Gays defiant as killer fails to disrupt bar scene: Attacks follow familiar pattern

DETECTIVES desperate to catch the man systematically murdering members of London's gay community need only delve back seven years in the files to learn from a case of striking similarities.

In eight weeks during summer 1986, Michael Lupo, an Italian-born homosexual with sadomasochistic tendencies, strangled four men and tried to murder two others, apparently because he had contracted the HIV virus. He killed because of 'the way my life had worked out and what I had become'.

Like the current investigation, the hunt for Lupo was an undercover, night-time affair, concentrating on London's gay bars, pubs and clubs.

He was trapped when a man who had escaped an attempt on his life volunteered to revisit some of these places, shadowed by plain clothes detectives. Lupo, who worked as a shop assistant in Knightsbridge, pleaded guilty.

Police have the same advantage in this case: their quarry clearly moves within a defined area, both geographically and socially, which is easy to penetrate under cover.

It is possible the killer is extracting revenge after discovering he is HIV- positive. Three of his five victims were discovered to be HIV-positive and the killer might be revisiting partners who could have passed the disease on to him.

Since the mistakes made in the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry and others, detectives have learnt much about recording and cross-referencing information in large inquiries. Computers are now the norm.

The police now also quickly turn to psychologists to build up a description of the quarry by close study of his killing methods.

Professor Robert Blueglass, professor of forensic psychiatry at Birmingham University, said: 'All these cases are distinguished by the fact that these are unusual characters, who behave in an out of the ordinary fashion, but often quite different from that which the police anticipate finding.'

Dr Elliot Leyton, professor of anthropology at the University of Memorial in Newfoundland, Canada, and author of Hunting Humans, a study of serial killers, said 15-20 per cent of such killers were homosexuals.

'It is often not necessary to search for a coherent motive because they do not have one. There are usually bizarre, internalised reasons and when the man is caught, he is unable to be emphatic or specific. Such cases are also marked by increasingly elaborate methods of killing and I would not be surprised to discover an element of torture has been involved.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee