to a laboratory in Paris. Results
concluded that it could have only come from
a European person. Had this been left after a
fight with her killer, or had it been placed there?
A set of bare footprints were left
in the mud outside the cabin. “A
white person doesn’t walk barefoot
[through the forest],” Jean Bosco
Bizumuremyi, one of Dian’s
anti-poaching team, commented
during a documentary on her
death, before adding, “But
Rwandans – we do that easily.”
CLUE GUN AND AMMUNITION
Dian’s pistol lay close to her body. Recently she
had been sleeping with the weapon close at
hand for protection, but inside the gun sat the
wrong ammunition for the weapon
VICTIM DIAN FOSSEY
CLUE HOLE IN THE CABIN
Dian’s body lay next to her bed and
a short distance from a slash in the
wall. She had been split across the
face with a machete: was this the
killing blow?
There was a hole in the side of the cabin
close to where Dian lay. It was regarded as
odd as it had been made in the only wall
in the cabin not obstructed by any furniture.
IN HER OWN WORDS
CLUE BLOOD
Despite the violent nature of Dian’s injuries,
there was a significant lack of blood inside
her cabin. Had Dian been slashed across
the face after she was killed, or had she
been attacked elsewhere and her body put
back in the cabin to throw investigators off
the scent of the killer?
HAD DIAN FOSSEY BEEN AWARE THAT HER
LIFE WAS IN DANGER BEFORE SHE WAS
TRAGICALLY KILLED?
Weeks after she was found murdered in her cabin, a
copy of a letter Dian had drafted to her long-esteemed
friend and tropical biologist/conservationist Ian
Redmond was found among Dian’s possessions. Dated
24 November 1985, roughly a month before her death,
the letter discussed her work at Karisoke and the war
against the poachers. It read, “The latest captured
poacher is also a gold smuggler between Zaire and
Rwanda. I examined his clothing to find a letter between
him and his dealer setting up appointment places for
gold deliveries.” The letter had never been sent, but
merely kept among her paperwork. This suggested that
Dian had information on high-ranking individuals that
could potentially destroy their reputation. This person
might have had cause to want Dian dead.
Had Dian uncovered a terrible truth? Her
writings indicated she had information on
government officials that could embarrass
them, raising the possibility that someone
had orchestrated her murder
39
UNSOLVED CASE
THE INVESTIGATION
SOMEONE CLOSE TO DIAN WAS CHARGED WITH HER MURDER, BUT WAS LIKELY A SCAPEGOAT FOR THE
PERPETRATORS OF A DEEPER AND MORE SINISTER PLOT THAN THE RWANDAN COURTS SUGGESTED
Despite the urgent nature of the events that had
unfolded at Karisoke, it took ive hours for word
to reach Rwandan police, soldiers and oicials
– the message had spread via a radio bulletin
from the nearby town of Ruhengeri. Police were
unable to determine a motive for Dian’s murder,
and although her cabin had been ransacked,
nothing of any value or importance had been
taken. Her body was removed from the scene
and had to be stored in a brewery cellar to keep
it cold until she could be buried. No autopsy
was performed because there were no coroners
in Rwanda, and according to those present in
the cabin during the initial police investigation,
no solid evidence was recorded by police or
efort made to protect the crime scene.
Across the world news broke of Dian’s
death. People were stunned: “It’s as if Mother
Teresa had just died,” American ecologist and
Dian’s former colleague Bill Weber commented
to the press. “But the Mother Teresas of the
world don’t get bludgeoned to death in their
bedrooms.” Dian’s anger towards the residents
of Rwanda was no secret, and poachers quickly
became the number one group of suspects.
As she would have wanted, Dian is buried at
Karisoke next to Digit and Bert. Her gravestone
reads, “No one loved gorillas more.”
Rwandan oicials soon turned their
attention to Wayne McGuire. After being tipped
of in July that the authorities would arrest
him for Dian’s murder, he led to the United
States, aware that the USA and Rwanda did not
have an extradition treaty. That same month,
Rwanda’s Justice Ministry conirmed that it
‘MONSIEUR ZED’
A SHADY FIGURE WAS THRUST INTO THE SPOTLIGHT ALMOST A DECADE
AFTER DIAN’S DEATH AND NAMED AS HER KILLER
According to Nicholas Gordon, author of the 1994 book Murders In the Mist: Who Killed Dian
Fossey?’, businessman Protais Zigiranyirazo, known as ‘Monsieur Zed’, allegedly had Dian
killed. A former provincial governor of Ruhengeri and brother-in-law of assassinated President
Juvenal Habyarimana, Zigiranyirazo supposedly had Dian killed because she found out he
was selling baby gorillas to European zoos, and was about to allege publicly that he headed
smuggling rings of endangered species, and illicitly traded gold inside and outside of Rwanda.
He was implicated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide and found guilty at trial in 2008: it was
reported that he had given orders for the murder of thousands of Tutsi people. He was detained
at the UN detention facility in Tanzania but was acquitted and released in 2009 after the judge
cited serious errors in the initial judgement. He’s never been charged with Dian’s murder.
had issued an international arrest warrant for
Wayne. His attorney advised him not to risk
defending himself in a Rwandan court, which
he claimed “practices trial by ambush”. Emmanuel Rwerekana, a Rwandan worker
Dian had employed and ired months before her
death, was also questioned by police. He had
been at home the day of the murder in a nearby
village, but investigators insisted that tree sap
from a banana tree found on his clothing was
blood. However, the charges were dropped
after he was found hanged in his jail cell at the
Gikondo Police Station in the summer of 1986.
The Rwandan authorities alleged that
Dian’s employees, who they claimed were good
friends, had conspired together to kill her.
However, after Wayne’s colleagues pointed out
that the two didn’t speak a common language
well enough to communicate, police instead
turned their focus solely on Wayne. A Rwandan
tribunal tasked with aiding the investigation
into her murder declared that her
research partner was responsible for
her murder, and in absentia convicted
him of murder, sentencing him to
death by hanging. The verdict was
delivered after a 40-minute trial
in Ruhengeri. No defence case
or physical evidence was presented, nor were
any witnesses for the defence called. Although
Wayne vehemently denied the charges against
him from afar, the Rwandan government alleged
that Wayne had murdered Dian as part of a
plot to steal the manuscript of the sequel to
her Gorillas In The Mist book because he was
unhappy with his own research.
The accused’s attorney called the trial
“a farce” and alleged that the outcome was
“foreordained”. Speaking to British newspaper
The Times, he said, “I believe and Wayne
believes that in a fair trial he would be found
innocent of all charges.” Briely speaking at a
news conference in Los Angeles in August 1986,
Wayne denied his involvement in the death
of a woman he described as “my friend and
mentor”. He deemed the charges against him
“outrageous”, while his lawyer pointed out that
Dian had plenty of enemies who could have
wanted her out of the way, including members
of the Rwandan government who did not like
her resistance to tourists visiting the gorillas,
as well as poachers she had humiliated and
punished for targeting the gorillas. Despite this
information, no action has ever been taken by
the country’s oicials to pursue anyone other
than the prime suspect.
POACHERS QUICKLY BECAME THE
NUMBER ONE GROUP OF SUSPECTS
40
WHO KILLED THE GORILLA LADY?
Arrested for
co-conspiring to kill
Dian with Wayne
McGuire, Emmanuel
Rwerekana was found
dead in his cell – was
his death orchestrated
just like Dian’s?
THE AFTERMATH
OPPOSITE Rwandan police’s prime
suspect, Wayne McGuire, said that,
during interrogations over Dian’s
murder, the treatment he received from
the prosecutor made him fear for his life,
and that he was put under pressure to
sign a confession
LEFT Dian Fossey was buried among
her gorilla family, who had brought her
much joy for almost two decades, eight
years to the day after the death of her
beloved gorilla Digit
BELOW Dian’s grave in the gorilla
graveyard, close to the original site of the
Karisoke Research Center, still remains
today and is visited by tourists as they
trek through the national park on safari
to get up close with mountain gorillas
Although still unsolved, Dian’s story has been the
subject of many books, ilms and documentaries. In
1988 Hollywood opted to adapt her biography Gorillas
In The Mist for ilm. Six years later, the Rwandan
genocide destroyed much of the population at the
time and also the remains of Dian’s cabin, which
today is merely a ruin in the forest. The evidence that
could have potentially solved her murder is lost: only
the gorilla graveyard where she and the animals are
buried remains. Because the Karisoke facility was
completely destroyed during the Rwandan civil war, its
headquarters were relocated to Musanze, where the
charity continues the ight to protect the wild animals
Dian loved so much.
Dian’s legacy continues through the Dian Fossey
Gorilla Fund International, formerly named the Digit
Fund after her slaughtered companion. Her 18-year
study of mountain gorillas is still fundamental to
primatologists and zoologists today. In the autumn of
2017, more than 30 years since Dian’s death, her story
burst back onto the television screens in more than
170 countries when the National Geographic Channel
aired Dian Fossey: Secrets In The Mist. The three-part
documentary focused on her murder and highlighted
how lacking the investigation into her death had been
by the Rwandan police. It suggested that her murder
had been orchestrated by someone who saw her and
her ight to preserve the gorilla species as an obstacle.
The documentary discredits the theory that poachers
were responsible and suggested Emmanuel had not
hanged himself, but had been killed to prevent him
from revealing the truth about those who killed Dian.
Those closest to Dian and Wayne ind it
inconceivable that Wayne played a part in her death,
accusations Wayne deemed “outrageous” and to this
day denies, claiming that he was made a scapegoat for
a more sinister plot. Rwanda deems the investigation
closed, but it has been suggested the authorities
prosecuted Wayne out of shame for being unable to
solve the murder of such a high-proile individual.
According to the documentary, Dian’s killer may
have been a powerful oicial who became concerned
that she had unearthed some ugly truths about gold
smuggling and poaching in the national park she called
home, and had her killed to prevent its exposure. Hair
samples collected from the crime scene and sent to
the FBI by the US Embassy in Rwanda are presumed
lost, as are the samples sent to Paris laboratories by
the Rwandan government. Following his murder
conviction, Wayne was forced to change career paths,
unable to return to Karisoke. It seems impossible that
anyone will be convicted of her murder.
© Alamy; Ed Crooks; Getty Images; Shutterstock
DIAN’S KILLER WALKS FREE THANKS TO THE
RWANDAN GOVERNMENT’S ALLEGED LACK
OF INTEREST IN THE CASE
41
WELCOME
TO
THE
C RP R
42
R AT I N
TONY MONTANA IMMEDIATELY COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF CUBAN GANGSTERS.
BUT THE POWER-HUNGRY AND RUTHLESS JOSÉ MIGUEL BATTLE ‘EL PADRINO’, THE REAL-LIFE
GODFATHER OF THE EAST COAST’S CUBAN MAFIA, MADE SCARFACE LOOK LIKE A PUSSY CAT
WORDS SETH FERRANTI
43
JOSÉ MIGUEL BATTLE
n the 1960s, the recent Cuban Revolution and Fidel
Castro’s rise dominated news headlines in the US.
It created a dangerous political dynamic between
Cuba and the United States, as Cuban exiles schemed to
take back Cuba from Castro, making backroom deals with
shady government operatives. It was a running theme that
continued for a long time. The Cuban exile community in the
US was used by the CIA to do dirty political deeds over many
decades, walking in the grey areas of legality where gangsters
called the shots and politicians made moves that intertwined
with those of organised crime.
The story of The Corporation and José Miguel Battle, ‘El
Padrino’ (The Godfather), encompasses all these elements.
Battle’s reign lasted 40 years. Beginning as a cop in Havana
pre-Castro, he later fought at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion
and served time in a Cuban prison. When the Kennedy
administration secured his release in 1962, Battle settled in
New Jersey and became the numbers king. He ran New York
City’s ‘bolita’ racket – a very popular and completely illegal
lottery – and controlled the Cuban Maia from the New
Jersey-New York area all the way down to Miami.
I
Havana Vice Cop
“It was in Havana that he learned corruption,” T.J. English,
the author of The Corporation: An Epic Story Of The Cuban
American Underworld, told Real Crime. “He learned
how the world operates, how organised crime is a conduit
between the upper world – the business and political class
– and the underworld – gangsters, vice, money, and how
whatever money generated in the underworld facilitates the
upper world. Battle developed a heightened skill at navigating
all of that because 1950s Havana was a very corrupt place.”
With the criminals and mobsters running many aspects
of the entertainment business in Havana, Battle worked in
concert with them. The Maia was making a ton of money
in Cuba, and a lot of that money was being funnelled right
back to Cuban President Batista and his government. Battle
understood how corruption works. He took care of whoever
needed to be taken care of within the system. Payment would
be made to whoever needed it.
“He knew Meyer Lansky, of course,” English said. “He
worshiped the mobsters who ruled in Havana. Lansky and
Santo Traicante, they walked around like royalty in Havana.
And Battle dreamed of being like them in many ways. He
wanted to be a casino king. Lansky would give Battle the
skim from the casinos to deliver to the presidential palace.
Battle was an establishment igure, a cop, but also a guy with
lots of connections in the underworld.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
A lot of the Maia igures and Cubans who were displaced
by the revolution were angry. They lost their money, their
belongings, and were unceremoniously kicked out of the
country. They desperately wanted to take it all back, and
luckily for them, they shared a mutual interest with the
CIA and the US government, who saw the communist
government of Fidel Castro as a threat and sought to
overthrow it.
“All these elements – the Maia, the CIA and the Cuban
exiles – formed a coalition and became determined to kill
Castro and take back Cuba,” English said. “The biggest
initiative in that efort was the Bay of Pigs invasion. That was
a covert operation of the CIA that had been endorsed by the
Kennedy administration. A bunch of Cuban exiles, 1,500 of
them, trained in South America and set out to invade and
overthrow Cuba in April 1961.”
But the invasion was both a military and political disaster.
Castro knew they were coming – he had inside information
leaked to him. The Cuban exiles got slaughtered, and those
who didn’t get killed were imprisoned in Cuba. They were
held for over a year, until Kennedy’s government was able
to negotiate their release. One of those men, a member of
Brigade 2506, was José Miguel Battle. “He was imprisoned
in Cuba during those years,” English said. “When he got
back to the United States in 1962, he was
determined to get revenge. The survivors
of the Bay of Pigs invasion became
the generational foundation for
what became The Corporation.
The politics of that situation led
directly to the creation of this
criminal enterprise.”
Battle started out wanting to
be involved in taking back Cuba
and freeing Cuba from what he saw
as a communist dictator and despot. His
motivations were in some ways political,
but as he got into the criminal side of
things and built his criminal organisation,
he became just a gangster and fell away
LEFT Bolita is an illegal street lottery popular
among Cubans that criminal organisations
like Battle’s made a fortune from
RIGHT José Miguel Battle actually joined the
American military after serving as a cop in
Havana and was a soldier in the failed Bay
of Pigs invasion
44
WELCOME TO THE CORPORATION
BOLITA
ARSON WARS
IN THE 1980S, A WAR BROKE OUT OVER
‘BOLITA’ BETWEEN THE CORPORATION AND
THE LUCCHESE CRIME FAMILY IN NEW
YORK. IT WAS KNOWN AS ‘THE ARSON
WARS’ IN THE NEWSPAPERS
AS HE GOT INTO THE CRIMINAL SIDE OF
THINGS AND BUILT THIS ORGANISATION, HE
BECAME JUST A GANGSTER
from the political side of things. “He was a hero in the Bay
of Pigs invasion, I’ve been told this by a number of people.
He saved some lives in one particular incident that occurred
during the invasion. This genuine war hero was revered by a
lot of people in the Cuban community. In some ways it’s how
he was able to start his criminal empire. He had such a solid
reputation out on the street that people believed in him and
would cover for him,” English explained.
A lot of Battle’s closest associates were still involved
in the anti-Castro terrorist activities, like assassinating
ambassadors from countries that were sympathetic to Cuba
and blowing up Cuban airliners. To try to take down the
Cuban government, many of Battle’s associates from the Bay
of Pigs brigade or from prison were willing to do anything,
it seemed. “He had all these associates who were involved
with the CIA and the eforts to kill Castro,” English said.
“But he himself got caught up in the gangster side of things
– running a large-scale criminal organisation and having to
instil discipline and punishment where it was believed to be
necessary. He got caught up in a lot of that, and revenge.”
ABOVE-LEFT ‘El Padrino’ (left) was
the godfather at the baptism of
Ernesto’s son. The faith Battle
put in his hitman threatened the
whole of The Corporation
ABOVE-RIGHT The arson wars
with the Italian Mafia for control
of the bolita rackets in New York
were vicious. A string of fires
decimated both gangsters and
innocents alike
“There was a dispute over the opening of bolita spots or
‘bolita holes’ as they called them,” English explained. “There
was a rule, an understanding that the Cubans and the Mafia
had. It was called the ‘two block rule’. You could not open
a bolita spot that was less than two blocks away from a preexisting bolita spot. It had to be more than two blocks away.
Someone violated that rule – there’s still some dispute over
whether it was the Cubans or the Italians who violated first,
but it created a war.”
It turned out to be a really violent and gruesome arson
war where the two sides were starting fires and burning
down each other’s locations around the city. Over the course
of about a year and a half there was something like 60 fire
bombings around New York, and a lot of people got killed.
Some of them were just people who happened to be there
placing a bet and got trapped in there during the fires, and
died horrible deaths.
“Bolita was not supposed to be a violent racket, but
the money was so great that everyone got greedy and it
did become violent,” English said. “There was a major
prosecution and eight or nine Cubans got arrested and tried
for the arsons. It brought down a level of media attention
that was not good for anybody. The war basically ran out of
steam and ended of its own accord.”
45
JOSÉ MIGUEL BATTLE
The Bay of Pigs generation, who had been thwarted in
their eforts against Castro, seemed to have an exaggerated
sense of revenge, and they weren’t going to let anything slip
by if they’d been wronged in some way. This was Battle’s
mindset as he went from cop to war hero to numbers king to
Cuban Maia don.
The Cuban Mafia
BELOW An ad for the Hotel Crillon
in Lima, Peru, the bottom two
floors of which Battle used to
open up a new casino. Here he
would launder the vast sums his
organisation made
46
“When he got to the US he wanted to set up this gambling
empire revolving around a numbers racket, what the Latinos
call ‘bolita’”, English told us. “It’s a very simple concept but
very popular among Latinos of all varieties. Everybody bets
the number – you can bet a nickel, you can bet $100,000 –
and a lot of people take part in it. If properly organised, it
could be a gold mine.”
Part of organising it properly was making sure everything
was cleared with the necessary Maia igures in the US. Battle
reached out to his old Havana connection, Santo Traicante,
who helped set up meetings with all the key Maia igures in
the New York and New Jersey area. Traicante introduced
him to Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, who was the boss of the
Genovese family in New York. He was a “portly guy, always
had a cigar in his mouth, wore a fedora,” English said. “Every
other word was a curse word, really a mobster from the
old school. Fat Tony Salerno was the Maia boss who was
designated to be in charge of the numbers racket for all ive
families in New York. And he was very good at seeing that
things ran smoothly.”
Bolita was very popular in the barrios, and in Harlem in
particular. Having a Cuban organising it made a lot of sense.
The organisation at the upper and mid-levels comprised
Cubans and Puerto Ricans. But it was done in concert with
Fat Tony Salerno and the Genovese family and later with
the Lucchese crime family based in Brooklyn. “This is very
much an American story,” English
said. “I mean, the main character was
a cop in Havana in the 1950s, a vice
cop. That’s where he met a lot of the
mob igures like Traicante, who
would help him out later getting
his criminal business started in the
US. This criminal organisation was
created in the United States and
made its money there. They did
their business there. A lot of them
lived down in Miami, but they still
made their money out of the New
York City area.”
Battle lived in Union City in
Hudson County. New Jersey had
a long tradition of corruption
– cops being paid of, public
oicials being bribed. Battle
knew the game and paid of
whoever he needed to. He
paid of the police inspector
in Union City and the mayor.
He learned how to navigate
the system like a master
chess player, using bribes
and force to establish
legitimacy on both sides of
the law. “Fat Tony Salerno
quickly understood the value of having José Miguel Battle
and The Corporation organise the numbers racket,” English
said. “Bolita’s known as the ‘poor man’s lottery’. It’s a street
gambling game that can be played at a very low level. People
with coins in their pockets can partake. People don’t realise
that it was an immensely proitable criminal racket.”
Ever since Prohibition, when it was irst instituted on
a large scale in New York, ‘numbers’ has been the most
proitable single racket after narcotics and illegal booze. If
it’s properly organised, without diferent organisations vying
for territory and ighting with each other, it can be a really
proitable racket. El Padrino was much more of an old-school
mob boss because of all the connections he had and his
understanding of how the system worked, but his thirst for
revenge was frightening. “Very early on, one of his brothers
got murdered by a rival in New York City. Battle made it his
life’s obligation to get revenge for his brother’s murder. There
were other instances in the organisation where he felt he’d
been slighted in one way or another and needed to make it
right and to get revenge... it was like a religion.”
Betrayal, Murder
and Revenge
The Corporation rivalled the Maia in scope and body count.
They used violence not as a last resort, but in many cases as
a irst resort. Battle was a cop in Havana during the time of
the revolution, when there were bombs going of in Havana
daily. The police didn’t mess around with revolutionary
activity: they repressed it quickly whenever they could. Battle
was therefore used to a very high level of confrontation and
violence and he wasn’t afraid to resort to that. He wasn’t even
afraid to use his own hands. Even as he got older, into his
50s and 60s, he was still taking part in some of the killings
himself. He was a vicious Cuban mobster. “Battle met Ernesto
Torres, who he called ‘El Hijo Prodigo’ (The Prodigal Son),
when he was hiding out in Madrid, Spain,” English said.
“He thought this 19-year-old kid showed talent as a gangster
and killer. Battle kind of saw Ernesto as someone he could
mentor and shape to take over the organisation. Others in the
organisation couldn’t quite understand it, because this guy
Torres wasn’t very bright and didn’t seem like the kind of guy
who would make a good leader.”
Battle saw something in Torres that nobody else did and
hired him as a hitman. One of his irst jobs was to try to
avenge the murder of Battle’s brother – a job that proved too
hard to complete. José ‘Palulu’ Enriquez had murdered Pedro
Battle, the youngest of the Battle brothers, and Jose Miguel
Battle was determined to get revenge for that murder. He
initially hired Torres to do it, but when he couldn’t get the
job done, he hired a lot of other people, and inally got Palulu
after a dozen attempts over nine years.
“At a certain point, Battle insisted on making Ernesto
a banker in the bolita organisation, which is a higher level
of importance in the organisation than a hitman,” English
said. “All the others didn’t think Torres had the talent for
that. It takes some brains to be a banker, it’s more of an
organisational job than being a hitman. But they were asked
to put up some money so that Torres could start a bank and
bankroll his own little bolita business. But Ernesto was a
disaster as a banker. He was always broke. He was borrowing
money from people, and at a certain point he started to do
the unthinkable – he started kidnapping other bankers in the
organisation and holding them for ransom money. This was
WELCOME TO THE CORPORATION
TORRES CRIME SCENE
HE THOUGHT HE COULD GET AWAY WITH CAUSING
DISARRAY IN THE CORPORATION DUE TO HIS CLOSE
RELATIONSHIP WITH EL PADRINO, BUT ERNESTO
TORRES WAS WRONG – DEAD WRONG
EVEN AS HE GOT OLDER, INTO
HIS 50S AND 60S, BATTLE WAS
STILL TAKING PART IN SOME OF
THE KILLINGS HIMSELF
CORNERED
ANIMAL
COUP DE GRÂCE
Torres ran into the
bedroom with a .38
in his hand but when
his assailants noticed
it they shot it right
out of his hands.
Torres’s body was found slumped
in the wardrobe, shot up and dead.
Battle shot him one time point-blank
in the head just to make his point.
BEDROOM
KITCHEN
DUCK AND COVER
The recliner was tipped over,
as if Torres had used it as a
shield, before he made his
retreat to his bedroom to get
more firepower.
DEFENCE MECHANISM
In the wardrobe was an
automatic with a silencer.
Torres knew they were coming
for him and he had weapons
hidden in preparation.
NOT A NICE
WAY TO GO
The hitmen, Battle
among them, were
enraged that Torres
thought he could
betray them. They
broke a gun handle
beating him.
BATHROOM
NO MERCY
EXCHANGING FIRE
The three hitmen busted in
the door and let loose bullets,
hitting Torres’s girlfriend Idalia,
who slumped back in the
chair, apparently dead – but
not before she got a shot off at
one of the intruders.
Blood from Idalia
pooled on the floor as
the hitmen searched
for Torres in the
apartment. They
had been looking for
him for a long time
and nothing would
distract them now.
DEADLY STASH
Torres was sprinting to make
it to the wardrobe to get his
rifles, but he had to retreat
into the bedroom before he
could arm himself further.
47
JOSÉ MIGUEL BATTLE
BATTLE’S DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS WERE
OVERTAKEN BY HIS NEED TO RIGHT WRONGS,
GET REVENGE AND EXACT PUNISHMENT
a crazy, self-destructive act on his part, and a lot of the other
bankers were irate about it. They told Battle that he had to
do something about it because this guy was a loose cannon.
They wanted Torres taken care of.”
Battle first tried to hire out the murder of Torres. Then
he took matters into his own hands. Battle flew to Miami,
figured out where Torres was, and one afternoon went over
to his place, burst in and riddled him with bullets. Battle
administered the coup de grâce himself – a bullet right
between the eyes. Battle went back to New York and told
everybody he’d taken care of Ernesto Torres, and that was
the end of that.
But Battle was put on trial for conspiracy in the murder
case. He was found guilty, and it looked like he was going
to be put away for a long time. He ended up beating
the charge on a technicality and got a lighter
sentence. And when Torres’s former girlfriend
made noises about testifying against him
in a retrial, the organisation took care of
that situation by murdering her before
the trial had a chance to ever take
place. “The Corporation ruled with
an iron hand and instilled fear
in a lot of people,” English said.
“And for good reason, because
they murdered witnesses
who testified against them in
court. They were very good
at revenge killings, and they
48
had created a kind of reign
of terror in the criminal,
Cuban and Latino communities
in general. Very few people talked
and lived. There wasn’t a lot written about
the phenomenon of The Corporation while it was
actually happening.”
The fall
Battle’s day-to-day operations were overtaken by his need
to right wrongs, get revenge and exact punishment for
certain things on the criminal side. Ultimately, it’s the thing
that brought him down. He lost his goal along the way
and became ultra-violent and descended into committing
killings that didn’t have anything to do with business. He’s
believed to have killed an ex-girlfriend that he thought might
have talked to the police. He became incredibly paranoid
and was completely out of control in the end. “Battle kept
beating the smaller charges against him, and in Miami there
was either corruption on the part of law enforcement, or
law enforcement people didn’t take it seriously,” English
said. “They were kind of overwhelmed with the whole
cocaine cowboy era that was happening there. And Battle
was believed to be a bolita guy, not a narco guy, and so they
more or less left him alone while he was there. And, in the
meantime, The Corporation built up a financial empire.”
Battle’s son created a network of shell and overseas
companies in Switzerland, Panama and the Caribbean,
where he was burying the money. Literally billions of dollars
over the course of decades were moved, creating a financial
infrastructure that turned The Corporation into a genuine
corporation. Up until then, it had been a grandiose name
for a street operation, but the criminal venture evolved into
a business with financial holdings around the world, flying
WELCOME TO THE CORPORATION
BRINGING DOWN THE CORPORATION
REAL CRIME SPOKE TO DAVID SHANKS, WHO WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN
BRINGING DOWN THE CORPORATION, INVESTIGATING THEM FOR 20 YEARS
RETIRED MIAMI DETECTIVE
When the Naval Academy didn’t
work out because of an injury, Shanks
got a job with the Miami police. He
investigated The Corporation for decades
and played a decisive part in Battle’s
arrest and conviction. Today he lives
in Kansas, writing his memoirs
of the Battle case.
What did your investigations reveal about El
Padrino’s personality?
Battle had a huge ego and wanted to be known
as the biggest criminal in the world. He had no
under the radar, until one law enforcement
type took notice. “David Shanks was a Miami cop
who’d come into the story of The Corporation, kind of late
in the story, really,” English said. “By the time he became
involved, Battle had moved from New Jersey down to Miami,
and The Corporation had been up and running for a least
15 or 20 years in the New York area, and was now moving
its operations down to Miami. David Shanks had worked
on organised crime, particularly street gambling and money
laundering. He’s one of the guys who irst comprehended, I
think, the full scope of what The Corporation was all about.”
The key for law enforcement was when Battle went of
to Peru and opened a casino in Lima. He was basically using
the casino as a money-laundering operation. Money from
the United States was being loaded up on couriers, with
people sticking it in their underwear and strapping it to their
bodies and taking it down to South America to inance this
casino. Opening the casino was Battle’s dream. He had inally
achieved the status of Meyer Lansky and Santo Traicante.
“In Peru, visitors would go to his room in the hotel to try to
ask him something in the middle of the afternoon,” English
said. “They’d knock on the door, come in, and Battle would
be sitting on the sofa in his underwear with a shotgun in
his lap and a mound of cocaine on the cofee table. He’d be
watching the Godfather movies and mouthing along with
the dialogue, which he knew by heart – he had it memorised.
He was kind of crazy, and his desire to play the role of the
Godfather was really strong.”
But inancially the casino was a disaster. It was also the
event that led the authorities in the United States to make
a racketeering (RICO) case against The Corporation. The
OPPOSITE-TOP Battle, surrounded
by Miami cops, having been
arrested for – of all things –
betting on illegal cockfights
OPPOSITE-BOTTOM Always under
close scrutiny, this was Battle’s
luxurious estate in south Florida
ABOVE-LEFT Miami cop David
Shanks (left) got a special service
award from Miami-Dade police
for his dogged pursuit of Battle
and his organisation
conscience, and to me he was the true face of
evil. For instance he had friends from the Bay of
Pigs days who counted on his friendship, when
there was a minor business disagreement. Both
men came to Battle and asked if everything was
OK between them. Battle kissed them on the
cheek and said they were good. Both were killed
within a week by one of Battle’s hitmen.
What was it like when you finally brought him
to justice, and how did he avoid prosecution for
so long?
After 16 years of mass arrests and tying up all
their cash, we arrested them in 2004. That was
the big day for me. When we had the convictions
three years later, all of the prosecution team was
ecstatic and I was very calm. In those days, to
the FBI and everybody else the Italian Mafia
was the big thing. We said at the US Attorney’s
Office, “The Bureau has more mafia soldiers
than all of the Five Families put together”. The
FBI was famous for getting what they wanted,
case wise, by making ordinary criminals into
mafia soldiers. The Corporation had beat the Five
Families but the FBI never got it, until I retired.
Miami cop Shanks followed the money trail in a way that
nobody had before, and he started to pull at a piece of the
thread. The more he pulled, the more it started to fall apart.
Shanks discovered a cheque-cashing scheme that
connected the money-laundering to the organisation itself.
Shanks was the only one to see that The Corporation had
now moved its operations to Miami. He was building a case
against The Corporation, but it would take years to come to
fruition. “It really took decades to pull that of,” English said.
“When the case inally took place in 2006, it was a massive
RICO case that involved prosecutors from both New York
and Miami, who tried it together down in Miami. They
started out with something like 15 defendants. A lot of people
pleaded out.
“Battle himself, who was in bad health at that time,
pleaded out before there was a conviction. And so The
Corporation was eventually brought down in court in a way
that a lot people never believed would ever happen. Battle
ended up dying in prison a year later.”
El Padrino’s reign was inally
inished, and José Miguel Battle
was dead. Heavy was the head
that wore the crown.
The Corporation: An Epic
Story Of The Cuban American
Underworld by T.J. English is
published by William Morrow
and is available now on Amazon
© Getty Images
DAVID SHANKS
When did you first hear about José Miguel
Battle and the Corporation?
I grew up in Little Havana in Miami, Florida,
where everyone knew of the hero at the Bay
of Pigs invasion who turned into a crime boss.
But the first time I learned more about him was
when my old uniform partner, Jimmy Leggett,
testified in front of the President’s Commission on
Organized Crime about Battle. When we became
detectives we went in different directions but
stayed in touch. I had gotten the bare bones of
the case and thought that Battle always seemed
to be running through the raindrops.
A lot of agencies had taken a swipe at him
but he always seemed to come out smelling like
roses. Three years later I joined Leggett in OCB as
his partner. I concluded not only that he had an
ability to get out of trouble, but he was a ruthless
killer who deserved to be brought down and
stripped of all wealth and power.
49
MINUTE BY MINUTE
THE MURDER OF ALEXANDER LITVINENKO
POISONED SPY’S
LONG GOODBYE
RUSSIA’S DISSIDENTS, DEFECTORS AND CRITICS HAVE A LONG
HISTORY OF DROPPING DEAD IN THE MOTHER COUNTRY AND
ABROAD, BUT ONE FORMER KGB AGENT’S SLOW DEATH MEANT HE
WAS ABLE TO POINT THE FINGER AT HIS KILLERS
WORDS ROBERT WALSH
lexander Litvinenko’s murder was nothing new.
Since the 1917 October Revolution Russia has actively
targeted defectors and dissidents, through the sinister
‘Administration for Special Tasks’.
Many enemies of the state died from Moscow’s policy of
vengeance. It sent others a clear message: if you run, we’ll
ind you. When we ind you, you die. After the Soviet Union
collapsed in 1991, Moscow claimed to have disbanded its
poisons lab and hit squads, abandoning assassination as a
state policy.
They were almost certainly lying. Even if the recent
poisoning of Sergei Skripal wasn’t an action by the Russian
state, Alexander Litvinenko’s murder certainly was. After
drinking tea spiked with polonium-210 – lethally radioactive
and extremely rare – Litvinenko joined hundreds who had
sufered Russian revenge.
Born in Voronezh in 1962, Litvinenko joined the KGB in
1988. By 1998 he’d fallen foul of Vladimir Putin. Highlighting
alleged corruption within Russia’s intelligence community
saw him dismissed from the KGB’s successor, the FSB.
Accused of abusing his oice, Litvinenko was arrested and
remanded for nine months before being acquitted.
After his acquittal he was barred from leaving Russia.
Despite the order, he led Russia on 1 November 2001,
A
requesting political asylum in London during an airport
transfer at Heathrow Airport. Asylum was granted, and he
was promptly hired by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)
in 2003.
A defector with high-ranking enemies, Litvinenko was at
constant risk of assassination, so perhaps it was only a matter
of time before they tried to silence him. Litvinenko further
outraged his former employers with his books Lubyanka
Criminal Group and Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within.
Both accused some of Russia’s highest-ranking oicials of
corruption and the FSB of ordering ‘false lag’ bombings
within Russia, later blamed on Chechen separatists.
On the day he fell ill and was taken to hospital, Litvinenko
met lawyer Mario Scaramella, receiving information that
accused Putin of personally approving the murder of
journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Politkovskaya’s corruption investigations were causing
Putin severe embarrassment. Her murder had sent a
frightening message to Litvinenko, who publicly accused
Putin (himself ex-KGB) of being involved. After Scaramella,
he met old associates Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun
at the Pine Bar in London’s Millennium Hotel. Litvinenko
didn’t yet know it but, on the ifth anniversary of his arrival in
Britain, his time had just run out.
WITH HIGH-RANKING ENEMIES, LITVINENKO WAS AT
CONSTANT RISK OF ASSASSINATION, SO PERHAPS IT WAS ONLY
A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THEY TRIED TO SILENCE HIM
50
1 NOVEMBER 2006
08.32
Dmitry Kovtun arrives at
the Millennium Hotel near
Grosvenor Square. Andrei
Lugovoi, his family and
former KGB agent Vladislav
Sokolenko are already there.
Before they arrange to
meet Alexander Litvinenko,
Lugovoi needs to move
his family safely out of the
picture, placing them away
from the scene of the crime.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
10.00
Litvinenko receives a call
from Mario Scaramella.
Scaramella, a lawyer and
nuclear expert, claims to
have information and papers
for Litvinenko regarding
the murder of Russian
investigative journalist Anna
Politkovskaya on 7 October
2006. Litvinenko is keen
to see Scaramella, and they
arrange to meet up at 3pm
that afternoon.
10.08
Kovtun, Sokolenko, Lugovoi
and his family leave the
Millennium Hotel. Kovtun
and Lugovoi need to place
Lugovoi’s family safely
away from the scene of the
crime. Only then will they
make final preparations and
arrange to meet Litvinenko.
10.26
Lugovoi uses his credit
card, buying his family a
‘Big Bus’ sightseeing tour
of London. Sokolenko goes
with Lugovoi’s family. They
will return to the hotel later
but, for now, they are safely
out of the way. Kovtun and
Lugovoi now have a free
hand to arrange a meeting
with Litvinenko.
11.41
Lugovoi makes a mobile
phone call to Litvinenko
suggesting a meeting at the
Pine Bar of the Millennium
Hotel. Litvinenko, despite his
suspicions about his former
comrade, agrees. With the
meeting set, all that remains
is to poison Litvinenko using
the polonium-210 supplied
by the FSB.
12.30
After speaking to Lugovoi,
Litvinenko leaves his home
in Muswell Hill for his
lunch with Scaramella. He’s
meeting Scaramella at the
Itsu restaurant and will go
on to the Millennium Hotel
to meet Lugovoi and Kovtun.
The bus is later tested for
radiation and none is found.
51
POISONED SPY’S LONG GOODBYE
un
Former intelligence officer Kovt
nenko’s
was officially blamed for Litvi was
he
murder. In December 2006 radiation
hospitalised in Moscow with the US
poisoning. In January 2017
banned
froze his American assets and
him from entering the country
Blacklisted by the USA, Lugo
voi
was also blamed for Litvinenk
o’s
murder. Today he’s a businessm
political figure and deputy for an,
State Duma, the lower house the
of the
Russian parliament
ABOVE The Millennium Hotel’s Pine Bar was the scene of Litvinenko’s
poisoning and was found to have dangerous levels of radiation, placing
staff and customers at risk. Radiation was also discovered in hotel rooms
13.00
Litvinenko reaches Oxford
Circus shortly after 1pm
by bus and train. Arriving
so early suggests he was
aware he might be under
surveillance. With that in
mind, Litvinenko likely
moves through central
London on foot trying to
shake of any tails.
52
15.10
Litvinenko meets Mario
Scaramella. He receives
several increasingly
pushy calls from Lugovoi,
reminding and urging him
to keep their appointment.
Lugovoi reminds Litvinenko
that he’s going to watch
CSKA Moscow play football
and urges him to hurry.
Lugovoi and Kovtun seem
suspiciously desperate for
Litvinenko to meet them as
they’ve arranged.
15.32
Lugovoi arrives at the
Millennium Hotel. He later
lies to police, telling them
he only arrived at around
4pm. He’s preoccupied,
nervous and twitchy. CCTV
catches him entering the
bathroom and coming out,
keeping his left hand irmly
in his jacket pocket. It’s
possible he already has the
polonium-210 in his pocket,
ready for use.
15.40
His lunch with Scaramella
inished, Litvinenko walks
north from Itsu to the
Millennium Hotel. It takes
him 20 minutes to arrive.
Kovtun and Lugovoi are
already in place. According
to their later statements, it’s
Litvinenko who is desperate
to meet, not the other way
around. The oicial inquiry
later backs Litvinenko’s
claim that they pushed him
to meet them.
15.45
Kovtun does the same as
Lugovoi. He heads alone
for the bathroom and
returns three minutes later.
Afterwards, one of the toilet
cubicles and the hand dryer
show high levels of radiation.
Whether only one or both of
them have the polonium is
unknown, but it’s certainly
in their possession and ready
for delivery.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
I KNEW THEY
WANTED TO KILL ME
BECAUSE I WAS TOLD
ABOUT IT, AND I WILL
TELL YOU... IT WAS
THE RUSSIAN SPECIAL
SERVICES WHO
WANTED TO KILL ME
Lawyer, security consultant and
nuclear expert Scaramella met
Litvinenko before he was poiso
Scaramella was also involved ned.
with the Mitrokhin Commission
investigating alleged Russian
interference in Italian politics
‘THOSE MEN KILLED ME’
FEW VICTIMS GET TO HELP SOLVE THEIR OWN MURDER, BUT LITVINENKO’S
OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS AS A FORMER KGB AGENT MADE HIM THE IDEAL WITNESS
While in University College Hospital awaiting
his inevitable death under the alias ‘Edwin
Carter’, Litvinenko spoke with Detective Inspector
Hyatt and Detective Sergeant Hoar from the
Serious Crime Directorate. He described the
day in detail, listing his own movements and the
meeting with Lugovoi and Kovtun.
HYATT: ...Did you drink any of the tea in the
presence of Vologia [Kovtun]?
LITVINENKO: No, I drank that tea only when
Andre [sic]was sitting opposite me. In Volodia’s
presence I wasn’t drinking it already, it was... I
didn’t like that tea.
15.59
Litvinenko arrives at
the front desk. He looks
in perfect health – not
surprising for a teetotal, nonsmoker who takes regular
exercise. Unlike Lugovoi and
Kovtun, he doesn’t visit the
bathroom, instead heading
straight to meet them.
Litvinenko doesn’t have any
polonium himself, but he’s
about to receive a high dose.
15.59
Litvinenko calls Lugovoi to
let him know he’s arrived.
Lugovoi immediately makes
a six-minute call to Russian
businessman and former
diplomat Vladimir Voronof,
now resident in London.
The purpose of the call has
never been revealed. The
British inquiry’s chairman,
Sir Robert Owen, describes it
simply as ‘unexplained’.
16.05
Litvinenko meets Lugovoi
and Kovtun in the Pine Bar.
Lugovoi and Kovtun have
already ordered a pot of
green tea and a couple of
gin and tonics. Litvinenko,
however, doesn’t order
anything. Kovtun and
Lugovoi don’t touch the
remaining tea.
HYATT: And after you drank from the pot, did
Andre or Vologia [sic] drink anything from
that pot?
LITVINENKO: No, definitely. Later on when I
left the hotel I was thinking, there is something
strange. I had been feeling all the time, I knew
that they wanted to kill me, actually. But could I
have told this? Everyone was saying, ‘that’s just
another of your whims’... But I knew they wanted
to kill me because I was told about it, and I will tell
you how. Not some people who wanted to kill me
but some people who passed this information.
And it was the Russian Special Services who
wanted to kill me.
16.30
Litvinenko drinks some of
the tea, unaware it’s heavily
tainted with polonium.
Lugovoi and Kovtun
then leave, their mission
already accomplished. For
Litvinenko, the inal act has
already begun.
16.40
Litvinenko leaves the hotel
to visit Boris Berezovsky.
Having met Scaramella
earlier in the day he’s keen
to discuss Scaramella’s
information on Anna
Politkovskaya’s murder,
which occurred on 7 October
in Moscow. Litvinenko
and Politkovskaya knew
each other, both knew they
were at constant risk of
assassination, and her death
has left Litvinenko rattled.
53
POISONED SPY’S LONG GOODBYE
LITVINENKO’S
POISONED CHALICE
THE POISONER’S BIGGEST PROBLEM IS USUALLY AVOIDING
COLLATERAL DAMAGE. LUGOVOI AND KOVTUN WERE CARELESS,
RISKING MANY LIVES TO TAKE ONE
2
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Lugovoi and Kovtun
make conversation. At
this point, shortly before
Litvinenko arrives, one of
them slips some of the
polonium-210 into a pot
of green tea. If Litvinenko
doesn’t drink any, he’ll live.
If he drinks even a tiny
amount, he’ll die. Their trap
set, his killers have reached
the point of no return.
1
LITVINENKO, THEIR FINAL PREPARATIONS
Despite Lugovoi’s claims to police that he’d arrived at
4pm, he actually arrives with Kovtun almost half an hour
earlier. While waiting for Litvinenko, both men separately visit
the bathroom. One or both are carrying a small container of
polonium-210, allegedly custom-made at a poisons laboratory
reportedly somewhere in Russia’s Ural Mountains.
HIGH
LOW
54
3
REMOVING THE EVIDENCE
The teapot now spiked with a lethal dose, Kovtun heads up
to room 382, where vast levels of alpha radiation are later found.
Kovtun pours the remainder down the sink, believing it to be
untraceable. He’s wrong, but Litvinenko is still a dead man walking.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
4
WHEN OLD FRIENDS MEET
There’s nothing unusual at
first. Lugovoi and Litvinenko are
both former intelligence officers,
and both have ties to Russian
oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
Lugovoi says to him, “If you want
some tea then there is some
left here. You can have some of
this.” Litvinenko, short of money,
refuses their repeated invitations
to order something for himself.
Their insistence also makes him
a little suspicious. It turns out he
wasn’t suspicious enough.
ENEMY OF THE STATE
5
THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING
Litvinenko takes a few small swallows from a cup of cold,
unsweetened green tea. Litvinenko isn’t fond of it, but drinks
anyway. Those small swallows are more than enough. Within
hours he will begin suffering the preliminary effects of a
poison doctors can’t treat. Litvinenko’s clock has only three
weeks left to run. Lugovoi and Kovtun then leave.
6
AN UNEXPECTED
RETURN
Quite why Lugovoi would
come back to introduce
his eight-year-old son
to Litvinenko is unclear.
Perhaps he’s noticed
Litvinenko’s suspicions
and wants to allay them,
or he’s curious and
wonders if the poison
has started working.
Lugovoi has never
admitted responsibility
so we’ll probably never
know. Whatever his
reason, for Alexander
Litvinenko it’s the
beginning of the end.
Kovtun and Lugovoi left London shortly after Litvinenko
was poisoned. By the time of their departure for Russia – a
non-extradition country – on 3 November, Litvinenko was
already in hospital, severely ill. His condition only worsened
from there.
Doctors, unacquainted with polonium-210, initially
diagnosed thallium poisoning, unsuccessfully used by KGB
assassins in defector Nikolai Khokhlov’s cofee in 1957.
Khokhlov lived – drinking only half the cup had saved him.
Litvinenko wasn’t so lucky. On 18 November Litvinenko
began helping detectives investigate his impending murder.
He was reticent about his MI6 links, but supplied a detailed
timeline of his 1 November meetings, including names, times
and places.
He also listed enemies, including Vladimir Putin, who
Litvinenko claimed hated him. According to Litvinenko, his
anti-corruption eforts threatened some of Putin’s associates,
and perhaps Putin himself. But Putin wasn’t his only enemy.
Many FSB oicers considered Litvinenko a rogue agent and
a traitor. Soviet tradition viewed killing fugitive traitors as
execution, not assassination. With so many former KGB
oicers still serving in the FSB, it’s a tradition that’s outlived
the USSR.
International reaction was more condemnation than
surprise. Putin and the FSB being prime suspects shocked
nobody. Litvinenko openly accused Putin of his murder. A
leaked US diplomatic cable described Lugovoi and Kovtun’s
movements between Russia and London, mentioning huge
levels of polonium that were found wherever they’d been.
While Litvinenko died, Lugovoi and Kovtun remained free,
protected from extradition by Russian law. They were blamed
for the deed, while Putin was considered to have the means,
motive and opportunity to direct it. Comparing Litvinenko’s
poisoning to his own from his home in the USA, Khokhlov
stated, “Putin brought back many KGB, and there are too
many KGB at the top, the old dinosaurs who cannot get rid of
old habits.”
On 23 November Alexander Litvinenko died. He was
buried in Highgate Cemetery on 7 December 2006 in a small,
discreet ceremony – coincidentally not far from the inal
resting place of Karl Marx.
ABOVE Police search Kovtun’s apartment in Hamburg, Germany, as part of
the international investigation into Litvinenko’s murder
© Getty Images; Nick Sellers/The Art Agency
LITVINENKO’S FINAL WEEKS SAW HIS ASSASSINS FLEE
AND HIS DOCTORS LEFT POWERLESS, WHILE LITVINENKO
HELPED POLICE HUNT HIS OWN MURDERERS
55
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56
57
PETER TOBIN
n 2007 Judge Lord Menzies declared that Peter Tobin was
“an evil man”. He went on to sentence Tobin to a minimum
of 21 years in jail for the brutal slaying of Angelika Kluk.
However, the story was to take a dramatic twist with the
discovery of two more victims and, even today, the full extent
to his murderous career is in question. He certainly brutalised
and killed three young women and molested two 14-year-old
girls, but increasing evidence that the convicted paedophile
and serial murderer is also the infamous bogeyman ‘Bible
John’ is highly compelling to say the very least.
I
A Murder in God’s House
In 2004 Polish student Angelika Kluk visited Scotland for
the irst time and quickly fell in love with the country, so
much so that she repeated the journey in 2005 and again in
2006. Although she had initially found a place to stay in an
Edinburgh hostel, her last two visits took her to Glasgow,
where she was welcomed by Father Nugent of St Patrick’s
Church. The priest opened up the chapel house at the back of
the church for anyone needing a place to stay. Angelika was
ofered a room in return for tidying the church and making
hot drinks for thirsty churchgoers.
Although this may appear to have been an innocent,
charitable ofer on the part of the priest, it was more
insidious, as Father Nugent was looking for rather more than
a cup of tea in return for a good night’s rest. Rumours had
already begun to spread regarding the welcoming nature of
the local priest and his boundless fatherly love. Caring hugs
became kisses goodnight and eventually the 63 year old
ended up in bed with the 23-year-old student.
The inappropriate afair continued until Angelika met
Martin MacAskill, a handsome 40-year-old married man. The
jealous priest took to drink while Angelika took to sneaking
of with her new man. Stories of her afair spread through the
congregation and the other tenants of the chapel house.
One such person was Pat McLaughlin, a 60-year-old
homeless drifter who had turned to the church for food and
shelter. Father Nugent had ofered him a room and, in return,
McLaughlin had agreed to become the church handyman.
Although extremely quiet, everybody found him to be polite,
well turned out and strangely genteel for someone used to
living on the streets. Like everyone else, he had heard the
rumours of Angelika’s not-so-private life, but he refused to
join in with the gossip, preferring to listen and remain in the
shadows. The priest, all too aware of the need for secrets,
respected his privacy and did not to pry into the drifter’s past.
58
LEFT A tawdry sign advertises the
Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow
where Bible John stalked his
unwitting victims
ABOVE Bible John’s first known
victim, Patricia Docker, makes
the front page of the Daily
Record. Little did the press
realise that more deaths would
quickly follow
ABOVE-RIGHT Detective
Superintendent Joe Beattie poses
for the camera in front of the
murder board used to display
evidence and links between
suspects and victims. An image
of a smiling Helen Puttock
is placed beside an artist’s
impression of Bible John
THE HUNT FOR THE DANCEHALL MURDERER
up, her assailant stabbed her 19 times, watching her bleed
out and eventually die. The brutal savagery was at an end,
but Tobin still needed to get rid of the body. To this end he
wrapped her blood-soaked corpse in plastic bin liners and
threw her down a small hatch by the confessional in the
church, hidden beneath a rug.
He then returned to the garage to clean up the blood and
remove any signs of a struggle. Changing out of his goresoaked trousers and shirt, Peter Tobin pocketed Angelika’s
mobile phone and did what he always did when he had
released the monster locked up inside him – he disappeared.
It didn’t take the police long to realise that Pat
McLaughlin was the last known person to see Angelika
alive, and the search began for the missing student and the
itinerant handyman.
Forensic oicers discovered Angelika’s mangled body
ive days later. Semen and ingerprints quickly proved that
Pat was really the sex ofender Peter Tobin, and mugshots
were soon distributed across the country. Meanwhile, in
London, a dishevelled gentleman by the name of ‘James
Kelly’ turned up at the National Neurology and Neurosurgery
Hospital complaining of chest pains. A quick-thinking nurse
recognised his face and called the police. Peter Tobin had
been captured and would never be able to harm anyone
again. But the horror had not ended, as his murderous past
was yet to be discovered.
Operation Anagram
SIX VIOLENT BLOWS TO THE HEAD SPLIT HER
SCALP AND CRACKED HER SKULL, SENDING
SPURTS OF BLOOD ACROSS THE CEILING
Had he done so, Angelika Kluk may still be alive, because Pat
McLaughlin was, in fact, violent paedophile Peter Tobin.
In 1993 Tobin had attacked two 14-year-old girls in
Portsmouth, brutally raping and sodomising them before
attempting to gas them to death. He was sentenced to 14
years’ imprisonment but, having been placed on the sex
ofenders register, was released seven years later on condition
that he would inform police of his whereabouts at all times.
When he attempted to disappear, the police put him back in
prison for a further three years.
Upon his release he began a seemingly platonic friendship
with a woman called Cheryl McLachlan, but this, like all
his other relationships, ended in sickening violence when
he attacked her with a carving knife. The woman managed
to escape, and Tobin decided to return to his hometown of
Glasgow, stealing her name and becoming Pat McLaughlin.
Angelika had ofered to help ‘Pat’ paint a shed and had
agreed to meet him in the garage to pick up the brushes. As
she entered the dimly lit room she was aware of someone
coming up behind her, but before she could react Tobin
smashed a wooden table leg across the back of her head. As
the blows rained down she attempted to shield herself with
her hands, breaking her inger in the process. Six violent
blows to the head split her scalp and cracked her skull,
sending spurts of blood across the ceiling. He then proceeded
to tie her hands, gag her mouth and sexually molest her
unconscious body. When the groggy student began to wake
Tobin was obviously a killer, but police were still unsure just
how proliic a murderer he was. 38 diferent sim cards had
been hoarded away by Tobin, suggesting that there were
far more victims than irst thought. Operation Anagram
was quickly set up in an efort to pool resources and
information from across the country. A sickening pattern
began to materialise between missing girls and Peter Tobin’s
movements. Now police needed to prove their suspicions.
BELOW Police released this
handout of 46-year-old Peter
Tobin in 1993. He went on the
run and assumed a false name
after he raped and stabbed two
teenage girls who called at his
flat, leaving them for dead.
They survived
59
PETER TOBIN
REFLECTIONS
OF EVIL
CHARACTERISTICS SHARED
BETWEEN TOBIN AND BIBLE
JOHN STRONGLY SUGGEST THE
TWO KILLERS ARE, IN FACT,
ONE MURDEROUS MONSTER
N
H
O
J
E
L
B
I
B
RELIGIOUS
INTERESTS
JOHN
SEMPLESON
THE GLASGOW
CONNECTION
A ‘COMMUTER
KILLER’
DANCEHALL
REGULAR
CHARMING
BUT DEADLY
Named for his
penchant for referring
to its passages,
Bible John called
the ballrooms “dens
of iniquity” and
the women who
frequented them
“adulterous”. His
discussion on the
story of Moses was
incongruous with the
seedy dancehall and
was later recalled by
Jeannie Williams.
Jeannie Williams
recalled that Bible
John had used the
pseudonym ‘John
Sempleson’ during
the evening of Helen
Puttock’s murder.
Bible John clearly
knew Glasgow well.
He was aware of
the various bus
routes around
Bridgeton, Scotstoun,
Shettleston and
Battlefield. Each
murder site had been
carefully thought
through, as they gave
him the cover and
privacy he needed to
carry out his attacks.
Geographic profiler
Professor David
Canter described
murderers who
travel to their
hunting ground as
“Commuter Killers”.
Various sightings
of Bible John on
the buses suggest
he used public
transport to reach the
Barrowland Ballroom
and can be placed in
this category.
Bible John used the
Barrowland Ballroom
as his own personal
meat market,
checking out the
“adulterous” clientele
until one caught his
eye. Although he
regularly attended
the dancehalls, he
considered them to
be “dens of iniquity”.
Witnesses recalled
that Bible John was
quiet and charming.
Unlike the other men
at the dances, he
never swore or raised
his voice. Jeannie
Williams claimed
that he held open
the door of the taxi
cab for her sister and
impressed them with
his well-spoken voice.
jemima mcdonald
helen puttock
Their irst stop was Bathgate in Scotland, where Tobin
had been living in 1991. It was there, hidden in the rafters of
the loft, that police discovered a knife. On closer inspection,
the forensic team found traces of skin, which turned out to be
from missing teenager Vicky Hamilton. The 15 year old had
disappeared on her way home after spending the weekend
with her sister. Vicky had been seen by witnesses eating a
bag of chips on a bench while waiting for her bus ride home.
Sadly she never made it onto the bus.
Police had never found her body, only her discarded
purse in Edinburgh. But 16 years later they could follow
the movements of Tobin to track the young girl down.
Investigations led them to Tobin’s home in Margate on the
Kent coast in southern England. It was from here that Tobin
regularly made the journey to Portsmouth, where his ex-wife
and son lived. The killer would have driven along both the
M25 and A3, where yet another girl had gone missing.
Dinah McNicol had failed to come home after spending a
weekend with friends at a music festival. She and her friend
David were picked up by a man on the A3 on 5 August 1991.
60
patricia docker
David was very wary of the stranger, especially
since he was over-familiar with Dinah, but the girl
had seemed perfectly at ease and was happy to travel
the rest of the way alone when they reached David’s dropof point. Dinah had waved goodbye out of the back window
and had never been seen since.
Now police were on the trail to ind both girls, and on
9 November 2007 it led to number 50 Irvine Drive, where
Peter Tobin had previously lived. They already had the knife
that had been used to kill Vicky Hamilton, but this was
circumstantial as others had lived in the house since.
Slowly the police began to search through the house and
then into the garden. 20 hours later they made a gruesome
discovery. Two large black plastic bin liners containing
body parts were carefully pulled out and whisked away for
identiication. The corpse had been cut in half and wrapped
in plastic for easy transportation. After careful analysis of the
teeth, it was established that the police had inally found the
body of missing schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton. DNA recovered
from the purse did not match Peter Tobin but it was identical
to his son. Clearly the sick killer had allowed his little boy to
play with it before tossing the incriminating evidence away.
THE HUNT FOR THE DANCEHALL MURDERER
IT HAD TAKEN THE POLICE 18 YEARS TO
FIND THEIR BODIES AND THE JURY A MERE 13
MINUTES TO FIND TOBIN GUILTY
PETER TO
BIN
CATHOLIC
UPBRINGING
JOHN
SEMPLE
THE GLASGOW
CONNECTION
TRAVELLING
MURDERER
DANCEHALL
REGULAR
Tobin was brought
up in a strict Catholic
family and was
well-versed in the
Bible. On numerous
occasions he sought
sanctuary in the
church while on
the run from the
police. His wife
remembered Tobin’s
family home filled
with crucifixes and
religious images.
