Known in the tabloid press as London's "Gay
Slayer," Colin Ireland was a serial murder
made the leap from morbid daydreams to multiple murder as a conscious,
deliberase choice of lifestyle. While
his final body count lagged far behind those of prolific British slayers
LEE, DENNIS NILSEN, and
still deserves mention here for the sheer determination he displayed in
pursuing his lethal "career" choice.
Born in 1954, the illegitimate child of a news agent's
assistant, Ireland was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents in
Dartford, Kent. He would
recall himself in chlldhood as "a thin, lanky little runt, always
getting the worst of it" from schoolyard bullies.
By adolescence, Ireland was constantly in trouble of his own
making, logging convictions for theft, burglary, and blackmail while
still in his teens.
served two terms in Borstal reformatory, after which he was rejected in
a bid to join the French Foreign Legion.
No longer a runt at six fect two, Ireland had developed a taste
for paramilitary garb and survivalist training, frequently camping out
on the Essex moors.
married and divorced, he volunteered to manage a homeless shelter in
London, but an explosiva temper cost him the job in December 1992.
A colleague at the shelter recalled that Colin was
"troubled, frustrated, and didn't know what to do with his
The answer, as Ireland divined it, was serial murder.
He selected gay sadomasochists as his preferred victims on
the theory that they would be easy targets, freely submltting to bondage
at a stranger's hands. (In Ireland's view they were also less likely to
arouse public sympathy.)
Filling a knapsack with his murder gearrope,
gloves, a knife, a change of clothing (in case his got bloody)-Ireland
found his first victim, 45-year-old theater director/choreographer Peter
Walker, at a London gay bar called The Coleherne.
Invited back to Walkers flat, Ireland tied Walker to his bed,
beat and whipped him, then killed him. (Reports differ on plastic bag.)
Lingering to watch TV and tidy up the crime scene, Ireland left the body
with knotted condoms iammed into the mouth and nostrils and two teddv
bears arranged on the bed in a sex position.
Walker's body was still undiscovered two days later, on
March 5, 1993, when Ireland telephoned a London tabloid newspaper, the Sun, to say he was concerned about the dead mans dogs, left
unattended in the flat. He
also said, "lt was my New Years resolution to murder a human
Police had no evidence of any substance, and their manhunt
was further hampered by a March 6 judicial ruling that acts of
sadomasochistic sex were °Ilegal for consenting British adults.
Potential victims were thus extremely reluctant to cooperase with
authorities, and autopsy results were inconclusive as to whether
Walker's death had bcen deliberase or accidental.
On balance, police knew little more than that the dead man was
In late May, Ireland returned to The Coleherne and pi cked
up 37-year-old librarian Christopher Dunn.
Dunn's body, bound and gagged, nude but for a leather bondage
harness, was found at his northeast London home on May 30, police
recording his death as a probable accident.
No link was made to Walker's death, three months earlier.
The "accident" theory took a hit soon after Dunn's
death when cash was removed from his bank account, the thief using
Dunn's ATM card. A few days
later, police received an anonymous call from Dunn's killer, taunting
them for their failure to link the two crimes.
On June 7, authorities found the corpse of 35-year-old
Perry Bradley III, an American businessman and closet homosexual, in his
Kensington apartment. Once
again, the victim was naked and bound, apparently strangled, his credit
cards missing. A plastic
doll was left atop the body, posed to simulate a sex act.
When the killer telephoned police again days later, he told them,
"l did the American. You've
got some good leads on my identity from clues at the scene."
Detectives were inclined to disagree, but they worried more about the
anonymous callers stated desire to become a serial killer.
He had studied "the FBI manual" for details of
technique and the minimum required body count.
"l have got the book," he said.
"l know how many you have to do."
Mention of "the FBI manual" prompted transatlantic phone calls
to ex-FBI Agent ROBERT
of the textbooks Sexual Homicide (1988)
and the FBI Crime Classification
Manual (1992), as well as a recent memoir of his own career PROFILING
serial killers for the Bureau's Behavioral
Science Unit. (For the record, none of Resslers books were ever found in
Ireland's possession, though all of them were readlly available through
public libraries and bookstores.) Ressler cooperated with Scotland Yard
on a profile of the clusive Gay Slayer, but as usual, police would need
a lucky break to place their man in custody.
