Serial Killer Enigmas

Getting Away With The Murder

Two of the UK’s most depraved killers were in the news recently: child killer Robert Black died in a Northern Ireland prison of natural causes aged 68, while Levi Bellfield has at last confessed to the murder of teenager Amanda Dowler.

The word monster is often applied to men like Black, but in his case that appellation is an understatement. He was convicted of the murders of four girls, the youngest of whom was the delightful Caroline Hogg. Her naked body was found on July 18, 1983, ten days after she disappeared from her home in an Edinburgh suburb.

Black’s dark side began to manifest even before his teens, but it was not until he was 17 that he picked up his first conviction, and it was a serious one: he lured away a seven year old girl, strangled her unconscious, and did something unspeakable. Incredibly, no meaningful action was taken against him. He went on to interfere with another young girl whose parents didn’t report him; it was only after he molested another seven year old that he was sent to a borstal for a year, which was hardly suitable. It is incredible that a system that will persecute political dissidents and drag harmless people into court for trifling perceived insults will in effect turn a blind eye to a budding and clearly dangerous sexual predator…welcome to the UK.

Robert Black

Robert Black (Image credits: PSNI)

Black’s final arrest was like something out of a cheap FBI drama. He earned his living as a van driver, which gave him the opportunity to select victims all over the place. On July 14, 1990, he was in rural Scotland where he snatched a 6 year old girl off the street. Fortunately he had grown careless, and a man who witnessed the abduction and memorised his number plate called the police. Black drove to a lay-by, sexually assaulted the girl, then doubled back through the village. As the police questioned their witness, he spotted the van and shouted “That’s him!”

One of the police officers jumped in front of the van, which swerved then stopped. When they opened the rear doors, one of the police had a shock, bound, gagged and stuffed inside a sleeping bag, yet miraculously still alive was his own daughter.

That was the end of Black’s mischief, and after three trials – for the abduction, three murders and then another murder – he was locked up for good. Theoretically he could have been paroled at some point, but in practice there was never any chance of that.

Black never admitted to any of his crimes, but it is believed he may have murdered another dozen girls, on the Continent as well as in the UK. Whether or not that is the case, the big question hanging over him was and will remain was he responsible for the murder of Genette Tate, who vanished while delivering newspapers at Aylesbeare in Devon on August 19, 1978 leaving her bicycle behind? Those with long memories will recall the massive publicity this case generated in an age that had never heard of social media. On Black’s death it was revealed that the police had been preparing a case against him, and that had he lived he would have stood trial for Genette’s murder. You will find lots of video footage of Black on YouTube.

No less sinister than Black but far more plausible is Levi Bellfield, or as he is now known Yusuf Rahim. Yeah, sure. In 2003, Bellfield murdered teenager Marsha McDonnell in South London. In August 2004, he murdered French national Amélie Delagrange. In between these two senseless murders he ran down schoolgirl Kate Sheedy in his car; she suffered multiple injuries. Bellfield was tried for these and other crimes; he was convicted only of the two murders and the attempted murder, and while he was behind bars, the police built a case against him for the murder of schoolgirl Amanda Dowler who vanished off the face of the Earth from Walton-on-Thames in March 2002, her skeletal remains being found in woodland six months later.

Levi Bellfield

Bellfield was convicted of her murder in June 2011, and has now confessed not only to her murder but to raping her. Why has he done this? One reason may be that for some of these crimes he had an accomplice and is covering for him. This was the case with the Railway Rapist, which was actually two men: John Duffy and David Mulcahy. Duffy was convicted of two murders and four rapes in 1988, but did not betray Mulcahy for a decade until he had problems sleeping.

How seriously are we to take Bellfield’s confession? The case against him was stronger than it appeared initially, so there can be no doubt about the soundness of his conviction, but did he really rape the girl? He made no attempt to rape either of his two previous murder victims, they were simply hit over the head and left to die. It is more likely that he is taking a perverse pleasure in inflicting more mental anguish on the Dowler family, but if he did have an accomplice, or even if he did not, there are other murders he may well have committed, including one when he was still a schoolboy, and of a woman on Hampstead Heath in 1990.

The crime to which certain individuals would most like to connect him however is the Chillenden Murders, for which Michael Stone has been convicted twice on evidence that would be laughable if it were not so tragic. Both the police and the CPS have refused to seriously address this possibility knowing full well that the case against Stone was made up out of the whole cloth, which is probably why some crucial physical evidence was lost a few years back. Those with an interest in these subjects may like to check out the dedicated Michael Stone website. Both of them. It is to be hoped otherwise but now it appears likely whatever claims are currently being made about Bellfield by certain newspapers that say they have had privileged access to his alleged confessions, he will take his sordid secrets to the grave. Including perhaps where he disposed of the weapon he used to murder Dr Lin Russell and her youngest daughter in 1996.

 

About the author

Alexander Baron