Peter Tobin
used a variety of
pseudonyms over
the years, often
with the Christian
name ‘John’. One
such example was
‘John Semple’.
Tobin lived in
Shettleston between
1968-69, close to the
site where Jemima
McDonald’s body was
discovered. He later
returned to Glasgow
and murdered
Angelika Kluk there
in 2006.
Peter Tobin travelled
across the country
from Glasgow to
Margate, via Brighton
and Norfolk. His
movements were
accompanied by a
plethora of missing
girls and dead bodies.
Tobin met one of his
wives, Cathy Wilson,
in a dancehall in
Brighton. He also
picked up his first
wife at the Highland
Institute Dance in
Glasgow. Like Bible
John, he enjoyed
watching the women
dancing before he
pounced on his
chosen prey.
Vicky Hamilton
Semen stains and fingerprints on the
black plastic of the bin liners definitely
belonged to Tobin.
On 16 November a second body was discovered,
which turned out to be that of Dinah McNicol. She, like
Vicky, had been subjected to a sexual assault before being
strangled to death.
In 2009 the grim-faced jury listened in stony silence as
the prosecution relayed the last few minutes of each girl’s
life. It had taken the police 18 years to find their bodies and
the jury a mere 13 minutes to find Tobin guilty.
Back in Scotland, locals were still reeling at the death
of Angelika Kluk. News that one of their own countrymen
was in fact a serial killer sent shivers down their spines,
reminding the older members of Glasgow’s close-knit
community of another reign of terror some 40 years before.
Beware, Young Lassie,
of Bible John
Glasgow in the late 1960s was a dark, desperate and
foreboding place. Crime was high, work was hard to
LADYKILLER
All three of his
wives claimed that
Tobin had appeared
chivalrous and
charming when they
first met him, but this
had been a veneer
that quickly melted
away. Neighbours
thought that he
seemed quiet and
polite, but those who
got too close saw his
cruel character.
Angelika Kluk
Dinah McNicol
come by and good times were few and far between. Brief
moments of joy were grasped wherever possible, and one
such place was the Barrowland Ballroom. There were a
number of dancehalls in Glasgow at that time, but it was
the Barrowland, situated close to the city centre, that was
considered to be where the action was. It was particularly
popular with the slightly older women who wanted to leave
their cares and husbands behind and have a good time. The
over-25 nights, more cruelly known as ‘grab-a-granny night’
was especially fun, since everybody was after the same thing
– a no-strings-attached night away from the humdrum of
motherhood and wifedom.
25-year-old Patricia Docker was one such pretty woman
who had struggled to bring up her baby alone while her
husband was stationed in Lincolnshire. On 22 February 1968
she made the fatal decision to grab some of that fun at the
Barrowland Ballroom. It would be the last good time she ever
had, and ended in heartache for her grieving family.
Her parents were not too concerned when she didn’t
return home that night, since she often slept over at a friend’s
61
PETER TOBIN
A MURDERER’S
MEMENTOS
BOTH BIBLE JOHN AND PETER
TOBIN TOOK KEEPSAKES FROM
THEIR VICTIMS
Many serial killers are in the habit of
taking trophies from their victims, but this
is never for financial reasons. They are
not ‘thieves’ in the usual sense – rather
they hide away objects that will help them
to relive the moment of the kill again and
again. This is similar to someone taking a
photograph of a special occasion.
After the murder of Patricia Docker,
police discovered the casing of her
watch discarded in the river. A number
of women’s watches were found in
the possession of Tobin. Police also
found, among other things, a number of
Scottish military badges. It is interesting
to note that, during the 1960s, soldiers
on leave would often lend them to their
sweethearts as a sign that they were
‘taken’. Could any of these badges have
belonged to Bible John’s victims? While
Tobin clearly kept trophies, Bible John
took items too, including a handbag and
a headscarf.
house and came home the next morning. When this didn’t
happen, the family started to worry, and when Patricia’s
father read about the discovery of a female’s body in the
newspaper, panic set in. The distraught man was led down to
the mortuary, where he identiied his beloved daughter.
Patricia had been found irst thing in the morning by a
joiner on his way to work. She was naked, lying on her back
in a garage doorway. Pathologist Dr James Imrie was called
to examine the body in situ, and it was quickly established
that the woman had been strangled and beaten repeatedly
around the head. Her handbag and clothing were nowhere
to be seen, but a used sanitary towel was found close by,
62
OPPOSITE-TOP A police SOCO
team searches for evidence in
Tobin’s back garden, where Vicky
Hamilton and Dinah McNicol’s
bodies were discovered
BELOW Flowers and a heartfelt
prayer for Angelika Kluk were
left outside St Patrick’s Church
in Glasgow in her memory. Her
body was discovered under the
floor of the church
and it was conirmed by her mother that Patricia had been
menstruating at the time.
Patricia had been attacked on her way home, dragged into
the shadowy recess of a garage and strangled to death. Her
body had been callously dumped in the open, displaying a
complete lack of empathy for the victim. Police surmised that
the murderer had likely ofered to walk her home expecting
sex, but had been rejected due to Patricia’s menstruation.
This had likely enraged the killer, leading to her death. He’d
clearly felt no remorse or desire to hide his actions.
Oicers called for witnesses to come forward, but few
people were prepared to admit that they had been at the
Barrowland on the previous night. The investigation ran
aground, leaving the police with no clues and no witnesses.
18 months passed by before the killer struck again.
Jemima McDonald was a 32-year-old mother of three who
loved to dance. On 16 August 1969 she left her children with
her sister and walked down to the Barrowland for a night
of fun. When she didn’t come home the following day, her
sibling began to fret. Some of the local children had claimed
to have seen a dead body in an abandoned building just down
the road and so, with a growing sense of unease, she decided
to have a look for herself.
The partly clothed body of her sister was lying in the
derelict lats. She had been strangled with her own stockings.
She had also been menstruating. This time witnesses
did come forward after the police promised to keep all
statements anonymous. A clear description was given and
police released a portrait of their suspect. This man was
THE HUNT FOR THE DANCEHALL MURDERER
joined Helen, only to discover that her new acquaintance
was also called John. The foursome chatted until the
dancehall closed and then agreed to share a taxi home.
Jeannie’s companion got out irst, leaving the remaining three
behind. Helen seemed very impressed with John’s polite
manners and well-spoken tone, but Jeannie wasn’t quite so
enamoured. In fact, she thought he was decidedly weird.
His hair was too short for the times and his conversation
was littered with biblical references. He appeared to hold
the women at the ballroom in utter contempt and yet he had
been very courteous towards the sisters. He even claimed to
pray rather than drink on Hogmanay. She later recalled that
he seemed to know all the diferent bus routes through the
town and recognised the various buildings as they drove past.
Eventually they reached Jeannie’s house and she got out,
asking Helen if she wanted to stay with her. Helen declined
and, waving from the kerb, she watched her sister ride away.
Helen was discovered propped up against a wall on
wasteland at the back of some houses. She had also been
strangled with her own stocking, but this time the attack had
been far more ferocious. Her face had been severely beaten
while her wrist had been bitten. A used sanitary towel had
been positioned under her armpit. Whoever the killer was, he
was becoming more conident with each murder. The sexual
element of the crime was becoming more apparent, and it
was clear that the perpetrator enjoyed his work.
Just like Jack the Ripper before him, Bible John was
developing a particular style, although there were signs of a
change in direction. The irst killing was quick with little or
no sexual intent, and yet by the time he was murdering Helen
Puttock, the violence and sexual desires were obviously
entwined. The next murder was expected to be much worse
– but there wasn’t one. The killings ceased as suddenly as
they had started. So whatever happened to Bible John?
smart, with unusually short hair. Most of the dancehall’s men
wore their hair long, so this feature really stood out.
Nobody recognised the face locally, which suggested that
the killer had commuted into town from further out. He had
appeared quiet and aloof, unlike the usual rowdy crowd that
frequented the place. The murder was uncannily similar to
that of Patricia Docker, and police began to fear that they
might have a multiple murderer on their hands. Just as
before, the body had been shamelessly left in plain sight and,
once again, the victim had been unwilling to have sex.
Helen Puttock loved to go dancing with her sister Jeannie
Williams whenever they could get a babysitter. On 30
October that same year, her husband George was happy to
hold the baby while she went out to enjoy herself. Jeannie
started dancing with a man by the name of John while Helen
sat at the bar talking. Later in the evening Jeannie and John
ABOVE-LEFT Peter Tobin is led
past reporters and photographers
waiting outside the courthouse,
having been found guilty of the
murder of Dinah McNicol
ABOVE-RIGHT Vicky Hamilton’s
father Michael is blocked from
confronting Peter Tobin as the
murderer leaves court
LIKE ANY ‘SKILL’, A SERIAL KILLER GETS
BETTER WITH TIME, HONING HIS CRAFT UNTIL
HIS MODUS OPERANDI IS FULLY FORMED
Serial killers don’t just quit. They either die, move to a new
hunting ground or get incarcerated for another crime. When
Bible John shrank back into the shadows of Glasgow’s slums,
never to be heard of again, a folk devil was born. But the
truth of his disappearance is probably far less mysterious
than irst imagined.
Peter Tobin was arrested soon after the last of Bible John’s
murders and was incarcerated for 13 months. On his release,
Tobin began his itinerant lifestyle, moving across Scotland,
down to Sussex, then Strathclyde, back to Glasgow, then
on to Brighton and ending up in Margate. This timeline of
movements was continually interspersed with periods in jail,
but one thing remained constant: wherever he went, a trail of
bodies was left in his wake.
The violence became more pronounced and the sexual
gratiication more explicit, but this is to be expected. Like
any ‘skill’, a serial killer gets better with time, honing his craft
until his modus operandi is fully formed. When Bible John
started his murderous career in 1968, he was ‘learning the
ropes’ and discovering his own vile needs. By the time Peter
Tobin was caught he was a fully formed monster, a well-oiled
killing machine.
Want to know where Bible John disappeared to? The
evidence is clear. He is languishing in HMP Edinburgh,
where he can’t cause any more harm to innocent women.
He is no more Bogeyman, just a pathetic mortal behind bars,
where he belongs.
© Alamy; Getty Images; Shutterstock; Topfoto
A Bogeyman is Born
63
Breakthrough
AN EVIL KILLER
IN EINDHOVEN
MURDERED IN 1995, NICOLE’S BODY REVEALED VITAL DNA
EVIDENCE, BUT FAR FROM HELPING TO SOLVE THE CASE, ITS
DISCOVERY HAS LED TO MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
WHAT
Rape
WHER
E Ne and Mur
therla
d
WHEN
nds er
6
Octobe
r 199
5
WORDS JOANNA ELPHICK
Background
Nicole van den Hurk had quite a rocky start
in life. Born in Germany on 4 July 1980,
the little girl moved to the Netherlands
with her mother and stepfather, but when
their relationship faltered, it was her
stepfather who won the custody battle over
the child. Further trauma occurred when
Nicole’s mother committed suicide, but this
only strengthened the bond between her
stepparents Ad and Yolanda and herself.
She kept in contact with her maternal
grandparents in Germany and also spent
weekends and holidays with Ad’s mother in
smiles
15-year-old Nicole van den Hurk
mourners
for the camera. Over 1,000
attended her funeral
64
“ Andy had confessed because he wanted to draw
attention to the case and set the investigative
wheels in motion once again. It worked ”
Tongelre, near Eindhoven. It was here, at her
grandmother’s house, that Nicole was last
seen alive.
Early on 6 October 1995, Nicole jumped
on her bike in order to cycle to the Woensel
Shopping Centre where she had a holiday job
working in a bakery. When she didn’t show
up, the baker phoned Nicole’s home, only to
discover she had left in plenty of time and
should have arrived by then. Nicole’s worried
grandmother called her son, who quickly
alerted the local police station.
A team of 15 police oicers assembled
and the search began for the missing girl.
At 6pm that evening, oicers stumbled
across Nicole’s bicycle loating in the River
Dommel, instigating a thorough search of
the murky riverbed, and later the nearby
forests. Meanwhile, detectives questioned the
family regarding Nicole’s state of mind: after
all, she had only just lost her mother. Could
the girl have run away to join her maternal
family in Germany? Ad van den Hurk was
adamant that she would not have behaved so
erratically and urged the police to continue
the search close by.
By 9 October, a further mobile unit of
45 oicers was brought in to scour the vast
Eckart Forest and surrounding area. Ten days
later, her backpack was discovered in a lane
running parallel with the Eindhoven Canal,
but still the rumours persisted that she had
simply run away. However, on 17 November
Nicole’s body was discovered in a patch
of woodland between Mierlo and Lierop,
dispelling any hope of her return. This was
now a murder investigation.
Nicole had been raped and stabbed in the
stomach, but the cause of death was unclear.
She had probably been dumped in the woods
and left to die from internal bleeding, but
no one knew for sure. A plethora of leads
were followed, sending the detectives in
all directions. When a family friend, Celine
Hartogs, was arrested for drug traicking,
she claimed that Nicole had been somehow
caught up in the smuggling ring and this was
why she had been murdered. Initially, this
appeared plausible, but on closer inspection
the story unravelled and led nowhere.
As always, the most obvious suspects
were the family. Nicole’s stepfather Ad and
stepbrother Andy were soon brought in for
questioning. However, by mid-June, with
no evidence or motive, the pair were inally
released, and Andy van den Hurk moved to
England in a bid to escape the media frenzy.
Turning point
Around 16 years later the case was all but
forgotten, relegated to a cold case pile,
when a strange incident sparked renewed
interest. In early March 2011, Andy confessed
to killing his stepsister in a Facebook
post. Within days, he was extradited to
AN EVIL KILLER IN EINDHOVEN
won
Stepfather Ad van den Hurk
custody of Nicole after divorcingboth
her mother in 1989. Although
were
he and Andy van den Hurk
arrested in connection with hered
killing, they were quickly clear
of all charges
the Netherlands only to be released from
Eindhoven police station ive days later due
to a complete lack of evidence. Detectives
had already ruled him out as a suspect, so
why had he felt the need to suddenly make
such a ludicrous statement?
His goal, it turned out, had been a simple
one. Andy had confessed because he wanted
to draw attention to the case and set the
investigative wheels in motion once again.
It worked. A reward of up to €15,000 was
ofered for any useful information and a new
investigative team was assembled.
The body of Nicole van den Hurk was
exhumed in September of that year in order
to obtain DNA. The Netherlands Forensic
Institute collected trace evidence and the
remains were returned to the family. A
further sample was discovered at the crime
scene. Now the police had something to
work with, but the evidence was only to
make matters worse.
Three diferent DNA types were found
in a single trace of sperm – belonging to
Nicole’s boyfriend, her stepbrother and a
third, unknown person. How could this
possibly be?
In January, 2014 a DNA match led to the
arrest of Jos De G., a 46-year-old convicted
rapist who had previously confessed to
killing a teenager while being detained
in a psychiatric facility. The police were
convinced they had inally solved the case,
and the trial was set for November 2015.
Aftermath
Andy van den
Hurk stated tha
he had confessed
t
stepsister in ord to killing his
er
to
rei
gn
ite
media interest
body exhumed and to get her
The police were a little premature with
their celebrations. The court was suitably
convinced that the DNA sample was proof
that De G. had raped Nicole, since it was
highly unlikely she would have willingly had
sex with him – even though at least three
experts disagreed with the reliability of the
results. However, since there was more than
one DNA type within the sample recovered,
the court was not prepared to assume it was
he who had murdered the girl. De G. was
sentenced to ive years in prison for the rape
conviction. The penalty was disappointingly
lenient, as the court had taken into account
the fact that he had been legally insane at the
time of the crime.
Nicole’s family were horriied, but more
bad news was to follow when De G. was
acquitted of manslaughter. Gasps of disbelief
were heard from the viewing gallery. After
all, what was the likelihood of her being
raped by one monster, only to be murdered
by another? Many felt it was highly remote to
say the least. Case closed? Not quite.
65
BIO DIANNE LAKE
Not long after the Manson trial,
Dianne got married and settled
into a stable, middle-class life
she had been denied for much
of her childhood. She has three
(now grown-up) children, works
in the international department
of Barclays Bank and has
recently turned her hand to
writing, penning her own story
in Member Of The Family.
66
MY ESCAPE FROM THE
MANSON
FAMILY
DECADES AFTER SHE TESTIFIED AGAINST THEM THEN SLIPPED AWAY UNDER AN
ASSUMED NAME, THE YOUNGEST MEMBER OF THE MANSON FAMILY REVEALS WHAT LIFE
INSIDE HIS CULT WAS LIKE, AND HER LIBERATION FROM MANSON’S CLUTCHES
WORDS BEN BIGGS
67
DIANNE LAKE
dream, Dianne’s
Pursuing a hippie comfortable home
ir
the
ded
tra
father
2
for a trailer in 196
IT WAS JUST A VERY MAGICAL
EXPERIENCE. [MANSON] WAS THIS IMPISH,
LONG WAVY-HAIRED... HIPPIE DUDE THAT
PLAYED THE GUITAR
n 2008 Dianne Lake dropped a bombshell on her children,
friends and the cosy community in which she’d lived for
decades: from 1967 to late 1969, between the ages 14 to 17,
she had been part of the same close-knit hippie commune
led by ex-con Charles Manson that went on to commit an
infamous series of bloody murders, putting an end to the
dream of California’s counterculture movement. To say that
everyone close to this church-going, white-collar ‘soccer
mom’ was surprised is an understatement.
But to a certain extent Dianne had no choice in her
confession. A phone call had come out of the blue from
Sergeant Paul Dostie, from Mammoth Lakes Police
Department. Dostie, his team and his cadaver dog Buster
were going back to Barker Ranch, the last location of the
Manson Family before their arrest, to search for the bodies
of undiscovered victims. This was based on information
from Inyo County Undersherif Jack Gardiner, who adopted
Dianne after the Manson trial. Sergeant Dostie believed
that Gardiner had been tipped of by Dianne. His was just
a courtesy call – like it or not, everyone would soon know
about this short but signiicantly dark part of her history, and
it was now up to Dianne who they learned it from.
It was inally time for Dianne to redress the untruths and
misconceptions written about her place in the Family, and
tell the world how she went from being the eldest child of a
normal, white-bread, Midwest US family to a member of the
notorious Californian hippie cult.
I
Your early family life, before you met Charles Manson,
sounds like it ran in parallel with the hippie movement –
is that right?
Yes. We weren’t always that way. My dad was an up-andcoming artist and we lived in Minnesota. He was interested
68
Dianne playing wit
brother Danny in h her little
suburban Minneso happier times, in
ta
in the Beatnik movement in Berkley with Jack Kerouac
and Allen Gingsberg and that crowd. He wanted to go to
California, so he traded our house for a trailer and then the
car couldn’t pull the trailer... so that sorted that. A few years
later he left my mum to go to California, then two years [after
that] he wanted her back. So we came out to California and
got established in Santa Monica.
They were really at the height of their careers at that
point, when my mum got turned onto marijuana. She brought
it back to my dad, and that was kind of the beginning when
my dad got involved with a commune called the Oracle to do
artwork for their newspaper. Then a group of them lost their
lease, wherever they were staying, so they moved in with us.
Then my parents decided to do the dropout thing, which
was to sell everything you have and move into a camper
– and in our case my dad converted a bread truck into a
camper. They took us out of school, down the road we went,
and that’s where our adventures in hippie-dom began.
It sounds quite exciting.
Moving to Santa Monica was an upheaval. I didn’t like
moving from Minnesota. I’d just inished sixth grade and
had two years of being pretty solid even without my dad.
Then after two years in Santa Monica I inally got used to
California, accepted and grew to love it. It was summertime
when I left, just about the end of summer, and I should have
been going to high school but of course didn’t… and I loved
school. I was a bit torn about that, but on the other hand it
seemed like a new and exciting adventure. My parents had
convinced us all that this was the new way to live.
