Serial killer Patrick Mackay: He was called the devil’s disciple, now he has a chance of freedom

He wants out

The murderer, who turned 70 on September 25, found himself behind bars at the age of 23. As of September this year, it is about his early release. But police officers from the places where his rampage once took place warn that even in advanced seniority he poses a danger.

“He really believes he finally has a chance to be released. He is behaving in an exemplary manner now,” the British newspaper The Daily Mail quoted an unnamed source directly from prison at the end of July this year. In theory, there is no reason to keep him behind bars, but it will have to be a very powerful body that approves his release – the public will be outraged,” the newspaper added.

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A Parole Board spokesman told this paper at the same time: “We can confirm that Patrick Mackay’s case has been referred to the Parole Board. Waiting for the date to be posted.”

According to the Daily Mail, although the crimes of Patrick David Mackay scared the whole of Britain in the mid-1970s and his actions literally sowed horror and terror in London and its surroundings, his case was almost forgotten for a long time. He has only now recalled, but the chief constable in Mackay’s hometown of Datford, Gareth Johnson, has consistently warned against his release. What is the real story of Britain’s longest imprisoned man?

An unhappy childhood

Often described as “Britain’s forgotten serial killer”, Mackay was born on 25 September 1952 and grew up in an abusive household. His alcoholic father beat him regularly. The family lived in Dartford, Kent, and after Patrick’s birth, his two younger sisters were added, one born in 1954 and the other in 1957.

Abused Patrick began to resort to strange and disturbing behavior as a child. He did poorly at school, bullied his younger classmates and suffered from frequent tantrums. One of his classmates later described him as a “little terrorist” who physically assaulted others. According to the Daily Mail, Mackay’s childhood crimes also included attempted arson, animal cruelty and stealing garden gnomes.

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When he was ten, his tyrant father died. On the way to work, he suffered a heart attack, which was apparently the result of years of alcoholism. His last words to his son were said to be: “Remember to be good.” The boy reportedly could not come to terms with his death, even though his father was often cruel to him and told others that his dad was still alive.

He gradually assumed the “fatherly role” in the family and treated his mother and sisters the way he was used to from his father, which means he abused and beat them. The mother apparently hoped that the circumstances in the family would improve with a change of environment and moved with the children from Dartford to Gravesend. But it had no benefit. Patrick continued to suffer outbursts of aggression and once even tried to kill a younger classmate in one of his rages.

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After this extempore, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital at the age of fifteen, and doctor Leonard Carre diagnosed him with psychopathic tendencies, which he said indicated that the young man would grow up to be a “cold, psychopathic killer.” In 1968, Mackay was interned in a psychiatric hospital, where he spent four years. He was released in 1972. He found a place to live in London and filled it with all possible properties associated with Nazism, which he became fascinated with. He also nicknamed himself “Franklin Bollvolt the First” and began talking about his desire to wipe out the old people.

Source: Youtube

A murderous rampage

Mackay’s first identified victim was 87-year-old widow Isabella Griffiths, who was strangled and stabbed to death in her home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, on 14 February 1974. At the same time, this district, full of luxury shops, was gripped by a wave of street crime: some unidentified offender began to attack elderly women: he either attacked them directly on the street, where he usually stole their bag or purse and ran away, or, on the contrary, addressed them in a friendly manner, accompanying them in a friendly conversation to the door of their house and attacked only after it had closed behind them.

In all cases Mackay was the perpetrator, but the police did not know that at the time. She connected the wave of street violence with Griffiths’ killer only after the young man committed his second murder: on March 10, 1975, he killed 89-year-old Adele Price, whom he strangled in her home in Lowndes Square, Kensington. He got in by asking her for a glass of water.

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When he was leaving the murdered woman, he passed her granddaughter on the way, who was on her way to her grandmother and had no idea that she was meeting her killer. A moment later she called the police.

The manner of the murder, and the fact that the perpetrator got in unobstructed, suggested to the police that this act was connected to the wave of robberies that Chelsea had experienced in the past more than two years, as well as the still unsolved murder of Griffiths.

