Tobin murder police reopen unsolved cases

The convicted serial killer has been linked to dozens of murders going back to 1968

Detectives investigating the life of serial killer Peter Tobin said they would continue to examine dozens of other unsolved cases after his conviction yesterday for the murder of a teenage hitchhiker.

It took a jury just 15 minutes to find the 63-year-old handyman guilty of drugging and then strangling A-level student Dinah McNicol after she accepted a lift in his car on her way home from a music festival in 1991.

Tobin was ordered to spend the rest of his life in jail by the judge at Chelmsford Crown Court at the end of a three-day trial in which he offered no defence. He has already been convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old Polish student, Angelika Kluk, in a Glasgow church in 2006, and was last year sentenced to a further 30 years in jail for killing Vicky Hamilton, 15.

He also has convictions for raping and sexually assaulting two 14-year-old schoolgirls in Hampshire in 1994, for which he served 10 years in prison. He was released early, only to kill again.

Miss McNicol's body was found alongside that of Miss Hamilton buried in the backyard of Tobin's former home in Margate, Kent. Yesterday the fathers of both girls, whose bodies had lain alongside each other undiscovered for 16 years, were together in court. The teenagers remains were only discovered after a nationwide cold-case review and searches of Tobin's old addresses.

Tobin, who was sent to reform school at the age of seven and has been married three times, has persistently refused to acknowledge his guilt. But police said the successful conviction would now see them follow up 1,400 lines of inquiry which it is hoped could lead to the resolution of some of Britain's most notorious unsolved murders. Police believe Tobin used a number of different aliases and was linked to 38 mobile phone SIM cards.

Detective Superintendent David Swindle of Strathclyde Police, who set up Operation Anagram to look at other cases involving Tobin, said new addresses would be searched should fresh evidence arise: "Every day there is new information about his movements and I am confident that as more information comes to light, it will [help us] identify other victims."

Among the new leads made public for the first time yesterday were pictures of women's jewellery recovered from Tobin's various homes, which, it is believed, could be trophies kept from his other victims. Police are busy reconstructing the killer's movements from the 1960s onwards, during which he lived an itinerant existence travelling extensively on the motorway network.

The unsolved cases to which he has so far been linked include Glasgow's so-called "Bible John" killings in 1968 and 1969 in which three women died. He has also been investigated in connection with the murders of girls and women in London, Sussex and Northern Ireland.

Miss McNicol, from Tillingham in Essex, was murdered six months after Vicky Hamilton, whose dead body Tobin cut in half and brought with him when he moved from Scotland to Kent in 1991. Neighbours spotted him digging a deep trench in his back garden but he dispelled suspicions by telling them he was building a sandpit for his son.

The family of Miss McNicol, who had to sit through evidence twice after the first trial was abandoned when the slightly built Scot was taken ill earlier this year, welcomed the verdict. Her half-sister Sara Tizard said: "After all these years, we at last know the truth and justice has prevailed. We would like to put the trial behind us and remember Dinah as the unique and inspiring daughter and sister that she was."

One friend of the family waved a sign at Tobin as he was led away from the dock which said: "May all your dreams be nightmares."

Michael Hamilton, father of Vicky, said he had come to support Ian McNicol, Dinah's widower father. He said of Tobin: "I'm glad he's going to be in prison for the rest of his life. I hope he lives to be 100."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people Ex-wife of John Lennon has died at her home in Spain
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?