MY ESCAPE FROM THE MANSON FAMILY
Hugh Romney, aka ‘Wavy Gravy’
ran the Hog Farm commune and is
a well-known peace activist today
This photo of Dianne (right) and her
family was taken just after her mum
and dad had reunited in Santa Monica
This was the cutting edge, you know, and Timothy Leary
was touting LSD as if it was a sacrament, that it would bring
world peace and everyone’s mind would be opened to the
‘bigger truth’ kind of thing.
I was going for that, but it wasn’t very long after
that I didn’t want to live in the van with my parents. An
opportunity came – I had this epiphany that I heard God
telling me it was time to leave home. I told my parents about
it and they wrote me a note that gave me emancipation as a
minor, then lived with a couple that we met along the road.
That was kind of the beginning – there are other
adventures that you can read about in the book before I
ended up back with my parents, at a new commune called
the Hog Farm. I wasn’t really welcomed there by the leader
because I was an underage female that was sexually active.
They considered me ‘jailbait’ and they weren’t comfortable
with me being there. That’s when another couple invited
me to stay with them and secretly introduced me to Charles
Manson and the girls.
Describe what it was like for you, to meet him and to be
around him.
Charlie and the girls were living in the house that I had lived
in for a couple of months previously, and when I walked
in they all knew me! “Dianne, Dianne! Charlie – Dianne is
here!” I didn’t know that these people knew me, I didn’t
know how they knew me until a little bit later – it turns out
that Charlie and the girls had taken the bus and gone up to
the Hog Farm commune, and my family had actually taken a
trip out to the desert over a weekend with them. I was in San
Francisco, Charlie and the girls were going to San Francisco
and so my mum gave him my picture.
That’s how he knew me, but it was just a very magical
experience. He was this impish, long wavy-haired… you know
– he was just another hippie dude that played the guitar at
that point, he had women that adored him.
So he was attractive, someone to gravitate towards?
Yeah. At that point I was 14, but I had come from a place
where I wasn’t really welcome, even though my parents
were there. My mum and dad had both kind of bought into
AGE OF
AQUARIUS
HE COMMANDED THE LOYALTY OF DOZENS OF WOMEN
AND MEN, WAS ABLE TO FREELOAD HIS FAMILY ACROSS
CALIFORNIA AND EVEN GOT INTO THE GOOD GRACES OF
CELEBRITIES. HOW DID MANSON DO IT?
It’s difficult for recent generations to imagine why dozens would so blindly follow
this unremarkable-looking ex-con, however charming he might have been. But
the late 60s in California was a very different place. By the time Manson stepped
out of prison in 1967, after serving nearly seven years for trying to cash a forged
treasury cheque, American society had made a significant shift into the hippie
movement. For the attention-hungry sociopath Manson, it must have seemed like
a dream come true. Here was a body of people espousing acceptance and free
love who claimed to shun personal possessions. Many operated an open door
policy, where strangers could literally walk into their houses and partake in their
food, their drugs and even their lovemaking.
Manson’s criminal history didn’t hinder his acceptance into the Californian
hippie community – if anything, it accelerated it: the authorities had it on record
that Manson had ‘stuck it to the man’ as far as the community was concerned.
By the time he was introduced to surf pop royalty Dennis Wilson, he had
honed his craft to perfection. The door to Wilson’s home was opened by the
counterculture movement and it took just a little cunning, plus the adulation from
a gaggle of girls, for Charles Manson and company to move in.
69
DIANNE LAKE
the idea that in the commune, all the adults took care of all
the kids. And at 14 I was just a kid – which I realise now
but I didn’t then, as most teenagers think their parents are
dumb as rocks. In a lot of ways I was a typical teenager, I was
the irst-born and I was always quite capable. So my mum
thought of me really as a sister in the commune.
I don’t think they realised that the leader of the commune
had come to me and let me know that I wasn’t really
welcome there because I was jailbait, otherwise things might
have gone diferently.
Were you aware that you were looking to belong to
something because your parents had efectively let
you go?
Right, [I wanted to] ind my own way in the world. They
hadn’t rejected me, they just hadn’t enfolded me as their
daughter because they’d already given me emancipation…
anyway, it was just kind of an odd time. I didn’t think of
myself as actively looking to belong, but I was. When I look
back at it, I deinitely was. That’s how I got involved with
Charlie and the girls, and it just went from there. And a year
later it just turned awful.
What year was this?
We didn’t have calendars, we didn’t have watches, we didn’t
watch television, we didn’t read the newspaper and so… it’s
probably about a year later. When I met Charlie it was ’67,
so it probably was in ’68, when the White Album came out.
It was probably around sometime after that, two or three
months after the White Album came out that Charlie started
saying that the Beatles were giving him a message. He’d
been talking about the black-white race war that was going
to happen and we’d been going up to the desert, and he’d
been preparing us to live in the desert while this apocalypse
happened. Then the White Album came out and that put
a name, and this is my perception – that’s when it became
‘Helter Skelter’, this black-white race war. That the blacks
were going to overcome the whites, we were going to be
tucked away in the desert and then come back to help
repopulate… I don’t know. Just crazy, craziness.
I was supposed to stay in the desert and I
hadn’t. I’d come back and Charlie was
really angry with me. He found
my parents and tried to hook
me back up with them.
Manson’s bus: he painted his black,
unlike the psychedelic colours
preferred by other communes
ASPECTS OF CHARLIE’S
PERSONALITY WERE SIMILAR TO MY
DAD, BUT I THOUGHT OF HIM MORE AS
A LOVER...THAN AS A FATHER FIGURE
LEFT Dianne had no idea that
her parents had already spoken
to Manson and even given him
her picture, so that he could look
out for her on his travels with the
Family in California
70
But I was just far too brainwashed by Charlie at that point.
I didn’t it with my parents, they were boarding parents for
an alternative high school and they had kids my age staying
with them. I just couldn’t handle it so I went back to Charlie
and he found another place for me. Eventually he accepted
me back into the Family. I was so steeped in Charlie-talk and
thinking, I just couldn’t relate to the rest of the world.
Did you feel anything sinister about Charlie and the
Family before Helter Skelter?
No, we were just another commune, one of many. But Charlie
had this idea. He’d spent a lot of time in jail, and this blackwhite race war thing he’d got – according to him – from the
inmates. So he’d been… indoctrinated into this thinking.
Going back and writing the story, I realise that I really was
a victim and Charlie was a predator. He’d got out of jail and
stepped into this culture of free love and acceptance, and I’m
sure he just went, “Wow! I can do this.” He was a chameleon,
he could become whatever other people needed, that was
part of his charm, part of his magnetism. Number one, he
had an uncanny ability to read people and immediately
know who there were, where they’d come from, what they
needed, where their weaknesses were and all of that. It was
unbelievable how he could hone in on that, and then he
could relect what it was that person needed in him. That
was part of his genius, that was how he made it in the world.
He would teach that to us, but at the same time I didn’t
recognise that I was being manipulated as much as I was.
And being used – he did have this… I don’t know if ‘sinister’
is the right word, but he did have this background and he
could be violent. He could be angry, but most of the time we
never really knew what he could be thinking.
You mention Manson’s mood swings as being similar to
your father’s – was that partly what drew you to him?
I don’t really think that. I think that there were aspects
of Charlie’s personality that were similar to my dad, but I
MY ESCAPE FROM THE MANSON FAMILY
HELTER SKELTER
It’s a common misconception that Manson took
inspiration from the Beatles to form his ‘Helter Skelter’
prophecy. In fact, he’d been preaching about a race
war to his followers long before that. He thought that the
White Album was proof that the Beatles shared his vision
SIDE 1 TRACK 5
WILD HONEY PIE
This song convinced Manson that the Beatles
wanted Jesus (Manson) to come to England. The
Family subsequently bombarded the Beatles with
letters and phone calls in an effort to convince them
to come to America to join them instead.
The Family holed up in Barker
Ranch, a set of tumbledown house
s
on the edge of Death Valley
SIDE 1 TRACK 8
HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN
As if he needed any incitement to violence, here was
the biggest band in the world supposedly telling the
family to take up arms.
SIDE 2 TRACK 12
PIGGIES
The “piggies” were “the man” that the Beatles said
needed a “damn good whacking”. Atkins and
company left “pig” and “piggies” scrawled in blood
at the site of the murders, after Manson told his
followers to “leave a sign”.
SIDE 2 TRACK 13
ROCKY RACCOON
For Manson, the Beatles were clearly using a racial
slur for a black person and thought that “Rocky’s
revival” meant that the Beatles, too, believed that
black people were going to take back the power.
SIDE 3 TRACK 5
SEXY SADIE
George
Spahn Ranch,
The owner of the family to stay in
Spahn, allowed al favours
return for sexu
thought of him more as a lover in the beginning than as a
father figure.
Manson left you completely out of the picture of his
Tate-LaBianca murder plan. How did you feel when you
discovered what they had done?
Oh my gosh, I was just… I had briefly been arrested for
vagrancy or whatever when we were waiting for the rest of
the Family to catch up with us before we headed out to Goler
Wash in Death Valley. I had been briefly taken in – and Tex
[Watson] didn’t know that. I was gone for two days, certainly
gone for a night. He had gone looking for me and when I
showed up, in the process of looking for me Tex had grabbed
this newspaper. So when I came back, he was like, “Where
have you been?” Then he showed me the newspapers, which
were the Tate-LaBianca murder headlines. He slapped the
papers down and said, “I did this! Charlie told me to.”
The Family was given fake identity cards to throw the cops
off their scent whenever they were arrested. Dianne’s was
‘Dianne Bluestein’ while Susan Atkins’s was ‘Sadie Mae Glutz’.
As far as Manson was concerned, when he encountered this
track on the White Album, the name was no coincidence –
the Beatles were singing to them.
SIDE 3 TRACK 6
HELTER SKELTER
Manson didn’t know that a helter
skelter is British English for a spiral
slide, and thought the Beatles were
talking about a sudden explosion of
racial violence.
RIGHT Dianne’s father
Clarence gave his phonograph
to Manson after he challenged
Clarence on his belief that
‘owning stuff is a trap’. “If you
believe that, give that to me,”
he said. That’s how cunning
Manson was
SIDE 4 TRACK 12
REVOLUTION 9
The title obviously held significance
for Manson. He heard pigs
oinking, machine gun fire and
the word ‘rise’ in this
lyric-less piece of audio.
71
DIANNE LAKE
of
i, the husband
Roman Polanskon Tate, sits in utter
ar
Sh
ed
er
porch
murd
blood-spattered
disbelief on his
I took it as a threat. Like, ‘You need to stay here or look
what can happen’. He didn’t say that, but that was the
message that I got. Like I said, we didn’t watch television,
read newspapers or listen to the radio either, so I knew
nothing about these murders, and I was just shocked and
horriied. I was just in the jail and I didn’t know anything
about it. But it wasn’t just like I could run away, so I
stayed, ended up in the desert, running and doing survival
missions… just craziness. That’s where the girls told me
about their participation in the murders. I was just dazed,
in shock.
So was it a relief when you were arrested?
Kind of. But in Inyo County [jail], we were all in the same
cell together. So there was a lot of admonishing not to tell of
what we knew was going on, because they hadn’t arrested
us for the murders, we’d been arrested for burning this road
grader. It was in that process that Susan Atkins, who had a
warrant out for her arrest, was taken away to LA, and that’s
when she told her cellmate about Charlie, his position in
her life – our lives – as a semi-god. She started telling her
cellmate about Helter Skelter and her participation in these
murders. Her cellmate told [the cops] and that’s how it all
started to unravel.
It wasn’t until they took us girls to testify in front of the
grand jury that I felt sane and safe enough, when the bailif
asked me what my name was, that I told the truth. That was
the irst time since I was arrested in October – and this was
December – that I had told anyone my real name and age.
72
And then you were taken aside?
And then I was taken aside and not put with the girls
anymore. Then all the detectives started coming and asking
me questions. It was shortly after that they made me ward
of the court because I was underage, then they sent me
to Patton State Hospital, which is a mental hospital, for
observation. Then the observation turned into treatment
and I ended up being there for all of nine months. I think
that they did that not because I needed that form of help
– although I think I did – but I think that it was really a
way that they could get away with keeping me safe and
rehabilitating me to the point that I could testify.
It was my arresting oicer, Jack Gardiner, who took me
in as his foster child. It really helped complete my healing
because he gave me back my self-worth… he had two
kids younger than me and he had tremendous faith and
compassion. And that completed my re-entry into humanity
as a useful unit of society.
What was it like to testify against Charles Manson? Were
you scared?
Yes. I was very worried that he still had power over me.
When I saw him and the girls outside the courthouse and in
the courthouse, it quickly dissipated. I thought, “Oh my gosh,
he’s just this little con.” The girls, I just couldn’t relate to
them any more.
If Jack Gardiner hadn’t fostered you, where do you think
you would have been today?
I don’t know. If I had not been able to get over hearing
Charlie’s voice in my head and the girls that contacted me
again… they might have been able to take revenge because I
told the truth or… I don’t know. They tried to kill one other
girl. I give all the glory really to God, for keeping me safe and
sane and getting me through that darkness.
Do you think that the Manson Family could have
happened today without the hippie movement?
No… but then who knows? Just like this couple who had their
kids chained, starved, showered once a year…
You mean the Turpins? Only recently?
Only recently! I mean, how bizarre is that? And they were
living in a neighbourhood with regular people and nobody
knew… and communes do still exist, but it’s not as out-there
as it used to be. Back in the 1960s, this was a new and
MY ESCAPE FROM THE MANSON FAMILY
Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Atkins
act as if they couldn’t care less as
they’re taken to trial for murder
THE GIRLS THAT CONTACTED
ME AGAIN... THEY MIGHT HAVE
BEEN ABLE TO TAKE REVENGE
BECAUSE I TOLD THE TRUTH
Member Of The Family, by Dianne Lake
and Deborah Herman, is available now
on Amazon.co.uk, in Waterstones and
independent bookstores.
Dianne
(above , married w
a retur) and years ith children
la
n to S
pahn R ter, in 2017
, on
anch
© Getty Images
up-and-coming way of life. I think what happened in the
Manson Family made it all go underground – it was no longer
as big of a movement, I think. I think it really did end that
1960s way of thinking. I’ve learned that young children – kids
that were maybe ten years old when the murders happened
and the Manson Family became notorious – that [to them]
Charles Manson had become the boogyman. When I was a
kid it was Jack the Ripper, but Manson took that role. For a
lot of my life I had no idea.
I’ve lived in the same community for over 35 years now,
belonged to the same church for 20-plus years, another for
five years. People who knew me – our kids played soccer,
baseball or whatever – it’s just been a jaw-dropper for them:
“What? What? Really? I always thought of you as the church
lady, a member of the choir.” My son’s in-laws told me that I
did the robust soccer-mom cover really well!
But I didn’t think of it, I didn’t read the books [until I
wrote mine]. I had no idea how many books, documentaries,
blogs are out there. I really didn’t know the scope of the
interest in this subject matter, other than
Charlie becoming an icon of evil. Some
screenplays have even been written, kind
of from my perspective, without ever
talking to me. Writing this story was a way
to tell my truth and have it come from me.
73
74
DR MATTHEW FALDER WAS AN ACADEMIC WITH A BRIGHT FUTURE. HE WAS ALSO ‘HURTCORE’
OBSESSED – A DEPRAVED PUPPETMASTER INTO SADISTIC ACTS SO EXTREME THEY BEGGAR BELIEF
WORDS MARTYN CONTERIO
75
MATTHEW FALDER
n 21 June 2017, 28-year-old Matthew Falder’s secret
online world of sickening perversion and blackmailing
menace came to an abrupt stop. The darknet monster
was inally arrested after a four-year investigation involving
agencies worldwide, including the USA’s Homeland Security
department and the UK’s National Crime Agency. The search
for this man was a truly international hunt that involved
painstaking detective work and information-gathering.
Towards the end, the operation to capture Matthew Falder
was a top priority. Their herculean eforts in this new era
of cybercrime had shone a piercing light into the darkest of
digital domains, a place where most would fear to tread.
The University of Birmingham lecturer and researcher’s
arrest was captured on camera. In the clip released to the
press after his conviction in February 2018, he appears
momentarily lustered by the swoop (which occurred at his
place of work). He had no idea that, for the last three months,
the National Crime Agency had tracked and followed him,
covertly ilming his daily life. The daytime bust came – at
least for him – out of the blue. Falder liked to brag that he’d
never get caught, so to be inally clapped in irons came as a
bit of a surprise.
The crimes of Matthew Falder shocked even the most
battle-hardened investigators. Homeland Security oicer
Scott Crabb told the BBC Falder was “absolutely the worst
child exploitation and blackmail ofender I have ever seen”.
The seriousness of his actions cannot be underestimated
or downplayed. They most likely cannot be forgiven. The
man’s grotesque fantasies and sexual interests form the most
revolting instances of sadism. In one online post, where he
detailed things he’d like to see, he discussed using a young
girl as a human dartboard, how he’d love to see a child’s
bones being slowly broken and the abuse of a disabled child.
In total, Falder was hit with 188 charges, 137 of which he
admitted to, leading to a 32-year sentence, a lifetime on the
sex ofenders register and a further six years on licence after
release (if he ever is). His conviction heralded a watershed
moment for darknet prosecutions in the United Kingdom
and sent a warning to other purveyors of illegal pornography:
there is no place to hide.
“So, wh-wh-what is it I’ve done?” Falder asked the
arresting oicer, before correcting himself and revising the
wording upon realising he’d put his foot in it. “What is it
I’ve supposed …” he continued, again lustered, the ability
to speak lost and reduced to mumbling and hesitation. The
oicer read out a list of ofences: blackmail, causing a child
to engage in sexual activity, possessing indecent images
of children, distributing indecent images of children and
causing GBH injuries to a person. Interrupting, Falder gave
their media their pull quote: “It sounds like the rap sheet
from hell.” The camera then captured a dead-eyed stare, one
devoid of all humanity, as if the lights were on but nobody’s
home. He regained his composure and shook his head, as if
O
I CAN’T
GET CAUGHT_
76
DARKNET BLACKMAILER
appalled – as if he’s listening to a list of horrors committed
by other sick hands. The feigned shock was clearly bogus, for
he knew exactly what he’d done. The real shock came from
having been rumbled, and the fact the police had caused
maximum embarrassment to him by nabbing him in his oice
at the university.
A Rabbit Hole
of Depravity
In August 2013 the FBI began its investigations into dark
web forums used by paedophiles with speciic interest in
physical abuse and sadism. In recent times the darknet or
dark web has become increasingly less dark, with media
outlets, journalists and authors shining a light on domains
like the ‘Silk Road’ – a marketplace where all sorts of illicit
items are bought and sold, from fake rail tickets to guns or
drugs. With regards to dark web sexual abuse forums, often
the currency is imagery and videos. No money is exchanged,
so there is no inancial trail to follow. Among these deviant
types, it’s about proving your worth by providing others with
ilth to consume. Only then is a person granted further access
to what is a world of horror for the victims and a community
of like-minded sorts for the perpetrators. It is a very long
way from atrocity footage sites and other grotty content on
the likes of 4chan and Reddit: although the content there is
very often too gory for television or news broadcasts, it isn’t
speciically generated as direct content for others.
Falder wasn’t a big cheese in the ‘hurtcore’ world, he was
just another sicko among many. But he did hold the status of
‘rapist’ on one forum, and investigators found he’d used his
own generated content to gain acceptance and access to dark
web sites. This is important, because it shows the time and
efort he put in, and how much he wanted to take part in the
community and be acknowledged.
