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20051213: New Bible John probe questions theory of a single serial killer London Serial Killer News
BIBLE John, the serial killer blamed for the murders of three Glasgow women in the 1960s, is a mythical figure whose "existence" has been fuelled by public imagination, a new documentary will claim this week.

Detectives leading a review of the murders believe too much emphasis has been placed on the theory of a single Bible-quoting killer and say each victim may have been murdered by a different man. The "cold case" review of the murders, however, has thrown up a new lead, the first since 1996 when police exhumed the body of John McInnes, a prime suspect, who was later cleared by DNA evidence.


Police appealed yesterday for a man known as "Castlemilk John" to come forward. The man, who has never been traced, was with "Bible John" on the night of the murder of Helen Puttock.

Both men met Mrs Puttock and her sister, Jean Langford, at the Barrowland dance hall in 1969, but the first man refused to accompany the other three home by taxi.

Mrs Puttock was later sexually assaulted and strangled; her body was found near her home by a man walking his dog.

The killer earned his nickname because, according to Ms Langford, he had recited verses from the Bible as they shared the taxi home.

The other man became known as "Castlemilk John" as he also said his name was John and came from the Castlemilk area of Glasgow. Police now believe he may have been a roof tiler from the south side of Glasgow and would now be in his mid-sixties.

The description at the time was of a man aged between 28-30, 6ft tall with short, dark frizzy hair and wearing a dark suit with white shirt and blue tie.

Detective Inspector Billy Little said yesterday: "The man was never traced and he could be the key to finding the killer of Helen Puttock. We now believe that he was a roof tiler who worked on the south side of the city. This is new information and we would ask him to come forward, or anyone else who may have information."

The murders of Patricia Docker, 25, Jemima McDonald, 32, and Mrs Puttock, 29, sparked one of the biggest criminal investigations in Scottish history.

The Bible John case is the subject of a new Unsolved documentary to be shown on Scottish Television on Thursday, which suggests that the initial inquiry was too narrowly focused on the description given by Ms Langford.

Mr Little said: "The fact that there were biblical quotations said at the time would appear to have been blown out of proportion. Obviously, the creation of Bible John lives long in people's memories. At the time the murders were investigated as three separate murders. That is the case at the moment. They are still being looked at as three separate incidents."

The documentary also features the first interview with Mrs Puttock's husband, George.

Yesterday, Mr Puttock, 64, who now lives in Wokingham, Berkshire, urged the man known as "Castlemilk John" to come forward.

"I can understand that at the time he may have been married and didn't want his wife to know that he had been dancing, but a long time has passed and I feel this is the last chance we have of finding out who killed Helen," Mr Puttock said.
 

20051023: Bible John police get new information on serial killer’s identity Glasgow Scotland Serial Killer News
Dramatic new information that may identify the notorious serial killer Bible John has been passed to a new specialist police unit set up to investigate unsolved murder cases.

The Sunday Herald has learned that a former police officer has given investigators the name and address of a man he believes could be the killer of three women in Glasgow in the late 1960s.

Retired detective chief inspector Les Brown was working in Strathclyde Police’s serious crime squad during that period. He claims to have picked up a man who matched the description of the killer after he was seen arguing with a woman he had just met in the Barrowland Ballroom.

However, the suspect – who gave the false name John White to the woman and the police – was released that night by the senior officer in the inquiry because his front teeth did not cross, a trait that had been mentioned to police by a friend of one of the victims.

The new information was last week passed to detective superintendent Kenny Watters, head of the recently formed unsolved case unit.

Brown said he arrested the man in late 1969, after the murders of Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock. Each had met their killer, who gave his name as John and who quoted passages from the Bible, in the city’s Barrowland Ballroom.

Brown said the man had at first given the name John White and a false address in St Andrew’s Street. But after police checks, he gave his real name and a Gorbals address, where he stayed with mother.

Brown said: “We called in the officer in charge of the case. He walked around him once and said, ‘That’s the nearest yet, but it’s not him.’ We were told to let him go. What could we do? We had told the officer in charge and the next day we were hauled away to another murder.

“After we arrested him, the murders stopped. That might or might not be significant. In hindsight, maybe we should not have let him go.”

Brown revealed that years later he talked to a detective who took a man to hospital after arresting him outside the ballroom at the time of the murders. Although the suspect needed stitches in his head, as soon as his handcuffs were taken off, he escaped out the back door of the hospital. He had given his details as John White, 28 St Andrew’s Street.

“It wasn’t just that he matched the description, or gave a false name. It was his whole demeanour,” said Brown. “This was a guy who was just about to take a girl home to wherever and he’s been interrupted in the process. You’d think he’d be annoyed, but he never batted an eye.

“A result in the Bible John case would be a great result.”

At the time of the murders, in 1968 and 1969, the killer was said to be in his 20s or 30s, with red hair. That would now make him in his 50s or 60s .

