Gays warned after police link London murders: Similarities found between two knife attacks

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The Independent Online
LONDON'S gay community was put on alert yesterday when police discovered a possible link between the murder of Barry Stubbings, a stockbroker, and an attack on another homosexual hours earlier.

Detectives said it was too early to contemplate the possibility that a gay serial killer could be at work, but they have identified similarities between the murder of Mr Stubbings, 51, at his flat in Whitechapel on Tuesday and a cut-throat attack on a 63-year-old man in Wapping, a few miles away.

Detective Superintendent Albert Patrick, who confirmed that Mr Stubbings was a homosexual, yesterday appealed for help from the gay community in helping him gather information about the man's private life.

Colleagues at James Capel, where he was a director, have described Mr Stubbings as a well-liked workaholic but little is known about his life outside work.

He was found dead at his flat in White's Row on Wednesday after failing to turn up for a business meeting. Mr Patrick said his throat had been cut between midnight on Tuesday, when he returned home with a visitor after an Indian or Chinese meal, and 3am when neighbours heard the visitor leaving.

Earlier that night, at 7.30pm, David McKie of Pruson Street, Wapping, was attacked inside his 10th- floor flat before being stabbed on the doorstep by a man using a knife taken from inside. It is thought Mr Stubbings may have been attacked with a knife from his own kitchen. Mr McKie's throat was cut and he had been stabbed in the neck, chest and hand. Mr Patrick said that Mr McKie was critically ill in hospital and had so far been unable to help police.

'There are some similarities,' said Mr Patrick. 'It was an attack where he received some knife wounds. He is not well but hopefully he will recover and will be able to tell me if there is some connection. The early indications are that he had gay tendencies but only he can tell us that.'

Asked whether he was concerned that another killer could be on the loose in the mould of Colin Ireland, who murdered five gay men before being caught by Mr Patrick last year, the detective said: 'Of course I am concerned, but I don't want to signal alarms that there is another killer on the loose. But it would be wrong for me not to say to the gay people in London, 'look be careful, there could be a connection; murder on Wednesday, similar attack on Tuesday, so just be careful'.'

Mr Patrick said details had begun to emerge of Mr Stubbings' private life. Officers have questioned two men who had relationships with him. One knew him as Tony, the other, who had a two-year relationship with Mr Stubbings up until his death, knew him as Peter.

Officers said they are examining piles of correspondence and business diaries, but they believe the killing had nothing to do with Mr Stubbings's high-profile job.

The men with whom he had had relationships said he made contacts at lavatories and some of the 120 gay bars and clubs in London but Mr Patrick said his preferences were 'not extreme' and did not extend to sado-masochistic practices.

During the Colin Ireland inquiry, gay policemen and women were drafted in to help - a move widely regarded as having signalled a sea-change in attitudes among officers. But Mr Patrick said no officers were on the current inquiry because they were gay.