Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Bible John Mystery

Back in Glasgow between 1968 & 1969, a serial killer was on the loose in Glasgow, who took the lives of three women, all in similar circumstances, but despite an extremely intensive manhunt, he was never apprehended.  This was the killer labelled "Bible John".  This saga began in 1968 when 25 year old Patricia Docker went out for a night of dancing.  She intended to go to the Majestic Ballroom, but instead decided to go to the Barrowlands Ballroom.  The Ballroom nightlife was not as hectic as it was decades before, but it still gave opportunities to go dancing and in the case of married people, a chance to grab a bit on the side.  This point was to blight the subsequent enquiry, as many would not come forward fearing relationship and marital rows if their other half had known where they had been.

    Pat Docker was found in an alleyway, virtually naked with a sanitary towel placed on her body, the next morning.  Despite intense activity, the Police never caught him.  It was 18 months later that another victim was found.  This was 32 year old Jemina McDonald, a mother of three, went out to the Barrowlands, whilst her sister minded her children.  She was seen with a well groomed young man with auburn hair.  His appearance was different from most who frequented the Barrowlands, as he was very conservative in appearance.  She did not come home that night and by morning, her sister was worried.  She heard a tale of kids saying there was a body in a derelict flat.  She decided to investigate and came upon the violated body of her sister.  She was partially undressed and had a sanitary towel placed by the body.  She had been strangled and beaten.  Pat Docker had the same type of injuries.

    October 1969 saw the final killing.  29 year old Helen Puttock went out dancing with her sister, Jeannie, to the Barrowlands.  There they met two men, who both said they were called "John".  Helen had met a well groomed young man with neatly cut short hair.  Later, when they were leaving, Helen`s friend got into an argument with staff over a cigarette machine.  He gave the impression that he seemed to always get his way.  The four left in a taxi, but the other "John" alighted from the cab in the Castlemilk district.  This man has never come forward.  The other three remained in the cab and the "John" made some biblical references.  Jeannie was dropped off but Helen was never seen alive again.  The following morning, her body was found by a man walking his dog.  She had been beaten and strangled.  Like Pat & Jemina, she had been menstruating.  Police later were told of a man fitting "John`s" description, getting on a bus, dishevelled and with a noticeable mark under one eye.  A drawing of "John" was drawn by Lennox Patterson from the Glasgow school of Art, that was said by Jeannie Puttock to be accurate, and was widely distributed by Police.  The picture generated suspects but all were cleared.  In 1996, the body of John Mcinnes was exhumed for DNA testing.  John Mcinnes was an early suspect in the hunt.  He did resemble the description from Jeannie, and was in the Barrowlands that night, but tests proved that Mr Mcinnes, who had committed suicide in 1980, was innocent.

    One good suspect that has emerged is serial killer Peter Tobin.  He lived in Glasgow at that time, was always well attired, had great knowledge of the Bible, and was extremely violent to women.  Blood seemed to urge him on to more violence.  Doubters point out that Tobin was not tall enough for the killer.  Jeannie put him around 5`10 to six foot, but doormen at the Barrowlands said he was not that tall.  There is footage from Police interviews showing Tobin standing, and virtually in the faces of the detectives denying any involvement in the murders he was convicted of.  Think of "John" arguing with staff at the Barrowlands and not backing down!  There are a number of coincidences fitting Tobin, but they just might be that.  I think he is good for "Bible John" and leading criminologist David Wilson believes he is.  The name "Bible John" was coined by journalist John Quinn, as a reference point rather than sensationalism, and the name stuck.  Will he ever be brought to book?