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Psycho Killer: True-Crime Stories

Simply the best podcast for lovers of authentic, intelligent true-crime investigations

Welcome to Psycho Killer. If you’re obsessed with authentic true-crime stories you’ve come to the right place. Psycho Killer is a podcast made by real homicide investigators for true-crime connoisseurs like you.

Psycho Killer combines a detective’s powers of investigation with a journalist’s nose for a story to bring you insights and exposés from the darkest corners of the human psyche.

Our British sleuths pore over the evidence, challenge contemporary decisions and take nothing for granted. We reveal what really happens in a murder hunt — the triumphs and the tragedies.

So go ahead. Get closer. We'll see you on the dark side.


Missing Without A Trace: The Aussie Backpacker Murders And Other Disappearances

Ivan Milat, wearing shorts and a blue singlet, standing in a forest landscape, eating an apple.The handsome fellow in the picture was convicted of multiple sadistic murders. His name was Ivan Milat and – although he never admitted any of his crimes – his name has gone down in history as Australia's most notorious serial killer.

In this podcast we look into the so-called 'backpacker murders'; we take a critical view of Australia's missing persons problem and assess official efforts to address it.

We also explore the possibility of a link between Australia and a decades-old English cold case.

Listen to "Missing Without A Trace: The Aussie Backpacker Murders And Other Disappearances" on Spreaker.


The Mysterious Death of Alfred Swinscoe

Alfred Swinscoe – BBC CreditThis podcast is about an active murder investigation with a twist – the crime went undetected for more than 50 years.

In 1967, the family of Alfred Swinscoe assumed he'd walked out, disappeared, and started a new life elsewhere. The police thought so also, and they closed the file.

Then, one spring morning in 2023, workers digging a new drain stumbled upon human remains. Alfred Swinscoe's grandson got in touch, and 21st-century forensics did the rest. The coal miner from Pinxton in Derbyshire had been killed, and his body buried on the edge of a remote wood.

Now detectives have to answer a question over half a century old:
Who murdered Alfred Swinscoe?

Listen to "The Mysterious Death of Alfred Swinscoe" on Spreaker.


Jack The Ripper: The Only Clue Left By The Killer

Warning: explicit

Jacques Morrell opposite the fish and chip show that was formerly the Goulston Street entrance to Wentworth Model Dwellings, Whitechapel., E1.Jack the Ripper. The unknown serial killer murdered and mutilated at least five women in the East End of London in 1888.

Every time he gave the police the slip. He only made one mistake – dropping a piece of apron ripped from his fourth victim.

Catherine Eddowes was murdered in Mitre Square in the City of London. A copper found the apron piece in Goulston Street, less than half a mile away in Whitechapel.

Chalked on the brickwork above it was the now-notorious Goulston Street Graffito: ‘The Juwes are not the men that will be blamed for nothing.

So, what was the East End like at the time of the killings? And how would a modern homicide team investigate them?

Jacques Morrell and Simon Ford joined Ripperologist, Mick Priestley, for a tour of Jack the Ripper's backyard.

Listen to "Jack The Ripper: Halloween Special" on Spreaker.

Read transcript

For books and gifts, and to book a tour, go to www.ripperworld.net.

Jack The Ripper: The Witnesses

The second instalment of our Jack the Ripper investigation probes the reliability of the witnesses who came forward. Were they attention seekers? Were they profiteers? Or were they, perhaps, covering their tracks? Jacques Morrell asked M.P. Priestley – official tour guide and author of Jack the Ripper, One Autumn in Whitechapel – for his expert opinion.

Listen to "Jack The Ripper: The Witnesses" on Spreaker.

Learn more about M.P. Priestley and his work as an author, guide and Ripperologist. His book, Jack the Ripper – One Autumn in Whitechapel is available from Amazon.

Jack The Ripper: Psycho Or Satanist?

Warning: graphic content

Mystery surrounds the mass murderer known as Jack the Ripper. He prowled the back streets of London's East End preying on the poor and the vulnerable.

This devil butchered his victims and left their mutilated corpses down dark alleys, on doorsteps, and in doss houses. Then, the killer vanished, seemingly into thin air.

What spurred the Ripper on his rampage? Some believe he was driven by dark forces conjured from hell itself. The evidence, they say, is plain to see – if you know what to look for.