Brown is set to have his claims on the case screened in a forthcoming Scottish Television documentary, Unsolved: Getting Away With Murder, fronted by Taggart actor Alex Norton.

A book on Brown’s career, Glasgow Crimefighter, is due out next week.

The killer first struck on February 22, 1968, after picking up Patricia Docker in the Glasgow Barrowland. She was found strangled the next morning.

On August 17, 1969, Jemima McDonald, 32, was found in a derelict building, strangled with her stockings. She, too, had been at the Barrowland Ballroom.

Two months later, Helen Puttock, 29, and a friend met two men, both named John, at the Barrowland. Puttock’s body was found the day after she met the man. Her murder would provide the killer’s nickname. Puttock’s friend described the man as polite and well-dressed.

Although the murders have remained unsolved, the case returned to the public eye in 1996, when police exhumed the body of a former soldier, John McInnes, buried in a graveyard in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, for DNA tests. Last year, a number of suspects gave DNA samples to police.

It is hoped that the unsolved case unit can use new technology to solve around 35 murders.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman confirmed that information on the Bible John killings had been passed on to the unit.

She added: “Information provided in relation to any of the unsolved murders will be followed up.”

 

20051004: Waking the Dead Glasgow Serial Killer News
Crack team will use 21st century technology to solve 35 killings

A TEAM of detectives are to probe some of Scotland's most notorious unsolved murders.

Around 35 killings - including the Bible John slayings - will be investigated again.

Other cases to be revisited include the murders of schoolgirl Caroline Glachan, prostitute Tracey Wylde and businessman Alexander Blue.

Evidence collected at the time of the murders, along with witness statements and alibi testimony, will be rechecked.

Advances in DNA technology mean that today, the chances of linking a killer to a crime scene are much greater than years ago.

Strathclyde Police will initially examine unsolved cases dating back to 1975 - the year the force was created.

dBut they plan to take in some cases from before then, including the Bible John murders.

Detective Superintendent Kenny Watters has been chosen to oversee which cases are selected to be reopened by the Unresolved Case Unit.

Last night, he told the Record: "We will examine the cases where no one has been detected or where someone has been reported to the Crown Office but for whatever reason, a decision has been taken not to proceed.

"Some of the cases will predate 1975 and ones such as those which fall under the Bible John banner will be included."

Det. Supt. Watters said a number of criteria will have to be met before any case was reopened.

He said: "We will be sending out questionnaires to each Strathclyde Police division asking them to see if they have any outstanding inquiries which would fall into this category.

"We would want to know what the condition of the exhibits are?

"This means evidence collected at the scene - is it available and is it still useable?

"Are the main witnesses in the case still alive? Are they still in the country? This would apply to expert witnesses, forensic scientists and pathologists too."

He added: "We would also ask, whether scientific advances could help in the case and are there any new investigative opportunities.

"For example, alibi witnesses who said they were with someone at the time of a crime may have had a change of heart or they may have had a fall-out with that person and may want to change their story.

"All these factors will decide if we would take the case on or not."

Once the divisions have returned their questionnaires, they will be scrutinised by two of Strathclyde's most-senior detectives

Contemporary And only then, if they think there is potential to solve the case, will it be reopened.

Det. Supt Watters added: "If this is decided then a senior investigating officer will be appointed, just as they would be in a contemporary murder.

"However, if there is not enough to reopen the case then, we have the option to keep it on hold and review it on a two-yearly basis.

"But we may decide that there is no new opportunity to look at a case again.

"The evidence may not be up to standard or the forensic opportunities may not be good enough."

Det Supt. Watters said that although decades may have passed since a killing, time often stands still for the victim's family.

He said: "When you speak to relatives, you realise that to them these incidents are very real.

"People are watching how old cases are being solved all the time using DNA and understandably they want their own cases solved.

"Sometimes though, you just have to be honest with them and say: 'I'm sorry, we cannot do it."' It is not just murders which could be re-opened.

Det Supt. Watters said: "We will also look at suspicious missing persons cases."

WOMEN WERE HIS PREY

BIBLE John was blamed for the murders of three women in Glasgow in the late 60s.

The serial killer strangled his victims after picking them up at the famous Barrowland Ballroom in the east end.

The suspect got his nickname after quoting the Bible to the sister of third victim Helen Puttock, left.

The well-spoken, sandy-haired man had introduced himself simply as "John".

Helen's body was found the next morning, October 3, 1969, less than 100 yards from her home in Scotstoun.

She had been strangled with her stockings,partially stripped,and her sanitary towel had been tucked under her left arm.

The year before, Patricia Docker became John's first victim on February 23.

The25-year-old nurse's naked body was found in a lane near her home in the south side of the city. Patricia had been strangled with her stockings.

Jemima McDonald, 32, was the next to be murdered on August 16, 1969.

