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
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families