In this podcast we go to Whitechapel – Jack the Ripper's hunting ground – in search of answers.

Listen to "Jack The Ripper: Psycho Or Satanist?" on Spreaker.

Acknowledgements

Jack the Ripper (Paramount, 1959) directed by Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman. 


The Riddle of the Goulston Street Graffito

Robert D'Onston wrote to the City of London police explaining the message chalked at the entrance to 108-119 Wentworth Model Dwellings. Commissioner Sir Charles Warren said there was no "... dialect or language in which the word Jews is spelt Juwes".

D'Onston told the Ripper detectives to write 'Juwes' in script and: "... place a dot over the third upstroke [to spell] 'The Juives' which, I need not tell you, is the French word for Jews."

The letter continued: "The murderer unconsciously reverted, for a moment, to his native language..." leading D'Onston to the conclusion that:

"1. The man was a Frenchman. 2. He had resided a long time in England ... 3. He had resided a long time in the East End ... 4. It is probable (not certain) that he is a notorious Jew-hater, though he may only have written it to throw a false scent."

What do you think? Was D'Onston onto something? Below left is the message as copied by the police and right with D'Onston's dot placed over the third upstroke.


'Mad Billy' Hughes: The Pottery Cottage Murders

William Thomas Hughes. Credit: Lancashire Evening Post.The Pottery Cottage murders occurred between the 12th and the 14th of January 1977.

William Thomas Hughes escaped from custody while being transferred from prison to court to face charges of rape and grievous bodily harm.
 
Hughes stabbed his escort – two prison officers – then did a runner. But the winter weather was the worst for a generation. He needed to lie low until the hue and cry passed by. 

Pottery Cottage gave Hughes the shelter he needed. But it gave him another problem; a family lived there, and they had to be controlled. So Hughes took them hostage – and from that moment on, their fate was sealed.

Advisory: contains very strong language.

Location recording by Karl Cooper, Podcast Partners UK.

Listen to "The Pottery Cottage Murders" on Spreaker.


Barry Prudom: Psycho Killer Investigates The 'Phantom In The Forest'

Barry Prudom police mug shotBarry Prudom was an electrician with a vivid fantasy life and a passion for all things military. You might compare him to that famous fictional daydreamer Walter Mitty. But unlike Mitty, Prudom lost sight of the line between fantasy and reality.  

He had a bash at joining the special forces, but the SAS knocked him back. Wounded, Prudom retreated into himself. His relationships failed and he drifted – from job to job, from continent to continent. 

Resentment and fantasy were his closest companions. In his mind, he was a commando following the assassin’s creed. Somewhere along the line, he got his hands on a pistol – a tool of the trade rare in rural Yorkshire.  The die was cast and inevitably fantasy turned into bloody reality.  

Barry Prudom, Barry Prudom 

He's coming for you with his gun 

Barry Prudom, Barry Prudom 

He's Public Enemy number one

('Barry Prudom' – song by Combat 84)

Listen to "Barry Prudom: The Making Of A Mass Murderer" on Spreaker.

Acknowledgments 

‘Barry Prudom’ by Combat 84 (re-released by Splattered! Records, 2019) 

Extracts from the documentary, ‘Manhunt: Phantom in the Forest’ (ITV, 2002) 


Barry Prudom: In The Footsteps Of A Cop Killer

DS (Ret) Jacques MorrellIt was a routine traffic stop for PC David Haigh. He'd made hundreds over the years. But there was something strange about this car parked in remote woodland. Call it copper's intuition. PC Haigh knocked on the driver's window. The last thing he saw was the muzzle of an automatic pistol. And the last thing to go through his head was a .22 calibre bullet.

So began the 18-day rampage of cop killer Barry Prudom: an unremarkable electrician from Leeds by day; a self-styled SAS trooper by night. Prudom's interest in the military became an obsession when the army turned him down. In the summer of 1982, he was the target of the biggest manhunt the UK had ever seen. He killed again – shooting dead a civilian and a police sergeant, and wounding another police officer – before the police called on the services of a real SAS veteran, the tracker and survivalist Eddie McGee.

McGee led the police to Prudom's hiding place in the North Yorkshire town of Malton. A single report rang out, followed by a volley of police gunfire that peppered Prudom's bivouac. But the fugitive was already dead: that first shot had been the sound of Prudom taking his own life. 