By the time Perry Bradley's corpse was found, Ireland
later told authorities, he realized that he was losing control. "l was reaching a point where 1 was just
accelerating," he said. "lt
was just speeding up, getting far worse. lt was just like a
roller-coaster effect." His next anonymous call to police was
almost a plea for detectives to catch him.
"Are you still interested in the death of Peter
Walker?" he asked. "Why
have you stopped the investigation?
Doesn't the death of a homosexual man mean anything? 1 will do
another. 1 have always dreamed of doing the perfect murder."
A few hours later, still on june 7, Ireland was back at
The Colcherne, picking up 33-year-old Andrew Collier.
Upon returning to the victim's flat, Ireland handcuffed and tied
him to the bed, then strangled Collier.
He also choked the life from Colliers cat, arranging its carcass
atop Collier's corpse with the tip of its tail in Collier's mouth, the
cats mouth fastened on Colliers penis.
Both the tall and the penis were fitted with latex condoms.
This time, while he was cleaning up the crime scene, Ireland
missed one fingerprint, found by police on a window frame.
On june 15, Ireland met Emanuel Spiteri, a 41-yearold
Maltese chef, and went back to Spiteri's southeast London flat for sex. Once there, he bound and strangled his victim, then spent the
night watching television, eating Spiteri's food. Ireland set fire to the apartment before he left, but the
flames went out after causing only minor damage.
Police were unaware of the crime when he telephoned them next
day, asking, "Have you found the body in southeast London yet, and
By that time, authorities were finally prepared to admit
they had a serial killer at large in London.
Before they could make the announcement, though, their quarry
telephoned again. "l
have read a lot of books on serial killers," he said.
"l think °t is from four people that the FBI classify as
serial, so I may stop now 1 have done five.
I just wanted to see if °t could be done. 1 will probably never
Ireland was half-right: the "FBI manual"
actually specified three victims
for a bona fide serial killer, but he had claimed his last victim.
Spiteri's killing prompted Scotland Yard to launch a
mass-publicity campaign, including televisad pleas for the killer to
give himself up. Detectives learned that Spiteri had traveled by train
with another man to Catford on the night he was killed, and a British
Rail security camera yielded blurry photos of the victim with an
unidentified heavyset man. The photos were published, and severas London gays reported
meetings with a man matching the suspect's description.
On july 19, 1993, Ireland approached his solicitar,
admitting that he was the man in the photo, claiming that Spiteri was
alive at his home with another unidentified man when they parted
company. Police soon matched his fingerprint to the Collier crime
scene, but Ireland hung tough until August 19 when he finally
Qcrumbled," in the words of one investigator, and confessed to all
20, after pleading guilty on all counts, he was sentenced to five terms
of life imprisonment. The
judge who sentenced him declared, "To take one human life °S an
outrage; to take five is carnage. In
my view, °t is absolutely clear you should never be released."
Ireland was not finished killing yet-at least, if rumors emanating from
Wakefield Prison, Yorkshire, are accurate.
The stories-officially unconfirmed at this writing-claim that
Ireland strangled his cellmate, a convicted child-killer, but no charges
were filed against him, since he was already serving life without parole
and no harsher penalty is available under British law.
Two weeks after the reported killing, Ireland was transferred to
maximum-security lodgings at Whitemoor Prison, Cambridgeshire, where he
is presumably kept under closer watch, with a private cell of his own.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans
(born March 16, 1954) is a British serial killer known as the 'Gay
Slayer' as he specifically murdered Gay men.
Ireland, a former soldier who had picked up convictions
for burglary and robbery in his twenties, decided to become a serial
killer as a New Year resolution at the beginning of 1993, when he was
aged 39. That year, while living in South end, he started frequenting
The Coleherne, a Gay pub in west London. Ireland claimed to be
heterosexual ó he had been married ó and that he only feigned
homosexuality in order to lure patrons of the pub into his clutches. It
is unknown whether Ireland's murders were sexually motivated.
Murder 1: Peter Walker
A choreographer, Peter Walker, approached Ireland and the
two left the pub for Walker's flat in Battersea. After he was willingly
bound and gagged by Ireland, he was subjected to a beating which Ireland
administered with his fists and a dog lead. Ireland then killed him by
suffocating him with a plastic bag.
In order to avoid detection, Ireland thoroughly cleaned
Walker's flat and disposed of any items which could lead to him. While
searching through personal items, Ireland discovered his victim was HIV
positive. Enraged, Ireland stuffed a condom in his mouth.
