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see also: Unsolved murders in the UK

This is a list of major crimes in the United Kingdom that garnered significant media coverage and/or led to changes in legislation.

Date Name Deaths Type Location Summary
1856-65 Catherine Wilson murders 1-7 Murder (serial killer) Kirkby, England Nurse who was sentenced to death for killing one patient, but suspected of six other deaths. Described by the judge as "the greatest criminal that ever lived." 20,000 watched her hang at Newgate Gaol.
1886 The Pimlico Mystery 1 Murder Pimlico, London, England Following the suspicious death of Thomas Edwin Bartlett, his wife Adelaide was charged with murder. It was found that Bartlett's stomach contained a fatal quantity of chloroform, although this had not caused any damage to his throat or windpipe. Adelaide Bartlett was later acquitted, possibly because the prosecution were unable to explain the death, or how she could have committed the crime.
1888 Jack the Ripper 5+ Murder (serial killer) Whitechapel, London, England At least five prostitutes were murdered and mutilated by an unidentified serial killer, dubbed "Jack the Ripper" by the press. The murders eventually stopped and the murderer was never apprehended.
1910 Dr. Crippen case 1 Murder Holloway, London, England Hawley Harvey Crippen, an American-born doctor, used his position in a London pharmaceutical company to poison his wife before fleeing the country with his mistress. However, due in part to the newly developed wireless communication, Crippen was apprehended by Scotland Yard detectives onboard the SS Montrose shortly before its scheduled arrival in Quebec.
1911 The Siege of Sidney Street 6 Siege East End, London, England A shootout between unarmed London constables and a group of Latvian anarchists led by George Gardstein left three officers and Gardstein dead. British authorities then laid siege to the anarchists' safehouse on Sidney Street, meeting fierce resistance from the three anarchists inside. A fire broke out after a six-hour battle and, while the bodies of Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow were found, their leader Peter Piaktow was not located.
1915 Brides in the Bath Murders 3 Murder Leicester, East Midlands, England George Joseph Smith, a con artist and bigamist, murdered three of his wives before being arrested and executed on 13 August 1915.
1929 Podmore Case 1 Murder Southampton, England During a murder investigation regarding the discovery of the body of Vivian Messiter, an insurance agent for the Wolf's Head Oil Company, Detective Sir Bernard Spilsbury used early forensic techniques to conclusively prove guilt and convict William Henry Podmore.
1931 The Vera Page Case 1 Murder Notting Hill, London, England In yet another case investigated by Sir Bernard Spilsbury, the body of Vera Page was found after she had been raped and strangled. Although Percy Orlando Rush was named as a prime suspect, no one was charged with Page's murder and it remains unsolved.
1934 Brighton trunk murders 2 Murder Brighton, England Two unrelated, although similar murders took place in Brighton. A dismembered woman was found in an unclaimed trunk at a local railway station in June 1934. A second body was discovered later that year, following the disappearance of local prostitute Violet Kaye. When police conducted a house-to-house search near the railway station, her body was found in a trunk in the possession of her boyfriend Tony Mancini. Mancini had since fled the area. He was eventually apprehended by authorities, but was found not guilty.
1946 The Chalkpit Murder 1 Murder Wimbledon, London, England While residing in London, former Australian politician Thomas John Ley abducted the supposed lover of his mistress, barman John McMain Mudie, with the help of two other men. They tortured him before dumping his body in a Surrey chalkpit. Ley and accomplice Lawrence John Smith were arrested soon after, and sentenced to death. Both men's sentences were commuted with Smith sentenced to life imprisonment, while Ley was declared insane and sent to Broadmoor Hospital, where he died within months.
1949 The Acid Bath Murderer 6-8 Murder (serial killer) London, England John George Haigh murdered six people and disposed of their bodies in drums of sulphuric acid. He then forging documents turning the murder victims' possessions over to himself. Haigh was eventually caught after the disappearance and eventual murder of socialite Henrietta Durand-Deacon. Although apparently believing the police would be unable to prosecute him without her body, investigators were able to amass substantial evidence among his belongings as well as forensic evidence to convict him.
1952 Bentley and Craig 1 Murder Croydon, Surrey, England Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig were arrested by the Metropolitan Police following a shootout with police in which one constable was killed and another wounded. Although Craig shot and killed the constable, his accomplice Derek Bentley was charged with the murder and hanged.
