Speaking at a press conference at Scotland Yard, Detective Chief Superintendent Ken John said that he wanted to get a message across to the killer: 'I need to speak to you. Enough is enough. Enough pain, enough anxiety, enough tragedy. Give yourself up - whatever terms, whatever you dictate, whatever time, to me or my colleagues.'
He confirmed that police and some sections of the media had received telephone calls from a man who claimed to be the killer, but he refused to give details of their contents beyond suggesting that they were not deliberately mocking.
Mr John appealed to the media to exercise restraint and not to portray the man as taunting the police.
'I do not want this man sparked up to go on. I cannot close my eyes to the fact that he might. He knows what he is talking about. I am anxious to talk to him; he may need help, I need to talk to him,' he said.
The last call took place after the fifth murder. Emanuel Spiteri, 42, was strangled at his home in Lewisham, south-east London. Mr Spiteri, a catering assistant and a homosexual, was last seen by a neighbour on Saturday. It is believed that he was killed between Saturday night and Sunday morning when an attempt was made to set fire to the room. The body was discovered on Tuesday.
Mr John said the first calls by the killer were made to newspapers after the death of Peter Walker, the first victim, in Battersea, south-west London, on 8 March, but before the body was found; he said the caller was concerned about two dogs in the flat.
Six or seven further calls were received by the police following the murders of Perry Bradley, a businessman, in Kensington, west London, on 4 June, and Andrew Collier, 33, a caretaker, in Dalston, east London, on 9 June. Mr John said the calls referred to all three murders as well as that of Christopher Dunn, who had been found dead between the Walker and Bradley killings, although police had initially treated his death as an accident.
Police are believed to have a number of descriptions of men seen with the victims in the periods immediately before their deaths, and are trying to put together a picture for release. In the Collier case, detectives are said to have a 'very good description' of the man seen accompanying the victim into his flat shortly before he died. A witness said she was certain she would recognise the man again.
Letters, page 21