To avoid neighbourly attention, Ireland did not leave the
flat the same night, but stayed until the next morning and travelled
home on the train with the rush hour commuters.
Ireland later rang Samaritans in order to alert them as
to where he had put Walker's dogs (he'd locked them away before killing
Murder 2: Christopher Dunn
Two months later, after the furor over Walker's death had
subsided, Ireland returned to the pub to seek his next victim. He turned
out to be Christopher Dunn, a librarian. Again the murder took place in
the victim's flat, which was in Wealdstone. Dunn was wearing a body
harness and had been willingly handcuffed and had his feet tied
together. Ireland then beat, tortured and suffocated his victim.
Prior to killing Dunn, Ireland demanded the personal
identification number for his bank card, and used the card to extract
money from Dunn's account in order to reimburse himself for expenses
incurred. Having meticulously studied serial killing, he knew that he
had to throw away the gloves and shoes he was wearing each time he
killed. As an unemployed man on benefits, Ireland needed to get the
money from elsewhere.
Murder 3: Perry Bradley III
Six days later, Ireland once again picked up a man at the
pub. It was Perry Bradley III, who was 35 and the son of a serving US
congressman. They went to Bradley's flat in Kensington, and Ireland
persuaded him to be tied up (Bradley wasn't into S&M) saying he couldn't
get aroused otherwise. Once his victim was helpless, Ireland again used
torture methods to get his bank card number. He delayed the killing
until Bradley had actually fallen asleep, still trussed up, and then
strangled him with a noose.
Again, Ireland carefully cleaned or removed anything in
the flat which could incriminate him before leaving the next morning.
By the time Bradley's body was discovered, the police had
still to connect the three killings: There were time gaps between them,
they were committed in three different areas with enough distance
between them to cast doubt, and the police suspected that the victims
died during sex games that had gone wrong.
Murder 4: Andrew Collier
Ireland, angered that he had received no publicity even
after three murders, killed again within three days. At the pub he met
and courted 33-year-old Andrew Collier, a housing warden, and the pair
went to Collier's home in Dalton. Once he had tied up his victim on the
bed, Ireland again demanded his victim's bank details. This time,
however, his victim refused to comply. Angered, Ireland strangled him
with a noose.
Ireland left the following morning with £70 in cash,
having also killed Collier's cat in an angry reaction to finding out his
victim was HIV positive while rummaging through his personal effects in
an attempt to find the bank card number.
Ireland finally left a clue for the police: He put a
condom in Collier's mouth, just as he had done to Walker, creating a
visible link between the two murders.
Murder 5: Emanuel Spiteri
The fifth victim of Ireland's series (he had read that
serial killers needed at least five victims to qualify as such) was
Emanuel Spiteri, aged 41, a chef whom Ireland had met in the same pub.
They went to Spiteri's flat in Catford, and again Spiteri was persuaded
to be cuffed and bound on his bed. Once more, Ireland demanded his bank
number but didn't get it. He used a noose again to kill his victim.
After carrying out his post-murder ritual of cleaning and
clearing the scene, Ireland set fire to the flat and left. He rang the
police later to tell them to look for a body at the scene of a fire and
added that he would probably not kill again. However, he had forgotten
to wipe off one set of fingerprints he had left on the window.
At last the police connected all five killings, and word
spread fast among the whole of London, not just within the gay
community, that a serial killer who specifically targeted gay men was
operating and could strike again at any time.
Investigations revealed that Spiteri had left the pub and
travelled home with his killer by train, and a security video
successfully captured the two of them on the platform at Charing Cross
station. Ireland recognised himself and decided to tell police he was
the man with Spiteri but not the killeróhe claimed to have left Spiteri
in the flat with another man. However, police had also found the
fingerprints in Collier's flat which matched those of Ireland.
He was charged with the murders of Collier and Spiteri,
and confessed to the other three while awaiting trial in prison. He told
police that he had no vendetta against gay men, but picked on them
because they were the easiest targets. He had robbed those he killed to
finance his killings because he was unemployed at the time, and he
needed funds to travel to and from London when hunting for victims.
When his case came to the Old Bailey on December 20,
1993, Ireland pleaded guilty to all charges and was given life sentences
for each. The judge, Mr. Justice Sachs, said he was "exceptionally
frightening and dangerous", adding: "To take one human life is an
outrage; to take five is carnage."
