What better time of year to read true crime tales? Here is a selection of frightening true stories, just in time for Halloween.
Between 1993 and 1998 six Irish women, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty eight, disappeared. The area in which these disappearances occurred shortly became known in the media and the public as ‘The Vanishing Triangle.’ To date, none of the missing females have ever been located. These six unsolved cases resulted in the creation of the specialist Garda taskforce Operation T.R.A.C.E. in the hopes of finding a connection between the women, but none was found. The taskforce went on to investigate dozens of unsolved cases of women gone missing in Ireland. Alan Bailey served as the National Coordinator for the taskforce for thirteen years, and the stories in Missing, Presumed all come from his personal experiences. Missing, Presumed sets out in detail the Garda investigations into the disappearances of fifteen women. These women disappeared over a period of twenty years, and in almost half the cases their badly mutilated bodies were recovered, sometimes months later, buried in shallow graves. Each chapter focuses on one woman’s story, from the moment of her disappearance through the investigation up to – when lucky – a conviction. These stories are haunting, terrifying, and true.
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Doctors Who Kill
Uncover the facts behind some of the most shocking murder cases in recent history. From Beverley Allitt, the attention seeking nurse who preyed on the children in her care, to the infamous Dr. Harold Shipman, who was responsible for the deaths of at least 218 of his patients, history has been littered with examples of healers who have done anything but. At their best they cure disease, look after the sick, and are sworn to ‘do no harm’, so what leads a small minority of healthcare workers to a life of violent crime? In a comprehensive study of violent crimes perpetrated by health care professionals, Carol Anne Davis offers valuable insights into 34 case studies involving doctors and nurses who have crossed the line from healer to killer. These in depth analyses include interviews with experts in the fields of mental health and criminology, as well as an exclusive interview with Katherine Ramsland, a lecturer in forensic psychology at DeSales University, Pennsylvania.
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If you are accused of a crime you did not commit, do you believe that justice will prevail in a court of law? Perhaps you should think again…
An innocent woman is almost sent to prison for eight years because of a mistaken fingerprint identification by so-called forensic experts; a chicken farmer is hanged for a brutal murder he did not commit due to incorrect analysis of post-mortem bruising; and a mother is sent to prison for murdering her baby daughter when a substance is falsely identified as blood… These are just some of the major forensic disasters that have occurred over the past 100 years, which are exposed in Justice Denied.
Contrary to what television series like CSI and NCIS would have one believe, forensic science does not provide instant answers to impenetrable crimes; in reality, forensic science is neither clear-cut nor easy to interpret, and practitioners are not all competent – as renowned forensic scientist Dr. David Klatzow proves in this book.
From the infamous Dr. Crippen case in 19th-century England to the dingo-baby trial in Australia and the unsolved murder of Inge Lotz, Justice Denied reveals the incalculable damage done both to people’s lives and to justice across the globe. Justice, while age-old, is not always served when bad science plays a hand.
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More Unsolved Murders
The starting point for any investigation is a curiosity, and that curiosity will lead to questions; but those questions will not always tabulate themselves neatly for ease of presentation. With a murder it is usually known early on just what the investigation will set out to discover because a body will have been found. And if dead bodies do not generally move unaided, then how, or why, is it where it is found?
But what if a body is not found? The most confounding of cases in this selection of unsolved murders is a case from the 1980’s, where the body was never found.
And from Coventry’s domestic suburbia of the 1950’s – who wanted the old-time dancing housewife and mother dead, and why such a level of brutality?
In Scarborough during the war, who did the lady enter the disused bus garage with, and why?
Was robbery a motive for the murder of the retired school teacher? Was it the motive for the killing of the fruiterer’s widow?
Murder goes West to Carmarthen in South Wales; it goes to Coventry, Biggin Hill and Scarborough. Finally it leaves its mark in Oxford.
Here are another five cases where a murder was committed but remained unsolved – four officially unsolved, that is to say there was never a conviction, and one where the ‘conviction’ leaves more questions than it answers.
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A History of London’s Prisons
London has had more prisons than any other British city. The City’s ‘gates’ once contained prisons but probably the most notorious of all was Newgate, which stood for over 700 years. The eleventh century Tower of London was used as a prison for a variety of high profile prisoners from Sir Thomas More to the Krays. Discover the background of a variety of historic places of incarceration such as The Clink, the King’s Bench Prison; and debtors prisons such as the Fleet Prison and the Marshalsea. ‘Lost’ prisons such as the Gatehouse in Westminster, Millbank Penitentiary, Surrey County Gaol in Horsemonger Row, The House of Detention, Coldbath Fields Prison and Tothill Fields Prison are also described in detail; as are more familiar gaols: Holloway, Pentonville, Brixton, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs. In his A History of London’s Prisons Geoffrey Howse delves not only into the intricate web of historical facts detailing the origins of the capital’s prisons but also includes fascinating detail concerning the day-to-day life of prisoners – from the highly born to the most despicable human specimens imaginable – as well as those less fortunate individuals who found themselves through no fault of their own ‘in the clink’, some soon becoming clients of the hangman or executioner.
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Death on the Beat
Little shocks the British public more than learning of the killing of policemen and women whilst tackling criminals. Even the vast majority of hardened crooks baulk at what is seen as the ultimate crime – the mandatory death sentence in days of capital punishment reflected public disgust at such a crime, particularly when the police were largely unarmed.
This book spans fifty years of crime enforcement and describes in detail the present danger to the police who patrolled London’s streets and who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Many of the police officers died carrying out run-of-the-mill police duties; from PC Nat Edgar, shot in 1948 by a burglar to PC Patrick Dunne, the home beat officer murdered while investigating a domestic incident in 1993; it took 13 years for his killer to be brought to justice.
WPC Yvonne Fletcher was mercilessly gunned-down policing a demonstration in Central London in 1984, as was Detective Sergeant Ray Purdy, whilst arresting a cheap blackmailer. PC Ray Summers, an officer with less than two years’ service, stabbed to death as he broke up a gang fight, and the three-man crew of the ‘Q’ car wiped out by gunmen in 1966, all feature in these pages. There are the thrilling stories of the investigations into the IRA after the murder of PC Stephen Tibble and the horrific bombing of Harrods store which cost three brave police officers their lives.
Retired detective Dick Kirby has drawn deep on his knowledge and contacts within and outside the Metropolitan Police to track down those people who were there, who were involved in the investigations and those who were left behind; and how the trauma of losing a colleague or a loved one affected them.
Written in his trademark gripping authoritative style, Death on the Beat, Dick Kirby’s ninth book, promises to be the best yet.
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