Tobin: Jewellery checked for links to unsolved murders
Wednesday 16 December 2009
The extent of Peter Tobin's serial killings may never be known.
His nomadic lifestyle since the 1960s while his crimes went undetected have prompted police to trawl through scores of unresolved cases.
One intriguing clue made public by police today is a collection of unclaimed women's jewellery - pendants, broaches and necklace clasps - which Tobin kept at his home.
Detectives across all corners of the UK - from Glasgow to Brighton, via Portsmouth and Paisley - have been alerted to the chilling likelihood that he could be behind other crimes.
Over the past two years, police have attempted to pull together a detailed timeline of Tobin's movements since leaving his hometown of Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
Before today's verdict, the 63-year-old had already been serving two life sentences for the murders of Vicky Hamilton, 15, and 23-year-old Polish student Angelika Kluk.
But privately officers in the operation, led by Sussex Police, say they would not be surprised if more killings came to light.
Robin Merrett, Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex Police, said the inquiry - which started in 2007 and is named Operation Anagram - would accelerate now the Dinah McNicol trial is over.
Cases detectives are believed to have examined include:
* The murders of three women in Glasgow in 1968 and 1969 - thought to have been victims of a mysterious figure nicknamed "Bible John".
All three women were brunettes and all were wearing black dresses. They were savagely assaulted and murdered after being picked up at the city's Barrowlands dance hall.
Patricia Docker, 25, was killed in February 1968; Jemima McDonald, 32, was strangled in August 1969 and Helen Puttock, 29, was murdered in October 1969.
The killer earned his nickname after a taxi driver, who drove the murderer with his last victim, remembered him quoting the Bible.
Tobin, who had links with the church throughout his life, was living in the city around this time. He would have been in his early 20s.
* Schoolgirls Karen Hadaway, 10, and Nicola Fellows, nine, were found strangled in Wild Park, Brighton, in October 1986. The cases became known as the Babes in the Woods killings.
Labourer Russell Bishop was charged with the murders but was acquitted after the prosecution admitted a series of errors in the presentation of forensic evidence at his trial at Lewes Crown Court in 1987.
Bishop, from Brighton, was jailed for life in 1991 for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl from Brighton but has always denied killing Karen and Nicola.
Tobin lived in Brighton for 20 years from the late 1960s, including in an eight-bedroom house with a patio garden in Dyke Road.
* Patsy Morris disappeared in London in 1980 aged 14.
The teenager's body was discovered hidden in undergrowth on Hounslow Heath, south-west London, in mid-summer.
Her father George said he believed his daughter could be one of Tobin's victims.
"As soon as I read about the other girl's body being found in Tobin's backyard, something inside me clicked," said Mr Morris.
"It just felt like at last there might be an answer. Nothing will bring her back but to know for sure who killed her will bring a sense of relief."
* Art student Jessie Earl, 22, who disappeared from a bedsit in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in May 1980.
Her partially-decomposed remains were found on a cliff near Beachy Head in 1989 by kite-flyers. Police stepped up a murder inquiry in 2000.
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