Ireland's name was on the last published list of whole
life tariff prisoners, meaning that he will have to stay in prison for
the rest of his natural life. The Home Secretary has since had powers to
impose such tariffs removed by the European Court of Human Rights,
although this does not clarify Ireland's position, as the judge at his
trial did not publicise his recommendation for how long Ireland should
spend in prison - concurrently or otherwise - for his crimes. While not
impossible, it does however seem inconceivable that Ireland will ever be
Crimes of Prejudice
Colin Ireland is a British serial killer known as the ĎGay Slayerí due
to the fact that his only victims were gay men. He murdered out of the
anger that built in him due to his loss of innocence, through encounters
with paedophiles when he was young. Irelandís murders were not sexually
motivated and he had been married and claimed to be heterosexual. He is
currently serving five counts of life imprisonment.
Irelandís parents were unmarried and in
their late teens when his mother discovered she was pregnant at age 17.
His father, wanting nothing to do with it, promptly left her. Irelandís
mother was upset at his decision but was unbending in her desire to have
the baby. Ireland was born on 16 March 1954 in West Hill Hospital in
Dartford, Kent. His mother refused to name the father on the birth
certificate, and to this day, Ireland knows nothing of his father.
His mother worked as an assistant in a newsagent and on her meagre wage,
found it increasingly difficult to support herself and her young son.
Fortunately her parents were understanding and she and Ireland went to
live with them and her brother in the family home in Myrtle Road,
Dartford. They lived here for five years, until 1959, when Irelandís
mother decided she needed some independence and moved with her son to
Birch Road, Gravesend.
This was the start of six years
of both physical and emotional upheavals, during which they moved house
nine times. Irelandís mother was unskilled and had to rely on part-time
and low-paid work. She was desperate to provide her son with a decent
home and a stable upbringing but constantly found herself unable to cope.
They moved back to family home within a year.
they moved to Sidcup, Kent and later that year, to Westmalling, a camp
of wooden huts for homeless women and children, in Maidstone. After only
three months in this prison-like accommodation, Ireland and his mother
moved back to her parentsí home. By 1961, his mother had new partner and
the three of them moved to Farnol Road, Dartford, where they lived for
the next three years. The couple married and Irelandís surname was
changed to that of his stepfather, Saker. An electrician by trade, Saker
had a good sense of humour and treated Ireland well but was not the most
responsible of fathers. He only worked sporadically and the family was
Ireland found it hard to settle
at school due to the constant moving and he attended six primary schools
between the ages of five and ten. Always labelled the Ďnew boyí and the
odd one out, his thin, lanky frame and bow-legged stance brought him
much verbal abuse and bullying. Ireland began being absent from school
more and more frequently, often with his motherís permission. When he
did attend school, he would always arrive late, being punished by caning.
This meant that he did not get a proper educational grounding and
consequently battled his way through high school. Ireland became a sad,
lonely and withdrawn boy, always on the perimeter of the activity. His
few friends were chosen because they were unthreatening and Ireland
tended to be quite immature for his age. He was not very athletic and
was never chosen for the school football or cricket teams. He did
however become a member of the Sea Cadets for two years, one of the few
highlights in his youth.
In 1964, at age 10, Ireland
and his parents were evicted from their Farnol Road home due to non-payment
of rent. Ireland and his mother returned to Westmalling and, as no men
were allowed, his stepfather went to live with his own parents. Later
that year, Irelandís mother discovered she was pregnant with her second
child. Once again, despite her dire financial situation, she was
determined to keep her baby. In order to afford to do so, she placed
Ireland in care with a foster family in Wainscott, Kent. Ireland
remembers this time as being very ordinary. A while after the birth of
her second son, Irelandís mother and step-father moved to a house in
West Kingsdown and brought Ireland to live with them once more. Not long
after this, Saker walked out on the family, leaving them penniless once
Through all of these upheavals, Ireland
maintained a close relationship with his mother, remembering her as
always being affectionate and benevolent and making personal sacrifices
in order for her children to be clothed and fed. In 1966, when Ireland
was 12, his mother met and married another man but he refused to take on
the manís surname and reverted from Saker to Ireland, his motherís
maiden name. The family moved to Clyde Street, Sheerness in Kent, where
they stayed for the following five years. The marriage turned out to be
a long and stable one, with Irelandís second stepfather a loving man who
provided for his family and gave his wife the life she deserved.