The mum-of-three had been raped and strangled in a derelict building just yards from her home.

>> The body of John McInnes, who committed suicide in 1980, was exhumed from a cemetery in Lanarkshire in February 1996 to test DNA samples taken from the bodies of Bible John's victims. However, the tests were inconclusive.

REAL LOCKED-DOOR MYSTERY OF CALL GIRL'S MURDERER

CALL girl Tracey Wylde was the sixth prostitute to be murdered in six years when she was killed on November 25, 1997. But detectives immediately ruled out any link between the deaths.

Tracey, 21, who had a three-year-old daughter, was found dead at her home in Barmulloch, Glasgow .

She had last been seen taking a well-dressed man into her flat.

News of her death sparked fear among prostitutes working in the city's Anderston area.

Police later revealed the killer locked Tracey's front door behind him and disappeared with the keys.

Detectives hoped to nail the murderer with a public appeal to find the bunch of keys, which carried two mortice and three Yale types.

They revealed the keys were attached to two rings, one bearing a Forever Friends logo and the other featuring Tracey's name with phrases after each individual letter .

Detectives made their appeal afterinterviewing 3000 people in an inquiry which cost more than £1million.

More than 2500 clients of prostitutes were quizzed, including men from as far afield as Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Police have refused to reveal the cause of death.

But it is understood she suffered multiple bruising and could have died through strangulation or suffocation.

LEFT TO DIE IN A POOL OF BLOOD, YARDS FROM HOME

TAXI tycoon Alex Blue was savagely beaten yards from home and left to die in a pool of blood in June, 2002.

Despite a £25,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of his killer, the culprit has never been found.

Alex was employed as a salesman at the Taxi Centre in Hyndland, Glasgow - but it was widely known he owned 77 per cent of the firm.

The 41-year-old was not allowed to be a director ashe had been declared bankrupt.

It later emerged £26,000 was paid for a 50 per cent stake in his cab firm - despite the company having a massive £7million turnover .

Alex's brother Billy, 47, reckons the transaction suggested "a real motive" for his murder .

He said: "His business turned over more than £7million yet this suggests it was worth just £52,000. "There is a definite possibility he was killed so someone could get their hands on the company."

Alex was last seen near his home in Glasgow's west end, on June 24, 2002, the evening before he was found.

A man was reportedly spotted in his driveway that night.

Some believe Alex was murdered after a deal to buy ahouse in the area went wrong. Police were told that Alex was planning to meet an unknown contact to discuss the sale on the night he was killed.

Other reports suggested Alex fell out with a gangster over a business deal which collapsed It was also claimed he was involved in a £300,000 plan to import cars from eastern Europe to use as taxis.

Alex's movements between last being sighted and being found critically injured are a mystery. He died two days later in hospital.

PSYCHIC'S NOTES COULD HOLD KEY TO GIRL'S KILLER

SCHOOLGIRL Caroline Glachan was found dead on a riverbank on August 26, 1996.

The 14-year-old was murdered as she went to meet her boyfriend. Her battered body was found next to the River Leven at Renton, Dunbartonshire, a couple of miles from her Bonhill home.

Mum Margaret, 49, is still struggling to come to terms with her daughter's death and is unable to rest until she learns who took Caroline's life and why .

She said: "Every day it becomes more difficult to remain positive, but I have to force myself. It's whatkeeps me going. "I can't imagine why anyone would have taken Caroline. She was just 14. How could she have been a threat to anyone?" She added: "People say time heals, but it hasn't. For me, it's got harder . I need to know who and why ."

Despite appeals for information, the police received a disappointing response.

But Detective Chief Inspector Jeanette Joyce vowed they would "not rest until the killer is caught".

A hooded man, described as short, around 25 years old and wearing a green hooded jacket, was seen following Caroline before her death. Caroline, a fourth-year pupil at Our Lady and St Patrick's High School in Dumbarton, was last seen alive at just before midnight at the Ladyton shopping centre in Bonhill.

Her body was discovered by the River Leven the following afternoon.

In October , 2003, it emerged that detectives probing the murder were investigating fresh leads passed on by psychic Derek Ogilvie.

Police took away notes he made during a visit to the scene of the tragedy in September 2003.

It is understood Mr Ogilvie passed on information of a "specialist" nature, which could only be known by the killer and senior investigating officers.

MUM BATTERED TO DEATH AS SHE WALKED HOME

MUM-OF-ONE Shona Stevens was battered to death in broad daylight as she walked home through Irvine, Ayrshire, on November 10, 1994.

She suffered appalling head injuries and was dragged into undergrowth and left to die.

Last November , her grieving mum Mhairi Smith, 74, made a fresh plea to find her daughter's killer.

She said: "I just want to see justice done. It will not bring Shona back but I have never , ever given up hope"I cannot explain what it would mean, or how I would feel if the person was caught, but I just want the individual brought to justice for what they did.