1953 John Reginald Halliday Christie 6(+?) Murder (serial killer) Notting Hill, London, England Reg Christie strangled six women in his Notting Hill apartment, including his own wife. Christie has been implicated in the murders of two other people on the property, of which his fellow tenant, Timothy Evans, was convicted in 1950. Christie was eventually arrested in 1953 and hanged several months later at the same prison as Evans.
1953 Teddington towpath murders 2 Murder (child) Notting Hill, London, England 2 girls went missing in Teddington and were found the next day, having been murdered and raped. After the country's biggest manhunt at the time, Alfred Charles Whiteway was arrested and charged. He was found guilty and hanged. The case was described at the time as "one of Scotland Yard's most notable triumphs in a century".[1]
1955 Ruth Ellis 1 Murder Hampstead, London, England Ruth Ellis, a London nightclub manager, shot and killed her fiance David Blakely outside a Hampstead public house where she surrendered to police upon their arrival. Despite evidence of the involvement of another lover, Desmond Cussen, she was tried and convicted of murder for which she would be the last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom.
1935-1956 John Bodkin Adams 163+ Murder (serial killer) Eastbourne, East Sussex, England John Bodkin Adams, then Britain's richest doctor[2], was arrested in 1956 for killing two women, Edith Alice Morrell and Gertrude Hullett. After a 17 day trial at the Old Bailey, he was controversially acquitted of the first murder and the second indictment was dropped, an event the presiding judge later termed "an abuse of power" by the prosecutor.[3] Political intervention has been suspected.[2] Adams was struck off for drug offences, lying on cremation forms and fraud. Pathologist Francis Camps suspected Adams of killing 163 patients between 1946 and 1956, though rumours of Adams sinister behaviour had started circulating in 1935.[2] If such figures are true, it would make the Adams case Britain's most serious case of an error of impunity.
1959 Guenther Podola 1 Murder Kensington, London, England Podola, a German petty criminal, shot a police officer while trying to escape. He was executed for the murder, the last person in Britain hanged for killing a policeman.
1961 The A6 Murder 1 Murder Clophill, Bedfordshire, England An unidentified man abducted scientist Michael Gregsten and his assistant Valerie Storie, with whom Gregsten had been having an affair. The man forced them to drive him around suburban North London before having them stop at a lay-by on the A6 where he shot the pair. Only Storie survived the attack. A police investigation led to the eventual arrest of car thief James Hanratty. Although later convicted of the murder, the Hanratty case has since been disputed.
1963 The Great Train Robbery - Robbery Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, England After using railway signals to stop a Royal Mail freight train en route to London, Bruce Reynolds leads a 15-man group to storm the train and successfully escaped with £2.3 million. However, because the culprits left their fingerprints behind, police were able to trace thirteen of the robbers to their safehouse in Oakley, Buckinghamshire. Several members of the group, Ronnie Biggs, Ronald "Buster" Edwards and Charlie Wilson, managed to escape from prison soon after their trial.
1963-1965 The Moors Murders 5+ Murder (child) Oldham, Lancashire, England Five children were killed in the area of Greater Manchester over a two-year period by serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. After being turned in by Hindley's brother-in-law David Smith, the two were convicted of murder with Brady sentenced to life imprisonment before being committed to a mental health institution, while Hindley remained in prison until her death in 2002.
1966 Shepherd's Bush Murders 3 Murder Shepherd's Bush, West London, England Three plainclothes police officers of the Metropolitan Police's CID Division are killed while questioning three criminals parked near Wormwood Scrubs Prison.
1965-66 The Kray-Richardson Gang War 8 Organised crime London, England A gang war between the Kray twins and the Richardsons resulted in the gangland slayings of several underworld figures, including Frank Mitchell and George Cornell.
1968 The Krays 8 Organised crime London, England Jack "the Hat" McVite, a small-time drug dealer and an associate of the Krays, was attacked and stabbed to death by Reggie Kray after being invited to a private party. Although McVite's body was never found, Reggie and Ronnie Kray were arrested with other members of their organization with the Krays being sentenced to thirty years imprisonment.
1968 Mary Bell 2 Murder (child) Newcastle upon Tyne, England Mary Flora Bell was convicted in December 1968 of the manslaughter of two boys, Martin Brown (aged four years) and Brian Howe (aged three years). Bell was ten years old at the time of one of the killings, and eleven at the time of the other.
1969 Bible John 3(?) Murder (serial killer) Glasgow, Scotland Three women are found to have been strangled between 1968 and 1969 by an unidentified serial killer known only as Bible John. Although police investigated the murders for over twenty years, the murderer was never identified.
1978 The Carl Bridgewater Case 1 Murder (child) Wordsley, West Midlands, England The body of 13-year-old paperboy Carl Bridgewater was found in the house of a local elderly couple who had been out for the day. It was presumed by police that Bridgewater had disturbed a burglar while delivering a newspaper to their home and was dragged into their livingroom where he was killed with a shotgun blast to the head. Within a year, four men were arrested for the murder, however, the conviction of the men known as the Bridgewater Four has since been subject to controversy over police misconduct and evidence tampering.
1975-81 The Yorkshire Ripper 13-20+ Murder (serial killer) Yorkshire, England Peter Sutcliffe, known to the press as the "Yorkshire Ripper", murdered seven women in West Yorkshire, as well as up to thirteen others in northern England until his arrest in 1981. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was imprisoned at Parkhurst Prison until his transfer to Broadmoor Hospital after he was violently assaulted by another inmate.
1978-81 Dennis Nilsen 15+ Murder (serial killer) London Dennis Nilsen murdered several men over a period of five years, including foreign students as well as local homeless men and male prostitutes, who were lured to his apartment and strangled before being dismembered.
1983 Murder of Colette Aram 1 Murder (child) Keyworth, Nottinghamshire England Colette Aram, a 16-year-old trainee hairdresser who was abducted, raped and strangled as she walked from her home to her boyfriend's house in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, on 30 October 1983.
1983 Brinks Mat robbery - Robbery Heathrow Airport 6 armed robbers broke into the Brinks Mat warehouse in Heathrow Airport and got away with £26 million in gold bullion with the inside help of security guard Anthony Black.
1984 The shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher 1 Murder St. James's Square, London, England Yvonne Fletcher, a young police officer, was shot and killed under mysterious circumstances while attempting to control rioting protesters at the Libyan embassy.
1987 Hungerford massacre 17 Murder (shooting spree) Hungerford, Berkshire, England Michael Ryan went on a rampage in a small rural town in England, shooting people at random (including his own mother) with an array of firearms before killing himself.
1988 The Lockerbie Disaster 270 Terrorism Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland In one of the worst terrorist attacks of the decade, a London-New York commercial flight Pan Am Flight 103 crashed near Lockerbie, Scotland as the result of a bomb having been planted in the forward cargo hold. A joint investigation by the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the (U.S.) Federal Bureau of Investigation linked the bombing to Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and the head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines.
1991-2006 Peter Tobin 3 known Murder (serial killer) Margate, Kent Prior to his first murder conviction, Tobin served ten years in prison for a double rape committed in 1993, following which he was released in 2004. In 2007 he was sentenced to life with a minimum of 21 years for the rape and murder of Angelika Kluk in Glasgow in 2006. Skeletal remains of two further young women who went missing in 1991 were subsequently found at his former home in Margate. Tobin was convicted of the murder of Vicky Hamilton in December 2008, when his minimum sentence was increased to 30 years, and of the murder of Dinah McNicol in December 2009. He is now being investigated for other unsolved cases of murder dating back to the 1960s.
1992 The Rachel Nickell murder case 1 Murder Wimbledon Common, London England Rachel Nickell was the victim of a sexual assault and murder on Wimbledon Common, London, on 15 July 1992. She was stabbed 49 times. On 18 December 2008, Robert Napper, pleaded guilty to Nickell's manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Colin Stagg had earlier been charged and then acquitted in relation to this murder.
1993 The Murder of James Bulger 1 Murder (child) Walton, Merseyside, England Two-year-old James Patrick Bulger was killed by two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, after luring him away from a shopping centre to a nearby railway line where they violently tortured and beat him before leaving him on a railway track to die of his injuries. After the discovery of Bulger's body two days later, Venables and Thompson were arrested by police and both sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
1993 The murder of Stephen Lawrence 1 Murder Eltham, London A Jamaican-born architecture student, Stephen Lawrence, and a friend are attacked by a group of white males and stabbed to death while waiting for a bus in Eltham, an area in south-east London. Although several people were arrested for the attack, none was brought to trial due to lack of evidence.