Whilst in Sheerness, Ireland was approached on four occasions by older
men wanting to have sex with him. The first of these encounters was when
he was working at a fairground as a summer holiday job. One of the
traders offered him a necklace for his mother in exchange for a sexual
act. The second, when he was 12, was in a public toilet. He was in a
cubicle and a man in his late teens/early 20s, peered over the top of
the wall down at Ireland. Whilst he didnít say anything, it was most
disturbing for the young boy. The third instance was whilst he was
watching a film at a local cinema. He was approached by the local
optician wanting sexual favours. The fourth situation was with a man
working for a second-hand shop. Ireland resisted their advances each
time and there was no sexual contact but he was upset and filled with an
anger and a feeling of violation, for which he had no outlet and which
would not go away.
At age 16, in 1970, Ireland committed his first crime. His general
unhappiness with both his schooling and his home life made him decide to
run away to London. He needed money to get there and stole the £4 he
needed. He was caught, issued with a Ďfit person orderí and sent to
Finchton Manor School in Kent. A fee-paying Ďfree expressioní school,
Finchton only accepted boys who had both intelligence and emotional
problems. Irelandís fees were paid by the local County Council as part
of the care order.
Once again, Ireland was teased and
bullied and, in a gesture of frustration and revenge, set fire to one of
the boysí belongings. This was his first act of arson but he later
admitted to having had an unusual interest in fire from a young age and
had recurring nightmares about fire throughout his life. A teacher
managed to put the fire out, Ireland was sent away from Finchton Manor
with a social worker and no charges were brought against him. He
immediately ran away to London once more.
with no money, Ireland soon resorted to robbery. At age 17, he was
caught and sentenced to spend time at Hollesly Bay. It was a borstal, a
British reform school for youths between 16 and 22, providing therapy
and vocational training. Ireland hated his time there and early one
summerís morning, managed to escape and run away. It was not long before
he was caught by the police and sent to serve the remainder of his
sentence, from 1971 to 1972, in the far stricter borstals of Rochester
Released at age 18, Ireland met his first
girlfriend but described his mental state at this time as confused and
In December 1975, age 21, Ireland was found
guilty of two counts of burglary, stealing a car and damage to property
and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served 12 months in crowded
London prisons before being transferred to Lewes prison. Upon his
release in November 1976, Ireland went to live in Swindon where he met
his second girlfriend and began his first sexual relationship. She was a
black West Indian woman, five years his senior and the mother of four
children. They lived together for a few months and planned to marry,
although they never did.
In 1977, Ireland was found
guilty of Ďdemanding with menaceí and sentenced to a further 18 months
in prison. It was a pattern that repeated itself and included being
sentenced to two years imprisonment for robbery in 1980, two months for
Ďattempted deceptioní in 1981 and six months for Ďgoing equipped to
cheatí in 1985. Between his bouts in prison, being unskilled, Ireland
took whatever temporary work he could find, including working as a
volunteer fireman, a restaurant chef, a volunteer at a homeless shelter
and a bouncer at various bars and a gay nightclub.
was during a stint as a chef in London that Ireland met Virginia Zammit
in 1981, at a lecture on Survivalism. She was 36 (nine years his
senior), had a daughter of five and was confined to a wheelchair after a
motor vehicle accident paralysed her at age 24. The couple were happily
married in 1982 and Ireland adored his wife and stepdaughter. The family
lived in estate housing in Holloway and Ireland was known to the locals
as ĎThe Gentle Giantí. Unfortunately, the brief happiness and stability
was not to last and he was soon back in prison and becoming increasingly
aggressive. The couple were divorced in 1987 after Ireland admitted to
having an affair with another woman.
In 1989, Ireland
met Janet Young, the landlady of the Globe pub in Buckfast, Devon. She
had two children, age 11 and 13, and lived with them above the pub.
Within a week of meeting, Ireland moved in with Young and within three
months, they were married at Newton Abbot Register Office. Things seemed
to be going smoothly, but after only four months of marriage, Ireland
took his wife and her children to his motherís house in Margate for a
visit. Whilst there, he took his wifeís car, withdrew money from their
joint bank account and disappeared.
By 1991, his second marriage had failed and he moved
to Southend-on-Sea, Essex, roughly 40 miles (60km) east of London, on
the north side of the Thames estuary. Here he worked at a shelter for
the homeless, whilst being homeless himself. He was well liked at the
shelter and felt an empathy with the people there. By December 1992,
some of the staff began making unfounded allegations against Ireland and
he eventually resigned. He was becoming increasingly frustrated by the
lack of direction in his life and was tired of having to continually
seek unskilled work.