"The person who did this to my daughter could do it again and leave another family suffering like we are."

At the time of her murder , Shona had a seven-year-old daughter , Candice, whom she doted on.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Lauder was in charge of the investigation at the time of the attack.

He has always been convincedthat the killer was a male who was local to the Irvine area. However , a criminal profiler brought in to help the murder team was unable to provide them with any significant leads Mr Lauder declined to give any details about the nature of Shona's injuries or whether a weapon was used in the murder."

But he remained convinced the killer must have let some information slip, or confided to a relative or friend about their awful secret.

Speaking last November , he explained: "It would be a very strange individual who, over all this period, had not told someone something about what he had done."

 

20041219: DNA BREAKTHROUGH: POLICE TRACE FAMILY OF BIBLE JOHN SERIAL KILLER Glasgow Serial Killer News
The hunt for serial killer Bible John has been narrowed down to one Scots family, the Sunday Mail can reveal...The breakthrough in the search for the 60s killer who preyed on women in Glasgow's Barrowland ballroom came through a crime in the city within the past two years...The crime is said to have been a minor one - but DNA taken from the scene was found to be an 80 per cent match for that found on one of the three victims of Bible John...And experts say that means the criminal involved is almost certainly related to the killer...Bible John got his nickname after three killings of women who had been out at Barrowland in the late 1960s were linked...A friend of the third victim, Helen Puttock, recalled her friend leaving with a man who fitted the description of previous suspects and who quoted passages of Scripture...It was DNA found on Helen's tights which was linked to the new evidence...Detectives in Partick, Glasgow, sent the new sample to a national database where the link to Helen's murder was found...They are now re-investigating the two year-old case, described as a 'relatively minor' offence, since it could hold the key to the identity of one of Scotland's most infamous murderers...The police officers leading the hunt for the killer would not comment on the Sunday Mail's new information yesterday...Last week, we revealed the Bible John case had been re-opened and a number of men originally suspected of the crime had been asked to give DNA samples...One 58-year-old father-of-three, a relative of a British rock star, admitted giving a sample but denied he was Bible John...Sources close to the probe say officers, working with criminal profilers, have targeted a 'small number' of men who were suspects in the original inquiry...Detective Chief Inspector David Swindle, in charge of the hunt, would only say: 'We are continually involved in reviewing and detecting cases and following up lines of inquiry.'..Sources close to the investigation say police could start exhuming bodies once they establish a family link...Every male connection to the family tree, alive or dead, will be tested...DCI Swindle said no bodies had yet been exhumed, except for that of former soldier John McInnes, whose remains were dug up in 1996...The exhumation from a cemetery in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, proved inconclusive...Scientists have already grown a full genetic fingerprint of Bible John from a tiny sample found on Helen Puttock...Now sources close to the investigation say there is an active line of inquiry being followed up...Another officer involved in the hunt for the killer, Detective Inspector Billy Little, refused to be drawn on the new lead...He would only confirm that 'a number' of men had been DNA tested as part of the ongoing inquiry...But one source said: 'The DNA (from the recent offence) is enough of a match to lead officers to believe the person who committed that offence is related to the killer...'They are now re-investigating that offence with a view to narrowing down the hunt to a single family tree...'That could involve brothers, fathers, grand-fathers and great-grandfathers...'At some point, they may have to apply for at least one exhumation but they are reluctant to do it too quickly after what happened the last time.'..It is understood there will be no exhumations until every living person who could be linked to the inquiry has been ruled out...We revealed last week how police had reopened their inquiry into the 60s killer after scientists 'grew' the killer's genetic fingerprint from material found on the tights of third victim Helen Puttock, murdered in 1969...A small number of men - fewer than 10 - have been DNA tested. The men were suspects in the original inquiry...One of the UK's leading experts in forensic DNA testing, Dr Mark Jobling of Leicester University, said the 80 per cent match could point to a family member but it all depends on the quality of the samples...He added: 'If the sample for the killer is old, it could be some of the material has degraded to such an extent that it cannot be matched...'If it was an 80 per cent match, then I would say that yes there would be every likelihood that there could be a family connection.'..Although hundreds of suspects were interviewed by police at the time of the deaths in 1968 and 1969, only a few men are thought to have been asked to give DNA tests...Bible John is believed to have stalked Glasgow's dance halls 35 years ago...The first victim, Pat Docker, 25, died in February 1968, followed by Jemima McDonald, 32, 18 months later, and Helen Puttock, 29, 10 weeks after that...It is one of Britain's most baffling murder mysteries but police in Glasgow have never given up in the hunt...The case returned to the public eye in 1996, when police exhumed the body of McInnes, buried in a graveyard in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire...But the tests failed to prove any link conclusively. The men now being targeted by police are in their 50s or 60s...At the time, witnesses described the victims leaving Barrowland with a tall, charming man with red hair in his 20s or 30s...
 