For now, the serial killer continued his horrific rampage. Eleven days after Price’s murder, he attacked 63-year-old Catholic priest Anthony Crean in the picturesque village of Shorne in Kent, not far from Dartford, where his family lived. The procedure was similar to the previous cases. He first forced his way into the elderly man’s house, and when he was inside he attacked him with his fists, knocking him to the ground, stabbing him several times, and then in a frenzied attack he split his head open with an axe. Police later found Crean’s mutilated body floating in a tub of bloody water.

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However, in this murder, the maniac made a fatal mistake, forgetting that the police already had a record of his previous contacts with Crean: Mackay had visited him earlier and on that occasion stole a check for thirty pounds. However, he was detained and the court sentenced him to compensation for damages, which he did not pay anyway.

Now, when police began asking witnesses around the priest’s home if they had seen anyone suspicious, several people gave Mackay descriptions – and investigators realized that the description was a striking fit for a young man they had dealt with once before in connection with the priest. Mackay was arrested two days after the murder and quickly learned that he had indeed killed Crean. Which was just the beginning of his confession.

I’ve killed more people than you think

When the police took the young man’s fingerprints and searched his apartment, it became clear to them that he must be guilty of much more than Crean’s murder. His dates matched those found in the house of the murdered Adele Price, and in his flat there were many items from the thefts and robberies that had plagued London’s Chelsea and Belgravia districts for the past two years. The policemen understood that the phantom that sowed so much terror in London was sitting in front of them.

Moreover, Mackay did not complain to them about the investigation and willingly led them to the place where he had dropped the knife used in the murders. And then he shocked hardened investigators by declaring that he was responsible for many more murders: thirteen to be exact.

At first, the police did not take it too seriously, but when they began to investigate the circumstances of the murders described by the young criminal, they found that they really corresponded to unsolved cases of murders that occurred in and around London.

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According to Mackay, his first victim was not Griffits, but a seventeen-year-old girl, identified as the German au pair Heidi Mnilk, whose body was found on July 9, 1973 by a train line near Catford. The killer has now testified that he attacked her on the train, stabbed her, and then threw her off the moving train. His second victim was said to be a woman named Mary Hynes, who he allegedly killed the same year in Kentish Town.

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He also confessed to the murder of a drunken homeless man he allegedly threw off a bridge into the Thames in January 1974, and to the murders of 57-year-old Stephanie Britton and her four-year-old grandson Christopher Martin in the same month. He also stated that in June 1974 he had kicked Frank Goodman to death over a pack of cigarettes and that the same year, on Christmas Eve, he killed ninety-two-year-old Sarah Rodmell in her apartment, whom he said he suffocated with a stocking he had stuffed into her mouth – which he cynically commented that ” killing her was as easy as washing your socks”.

And he kept confessing on and on, until his investigative file numbered a total of thirteen cases. By that time, however, the murderer’s initial boastfulness had faded again, and he was apparently beginning to imagine what judgment his speaking might bring upon him. So he recanted all his confessions and admitted to only four murders: that of Griffiths, Price, Crean and the homeless man. The police were unable to find and identify the homeless man’s body, but added the deaths of Goodman and Hynes to the charges of the previous three murders. The young man stood before the court accused of five murders.

On March 21, 1975, priest Father Anthony Crean was brutally murdered in Shorne, Kent (pictured)On March 21, 1975, priest Father Anthony Crean was brutally murdered in Shorne, Kent (pictured)Source: Wikimedia Commons, Glyn Baker, CC BY-SA 2.0

The perpetrator’s hope

Mackay’s defense attorneys tried to prove his insanity in court, but forensic experts concluded that he was not mentally ill, but merely psychopathic, which is a disorder of personality but not of mental ability. However, it was enough to reclassify the murders as murder. In the end, Mackay could not be proven guilty of the deaths of Goodman and Hynes in court, so he was convicted of three counts of murder. Even so, he received a life sentence with the possibility of applying for early release after 20 years at the earliest.

After this time, however, he did not look at freedom, on the contrary, he spent the first 27 years of his sentence in a maximum security prison. The press called him “the most dangerous man in Britain” after the verdict.

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In prison he changed his name to David Groves and after more than a quarter of a century had passed since his incarceration, he was transferred to a more lenient prison. According to John Lucas, author of “Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: The Ax Man’s Terror”, he is currently being held at Leyhill Prison near Bristol.

If current parole negotiations are successful for Mackay, he could be free by Christmas this year, according to British tabloid The Sun.