A.K.A.: "Gay Slayer"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Decided to become a serial killer as a New Year resolution
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: March-June 1993
Date of arrest: July 19, 1993 (surrenders)
Date of birth: March 16, 1954
Victims profile: Peter Walker, 45 / Christopher Dunn, 37 / Perry Bradley III, 35 / Andrew Collier, 33 / Emanuel Spiteri, 41 (gay men)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison December 20, 1993
Known in the tabloid press as London's "Gay Slayer," Colin Ireland was a serial murder "WANNA-BE” who 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 BRUCE LEE, DENNIS NILSEN, and PETER SUTCLIFFE, Ireland 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.
He 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.
Twice 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 life."
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 being."
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 HIV-positive.
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 RESSLER, coauthor 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 the fire?"
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 reoffend agaln."
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 five homicidas.
On December 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."
But 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
Colin Ireland (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 — he had been married — 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 their owner).
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 killer—he 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 freed.
Infamous Murders: Crimes of Prejudice
Colin Ireland is a British serial killer known as the ‘Gay Slayer’ 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. Ireland’s murders were not sexually motivated and he had been married and claimed to be heterosexual. He is currently serving five counts of life imprisonment.
Ireland’s 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. Ireland’s 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 Ireland’s 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. Ireland’s 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.
In 1960, 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 parents’ 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 Ireland’s 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 financially unstable.
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 ‘new boy’ 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 mother’s 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, Ireland’s 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, Ireland’s 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 more.
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 man’s surname and reverted from Saker to Ireland, his mother’s 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 Ireland’s 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 didn’t 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 ‘fit person order’ and sent to Finchton Manor School in Kent. A fee-paying ‘free expression’ school, Finchton only accepted boys who had both intelligence and emotional problems. Ireland’s 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 boys’ 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.
Homeless and 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 summer’s 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 and Grendon.
Released at age 18, Ireland met his first girlfriend but described his mental state at this time as confused and unhappy.
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 ‘demanding with menace’ 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 ‘attempted deception’ in 1981 and six months for ‘going equipped to cheat’ 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.
It 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 ‘The Gentle Giant’. 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 mother’s house in Margate for a visit. Whilst there, he took his wife’s 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 Year’s 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 ‘murder ground’, deliberately misleading the police and keeping them far away from his Southend-on-Sea home.
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 misunderstandings.
Ireland began frequenting the Coleherne and on 8 March 1993, he was posing as a ‘top’ (S&M master/dominant partner) when he met his first victim, 45-year-old choreographer Peter Walker. Walker, a ‘bottom’ (S&M slave/submissive partner) had approached Ireland in the pub and the two left together, heading off to Walker’s 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 ‘murder kit’ 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 Walker’s head and killed him by suffocation.
After burning the dead man’s 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 Walker’s personal effects that he found out Walker was HIV positive. The discovery so incensed him that he pushed a condom into the dead man’s mouth and another into his nostril. He also left two teddy bears in an approximation of a ‘69’ position on the bed next to Walker’s body.
Worried that he may raise suspicions with the neighbours, Ireland remained in Walker’s 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 Walker’s 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 Ireland’s first victim.
The police soon discovered Walker’s 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 Walker’s 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 Dunn’s testicles, before suffocating him to death by stuffing pieces of cloth into his mouth.
This time, 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 Dunn’s bank and withdrew £200 from his account. Two days after the murder, a friend discovered Dunn’s 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.
Ireland’s 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 Bradley’s 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 Bradley’s 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 Bradley’s 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 Collier’s Dalston flat, where he consented to being bound to the bed and handcuffed. Once again, Ireland demanded his victim’s 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 hadn’t told him. His fury led him to burn various parts of Collier’s body and to strangle his cat. In an act of humiliation, he put a condom on Collier’s penis and another on the cat’s tail, positioning the cat so that its mouth was around Collier’s penis and its tail was in Collier’s 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 Collier’s flat that they later discovered were Ireland’s.
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 murder.
Ireland’s 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 Spiteri’s 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 Spiteri’s bedroom, where it had been started.
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 ‘serial’ 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, Spiteri’s 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 forward.
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 train’s 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 train’s 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 Collier’s window ledge, was enough for him to be arrested and charged with Collier’s murder on 21 July 1993. Two days later, he was charged with Spiteri’s 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 Ireland’s 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 victim’s body – the teddy bears, the doll and the cat – as symbolic of Ireland’s abhorrence at the loss of innocence.
Ireland is mentioned in the song ‘Archives of Pain’ by the Manic Street Preachers but no book has been written nor film made of Ireland’s 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 ‘qualify’ as a serial killer, he was ready to be caught and his story be known.
Due to the fact that Ireland had studied serial killers, it was suggested that ex FBI Agent Robert Ressler’s book ‘Whoever Fights Monsters’ (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.