20051213: New Bible John probe questions theory of a single serial killer London Serial Killer News
BIBLE John, the serial killer blamed for the murders of three Glasgow women in the 1960s, is a mythical figure whose "existence" has been fuelled by public imagination, a new documentary will claim this week.

Detectives leading a review of the murders believe too much emphasis has been placed on the theory of a single Bible-quoting killer and say each victim may have been murdered by a different man. The "cold case" review of the murders, however, has thrown up a new lead, the first since 1996 when police exhumed the body of John McInnes, a prime suspect, who was later cleared by DNA evidence.


Police appealed yesterday for a man known as "Castlemilk John" to come forward. The man, who has never been traced, was with "Bible John" on the night of the murder of Helen Puttock.

Both men met Mrs Puttock and her sister, Jean Langford, at the Barrowland dance hall in 1969, but the first man refused to accompany the other three home by taxi.

Mrs Puttock was later sexually assaulted and strangled; her body was found near her home by a man walking his dog.

The killer earned his nickname because, according to Ms Langford, he had recited verses from the Bible as they shared the taxi home.

The other man became known as "Castlemilk John" as he also said his name was John and came from the Castlemilk area of Glasgow. Police now believe he may have been a roof tiler from the south side of Glasgow and would now be in his mid-sixties.

The description at the time was of a man aged between 28-30, 6ft tall with short, dark frizzy hair and wearing a dark suit with white shirt and blue tie.

Detective Inspector Billy Little said yesterday: "The man was never traced and he could be the key to finding the killer of Helen Puttock. We now believe that he was a roof tiler who worked on the south side of the city. This is new information and we would ask him to come forward, or anyone else who may have information."

The murders of Patricia Docker, 25, Jemima McDonald, 32, and Mrs Puttock, 29, sparked one of the biggest criminal investigations in Scottish history.

The Bible John case is the subject of a new Unsolved documentary to be shown on Scottish Television on Thursday, which suggests that the initial inquiry was too narrowly focused on the description given by Ms Langford.

Mr Little said: "The fact that there were biblical quotations said at the time would appear to have been blown out of proportion. Obviously, the creation of Bible John lives long in people's memories. At the time the murders were investigated as three separate murders. That is the case at the moment. They are still being looked at as three separate incidents."

The documentary also features the first interview with Mrs Puttock's husband, George.

Yesterday, Mr Puttock, 64, who now lives in Wokingham, Berkshire, urged the man known as "Castlemilk John" to come forward.

"I can understand that at the time he may have been married and didn't want his wife to know that he had been dancing, but a long time has passed and I feel this is the last chance we have of finding out who killed Helen," Mr Puttock said.
 

20051023: Bible John police get new information on serial killer’s identity Glasgow Scotland Serial Killer News
Dramatic new information that may identify the notorious serial killer Bible John has been passed to a new specialist police unit set up to investigate unsolved murder cases.

The Sunday Herald has learned that a former police officer has given investigators the name and address of a man he believes could be the killer of three women in Glasgow in the late 1960s.

Retired detective chief inspector Les Brown was working in Strathclyde Police’s serious crime squad during that period. He claims to have picked up a man who matched the description of the killer after he was seen arguing with a woman he had just met in the Barrowland Ballroom.

However, the suspect – who gave the false name John White to the woman and the police – was released that night by the senior officer in the inquiry because his front teeth did not cross, a trait that had been mentioned to police by a friend of one of the victims.

The new information was last week passed to detective superintendent Kenny Watters, head of the recently formed unsolved case unit.

Brown said he arrested the man in late 1969, after the murders of Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock. Each had met their killer, who gave his name as John and who quoted passages from the Bible, in the city’s Barrowland Ballroom.

Brown said the man had at first given the name John White and a false address in St Andrew’s Street. But after police checks, he gave his real name and a Gorbals address, where he stayed with mother.

Brown said: “We called in the officer in charge of the case. He walked around him once and said, ‘That’s the nearest yet, but it’s not him.’ We were told to let him go. What could we do? We had told the officer in charge and the next day we were hauled away to another murder.

“After we arrested him, the murders stopped. That might or might not be significant. In hindsight, maybe we should not have let him go.”

Brown revealed that years later he talked to a detective who took a man to hospital after arresting him outside the ballroom at the time of the murders. Although the suspect needed stitches in his head, as soon as his handcuffs were taken off, he escaped out the back door of the hospital. He had given his details as John White, 28 St Andrew’s Street.

“It wasn’t just that he matched the description, or gave a false name. It was his whole demeanour,” said Brown. “This was a guy who was just about to take a girl home to wherever and he’s been interrupted in the process. You’d think he’d be annoyed, but he never batted an eye.

“A result in the Bible John case would be a great result.”

At the time of the murders, in 1968 and 1969, the killer was said to be in his 20s or 30s, with red hair. That would now make him in his 50s or 60s .

