Yes, you read that right. No, it’s not a typo.
Between 1964-65, six women were murdered, their bodies found around the Thames River. All were prostitutes. All had been strangled and left naked. Because of their locations and similarity to the Jack the Ripper case, the unidentified assailant was given the nicknamed Jack the stripper.
Hannah Tailford, 30. Found dead February 2, 1964 near the Hammersmith Bridge. Hannah was strangled and several teeth were missing. Her underwear had been forced down her throat.
Irene Lockwood, 26. Found April 8, 1964 near the same area where Hannah’s body was found.
Helen Barthelemy, 22. The third victim and first break in the case, Helen was found on April 24, 1964 in an alleyway. Flecks of paint used in car factories.
Mary Flemming, 30. Found July 14, 1964 in an open street. The paint spots were found on the body.
Frances Brown, 21. Found November 25, 1964 after missing for a month. A friend was with Brown when the man believed to be her killer picked her up, and a composite sketch was created.
Bridget O’Hara, 28. Found dead behind the Heron Trading Estate. Again flecks of paint were present.
The paint pattern was found near a paint spray shop on the Heron estate, near the location of Bridget O’Hara’s body. Investigators realized this was where the bodies were stored before being dumped. 7,000 people were questioned.
Police announced the suspect list was being narrowed down in the hopes of causing the killer to make a mistake, but an arrest never happened.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Du Rose was in charge of the investigation, and in his book, Murder was my Business, Du Rose states the prime suspect committed suicide before an arrest could happen.
We had done all we possibly could but faced with his death no positive evidence was available to prove or disprove our belief that he was in fact the man we had been seeking. Because he was never arrested or stood trial, he must be considered innocent and will therefore never be named. – John Du Rose
Writer David Seabrook later identified this suspect as Mungo Ireland. Ireland gassed himself with exhaust on March 3, 1965. He left a note behind:
“I can’t stick it any longer… PS. To save you and the police looking for me I’ll be in the garage.”
Opinions vary on whether or not this man was actually the killer, and the case remains unsolved.
What do you think? Is the suicide note enough? Could Du Rose have been reaching to cover a failed investigation?
Coming Soon: TIN GOD.
The official blurb for my second novel, TIN GOD (April 2013) is below!
Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.
I just murdered your wife…again.
An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide.
Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.
But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.