1994 The House of Horrors Fred and Rosemary West case 12(+?) Murder (serial killer) Gloucester, England Between April 1973 and September 1979, Fred and Rosemary West would lure young women into their home where they were sexually assaulted and murdered. In February 1994 they were arrested and dead bodies were found in the garden and under the house at their Gloucester home. It is speculated that the pair murdered other girls between 1980 and 1992, but their only known victim after 1980 was their 16-year-old daughter, Heather, who was murdered in 1987 by Fred West, who hanged himself whilst awaiting trial at Winson Green Prison on New Year's Day 1995. On November 22, 1995, Rosemary West was sentenced to life imprisonment.
1994 The Murder of Daniel Handley 1 Murder (child) West London Daniel Handley was murdered in West London in 1994. Timothy Morss and partner Brett Tyler were sentenced to life sentences in 1996 for abducting, sexually assaulting and murdering the nine-year-old boy. When the pair, along with two others, received 50-year tariffs imposed by Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2002, this was overturned within 24 hours by the European Court of Human Rights.
1996 Dunblane massacre 18 Murder (spree shooting) Dunblane, Scotland A gunman murdered 16 children and their teacher at a primary school in Scotland before shooting himself dead.
1996 The Michael Stone Killings 2 Murder (child) Kent, England Michael Stone was convicted of a notorious double-murder in 1996. He has continued to assert his innocence. His original conviction was overturned on appeal but a second trial resulted in another verdict of guilty after another prisoner claimed that Stone had confessed to the killings while on remand in jail. His most recent appeal, in 2004, also failed.
1998 Harold Shipman 250+ Murder (serial killer) Hyde, Tameside, England Over a period of three decades, Dr. Harold Shipman murdered approximately 250 elderly women in the area of Hyde, Greater Manchester until his arrest in 1998 after he attempted to forge a new will in the name of one of his victims. Facing 15 consecutive life sentences, he later committed suicide while in custody at Wakefield Prison in 2004.
1999 The Jill Dando Murder 1 Murder Fulham, West London, England Jill Dando, a television presenter for the British Broadcasting Corporation and host of Crimewatch, is murdered by an unknown gunman outside her home in West London. After a high profile investigation by the Metropolitan Police, neighbour Barry George was convicted and sentenced to life. In July 2008 he was acquitted after the jury found the police's case too weakly founded.
2000 The murder of Sarah Payne 1 Murder (child) East Preston, West Sussex, England Sarah Payne, an 8-year-old schoolgirl, is abducted and later murdered by Roy Whiting.
2000 The murder of Damilola Taylor 1 Murder (child) Peckham, London, England While on his way from Peckham Library, ten-year-old Damilola Taylor was found with a cut to his left thigh and bled to death within a half hour before arriving at a local hospital. The mysterious circumstances regarding this have led to speculation that it might have been a racially motivated attack or an accidental death. While the case remains open, Taylor's death is unsolved.
2001 The Torso in the Thames case 1 Murder (child) River Thames, London, England The discovery a human torso floating in the River Thames on 21 September 2001 is eventually revealed to be the remains of a recently-arrived Nigerian boy, between the ages of four and seven. Although the child is thought to be a victim of a ritual killing, the London Metropolitan Police Service have yet to apprehend those responsible.
2001-2 The M25 Rapist - Rape South East England West German-born Antoni Imiela, known as the M25 Rapist, attacks and sexually assaults seven woman in Southeastern England before his capture by authorities in 2004.
2001 The Murder of Danielle Jones 1 Murder (child) East Tilbury, Essex The murder of Danielle Jones was an English murder case where no body was found and the conviction relied upon forensic authorship analysis of text messages sent on the victim's mobile phone. Danielle Sarah Jones was last seen alive on 18 June, 2001; her body has never been found. Jones' uncle Stuart Campbell, a builder, was convicted of abduction and murder on 19 December, 2002. Campbell was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder as well as 10 years for abduction. After the trial, controversy arose when it was revealed Campbell had prior convictions for indecent assault on other girls of similar ages. The use of forensic authorship analysis of text messages in the case provoked research into its use in other cases.
2002 The Soham murders 2 Murder (child) Soham, Cambridgeshire, England Two ten-year-old children, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, were murdered by local school caretaker Ian Huntley after luring them into his home. The search for the two girls was one of the longest undertaken by British authorities.