Brown is set to have his claims on the case screened in a forthcoming Scottish Television documentary, Unsolved: Getting Away With Murder, fronted by Taggart actor Alex Norton.

A book on Brown’s career, Glasgow Crimefighter, is due out next week.

The killer first struck on February 22, 1968, after picking up Patricia Docker in the Glasgow Barrowland. She was found strangled the next morning.

On August 17, 1969, Jemima McDonald, 32, was found in a derelict building, strangled with her stockings. She, too, had been at the Barrowland Ballroom.

Two months later, Helen Puttock, 29, and a friend met two men, both named John, at the Barrowland. Puttock’s body was found the day after she met the man. Her murder would provide the killer’s nickname. Puttock’s friend described the man as polite and well-dressed.

Although the murders have remained unsolved, the case returned to the public eye in 1996, when police exhumed the body of a former soldier, John McInnes, buried in a graveyard in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, for DNA tests. Last year, a number of suspects gave DNA samples to police.

It is hoped that the unsolved case unit can use new technology to solve around 35 murders.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman confirmed that information on the Bible John killings had been passed on to the unit.

She added: “Information provided in relation to any of the unsolved murders will be followed up.”

 

20051004: Waking the Dead Glasgow Serial Killer News
Crack team will use 21st century technology to solve 35 killings

A TEAM of detectives are to probe some of Scotland's most notorious unsolved murders.

Around 35 killings - including the Bible John slayings - will be investigated again.

Other cases to be revisited include the murders of schoolgirl Caroline Glachan, prostitute Tracey Wylde and businessman Alexander Blue.

Evidence collected at the time of the murders, along with witness statements and alibi testimony, will be rechecked.

Advances in DNA technology mean that today, the chances of linking a killer to a crime scene are much greater than years ago.

Strathclyde Police will initially examine unsolved cases dating back to 1975 - the year the force was created.

dBut they plan to take in some cases from before then, including the Bible John murders.

Detective Superintendent Kenny Watters has been chosen to oversee which cases are selected to be reopened by the Unresolved Case Unit.

Last night, he told the Record: "We will examine the cases where no one has been detected or where someone has been reported to the Crown Office but for whatever reason, a decision has been taken not to proceed.

"Some of the cases will predate 1975 and ones such as those which fall under the Bible John banner will be included."

Det. Supt. Watters said a number of criteria will have to be met before any case was reopened.

He said: "We will be sending out questionnaires to each Strathclyde Police division asking them to see if they have any outstanding inquiries which would fall into this category.

"We would want to know what the condition of the exhibits are?

"This means evidence collected at the scene - is it available and is it still useable?

"Are the main witnesses in the case still alive? Are they still in the country? This would apply to expert witnesses, forensic scientists and pathologists too."

He added: "We would also ask, whether scientific advances could help in the case and are there any new investigative opportunities.

"For example, alibi witnesses who said they were with someone at the time of a crime may have had a change of heart or they may have had a fall-out with that person and may want to change their story.

"All these factors will decide if we would take the case on or not."

Once the divisions have returned their questionnaires, they will be scrutinised by two of Strathclyde's most-senior detectives

Contemporary And only then, if they think there is potential to solve the case, will it be reopened.

Det. Supt Watters added: "If this is decided then a senior investigating officer will be appointed, just as they would be in a contemporary murder.

"However, if there is not enough to reopen the case then, we have the option to keep it on hold and review it on a two-yearly basis.

"But we may decide that there is no new opportunity to look at a case again.

"The evidence may not be up to standard or the forensic opportunities may not be good enough."

Det Supt. Watters said that although decades may have passed since a killing, time often stands still for the victim's family.

He said: "When you speak to relatives, you realise that to them these incidents are very real.

"People are watching how old cases are being solved all the time using DNA and understandably they want their own cases solved.

"Sometimes though, you just have to be honest with them and say: 'I'm sorry, we cannot do it."' It is not just murders which could be re-opened.

Det Supt. Watters said: "We will also look at suspicious missing persons cases."

WOMEN WERE HIS PREY

BIBLE John was blamed for the murders of three women in Glasgow in the late 60s.

The serial killer strangled his victims after picking them up at the famous Barrowland Ballroom in the east end.

The suspect got his nickname after quoting the Bible to the sister of third victim Helen Puttock, left.

The well-spoken, sandy-haired man had introduced himself simply as "John".

Helen's body was found the next morning, October 3, 1969, less than 100 yards from her home in Scotstoun.

She had been strangled with her stockings,partially stripped,and her sanitary towel had been tucked under her left arm.

The year before, Patricia Docker became John's first victim on February 23.

The25-year-old nurse's naked body was found in a lane near her home in the south side of the city. Patricia had been strangled with her stockings.

Jemima McDonald, 32, was the next to be murdered on August 16, 1969.