In early 1993, at age 39, a
fraught and rage-filled Ireland who had, until this point in his life,
only committed minor offences, made a New Yearís resolution to become a
serial killer. He was fascinated by serial killers and had spent many
hours meticulously studying them. He was aware of Geographic Profiling
that helps investigators locate the killer, who usually commits the
crimes in a certain radius (about 7 miles) from where they live. For
this reason, Ireland chose London as his Ďmurder groundí, deliberately
misleading the police and keeping them far away from his Southend-on-Sea
The Coleherne pub in Brompton Road, West London
had a reputation in the gay community as a place to easily find a
partner for the night. Punters would wear colour-coded handkerchiefs to
indicate their sexual proclivities, making cruising easy and avoiding
Ireland began frequenting the
Coleherne and on 8 March 1993, he was posing as a Ďtopí (S&M master/dominant
partner) when he met his first victim, 45-year-old choreographer Peter
Walker. Walker, a Ďbottomí (S&M slave/submissive partner) had approached
Ireland in the pub and the two left together, heading off to Walkerís
apartment in Battersea. Walker willingly allowed Ireland to gag him with
knotted condoms and bind him with cord to the four-poster bed, for what
he thought was some foreplay but which soon turned excessively violent.
Ireland had come prepared with a Ďmurder kití containing some cord, a
knife, a pair of gloves and a change of clothes. Once his victim was
helpless, Ireland used a dog lead, a belt and his fists to administer a
vicious beating and then at the height of his fury, pulled a plastic bag
over Walkerís head and killed him by suffocation.
After burning the dead manís pubic hair (he wanted to know what it
smelled like), Ireland spent time cleaning the apartment and removing
any items that may have connected him to the crime. It was whilst he was
looking through Walkerís personal effects that he found out Walker was
HIV positive. The discovery so incensed him that he pushed a condom into
the dead manís mouth and another into his nostril. He also left two
teddy bears in an approximation of a Ď69í position on the bed next to
Worried that he may raise suspicions
with the neighbours, Ireland remained in Walkerís apartment until the
following morning. He then travelled home to Southend on public
transport, blending in with the early morning rush hour commuters. He
disposed of his clothes, gloves and shoes from the crime scene by
throwing them out of a train window, within the boundaries of the London
transport system, something he was to do with all his murders. Ireland
had locked Walkerís dogs in one of the rooms of the apartment before the
murder and later that day, he called the Samaritans to tell them where
the dogs were, in order for them to be released. It was later surmised
that this call was made to indirectly lead authorities to Irelandís
The police soon discovered Walkerís body
but had little evidence with which to proceed. They assumed it was an
S&M sex game gone too far and turned to the gay community. They were not
forthcoming, for two main reasons. Firstly, the police did not have a
good reputation with them, often ignoring gay-related abuse and crime.
Secondly, the day before Walkerís body was found, a new ruling had been
passed, making S&M between consenting adults illegal. No gay man wanted
to come forward with information, lest they be prosecuted themselves.
After a two-month break, Ireland felt the need to kill again and
returned to the Coleherne pub on 28 May 1993 to search for his second
victim. The man was 37-year-old librarian Christopher Dunn, who told
Ireland he liked to be dominated and invited him back to his flat in
Wealdstone. After watching an S&M video, Ireland told Dunn to go and get
ready. He found Dunn in the bedroom, naked except for a studded belt and
a body harness. The modus operandi was roughly the same as before.
Making Dunn lie face down on the bed, Ireland tied his feet together and
handcuffed him. Once again he beat and tortured his victim, holding a
lighter flame to Dunnís testicles, before suffocating him to death by
stuffing pieces of cloth into his mouth.
Ireland decided to reimburse himself for expenses incurred for the
murders, as he was unemployed and living on state benefits. Prior to the
murder, he forced Dunn to hand over his bank cash-card and PIN (Personal
Identification Number). After cleaning up the crime scene, he stayed
until he felt it was safe to leave. He then got rid of the gloves and
shoes he had worn and went to Dunnís bank and withdrew £200 from his
account. Two days after the murder, a friend discovered Dunnís body, on
30 May 1993. Once again, the police assumed a sex game gone wrong and
did not immediately link the Dunn and Walker deaths.
Irelandís thirst for murder was becoming stronger and a mere six days
after the Dunn killing, he returned to the Coleherne for his third
victim, on 4 June 1993. The man was 35-year-old Perry Bradley III, the
son of a serving US congressman and himself, a businessman from Texas.