2002 The Murder of Amanda Dowler 1 Murder (child) Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England Dowler was a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl when she was abducted in broad daylight while walking home from school, with no witnesses to the crime. Her body was discovered six months later in Yateley, Hampshire. The investigation gained national media coverage and was the largest investigation undertaken by Surrey police. No formal charges of murder have ever been brought against anyone.
2003 The Murder of Jodi Jones 1 Murder (child) Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Jody Jones was a fourteen year old school girl who was murdered by her boyfriend, Luke Mitchell whilst walking down a footpath to meet him not long after school. She was brutally attacked and stabbed. Mitchell is now imprisoned in Lanarkshire prison in Scotland.

2003 The Joel Smith killings 2 Murder (child) Kensal Green, London England On 4 August 2006 Joel Smith was convicted of murdering seven-year-old Toni-Ann Byfield and the man who was thought to be her father, Bertram Byfield, at a bedsit in Kensal Green, London, in September 2003. After being found guilty Smith was jailed for life for both murders, with a recommendation that he should serve at least 40 years before being considered for parole. This sentence is one of the longest recommended minimum terms ever made in England and Wales.
2004 The Northern Bank robbery - Robbery Belfast, Northern Ireland £26.5 million is stolen from the Donegall Square headquarters of Northern Bank by a large armed gang.
2005 London Bombings 52 Terrorism London, England Four suicide bombers detonated high explosives located in camping rucksacks on three underground trains and a double-decker bus
2005 The Murder of Sally Anne Bowman 1 Murder Croydon, South London England Sally Anne Bowman was violently murdered and raped near her home in Croydon, South London, just two weeks after her 18th birthday.
2005 The Stabbing of Abigail Witchalls 1 Stabbing Surrey, England Abigail Witchalls was left paralysed after being stabbed in front of her 21-month old son Joseph in Surrey, England, on 20 April 2005.
2006 Securitas depot robbery - Robbery Tonbridge, Kent, England The largest cash robbery in British history, netting £53,116,760 in cash. The majority of the suspects were arrested.
2006 Ipswich Ripper 5 Rape Ipswich, Suffolk, England Five women from Ipswich who were working as prostitutes were found murdered around the town.
2006 The Murder of Nisha Patel-Nasri 1 Murder Wembley, north London Nisha Patel-Nasri was a Metropolitan Police special constable and business owner who was stabbed to death outside her Wembley, north London home on Thursday 11 May 2006 before midnight. Her widower, Fadi Nasri, was arrested on Tuesday 27 February 2007 as a suspect. On Wednesday 28 May 2008 he was found guilty of organising her murder.
2007 The Death of Baby P 1 Murder (child) London Borough of Haringey, North London
2007 The Murder of Sophie Lancaster 1 Murder (child) Bacup, Rossendale Lancashire Sophie Lancaster was the victim of a brutal attack along with her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, while walking through Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Rossendale in Lancashire. As a result of her severe head injuries she went into a coma, never regained consciousness, and later died. The police said the attack may have been provoked by the couple wearing gothic fashion and being members of the goth subculture.
2007 The Murder of Rhys Jones 1 Murder (child) Liverpool, England The murder of Rhys Milford Jones occurred on 22 August 2007 in Liverpool, England, when he was shot in the neck. An 18-year-old youth, Sean Mercer, went on trial on 2 October 2008 and was convicted of murder on 16 December 2008.
2008 The New Cross double murders 2 Murder Sterling Gardens, New Cross in South East London, England Two French research students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, were murdered in Sterling Gardens, New Cross in South East London, United Kingdom. The victims, who were apparently playing computer games when attacked, were bound and stabbed more than 240 times.
2009 Graff Diamonds robbery - Robbery Bond Street, London Two men wearing prosthetic make-up steal £40 million (US$65 million) of gems in an armed robbery on Graff Diamonds, a jewelery store in Bond Street, London.

See Also

References

  1. ^ Cullen, Pamela V. (2006). A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams. London: Elliott & Thompson. ISBN 1904027199.
  2. ^ a b c Cullen, Pamela V., A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr. John Bodkin Adams, London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9
  3. ^ Devlin, Patrick; "Easing the Passing", London, The Bodley Head, 1985
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