The mum-of-three had been raped and strangled in a derelict building just yards from her home.

>> The body of John McInnes, who committed suicide in 1980, was exhumed from a cemetery in Lanarkshire in February 1996 to test DNA samples taken from the bodies of Bible John's victims. However, the tests were inconclusive.

REAL LOCKED-DOOR MYSTERY OF CALL GIRL'S MURDERER

CALL girl Tracey Wylde was the sixth prostitute to be murdered in six years when she was killed on November 25, 1997. But detectives immediately ruled out any link between the deaths.

Tracey, 21, who had a three-year-old daughter, was found dead at her home in Barmulloch, Glasgow .

She had last been seen taking a well-dressed man into her flat.

News of her death sparked fear among prostitutes working in the city's Anderston area.

Police later revealed the killer locked Tracey's front door behind him and disappeared with the keys.

Detectives hoped to nail the murderer with a public appeal to find the bunch of keys, which carried two mortice and three Yale types.

They revealed the keys were attached to two rings, one bearing a Forever Friends logo and the other featuring Tracey's name with phrases after each individual letter .

Detectives made their appeal afterinterviewing 3000 people in an inquiry which cost more than £1million.

More than 2500 clients of prostitutes were quizzed, including men from as far afield as Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Police have refused to reveal the cause of death.

But it is understood she suffered multiple bruising and could have died through strangulation or suffocation.

LEFT TO DIE IN A POOL OF BLOOD, YARDS FROM HOME

TAXI tycoon Alex Blue was savagely beaten yards from home and left to die in a pool of blood in June, 2002.

Despite a £25,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of his killer, the culprit has never been found.

Alex was employed as a salesman at the Taxi Centre in Hyndland, Glasgow - but it was widely known he owned 77 per cent of the firm.

The 41-year-old was not allowed to be a director ashe had been declared bankrupt.

It later emerged £26,000 was paid for a 50 per cent stake in his cab firm - despite the company having a massive £7million turnover .

Alex's brother Billy, 47, reckons the transaction suggested "a real motive" for his murder .

He said: "His business turned over more than £7million yet this suggests it was worth just £52,000. "There is a definite possibility he was killed so someone could get their hands on the company."

Alex was last seen near his home in Glasgow's west end, on June 24, 2002, the evening before he was found.

A man was reportedly spotted in his driveway that night.

Some believe Alex was murdered after a deal to buy ahouse in the area went wrong. Police were told that Alex was planning to meet an unknown contact to discuss the sale on the night he was killed.

Other reports suggested Alex fell out with a gangster over a business deal which collapsed It was also claimed he was involved in a £300,000 plan to import cars from eastern Europe to use as taxis.

Alex's movements between last being sighted and being found critically injured are a mystery. He died two days later in hospital.

PSYCHIC'S NOTES COULD HOLD KEY TO GIRL'S KILLER

SCHOOLGIRL Caroline Glachan was found dead on a riverbank on August 26, 1996.

The 14-year-old was murdered as she went to meet her boyfriend. Her battered body was found next to the River Leven at Renton, Dunbartonshire, a couple of miles from her Bonhill home.

Mum Margaret, 49, is still struggling to come to terms with her daughter's death and is unable to rest until she learns who took Caroline's life and why .

She said: "Every day it becomes more difficult to remain positive, but I have to force myself. It's whatkeeps me going. "I can't imagine why anyone would have taken Caroline. She was just 14. How could she have been a threat to anyone?" She added: "People say time heals, but it hasn't. For me, it's got harder . I need to know who and why ."

Despite appeals for information, the police received a disappointing response.

But Detective Chief Inspector Jeanette Joyce vowed they would "not rest until the killer is caught".

A hooded man, described as short, around 25 years old and wearing a green hooded jacket, was seen following Caroline before her death. Caroline, a fourth-year pupil at Our Lady and St Patrick's High School in Dumbarton, was last seen alive at just before midnight at the Ladyton shopping centre in Bonhill.

Her body was discovered by the River Leven the following afternoon.

In October , 2003, it emerged that detectives probing the murder were investigating fresh leads passed on by psychic Derek Ogilvie.

Police took away notes he made during a visit to the scene of the tragedy in September 2003.

It is understood Mr Ogilvie passed on information of a "specialist" nature, which could only be known by the killer and senior investigating officers.

MUM BATTERED TO DEATH AS SHE WALKED HOME

MUM-OF-ONE Shona Stevens was battered to death in broad daylight as she walked home through Irvine, Ayrshire, on November 10, 1994.

She suffered appalling head injuries and was dragged into undergrowth and left to die.

Last November , her grieving mum Mhairi Smith, 74, made a fresh plea to find her daughter's killer.

She said: "I just want to see justice done. It will not bring Shona back but I have never , ever given up hope"I cannot explain what it would mean, or how I would feel if the person was caught, but I just want the individual brought to justice for what they did.