Ireland accompanied Bradley to his Kensington apartment and soon
suggested tying Bradley up as foreplay. Bradley was reluctant, as he was
not into S&M, but relented when Ireland told him it was a necessary
element in his own arousal. Ireland tied Bradley, face down on the bed,
and placed a noose around his neck. He then demanded Bradleyís cash-card
and PIN, threatening to torture him with a cigarette lighter if he did
not comply. Frightened, Bradley offered to accompany Ireland to the cash
point but he refused, making Bradley give him the PIN and telling him to
go to sleep, which surprisingly, he did. Whilst he was asleep, Ireland
killed him by slowly tightening the noose. He then placed a doll on
Bradleyís dead body.
After conducting his usual and
thorough search and clean up, Ireland left the apartment the following
morning with £100 he had found and went to the bank to withdraw a
further £200 from Bradleyís account. Once again, the police
investigating the murder did not link it to the Dunn or Walker killings.
Ireland was becoming frustrated at the failings of the police to link
his first three murders and the lack of publicity they were getting. He
sought fame and only three days after his last murder, Ireland decided
to kill again. On 7 June 1993, he returned to the Coleherne where he met
his fourth victim, 33-year-old Andrew Collier who worked as a warden at
a sheltered housing complex. They returned to Collierís Dalston flat,
where he consented to being bound to the bed and handcuffed. Once again,
Ireland demanded his victimís bankcard and PIN and when Collier refused,
strangled him with a noose.
In the search and clean
up, Ireland discovered that Collier was HIV positive and hadnít told him.
His fury led him to burn various parts of Collierís body and to strangle
his cat. In an act of humiliation, he put a condom on Collierís penis
and another on the catís tail, positioning the cat so that its mouth was
around Collierís penis and its tail was in Collierís mouth. Ireland took
the mug he had used and £70 he had found in the flat and left the next
morning during rush hour.
Police finally linked two of
the murders, those of Walker and Collier, due to the similarities of the
scenes, as well as the strange use of condoms. They were beginning to
suspect the work of a serial killer and had started to collate
information on similar murders in the London area. They had also lifted
a set of fingerprints from a window frame in Collierís flat that they
later discovered were Irelandís.
On 12 June 1993,
Ireland called the Kensington police, claiming he had killed four men
and they had to stop him from killing again. He then called the
Battersea police, asking them if they were interested in the murder of
Peter Walker and why they had stopped the investigation. He told them he
would kill again, as he had always dreamed of committing the perfect
Irelandís fifth and final victim was 41-year-old
Maltese chef Emanuel Spiteri, who enjoyed dressing in leather. On the
night of 12 June 1993 they met at the Coleherne and then went, via a
series of trains, to Spiteriís flat in Catford. Immediately upon arrival,
Ireland bound Spiteri to his bed, handcuffed him, put a noose around his
neck and demanded his cash-card and PIN. Ireland then strangled Spiteri
with the noose. He cleaned up and watched television until he felt it
safe to leave the following morning. Before leaving however, he
attempted to set fire to the flat. He hoped the whole block would catch
fire, but in fact the fire went out in Spiteriís bedroom, where it had
He had now killed four times in 17 days
and on 13 June 1993, Ireland rang the police, telling them to look for a
body at the scene of a fire in south London. He also told them he had
read many books on serial killers and that to reach a Ďserialí
classification by the FBI, the killer had to have five victims. He said
he could now stop, as he had killed five times, adding he just wanted to
see if it could be done and would probably not do it again. On 15 June
1993, Spiteriís landlady called the police to report his death.
A huge publicity campaign began,
with a press conference being called for the head of the police inquiry,
Detective Superintendent Ken John, to report that five homosexual men
had been murdered and were linked as a series, both pathologically and
forensically. The murders of Walker and Collier had already been
connected, but now Dunn, Bradley and Spiteri were added to the list.
John appealed to the gay community to be on the alert and to let friends
know of their whereabouts if they went anywhere with a stranger. He
speculated that the killer may have AIDS and that the possible motive
for the murders was revenge.