We live in the age of mass surveillance. Whether we know
it or not, our Internet searches are kept on ile by Google
and other search engine providers, often at the behest of
governments under the guise of national security. But they
also keep it to sell our information to advertisers, who then
take it and attempt to personalise and target us all with
advertisements. ‘Curating an online experience’ is really
nothing of the sort. It isn’t just our net preferences: our
phone records, our daily movements caught on CCTV, email
correspondence and social media posts are mined and readily
accessible under recent changes to acts of parliament.
With social media we have opened our lives, actions and
thoughts in a way that feels harmless enough, but it leaves
us potentially exposed to all sorts of nastiness, from Internet
trolls to blackmail. It is startling how readily we have given
over our lives to Silicon Valley corporations.
As with everything in life, there are good and bad
interactions. The Internet ofered the chance to ind likeminded people to befriend, share mutual interests and engage
with in far away places. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and
Instagram all promote inclusion, safety, sharing, but they’re
nothing more than giant databases that would have left secret
police agencies of yesterday gobsmacked. The darknet was
a reaction to these developments: individuals obsessed with
Internet neutrality, censorship and anarchism believed it
was the last frontier of unburdened human expression. It’s
all well and ine in theory, but it so easily takes us through
the looking glass into a world of criminality, inhumanity and
things that do not belong in any world (physical or virtual).
OPPOSITE Falder appeared as
an extrovert personality, whose
social media pages reflected an
outgoing man with an interest in
dinosaurs and other innocuous
topics. His depraved inner world
was a secret from everybody
OPPOSITE-INSET Falder obtained
his masters degree and PhD
from Cambridge University,
which was “appalled and
distressed” by his crimes and
has taken the unprecedented
action of stripping Falder of
his qualifications
ABOVE-RIGHT Darknet hurtcore
purveyor Peter Scully was
arrested in the Philippines in
February 2015. He was charged
with 75 offences that included
rape, torture and murder in the
production of extreme child
pornography. He has managed to
dodge the death sentence, as his
crimes were excluded from the
new bill that was passed through
the Philippines Congress in 2017
HURTCORE EXPLAINED
THIS VILE DARKNET PHENOMENON IS
RELATED TO CHILD ABUSE, SADISM AND
EVEN PROFITEERING
In the world of the darknet, hurtcore is an extremely
disturbing, misanthropic subculture of child abuse, where
viewers use encrypted forums to exchange and watch
videos of sexual abuse involving extreme acts of torture. The
screams and cries are part of the allure and the pleasure. It
is a level of evil almost impossible to comprehend.
Victims are often, though not exclusively, from
developing world countries and economically vulnerable
backgrounds. While thousands of dollars in online currency
are swapped for access to horrendous material, most times
it is exchanged for free, as a way of building communities
and trust. One video became widely known in the media
after its maker, Australian Peter Scully, and his girlfriend,
Liezyl Margallo, who operated a hurtcore label revoltingly
titled ‘No Limits Fun’, were arrested. As newspapers and
culture sites reported, when police officers had to sit
through the video during their investigation, they wept.
77
MATTHEW FALDER
ABOVE Images captured from
recordings of Falder setting up
a video camera, so he could
have the best angle to view
people in public toilets
78
We cannot accept such horrible things as part of any anticensorship rhetoric.
To get to grips with this netherworld of sex criminals
collectivising online, the FBI began to research dark web
forums. To gauge traic, identify potential major players
and uncover who was sharing what, the agents built fake
websites on servers used by darknet paedophile forums and
monitored them. Most disturbingly, there were thousands
of users signing into a site called ‘Hurt 2 the Core’, run by a
Melbournite student named Matthew Graham. 21 at the time
of his capture, he started the site when he was still a teenager.
The sites he made, Hurt 2 the Core among them, received
400,000 clicks a day. That statistic alone is deeply disturbing.
The content posted on Hurt 2 the Core led the National
Crime Agency to dub it ‘the world’s worst website’.
Australian authorities initially believed it was Graham’s
father who was the culprit. They’d tracked down the source
to a house, but Matthew Graham was barely a grownup.
That he was directly responsible for creating and operating
the sickest dark website imaginable was mind-blowing to
Victoria Police’s Astraea Taskforce when they inally collared
him. Yet Detective Senior Constable Christine Staford
started to suspect the son, after Internet searches revealed
that Matthew Graham left barely a trace of activity online.
What kind of kid raised in the western world has virtually
no presence online these days? Another detective labelled
Graham the “Keyser Soze” of the Internet, referencing the
villain in the 1995 Hollywood ilm The Usual Suspects. He
was accessing the net with encryption devices so advanced,
not even the FBI could open them at the irst time of asking.
Through their ongoing work, the FBI agents pinpointed
a mystery igure known as Lux (Graham’s codename).
They had managed to shut down servers he’d used based
in Ireland, but they could never quite identify the person
in the real world. There were points when Graham, who’d
cottoned on to the fact he was being traced online, taunted
the agents. After his arrest, while keeping silent, Victoria cops
unlocked his phone (he’d refused to hand over passwords to
his computers) and found three images. The photos featured
two dead children and a baby being stood on. The oicers
told him he could be extradited to America or face the music
in his homeland. He opted for the latter.
Falder was a habitué of Hurt 2 the Core. One of the
subjects he’d started in the forum’s chat room was titled
‘Need ideas to blackmail a girl’. Falder asked others to help
him out drumming up painful ways to humiliate and harm
DARKNET BLACKMAILER
HOW FALDER OPERATED
MATTHEW FALDER DESTROYED THE LIVES OF 46 IDENTIFIED
VICTIMS, SOME OF WHOM TESTIFIED AGAINST HIM
Advertising for part-time work led one teenager, known as ‘Victim 5’, into
doing Matthew Falder’s vile bidding. Posing as a woman named ‘Liz Candell’,
the terrorisation process began with a request for a personal email address
correspondence because, so ‘Liz’ claimed, ‘she’ didn’t particularly like using the
website’s interface.
Talking to Sky News in February 2018, Victim 5 said Liz told her she was an
artist and wanted models to draw. “She just wanted to know if I was interested
in just a few pictures, just for her, of me, just for drawing, that no one would see
them and she would get rid of them once she’d done her drawing.”
The girl sent the photos and then Falder struck, subjecting her to humiliating
threats. Falder’s method of operation worked due to the victim’s age,
vulnerability, the deep sense of shame and fear of discovery. Essentially, Victim
5 and others became puppets forced to do whatever Falder wanted and for
One of Falder’s victims
appeared anonymously on Sky
News to tell her horrifying story
however long he wanted. “I couldn’t talk to my family because I felt ashamed of
what I was doing. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to go out with my
friends because he might be there. I didn’t feel safe anywhere.”
I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN
TO MAKE YOUR LIFE
AWFUL _
his victim. It was the FBI who passed on information to the
UK’s National Crime Agency regarding what they believed to
be a British person.
Eventually, they realised codenames ‘Inthegarden’,
‘666devil’ and ‘evilmind’ belonged to the same ofender.
From here, the international investigation cranked into
gear. The NCA, Homeland Security, GCHQ, Europol and
the Australian police formed a taskforce, sharing info with
their counterparts. It would take a lot of work, dead ends,
perseverance and cooperation to nail Falder, but the things
he posted caused major alarm. One example is ‘Hell Week’,
where he plotted to torture his ‘daughter’ and asked fellow
sickos to make suggestions. In August 2015 Falder’s webmail
accounts were accessed, and the ‘Hell Week’ girl was
identiied, along with others. Falder didn’t have a daughter,
he was using an image of one of his victims: it was all an act
to provide sick kicks, to prove his determination to others.
have ruefully concurred. Getting Falder into custody was a
mind-boggling pursuit across the digital realm.
After days of stonewalling investigators, he admitted to
being ‘666devil’ and using the other pseudonyms. Falder had
prepared two statements and admitted to possessing the most
extreme forms of pornography (including rape, torture and
sex with animals). He also admitted to encouraging the rape
of a child, numerous examples of fraud, sexual exploitation,
making indecent images, sharing indecent images and
sending communications intended to cause distress.
What’s unique about the case and its relation to the
horrors of the darknet is Falder never touched or harmed his
victims directly or met them in person. It was about power,
manipulation, humiliation, the process of degradation and
the knowledge that he could reduce a person to a tormented
wreck who would obey his every cruel command. He’s an
extreme sadist who, online with like-minded monsters,
shared and encouraged attacks against the vulnerable, from
young children to teenagers. He conned parents into sending
images of their own children. To destroy lives was his chief
aim, and he succeeded time and time again.
BELOW Falder’s computer in his
bedroom, seized by police during
the raid on his home. From
here, he orchestrated his sick
campaigns against victims
Evil Beyond Evil
Over the course of three days when police questioned
him, every query met the classic response, “no comment”.
Investigators realised Falder was a computer whizz. He
was in possession of hard drives with double encryption.
Sophisticated tech, this wasn’t some unthinking pervert
leading a breadcrumb trail online for authorities to see, but a
highly calculated man who knew how not to get caught.
Whenever a target attempted to regain control of
their lives by threatening to tell the police, he arrogantly
responded, “I can’t get caught.” For a good while, they might
79
MATTHEW FALDER
FROM UNDER A ROCK
TRADING IN EVERYTHING FROM PRESCRIPTION DRUGS TO WEAPONS, HURTCORE HAS FOUND A HOME ON THE DARKNET
BIO EILEEN ORMSBY
AUTHOR
Eileen Ormsby is an
Australian journalist and
author of two books on the
darker side of the Internet,
Silk Road (2014) and
Darkest Web (2018).
How did hurtcore develop as a darknet
phenomenon?
There have always been people that
have these abhorrent tastes, and
there’s always been a market for violent
pornography in general. What the dark
web has done is provide a safe space
for these people. It’s a community that
creates these images and videos for each
other and swaps them. It’s a very sadistic
community and they really get off on
cruelty and inflicting pain, humiliation
and degradation on people. In the past,
they wouldn’t have been able to find
each other, but now they’ve got a place
where they can gather together, talk and
While Falder was very careful never to reveal his identity,
his victims deduced a man was behind such diabolical
actions. Luring a potential target into his clutches before
unleashing a blitzkrieg of control techniques on them,
feeding of a victim’s immense feelings of shame and guilt,
they were like insects in a lytrap. Their lives became a daily
misery, and he bombarded them with emails, controlling
their every waking moment. If they could sleep, nightmares
were equally fuelled by their tormentor. His maniacal
actions and the terriied compliance of people whose lives
he gleefully ruined tells us a few uncomfortable things about
human behaviour, social control and how susceptible we
all are to authority or perceived authority. Falder devised
a scenario to exert social control that provided him with
maximum efectiveness. Three of Falder’s targets attempted
suicide. Not that he cared: they meant nothing to him.
To the outside world, friends and family, Dr Matthew
Falder projected a nerdy, entirely harmless persona. He liked
dinosaurs, 3D printing technology and baking. An extroverted
man with a busy social life – as with Graham when he was
arrested – police were surprised to discover the person
responsible for so much horror was an academic with a great
career and life prospects. Falder wasn’t a ‘kept to himself
mostly’ type of person, he was routinely described by friends
as “the life and soul of the party”.
Raised in leafy Cheshire, he was a brainy type who
went on to study at one of the world’s great universities –
Cambridge – before settling into life as an academic and
lecturer in Birmingham. Falder’s misanthropy and sadistic
interests were a secret to all. The other, dark side to his
personality, which drew the deepest thrills from sadistic
scenarios, loved feeling in control, thrived on humiliation and
harboured his sexual interest in minors, was kept for the dark
web community only. The anonymity was vital.
It was noted during his trial that no evidence was put
forward by either side explaining how Falder’s interests grew,
why he became an emotionally stunted, heartless person.
There was no mention of speciic or horriic childhood
memories, no traumas that warped his mind. His life was
a very ordinary middle-class existence in a pretty county
known for its millionaire footballers and quaint villages. The
80
swap things, and they know their little
meeting place can’t be shut down.
There’s been lots of talk about Bitcoin
and the darknet recently. What’s your
take on it regarding hurtcore material?
There’s not really a market. Not the way
there is for drugs or weapons or financial
information. It’s nearly all swapped
between users. What happens is, to
get better and better access, people
become producers and they produce
new stuff that’s never been seen before,
and they get higher rankings on the
sites. This creates major problems for
law enforcement. At least in the drugs
OPPOSITE Police captured the
suspect’s arrest on tape. This
took place at Falder’s workplace,
the University of Birmingham. He
was cuffed to his work chair while
officers conducted a search
OPPOSITE-INSET Falder in the
interview room after his arrest
on 21 June 2017. He was
questioned for three days
market, they can follow the money, but
there’s no money to follow in the child
exploitation community.
Is policing the Internet and removing
hurtcore sites a realistic prospect?
I can’t see how governments would get
control over it. A lot of it is self-regulating,
when you look at it. The darknet market
is pretty much self-regulating and runs
reasonably well. Obviously, governments
have tried all sorts of things to try and
regulate it, but there’s always going to be
those people who operate outside of that...
it is human nature, and I don’t see how
you can do much about that.
only explanation anybody could ofer with any degree of
certainty was that, for some reason not yet known, Falder
simply enjoyed hurting others. Such an impulse is far from
rare, but the extent to which he operated is beyond depraved.
Using up to 70 online identities, a perfectly legal
encryption tool known as Tor (The Onion Router) and
legal website channels such as Gumtree, Falder snared,
blackmailed and harassed people over the course of 10 years.
It began in his undergraduate days and continued from
there. He set up webcams secretly, even in his parents’ home.
Whatever sick pleasure came into his head, he forced those
dragged into his world to enact on camera, sometimes with
them posing or holding up a piece of paper with “Hurt 2
the Core” written on it, so he could prove to others he was
delivering content to the archive of nightmare ilth. He made
people eat dog food, their own excrement, lick used tampons,
toilet seats and used toilet brushes. They were blackmailed
into doing so, for fear he would expose them to their families
and friends. He often chose teenagers, because he deduced
they would be the most emotionally vulnerable and pliable.
The fear of ridicule among their peers was overwhelming.
Brought to Justice
“This man is a sicko and the police aren’t doing anything,”
one of Falder’s victims posted on her Facebook page, irate
that her reporting of a person named ‘Liz’ had met with zero
activity. A teenager at the time, she had been enticed into
providing naked photos on the promise of £1,000. When she
threatened to report Liz, Falder sent her child abuse images
and told her “this is a gentle start”. By this he meant it was
just the start of his terrorising the girl into complying.
The girl’s registering of a complaint was a crucial moment
that led to Falder’s eventual arrest. The NCA caught wind of
the allegation, interviewed her and began to put the pieces
of the puzzle they’d assembled together. They knew this
ofender was British-based, but it was needle-in-a-haystack
territory. They persevered and were able to whittle down the
search to Birmingham and, inally, to Falder’s front door.
Devices were seized by police and revealed the extent
of Falder’s history of blackmail and abuse. It went back as
DARKNET BLACKMAILER
WELL THAT
SOUNDS LIKE THE
SHEET
FROM
far back as 2009. Also recovered from the raid at his lat
was a heavily encrypted USB stick, which featured a folder
entitled ‘BM’ (blackmail). The investigation team began to
put together his modus operandi: how he’d threaten selected
individuals with blanket exposure by sharing compromising
material with friends, family, schools, via written letters and
social media channels such as Facebook. He put the fear of
God into them all, and he saw himself as their god. If they
failed to do as he commanded, he promised to show the
world what disgusting people they were, how their families
would disown them because they’d stripped for money and
done vile things. These images would be on the Internet
forever, he would claim, and do the rounds, the sense of
shame never vanishing, always there. One victim that he’d
HELL_
ordered to carry out a task was told that they had to “choose
carefully”, hinting that if the choice displeased him, no
matter that they’d carried out his command, it would be met
with retribution and severe consequences.
The sheer psychological terror he imposed on people is
staggering; his lack of remorse further damning proof that
Falder is barely human – somebody who understands right
and wrong and doesn’t care one bit. He lived in delight at
human sufering.
For authorities battling child sex ofenders on the dark
web, Falder is just one of thousands. Their work involves
entering a subculture of bleakness and horror. It doesn’t get
any darker, but hunting them down must go on. Hurtcore
exists, and it is an afront to humankind.
© Getty Images; Sky News
RAP
81
MURDER IN
MANHATTAN
IN A FIT OF JEALOUSY, SPOILED AND OBSESSED MILLIONAIRE HARRY THAW
ENDED STANFORD WHITE’S LIFE – AND WITH IT, NEW YORK’S GILDED AGE
WORDS NELL DARBY
82
83
HARRY THAW
ocktails, dates with chorus girls, extravagant parties: life
in Manhattan at the start of the 20th century could be
a riotous, hedonistic time – if you had enough money.
And money governed all aspects of life. It enabled you to buy
the women you wanted, property, possessions, education
and political positions. If you committed a crime, you could
hire the best lawyers, pay the cops to bring champagne to
your prison cell, or use your money to hide your problems –
anything from paedophilia to insanity. In early 20th-century
New York, the corrupting power of money was to lead to
one of the new century’s most notorious murder cases. The
murder was the result of two men’s obsession with a teenage
model – Evelyn Nesbit, one of the iconic Gibson Girls, who
personified the ideal of beauty in the new century.
This case started not in New York, but in Pittsburgh,
a smoky, industrial city. It was here that two families had
grown up at the end of the 19th century: the Thaws and the
Nesbits. The Thaws were ‘new money’, having made it in
the railroad industry. Mrs Mary Thaw presented herself as
a benevolent philanthropist. The poor would knock on her
door asking for financial help, and she would dispense the
cents and dimes to make herself look good. She was a widow,
but her late husband, William, had left her financially secure.
She appeared to have no worries and was able to indulge her
children to an incredible extent.
Minutes away lived the Nesbits. Evelyn Nesbit had
something in common with Mrs Thaw: they were both
widowed. In Mrs Nesbit’s case, she had been married to a
lawyer with little financial nous. When he suddenly died,
his wife found herself left with no money and two young
children to maintain – 11-year-old Florence Evelyn and her
younger brother Howard. Mrs Nesbit’s attempts to find work
were rather half-hearted and often shortlived. As a result,
she and her children moved frequently around local boarding
houses, eking out their money, and often eating only one
meagre meal a day. On one occasion, Mrs Nesbit went to Mrs
Thaw’s home to beg for help, only to be turned away by one
of the servants.
Mrs Nesbit, however, had something in her favour – her
daughter, who would later be known as Evelyn like her
mother. From an early age, young Evelyn had gained the
notice of neighbours, friends and relatives due to her sultry
C
84
ger
Thaw was said to look far youn
ess
than his age, but his youthfuln
masked a life of decadence and
sexual deviance
ABOVE-RIGHT Place Pigalle on
Montmartre, Paris. The myth of
Thaw’s deviance includes the
suggestion that he took part in
orgies here
BELOW After his murder,
Stanford White went from
respected architect to procurer
of young female models as his
reputation was dissected by
the press
good looks: olive skin, dark hair and large, expressive eyes. It
soon became clear that the young girl could help improve her
family’s fortunes by posing for artists and photographers, and
she became an in-demand model.
The Red Velvet Swing
Despite her having regular work that constituted her family’s
income, Evelyn’s life continued to be insecure and peripatetic.
Her mother would regularly disappear in search of work
that never seemed to materialise, leaving Evelyn and Howard
with a succession of put-upon relatives and friends. On one
occasion, Mrs Nesbit disappeared to New York to find some
sewing or laundry work, promising to fetch her children very
soon. They didn’t see her for the next five months, and when
she finally turned up, she had still not found any work.