"The person who did this to my daughter could do it again and leave another family suffering like we are."

At the time of her murder , Shona had a seven-year-old daughter , Candice, whom she doted on.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Lauder was in charge of the investigation at the time of the attack.

He has always been convincedthat the killer was a male who was local to the Irvine area. However , a criminal profiler brought in to help the murder team was unable to provide them with any significant leads Mr Lauder declined to give any details about the nature of Shona's injuries or whether a weapon was used in the murder."

But he remained convinced the killer must have let some information slip, or confided to a relative or friend about their awful secret.

Speaking last November , he explained: "It would be a very strange individual who, over all this period, had not told someone something about what he had done."

 

20041219: DNA BREAKTHROUGH: POLICE TRACE FAMILY OF BIBLE JOHN SERIAL KILLER Glasgow Serial Killer News
The hunt for serial killer Bible John has been narrowed down to one Scots family, the Sunday Mail can reveal...The breakthrough in the search for the 60s killer who preyed on women in Glasgow's Barrowland ballroom came through a crime in the city within the past two years...The crime is said to have been a minor one - but DNA taken from the scene was found to be an 80 per cent match for that found on one of the three victims of Bible John...And experts say that means the criminal involved is almost certainly related to the killer...Bible John got his nickname after three killings of women who had been out at Barrowland in the late 1960s were linked...A friend of the third victim, Helen Puttock, recalled her friend leaving with a man who fitted the description of previous suspects and who quoted passages of Scripture...It was DNA found on Helen's tights which was linked to the new evidence...Detectives in Partick, Glasgow, sent the new sample to a national database where the link to Helen's murder was found...They are now re-investigating the two year-old case, described as a 'relatively minor' offence, since it could hold the key to the identity of one of Scotland's most infamous murderers...The police officers leading the hunt for the killer would not comment on the Sunday Mail's new information yesterday...Last week, we revealed the Bible John case had been re-opened and a number of men originally suspected of the crime had been asked to give DNA samples...One 58-year-old father-of-three, a relative of a British rock star, admitted giving a sample but denied he was Bible John...Sources close to the probe say officers, working with criminal profilers, have targeted a 'small number' of men who were suspects in the original inquiry...Detective Chief Inspector David Swindle, in charge of the hunt, would only say: 'We are continually involved in reviewing and detecting cases and following up lines of inquiry.'..Sources close to the investigation say police could start exhuming bodies once they establish a family link...Every male connection to the family tree, alive or dead, will be tested...DCI Swindle said no bodies had yet been exhumed, except for that of former soldier John McInnes, whose remains were dug up in 1996...The exhumation from a cemetery in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, proved inconclusive...Scientists have already grown a full genetic fingerprint of Bible John from a tiny sample found on Helen Puttock...Now sources close to the investigation say there is an active line of inquiry being followed up...Another officer involved in the hunt for the killer, Detective Inspector Billy Little, refused to be drawn on the new lead...He would only confirm that 'a number' of men had been DNA tested as part of the ongoing inquiry...But one source said: 'The DNA (from the recent offence) is enough of a match to lead officers to believe the person who committed that offence is related to the killer...'They are now re-investigating that offence with a view to narrowing down the hunt to a single family tree...'That could involve brothers, fathers, grand-fathers and great-grandfathers...'At some point, they may have to apply for at least one exhumation but they are reluctant to do it too quickly after what happened the last time.'..It is understood there will be no exhumations until every living person who could be linked to the inquiry has been ruled out...We revealed last week how police had reopened their inquiry into the 60s killer after scientists 'grew' the killer's genetic fingerprint from material found on the tights of third victim Helen Puttock, murdered in 1969...A small number of men - fewer than 10 - have been DNA tested. The men were suspects in the original inquiry...One of the UK's leading experts in forensic DNA testing, Dr Mark Jobling of Leicester University, said the 80 per cent match could point to a family member but it all depends on the quality of the samples...He added: 'If the sample for the killer is old, it could be some of the material has degraded to such an extent that it cannot be matched...'If it was an 80 per cent match, then I would say that yes there would be every likelihood that there could be a family connection.'..Although hundreds of suspects were interviewed by police at the time of the deaths in 1968 and 1969, only a few men are thought to have been asked to give DNA tests...Bible John is believed to have stalked Glasgow's dance halls 35 years ago...The first victim, Pat Docker, 25, died in February 1968, followed by Jemima McDonald, 32, 18 months later, and Helen Puttock, 29, 10 weeks after that...It is one of Britain's most baffling murder mysteries but police in Glasgow have never given up in the hunt...The case returned to the public eye in 1996, when police exhumed the body of McInnes, buried in a graveyard in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire...But the tests failed to prove any link conclusively. The men now being targeted by police are in their 50s or 60s...At the time, witnesses described the victims leaving Barrowland with a tall, charming man with red hair in his 20s or 30s...
 


Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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