On 17 June 1993 John made
a direct appeal, via the media, to the killer to give himself up, saying
he wanted to talk to him and offer him help. On 19 June 1993, police
handed out flyers at the London Gay Pride festival, attended by 50,000
people, appealing for anyone with information about the murders to come
Psychologist Dr Mike Berry was approached by the
police to draw up a profile of the killer. In it he maintained that the
killer was fuelled by violent fantasies but each murder was never as
good as the fantasy and he therefore was driven to kill again. He also
believed that the killer was not HIV positive and was not committing the
murders as an act of revenge. Another psychologist, Dr Jonas Rappeport,
agreed with this synopsis and added his belief that the killer was not
himself homosexual, but posing as a gay man in order to attract his
victims. He was well organized, probably of large build and physically
strong, which made him confident in his ability to overpower his victims.
The police gained further advice from criminal psychologists Paul
Britton and Dick Walter, as well as ex FBI Agent and serial killer
specialist, Robert Ressler.
On 24 June 1993, the police issued a description of a
man who had been seen with Spiteri on the train from Charing Cross to
Hither Green, on the night in question. The description was of a white
male, age 30-40, over 6 feet tall, clean shaven, a full to fattish face,
short dark brown hair and dirty, discoloured teeth. From this, they were
able to produce an E-Fit (Electronic Facial Identification Technique, a
computer-generated likeness, based on verbal descriptions.
A week later, on 2 July 1993, police released a
picture of the man with Spiteri, taken on the trainís security camera,
and he was very similar to the man on the E-Fit. They appealed for him
to come forward for questioning, confirming that the lines of
communication were open. The following day, police received over 40
calls, some of which were from men saying they had seen or talked to the
man in the Coleherne pub.
On 19 July 1993, Ireland
went to his solicitor in Southend-on-Sea and told him that he was with
Spiteri on the night in question. He confirmed that it was he in the
trainís security camera picture but that he had not killed Spiteri. He
claimed to have left Spiteri in his flat with another man.
This collated information, combined with the fingerprints Ireland had
left on Collierís window ledge, was enough for him to be arrested and
charged with Collierís murder on 21 July 1993. Two days later, he was
charged with Spiteriís murder on 23 July 1993. Ireland was sent to
prison, where he continued to maintain his innocence.
No trial was held
as, while in remand in prison, Ireland confessed on 19 August 1993 to
the murders of five homosexual men. Showing no emotion, he gave police
calculated descriptions of the killings. On 20 August 1993, at the Old
Bailey, London, Ireland was charged with the murders of Walker, Dunn,
Bradley, Collier and Spiteri and sentenced to life imprisonment for each
of the five killings. His name was on the last published list of whole
life tariff prisoners, meaning that he will stay in prison for the rest
of his natural life.
In Irelandís full and frank
confession to all his crimes, he emphasised four particular points.
Firstly, that he had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at
the time of the murders. Secondly, that he was not gay or bisexual, even
although he had once worked as a bouncer at a gay club in Soho. Thirdly,
that he had not undressed or engaged in any sexual activity with his
victims and had gained no sexual thrill from the murders. Fourthly, that
he held no grudge against the gay community and that he had chosen gay
men as his victims simply because they were easy targets. He claimed it
was extreme male deviancy that triggered his anger, which had begun with
his brushes with paedophiles in his youth. He said his victims were
deviants (all into S&M sexual behaviour) who just happened to be gay. He
saw himself as ridding society of vermin and craved recognition as a
superior person. Psychologists saw the strategic placing of items
related to childhood on the victimís body Ė the teddy bears, the doll
and the cat Ė as symbolic of Irelandís abhorrence at the loss of
Ireland is mentioned in the song ĎArchives of Painí by the Manic Street
Preachers but no book has been written nor film made of Irelandís story
and no substantial written articles exist. However, in a rare exchange,
British author Anna Gekoski, who specialises in British sexual predators,
contacted Ireland directly and in correspondence, put forward numerous
questions, which he answered, supposedly truthfully. What Ireland really
wanted was recognition and once he had committed enough murders to
Ďqualifyí as a serial killer, he was ready to be caught and his story be
Due to the fact that Ireland had studied serial
killers, it was suggested that ex FBI Agent Robert Resslerís book
ĎWhoever Fights Monstersí (1992) should be removed from the shelves, as
it was certainly something Ireland had read and possibly caused him to
begin murdering. Ressler argued that if a person was going to commit
murder, his book could not be blamed.
It has been
rumoured that Ireland strangled a convicted child killer in his cell,
whilst in Wakefield Prison, Yorkshire. Two weeks later, he was moved to
Whitemoor Prison, Cambridgeshire.