Mrs Nesbit was part stage mother, part neglectful parent.
She realised that if Evelyn earned enough from modelling,
then she wouldn’t need to continue looking for work – she
could sit back and watch the dollars roll in. She therefore
decided to take the children to New York, to get Evelyn
established in the studios of the metropolis. In doing so, and
in putting her desire for wealth ahead of her daughter’s wellbeing, she helped to ruin her.
New York was still basking in the hot embers of the
city’s ‘Gilded Age’, the period roughly between 1870 and
1900 where all things seemed possible. Here, numerous
millionaires lived the life of Riley, partying, drinking, drugtaking and indulging in every vice. They were known as
party animals, but their worst excesses were hushed up or
kept quiet, their money clearly talking. One of these men
was Stanford White, a renowned architect and respected
husband and father. But underneath the surface, this was a
man with a predilection for young girls – 15 or 16 was his
ideal – from poor backgrounds, who he could seduce with
MURDER IN MANHATTAN
Stanford White enj
young Evelyn up oyed dressing
in kimonos and
other exotic costum
naïve teenage mo es, turning a
del
into a sex
kitten, all for his
gratification
MRS NESBIT, IN EFFECT, ACTED AS A
PROCURER, ANXIOUS FOR HER DAUGHTER
TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE RICH
money and presents. He had a constantly rotating circle of
young actresses and chorus girls visiting him in one of his
‘hideaways’ in New York. Above the frontages of anonymouslooking shops, he decked out apartments in over-stated in
de siècle décor. In one room was a four-poster bed, with
mirrored walls and ceiling. In another was a red velvet swing,
which he made his young conquests swing high in. One of
these girls would soon be Evelyn.
Stanford White was not the irst man to express an
interest in young Evelyn once she had relocated to New
York. Her modelling had soon taken of, although the
wages were small, and she and her mother were still
living in a seedy boarding house. She was appearing
on popular postcards and in magazines, becoming a
renowned pin-up girl. Other men were struck by her
beauty, sending her letters and gifts. Stanford White,
though, had soon wheedled his way into the family.
Acting as a generous ‘uncle’ to the Nesbits, he
bought their loyalty, paying for Howard to go to
a good school and giving Mrs Nesbit cash as
well as presents. Mrs Nesbit, in efect, acted as a
procurer, anxious for her daughter to associate
with the rich – in whatever way – in order to
gain a comfortable lifestyle for herself.
Evelyn, in all this, was something of an
innocent. She had little moral guidance
from her mother and was anxious to avoid
penury, as she knew what that was like.
Stanford White became part of her
family, her benefactor. But then, one night he took her back
to one of his ‘hidden’ apartments, ostensibly for a dinner
party, but Evelyn found that she was the only guest. She was
plied with champagne, which was possibly drugged, and
eventually lost consciousness. When she came round, she
was lying on the four-poster bed in the mirrored bedroom:
Stanford White had just raped her.
Despite the enormity of what had happened to her, Evelyn
continued her association with White. He was a powerful
man, someone her mother adored. He was paying for her
beloved brother’s education, in addition to helping maintain
her and her only parent. He was also the nearest thing she
had to a father igure, and she was in thrall to him. They
were now in a relationship, however dysfunctional that
was. Eventually, though, Evelyn grew frustrated with him.
She accepted an invitation to dinner from a mysterious,
somewhat obsessive admirer.
Dangerous obsessions
This admirer was Harry Kendall Thaw, son of Evelyn’s old
neighbours in Pittsburgh. A tall, good-looking man in his
30s, Thaw was also highly strung, prone to erratic behaviour
and had been expelled from Harvard for “moral turpitude”.
He’d subsequently been indulged by his mother, who gave
him pocket money of $80,000 a year, which he splurged on
drink, drugs, women and sexual violence. He was a sadist,
and had a particular interest in boys, but he would willingly
exploit both genders by handcuing them in hotel rooms and
striking them with a horse-whip until they bled. There were
vague rumours about his behaviour, but a polite press, overlyrespectful towards the rich, failed to shed light on this man.
Thaw’s mother, too, had a secret: her family had a long
history of insanity, and she knew her son had inherited this
awful trait. Instead of getting him to seek help or arranging
85
HARRY THAW
his
Harry Thaw, on the left, with s
trial jury. Many potential juror
were rejected and, as with other
d
trials, only men were considere
SHE HAD BEEN RAPED TWICE
BY TWO DIFFERENT MEN – ONE
A RESPECTED ARCHITECT AND
THE OTHER A MILLIONAIRE,
PSYCHOTIC PLAYBOY
help herself, she downplayed his excesses of behaviour and
gave him more and more money.
Evelyn was initially repelled by Thaw, but his attentions,
his obvious obsession with her and his money eventually
swayed her to give him a chance. Thaw, like White, posed as
a kindly man who wanted a platonic relationship. He gave
Evelyn gifts and suggested trips abroad. Then, when she
became ill and underwent an emergency appendectomy,
her head being shaved after she sufered hair loss due to
stress and illness, he acted as attentive friend to the patient,
arranging a tour round Europe to help her recovery.
This was all, of course, a front. Deviously, Thaw arranged
a frenetic pace for the tour, ensuring that the still-weakened
Evelyn was made exhausted and unable to ight her corner.
Thaw encouraged arguments between himself and Mrs
Nesbit – who was acting as a chaperone – until she lost her
temper and insisted on returning to New York, putting her
own comfort ahead of her daughter’s safety. Then, when
Evelyn and Thaw reached Austria, he took her on a diicult
journey through the mountainous terrain to an isolated, dark
castle, and announced that he had rented the entire place for
the next three weeks. Now, Evelyn was his prisoner within a
Gothic prison.
Thaw had two key obsessions: Evelyn’s virginity (or
lack of ), and a longer-standing obsession – Stanford White.
Eventually, he forced out of Evelyn that she was not a virgin,
because White had raped her while she was unconscious.
Thaw was obsessed with this fact and got a sobbing Evelyn to
tell him everything about her friendship with White, down to
86
OPPOSITE NYPD officers. The
New York Police Department
had a significant element of
corruption during the Gilded
Age, with officers accepting
bribes and pocketing, in some
cases, significant sums of money
BELOW The murder of Stanford
White by Harry Thaw was
eagerly covered by the press –
not just immediately, but for the
next two years
the last detail, over hours and hours. The following night, in a
rage, he attacked Evelyn while she was in bed, ripping all her
nightclothes of before whipping her horriically and then,
like White, raping her. Afterwards, he disappeared to his own
bedroom, leaving the young Evelyn curled up in a ball in her
bed, covered in blood, welts and bruises.
She had now been raped twice, by two diferent men –
one a respected architect with a taste for young girls, and the
other a multi-millionaire, psychotic playboy. In both cases her
mother was absent. Evelyn had been failed by the one person
who should have been protecting her, and now she was in
the middle of a foreign country with only Thaw for company.
She was confused, isolated, and ill-educated about what to do
or how to do it. Yet, as with Stanford White, she continued
to have a relationship with Thaw, because she simply didn’t
know what else to do. He was her only protector, even if it
was him she needed protecting from. On 5 April 1905, after
their return to America, she married him.
Evelyn’s freedom was now truly curtailed. She was forced
to give up her life in New York for the conines of the Thaw
mansion in Pittsburgh. The family, strict Presbyterians,
shamed Evelyn continuously, treating her with contempt.
Meanwhile, her new husband continued to fester over
her former relationship with Stanford White, obsessing
continuously about the architect and his immorality. He paid
to have White stalked, with his men reporting back as to
his nocturnal exploits. He tried to tip of the media and the
police to get White investigated, but he didn’t have enough
proof. Eventually, a new thought formed in his head: if he
killed White, he would be protecting both Evelyn and the
other women who had been ruined by him. He would not
be a murderer – he would be some kind of avenging angel,
gaining public approval for his role in helping stamp out the
immoral behaviour of Manhattan’s wealthy elite. The fact
that he was just as immoral as White seemed to completely
elude Thaw.
MURDER IN MANHATTAN
A CORRUPT FORCE
OVER THE COURSE OF THE GILDED AGE, SOME NYPD OFFICERS BECAME
RENOWNED FOR THEIR CORRUPTION – AND THAW TOOK ADVANTAGE
$1 MILLION $250
One Brooklyn bookmaker paid this amount each
year for police protection for his gambling operation
$350,000
In the 1890s, NYPD Superintendent Thomas
Byrnes had a fortune worth nearly $10 million today
$15,000
In 1894, an NYPD captain’s appointment
could be bought for nearly $500,000 today
Corrupt Charles
Becker bribed
his way into the
NYPD in 1893
with this ‘fee’
$500
In 1896, New York police officers took
bribes of up to $500 from brothel owners
FUTURE
PRESIDENT
In 1895, Theodore Roosevelt forced the
resignation of suspiciously rich Thomas Byrnes
87
HARRY THAW
WHO PAYS, WINS
MONEY TALKED, BOTH IN THE BIG APPLE
AND WITHIN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM – AS HARRY THAW PROVED
Harry K. Thaw was initially housed in a sparse cell in
The Tombs, just like any other prisoner – a fact that
shocked him. However, he was soon pictured in the
newspapers eating rich, multi-course meals in his
cell, as he had managed to persuade the police to
bring him take-outs from a local, favourite restaurant
– Delmonico’s – which was known for serving the
finest food in luxurious private dining rooms.
He refused to sleep in the standard prison
‘cot’, and instead a brass bed was installed in his
cell. There was no insistence on the usual prison
uniform, either – Thaw was allowed to wear his own
expensive, tailored outfits. He managed to persuade
the prison doctor that he needed champagne and
wine on a daily basis for ‘medicinal’ reasons.
Money talked, and the Thaws were able to
create what was almost a hotel room out of a prison
cell, by paying officers and doctors to give Harry
Thaw a luxurious life while awaiting trial. The press
was also allowed in, and one press photographer’s
image of Thaw lording it up in his prison cell, with all
his excess, became an iconic image of the trial and
its unpleasant aftertaste.
THE COURT WAS PACKED, FOLLOWING
EVELYN’S EVERY WORD BREATHLESSLY. AND
HER TESTIMONY WAS JUICY
Murder at Madison
Square Garden
In 1906 Mr and Mrs Thaw had planned a trip to England,
setting of from New York. They had a week in Manhattan
before they were due to leave the country, and so, on the
evening of 25 June 1906, they attended a musical event in the
rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden, Stanford White’s
regular haunt. This open-air theatre was where the rich and
famous gathered to drink, eat, people-watch and, ostensibly,
to watch a revue show. Thaw disappeared from Evelyn’s side
several times. He was usually an easy igure to spot in the
crowds, however, as he was tall and clad in dark clothing.
She briely spotted him edging towards a seat near the
front of the stage. It was Stanford White’s regular seat, and
the architect was sitting there with his 19-year-old son. He
didn’t have much time to register the bug-eyed Harry Thaw
standing in front of him, shouting “You ruined my wife!”
before Thaw had raised his gun and shot Stanford White
three times, hitting him in the face and shoulder. Death was
almost instantaneous: half of White’s face was ripped of by
the force of one of the gunshots. He fell to the loor, blood
rapidly forming a pool around his body.
Some of the other audience members thought this was
all part of the theatrical performance, and the musicians
continued to play. But then realisation hit: Stanford White
had been shot dead. Panic ensued, with actors, musicians,
88
bartenders and theatregoers shrieking and stampeding,
desperate to get away from the scene of the crime. At one
point, so many people were gathered by the corner of the
rooftop gardens that others feared they would all go hurtling
over the edge. Evelyn, meanwhile, had disappeared: spirited
away by friends, she would go underground for a couple of
days before inally visiting the police.
All seemed straightforward – at irst. Harry Thaw was
taken into police custody, where he admitted killing the
respected architect. He felt that he had done the world a
favour, killing the man who preyed on innocent girls, taking
their virginities while professing to be their benefactor. As
news dripped out about Stanford White’s proclivities, his
post-mortem reputation started to sufer. The trysts and
foibles he had so successfully kept secret during his life now
started to seep out like sewage from an over-full drain. Even
his architecture was now seen as brash, relecting the nasty
elements of its creator’s personality, whereas before it had
been admired.
What wasn’t expected was Evelyn’s loyalty to her cruel
husband. Accompanied by Thaw’s mother, Evelyn was
regularly seen visiting her husband in prison as he awaited
trial. She felt some kind of misplaced loyalty towards the man
who had mistreated her. She was also inancially dependent
on the Thaws: her own mother had abandoned her, having
never supported her inancially anyway; her former lover and
sugar daddy was dead, murdered, and her career would never
recover from the crime and her association with it. Therefore,
she was dependent on Harry Thaw and his wilful mother,
hoping for some kind of inancial security from them. In the
event they proved miserly, bribing her to give evidence at
Thaw’s trial that would help present a picture of a nice, kind
husband, and then subsequently reneging on their promises.
In The Tombs
Harry Thaw was initially taken to the police station house,
which was connected via a bridge – known as the ‘Bridge
of Sighs’ – to The Tombs prison in Manhattan. He was
duly charged with murder, and now started the process
of arranging his trial. The Thaws threw money at various
lawyers, who had diferent ideas about what defence to
ofer. Harry could be declared legally insane – but in this
case, he would end up incarcerated in an asylum. He could
hope to be found not guilty. But if it was ruled that he was
guilty, of course, he could end up in the electric chair. Thaw
himself rather perversely looked forward to his day in court,
where he could expose what he saw as the sexual corruption
prevalent in New York society.
As a new year dawned, so too did Harry Thaw’s trial.
Thaw’s mother was unable to cope with her son being
described as insane by his lawyers, so insisted that a defence
of temporary insanity, or a ‘brainstorm’, was put forward. The
prosecutor, District Attorney William T. Jerome, however,
argued that Harry had simply been jealous of Stanford White.
However, the focus for the crowds of New Yorkers, who
locked each day to the court desperate to get one of the
public seats, was Evelyn. When she took the stand as a
witness on 8 February, the court was packed, following
Evelyn’s every word breathlessly. And her
testimony was juicy. She was made to describe
her rape by Stanford White, and how she
had recalled this to Harry Thaw.
Evelyn, dressed demurely in
navy blue, told the court
how White had said,
“There is nothing so
OPPOSITE An iconic image:
Harry K. Thaw living the life of
luxury – albeit in his ‘Murderers’
Row’ prison cell at The Tombs in
New York
ABOVE Three years after the
murder, in 1909, Evelyn was still
having to dodge the cameras, as
the press attention continued to
affect her daily life
nice as young girls.” She was asked if she had ever posed in
the nude – the prosecution being determined to make her out
to be sexually precocious and not, in the parlance of the early
20th century, a ‘nice girl’, thus blaming her, in part, for what
had happened. Evelyn strongly denied having done anything
compromising in her modelling career.
The jury retired on 10 April 1907 but failed to reach a
verdict. Seven had voted for a murder conviction, but ive
argued for Harry Thaw to be acquitted. Now, a second trial
would have to be organised, and Evelyn would again have
to be called to the stand. Luckily, this second trial, which
started on 6 January 1908, was shorter and less shocking, for
most of the information had been heard and reported before.
This time, the focus was on Thaw’s mental state, and he was
declared not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity. The
judge declared that Harry would be sent to the Matteawan
State Hospital for the criminally insane, until further notice.
Evelyn, meanwhile, continued to visit Harry in hospital,
and in 1910 gave birth to a son, Russell Thaw. Despite her
argument that he had been conceived on a conjugal visit to
Matteawan, Thaw always denied paternity. The couple inally
divorced in 1915 – the same year Thaw was released from the
asylum. However, in 1917, he whipped a teenage boy and was
sent straight back to Matteawan for another seven years. He
inally died in 1947.
And Evelyn? Her career would never recover from her
association with the 20th century’s most shocking murder,
although she tried for years to make a success of her life. She
died in 1967. But she had, inadvertently, caused the death of
something else decades before – that of the Gilded Age and
its hedonistic whirl of underage sex and gleeful champagne
drinking. It was the end of innocence, and the start of a new,
more sober, era.
© Alamy; Getty Images
MURDER IN MANHATTAN
89
REVIEWS
THE THIRD MURDER (SANDOME NO SATSUJIN)
RELEASED OUT NOW
DIRECTOR HIROKAZU KORE-EDA
DISTRIBUTOR ARROW FILMS
ou don’t need understanding
or empathy to defend a client,”
states defence lawyer Shigemori
(Masaharu Fukuyama). “You’re not going to
become friends.”
Shigemori is currently defending Misumi
(Kōji Yakusho) on a murder charge. In the
opening scene of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The
Third Murder, we see Misumi bludgeoning
his former boss with a wrench, then setting
ire to the corpse by the Tama River. Misumi
had, decades earlier, served time for a
double-murder, for which he was spared the
death penalty by a judge (Isao Hashizume)
who, by coincidence, is Shigemori’s father.
Misumi confessed to the present crime
shortly after being arrested, so the case
seems open and shut, and the best Shigemori
can hope for is to reduce Misumi’s sentence
from death to life imprisonment.
“Y
90
But the case turns out to be a lot more
complicated than it irst appears, involving
Misumi’s relationship with the victim’s wife
(Yuki Saitô ) and daughter (Suzu Hirose) and
with his own estranged daughter, presenting
us with a igure who seems strangely
resigned to his fate and barely bothered by
a legal process that might easily end in his
execution – at least until he inds himself in
a situation where playing the court’s game
could help somebody else whose problems
are less prescribed than his own. As calm,
enigmatic Misumi keeps changing his story,
or having his story changed in the interests
of judicial convenience and economy,
Shigemori starts wondering where the truth
lies, and whether his client is a wily deceiver,
a judge and executioner in his own right, or
even a Christ-like martyr.
The Third Murder is a ilm of
confrontations, showing how inadequate
a court of law is for accommodating and
adjudicating the sort of tangled issues
– sociopolitical, even philosophical and
theological – that have governed Misumi’s
life and left him with a justiied sense that
his agency is limited. All this is regularly
punctuated by scenes in which Shigemori
confers with the polite but unforthcoming
Misumi in prison. These scenes are marked
and deined by opposition, as the two men –
both errant fathers, both from Hokkaidō, but
divided as much by class and circumstance as
by the protective screen between them – face
of in a confrontation that conceals no less
than it reveals.
Yet as the ilm progresses, Misumi’s face,
relected in the glass, becomes superimposed
over Shigemori’s own – a smart piece of
framing (from DP Mikiya Takimoto) that
marks the understanding, empathy and even
close identiication developing between
them. Perhaps, after all, a lawyer and a client
can become friends.
Misumi may be the one on trial, but
Kore-eda is also interrogating the workings –
often arbitrarily formulated, even prejudiced
– of the Japanese justice system, and its
slippery relationship to the higher notions of
fairness and truth that it is supposed to serve.
REVIEWS
THE CHALK MAN
RELEASED OUT NOW
AUTHOR C.J. TUDOR
PUBLISHER PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK/PAPERBACK
t’s the summer of 1986 and strange things
are happening in the (ictional) southern
English town of Anderbury. For local
kids Eddie, ‘Fat Gav’, ‘Metal Micky’ and
Nicky, it all began with a trip to the funfair
that ended in a freak accident. A bucket
of multicoloured chalk brings the gang
a welcome distraction as they run about
town leaving stick igures for messages – a
code that only they know. But no one can
escape the misfortunes still to come: Metal
Micky’s bully of an older brother winds
up dead, and Eddie’s dad is arrested on
suspicion of brutalising Nicky’s vicar of a
father and vandalising his church. Eddie
comes to realise that their beloved stick men
are somehow linked to every bad thing to
happen in the town.
Eventually the chalk men lead the gang
deep into the woods, and beneath the
autumn leaves they discover a dismembered
body – the young lover of Mr Halloran,
I
a new teacher at their school. After they
remove his body from a bloody bathtub
police believe they have their answers, but
three decades into the future Eddie is still
haunted by the events of that summer.
Now an adult, he has tried to forget about
‘Waltzer Girl’, Mr Halloran and the ghosts
that haunt his dreams. But then a mysterious
drawing of a stick igure with a noose tied
around its neck turns up in the post, and an
old friend from the past with a proposition
winds up dead too, and Eddie realises that
his nightmares are still coming for him.
Flitting between the 80s and present
day, The Chalk Man promises to be a fusion
of the Netlix show Stranger Things and
Stephen King’s novels, and it does not
disappoint in that respect. At times the story
can appear to veer of, and readers are at risk
of losing track, but the events always return
to a nice balance between past and present.
You will be left guessing until the very last
chapter about what really happened that
summer in Anderbury and why the chalk
men still taunt Eddie. But be warned, even
the most innocent of characters have their
demons and none of them get to enjoy a
truly happy ending.
SAVE ME
RELEASED 7 MAY 2018
CREATOR LENNIE JAMES
DISTRIBUTOR ACORN MEDIA UK
AVAILABLE ON DVD
ince its initial run on Sky Atlantic,
Save Me couldn’t have had many more
plaudits thrown its way. Following
hard-drinking womaniser Nelly (Lennie
James, who also happens to have created
and written this) as he attempts to search
for his mysteriously vanished estranged
daughter, its acclaim instantly becomes
understandable upon watching.
Whereas kitchen-sink dramas like
Shameless have often been culpable
for romanticising those on the fringes
of society, Save Me does no such thing.
While simultaneously tackling themes like
gentriication and the wealth divide, James
never seeks to excuse the behaviour of his
lead character. Chances are you’ve met
someone like Nelly at some point: the life
and soul of the party, whose charm earns
him more chances than any average person
would receive, but ultimately manages to
burn through even this extended life bar.
Whether he’s sleeping with anyone with
a pulse who isn’t his current other half,
dolling out abuse to the students who dare
to frequent his local (where he seems to
spend every other waking hour), or drinking
himself under the table with liver-pickling
S
regularity, he’s a clear liability, and not
exactly the most sympathetic protagonist.
Even so, such is the sheer bloody-minded
conviction of James’s performance and the
perfectly honed nature of his writing that
you’ll stay alongside him throughout.
He’s assisted in this by a top supporting
cast: Suranne Jones as his daughter’s
mother is a slow-burning fuse, gradually
drawn back into Nelly’s orbit for the sake
of a shared goal. As much as this is James’s
story, Jones is the true scene-stealer of the
piece – and surely an awards contender.
The same can be said for Stephen Graham:
previously a portrayer of pirates, skinheads
and Al Capone, he dials things back
substantially here, but his performance is no
less afecting.
In truth, crafting a story that is both
satisfyingly self-contained while at the
same time fertile enough to spawn future
episodes (a second series has already been
conirmed), it feels like there is much more
to come, and that James wouldn’t have
diluted his characters in any way by doing
so. A realistic crime drama it may not be,
but the loftier goal of a realistic human
drama has deinitely been reached.
91
REVIEWS
DARK CITY: THE REAL
LOS ANGELES NOIR
SHETLAND: SERIES 4
RELEASED OUT NOW
RELEASED OUT NOW
AUTHOR JIM HEIMANN
PUBLISHER TASCHEN
AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK
ven though the golden years
might be long gone, Los Angeles
will always be the city of noir.
A sprawling metropolis deined
by sun, smog, sleaze and a shot at
stardom, it’s been written about and
seen on screen for decades, and after
Hiemann’s extensive but essential
introduction, LA’s dark history of
the 1920-1950s is revealed in black
and white photos over close to 400
entertaining pages.
Crime fans are likely to jump
to the “Murder & Mayhem” and
E
“Headline Crime” chapters, where
they’ll ind horriic stories known
perhaps only to Angelenos but
arguably matching the infamous
‘Black Dahlia’ shocker (which is
here too), though there are other
unexpected treasures to be found.
Also included are newspaper
articles, ads, club lyers and reprints
of scandalous stories from pulpy
detective magazines, plus the
appendices has an illustrated list of
classic movies and books of the genre.
The “Kooks, Crackpots &
Salvation” chapter is an eye-opener,
but stories about social unrest, drag
clubs, illegal bars and casino boats
bring back the days when everyone,
whether a mobster or a rube, famous
or anonymous, looked glamorous.
CREATORS ANN CLEEVES AND DAVID KANE
DISTRIBUTOR ITV STUDIOS HOME
ENTERTAINMENT
AVAILABLE ON DVD
aving returned to the windswept
Scottish isles for a fourth year,
you get the impression that the
creators of Shetland are doing their
best to up the ante. Not content
with seeing the island cast under
the shadow of another murder
investigation, mere days since a
convicted murderer’s release after 20
years in prison (a crime he denies),
there’s also a paternity subplot,
growing pains aplenty and a militant
Anders Breivik-admiring hate group
H
to contend with. No rest for Douglas
Henshall’s DI Jimmy Perez, then.
While previous series brought
real intrigue to a location that
hadn’t previously received much
representation in TV land, what takes
place here sadly isn’t greater than the
sum of its parts. It’s fairly obvious that
released prisoner Thomas Malone
(Stephen Walters) isn’t guilty, yet
the pretence is pointlessly kept up.
It’s fairly engaging, but not enough
to warrant six episodes, its bombast
ultimately underplayed by an ending
that izzles out with little payof.
If you’re new to Shetland, try
out the earlier seasons for better
representations of Ann Cleeves’s
storytelling. She’s capable of much
better than what is on show here.
SURVIVORS GUIDE TO PRISON
RELEASED OUT NOW
DIRECTOR MATTHEW COOKE
DISTRIBUTOR GRAVITAS VENTURES
“T
his isn’t a
film, it’s a
movement,”
states the text at
the end of Matthew
Cooke’s Survivors Guide To
Prison. Indeed, if the absence
of an apostrophe from that title
sounds like an attempt to break
free from the prison-house of
language, the film itself first
exposes the insidious structures
of the United States’ penal
system, before offering potential
routes of escape – as though
Ava DuVernay’s 13th (2016) was
92
made to share a cell with Jairus
McLeary and Gethin Aldous’s The
Work (2017). Much like Cooke’s
previous work, How To Make
Money Selling Drugs (2012),
this new documentary promises
to be a kind of self-help manual
for the criminal classes, but in
fact offers a synoptic analysis of
everything that is malfunctioning
in America’s machinery of criminal
justice – from police racism and
incompetence to a prosecutory
preference for plea bargains over
jury trials, and from a lack of
affordable bail to privatised jails
that offer no incentives to try to
reduce recidivism.
Its primary test cases are
Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole, who
both, following false convictions,
spent many years in prison, with
Cole, once inside, forced actually
to become the murderer that he
never was outside – although, so
as not to seem entirely focused
on the innocent, the film also
features interviews with Tim
(surname withheld), a convicted
killer who has served his time.
Other talking heads include actors
and musicians who have had their
own run-ins with the law (RZA,
Ice-T, Busta Rhymes and Danny
Trejo), as well as an impressive
line-up of academics, journalists,
lawyers and educators.
The thesis is simple: there’ll be
no real justice in America until the
nation calls off its war on drugs,
reduces sentencing, ends for-profit
police and prisons and invests
in programmes that have been
proven to rehabilitate convicts.
REVIEWS
just
as a teenager,
Dianne (right)
ped-out’ of
op
‘dr
ily
fam
r
before he
at
her on a road th
society, taking
o the
int
ht
rig
r
he
would deliver
es Manson
hands of Charl
MEMBER OF
THE FAMILY
RELEASED OUT NOW
AUTHOR DIANNE LAKE AND DEBORAH HERMAN
PUBLISHER HARPER ELEMENT
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
fter nearly 50 years of Charles Manson
stories, from the world’s biggestselling true crime book, Helter Skelter
by Vincent Bugliosi, to TV series and
experimental ilm shorts, you’d think the case
had been so over-exposed that even someone
who was close to the late murderer wouldn’t
have much to ofer the world. Dianne Lake,
however, was taken under Manson’s wing at
the tender age of 14 and was very much part
of the family during those two bloody nights
in 1967 (though she had no involvement
in the Tate-LaBianca murders herself ).
Furthermore, she was virtually handed over
into Manson’s custody by her parents, though
how this happened exactly is something
Dianne wants to set to rights.
Maybe the most astonishing thing about
Dianne’s story is that she wasn’t a street
A
urchin or vulnerable teenager from a broken
home. She was the oldest of three siblings
raised by two loving parents in middle-class,
1950s Minnesota – there was over 1,000
kilometres and a generation between her
and the sun-kissed psychedelic hedonism of
counterculture California. How they evolved
from being a typical suburban family unit
into part of a self-suicient hippy commune
on the edge of society is a story in itself, and
Charles Manson barely gets a mention until
halfway through Member of the Family.
It’s Dianne’s irst-hand experience of the
curious ideals and half-baked philosophies
of these fringe communities that kept us
enthusiastically turning the pages until then.
By the time Dianne gets a warm welcome
into Manson’s fold at the spiral staircase
house and her story shifts into a higher gear,
we’d almost forgotten she was destined to
become a Mansonette.
Dianne’s insight into the Manson Family
is exceptional, unique. If she set out just
to put the story straight (for example,
addressing the legendary ‘note’ that was
supposed to have been written by Dianne’s
parents to Manson) then she’s gone above
and beyond the call of duty. It’s clear Dianne
understands most of her readers won’t come
close to appreciating counterculture on the
West Coast in the 60s: today it seems unreal
that her parents would encourage drugtaking in their teenage daughter and condone
‘free love’ with strangers, that the doors to
many Californian households were literally
open for anyone to walk in, and an ex-convict
could somehow talk his way into sharing a
superstar’s celebrity lifestyle. But between
anecdotal chapters – some so unbelievable
they sound like they’ve been dreamt up in
a Hunter S. Thompson fantasy – Dianne
takes time to describe the paradigm of hippie
culture that allowed these events to unfold.
Armed with this fresh perspective, we
dip back into the trial that Dianne eventually
testiied at, and the story of the Manson
Family. For that insight alone, Member of the
Family is an invaluable read, an essential text
for Manson enthusiasts and casual true crime
readers alike.
93
AUTHOR INTERVIEW
© Bill Waters; Getty Images
I HATE IT WHEN A
BOOK SLAPS ON A HAPPY
ENDING THAT DOESN’T
FIT. IT’S A CHEAT. IN FACT,
I HATE HAPPY ENDINGS.
THERE, I’VE SAID IT
94
C.J. TUDOR
AUTHOR INTERVIEW
STEPHEN KING
FANS WILL LOVE...
C.J. TUDOR
NEW TO CRIME AND THRILLER FICTION, C.J. TUDOR’S THE CHALK MAN
TELLS THE TALE OF A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS SURROUNDING
A QUIET BRITISH TOWN AND THE DARK CHARACTERS RESIDING THERE
What irst piqued your interest in writing about
macabre subjects?
I’ve always liked dark stories. From a very early age I
was fascinated in the macabre. I’m not sure why – my
parents are completely normal. I used to devour ghost
stories before moving on to books such as The Woman
In Black and The Turn Of The Screw, via some Agatha
Christie along the way. Then, when I was 12, I discovered
Stephen King, and that was it for me.
The prologue to The Chalk Man is deeply disturbing
and utterly gripping, like you’d expect of a Stephen
King novel. How much did he inluence your work?
He’s been my hero since I was 12. I love his writing
style, his voice, the way he blends the macabre with the
ordinary. Most of all, I love his storytelling. That’s what
I always wanted to do – tell stories. In some ways, The
Chalk Man is a homage to all the ilms and books I loved
in the 80s, including Stephen King and The Goonies.
I’d always wanted to write a similar story about a gang
of kids who stumble into something very dark, but set
it in the UK and give it a bit of a twist. A lot of people
have also made comparisons to Stranger Things, and it
certainly shares the same source material, although I
wrote The Chalk Man in 2015, the year before Stranger
Things came out.
have a somewhat conlicted relationship with death.
We’re fascinated by it and yet we live in a state of denial
that it is never going to happen to us or someone we
love. It’s the one thing in life that is certain but also the
one thing we steadfastly refuse to confront. When I was
four, I lost a close cousin and, around the same age, a
neighbour across the road gassed himself in his garage.
The idea that someone is never coming back, that there
is no argument, no bargaining, no get-out or magic potion
is very hard to accept – as a child and even as an adult.
Death always has the inal word.
Why is it that hardly anyone in the book experienced
a ‘happy ending’, even after the identity of the killer
was revealed?
Because, as Eddie says in the book, in real life there are
no happy endings. Endings tend to be complicated, messy
and unresolved. Also, it wouldn’t have been true to the
characters. I hate it when a book slaps on a happy ending
that doesn’t it. It’s a cheat. In fact, I hate happy endings.
There, I’ve said it.
The story lits back and forth between Eddie’s
childhood – a time before technology boomed – and
his adulthood – a time when it is central to most
people’s lives. Why did you choose such
diferent eras for a murder mystery?
I was a pre-teen in the 80s, so it’s a very vivid
Eddie is not your typical protagonist. Why
time for me. A lot of the stuf the gang of
did you choose him to play a central role in
friends in the book get up to is based upon
the story?
the things my friends and I would do – riding
I think most people ind lawed characters more
our bikes around town, building dens in the
interesting. Characters that are completely
woods, hanging out in the playground.
heroic or handsome are, quite frankly, bloody
And yes, the 80s was the last decade before
boring. And real people are full of laws and
the technology boom. If you wanted to
contradictions. That’s what makes us
see your friends, you had to go and call
human and, ultimately, when writing
for them. Pong, VHS video recorders
characters, they need to feel real.
and Breville sandwich makers were
I’m very fond of Eddie. I see a lot of
the height of tech back then.
myself in him, which is perhaps a
C.J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man
I chose a gap of 30 years because
tad worrying!
is published by Penguin
I think it’s fascinating to see how
Random House and
people change from children to
Where do the ideas relating to the
available to buy now
adults – if they change at all. I’m
more gory and tragic parts of your
a similar age to adult Eddie and I
book come from?
sometimes wonder if we really grow up
Some of it is things I have read or
or if we just get taller and better at bluing.
watched. Some of it is life. I think we all
SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE
Sarah Schmidt
1892, in Massachusetts, Andrew
and Abby Borden’s brutalised
bodies are found inside their
home. Their daughter Lizzie
is questioned by police and,
historically speaking, became the
prime suspect, but was acquitted.
Schmidt revisits the murders and
re-imagines the scenarios that
might have presented themselves.
INTO THE WATER
Paula Hawkins
The Girl On The Train author’s
next novel teases readers until the
very end. In a few short months,
Lena Abbott loses both her friend
and mother Nel in the ‘Drowning
Pool’. Police say Nel jumped, but
her sister, left to care for Lena,
knows her sister would never do
that, and must face her fears and
find out what really happened.
FINAL GIRLS
Riley Sager
The sole survivor of a massacre,
Quinn Carpenter becomes the
newest member of the ‘Final
Girls’. A decade later, She comes
face to face with the second of
the Final Girls, who forces her to
relive the night she’d rather forget
to determine what the only other
surviving Final Girl really wants.
95
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KIM WALL’S
DEADLY
DESCENT
DISMEMBERED AND DUMPED BY A ‘PSYCHOPATHIC’
SUBMARINE BUILDER. HAD HE DONE THIS BEFORE?
ALSO INSIDE
ANGELS
OF DEATH
Why these nurses
killed their patients
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QUEENS OF THE
FIRST THE FIRE,
UNDERWORLDtwo
THEN THE HORROR
The bitter rivalry of
rs
The yoghurt shop murde
chilled Texas to the core
notorious Sydney gang bosses
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Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne
Chairman Richard Huntingford
Chief inancial oficer Penny Ladkin-Brand
Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
97
STRANGE CASE
!
E
S
A
C
E
G
N
A
R
ST
2015
ER
MB
CE
DE
4
EN
WH
A
US
A,
RID
FLO
,
CIE
LU
ST.
RT
PO
E
ER
WH
HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER
HANDED IN BY HER OWN CAR
IDENT, FORD’S HIGH-TECH
ALTHOUGH SHE ATTEMPTED TO FLEE THE SCENE OF AN ACC
ASSISTANCE MADE SURE THIS DRIVER FACED THE LAW
she admitted to having driven into the back
pulled
“Your car wouldn’t call us if someone
s 57-year-old Cathy Bernstein sped away
of a van before then hitting Anna Preston’s
out in front of you, unless there had been
from the scene of an accident that was
vehicle in her attempts to get away – ofences
an accident,” the police operator correctly
her fault in December 2015, little could
for which a driver in Florida can receive up
informed Bernstein. It is only a serious event
she have imagined that she would not only
to 60 days in jail and a ine of $500, though
that would have triggered the 911 Assist
fail to evade justice, but it would be her own
the penalties are naturally heavier in the
in
system into taking action – and the airbag
rities
autho
the
e
ensur
would
that
e
vehicl
event of serious injury or death.
Bernstein’s vehicle had been deployed.
tracked her down.
Following protocol, the arresting oicers
At around the same time as this
On another busy winter’s day in
irst took Bernstein to the local hospital for a
conversation, local police were also receiving
the Sunshine State, Bernstein – either
check-up (the very same hospital that Anna
reports of an accident involving a black Ford.
Lucie
St.
Port
of
roads
the
by
d
helme
overw
Preston had gone to in the wake of the crash
Rapidly piecing the evidence together, they
humming with festive shoppers, or maybe
that inlicted minor injuries to her back).
tracked Bernstein down to her house, where
distracted by the coming of Santa himself –
Once their suspect was given the all clear,
remarkably she changed her story – on this
managed to hit not one but two vehicles with
the police transported her to the local station
fact
occasion insisting that her vehicle had in
Vista
Prima
west
North
near
Ford
black
her
and charged her with a hit-and-run ofence
become acquainted with a tree at high speed.
Boulevard. The reason for her car’s magnetic
before later releasing her.
However, she hadn’t accounted for the police
attraction to other road-going vehicles has
Bernstein likely took little comfort in
noting the silver paint scratched across her
never been established, but in her eforts to
ing that she had no control over the
know
of
car bonnet, which happened to match that
tein
Berns
on,
collisi
irst
the
of
scene
the
lee
car’s accident report system – once turned
Anna Preston’s car.
smashed into the back of Anna Preston’s
on, it’s an automatic feature that’s live the
When confronted with such damning
car, injuring not only Preston’s Christmas
moment the engine is started.
evidence, Bernstein inally conceded, and
presents but also her back.
In contravention of Florida’s legal code,
Bernstein opted to drive away from the site
of the accident and head home, hoping that
she would be able to avoid the consequences
of her questionable driving skills. However,
her Ford was clearly more conscious of the
repercussions of such an action, quickly
using its ‘911 Assist’ system to call the police,
even going as far as to provide them with
Bernstein’s coordinates.
While in most cases the driver of such
an advanced car would no doubt be grateful
for the assistance, on this occasion it forced
Bernstein to lie to the police operator when
questioned why her vehicle had called for
aid. She insisted that she had in fact merely
been the victim of another car cutting her
up, remaining adamant that she would never
be so reckless as to lee the scene of an
She was charged with a hit-and-run
accident, in spite of the operator’s scepticism.
resulting in property damage, but
A
Bernstein could have received a far
harsher sentence of up to 30 years in
jail if anyone had died as a result of
her recklessness
98
9000
9021
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