Ex-major crime detective, Jacques Morrell, has been visiting some of the places linked to Barry Prudom. He joined Psycho Killer teammate Simon Ford for a chat on the banks of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire.

Listen to "Barry Prudom: In The Footsteps Of A Cop Killer" on Spreaker.


Mark 'Reds' Martin: The Nottingham Serial Killer

sex, violence, language

Mugshot of Mark 'Reds' Martin with Nottingham's ruined Great Northern Warehouse  in the background.The newspapers called him the Sneinton Strangler after the district of Nottingham where he plied his trade. 

Mark Martin operated in the shadows. While others walked by 'Reds', as he was known, always had time for the hungry and homeless.

But he was no Samaritan. He took what little they had – their benefits, their drugs, their remaining shreds of dignity. And when he had sucked them dry, Martin disposed of his victims – or got one of his henchmen to do the job for him.

Mark Martin was a psychopath, a parasite, and a curse on society. It was a blessing the police stopped him when they did.

Listen to "Mark 'Reds' Martin - Nottingham's First Serial Killer" on Spreaker.


Peter Tobin And The Bible John Mystery

Explicit content

Serial killer, paedophile and rapist Peter Tobin appearing at courtThis is the face of Peter Briton Tobin.

This is the last face Angelika Kluk, Vicky Hamilton and Dinah McNicol saw before the paedophile, rapist and serial killer ended their young lives.

Tobin subjected his young victims to unspeakable cruelty. Then he murdered them and buried their bodies – Vicky and Dinah in his back garden – Angelika under the floorboards of a Catholic church in Glasgow.

Some speculate Tobin was responsible for the disappearances of hundreds of young women and girls. But Tobin, to use a cliché, took his secrets to the grave. He died on 8 October 2022 while serving three life sentences.

This podcast explores the full horror of Peter Tobin's life and crimes, and the links that have been drawn between the serial killer and three murders in Glasgow in the 1960s: the so-called Bible John Killings.

Sources and Acknowledgments

Crimewatch UK, BBC Television, 2010
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal
Strathclyde Police
The Daily Mirror
The Daily Record
​​​​​​​The Murderer and Me, Znack and Co for Sky Original Documentaries, 2021

Listen to "Peter Tobin And The Bible John Mystery" on Spreaker.


Refuge: Our Charity For 2023

Refuge logoRefuge supports thousands of women and children trying to escape domestic abuse. 

90% of domestic abuse in the home happens in the presence of a child. 

Your regular gift could help children overcome the trauma of witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse and help women get back their independence.

How to donate


The Isdal Woman Mystery: Murder or Suicide? And Who On Earth Was She?

The face of Isdal Woman - a perspective reconstruction from a forensic photograph taken at the scene. Credit: Alex Vts via the Death in Ice Valley Facebook page They called her the Isdal Woman for two reasons: her charred body was found in a remote ice valley – 'isdal' in Norwegian – and she had no name. Isdal Woman was the ultimate Jane Doe.

The discovery of her remains near Bergen in Norway has puzzled and fascinated investigators for five decades. The deeper you dig, the more baffling the case becomes.

Was the corpse that of a spy or a Nazi hunter? Was Isdal Woman an international criminal? Or was she simply a fantasist who roamed Europe and chose a beautiful spot in the Norwegian mountains as the place to end her life?

Psycho Killer decided to unravel Idsdal Woman's tangled web and answer those questions – once and for all.

Listen to "The Isdal Woman: Who Was She, And Was She Murdered?" on Spreaker.


Charles Rotherham & The Bessie Sheppard Murder

This haunting tale dates back to 1817. Bessie Sheppard was a teenage girl living in turbulent times. Her violent death at the hands of vagrant ex-soldier Charles Rotherham traumatised her community in the heart of Sherwood Forest. Local gentlemen erected a memorial to Bessie and, to the puzzlement of researchers, her murderer. Rotherham was hanged in chains, but as we discovered, his execution was the beginning of a fascinating piece of folklore.

The murder stone is at WTW intervals.many.luck. Please take care if you visit because the site is beside a busy main road.

Listen to "The Haunting Tale Of Bessie Sheppard's Murder" on Spreaker.


The Bunnyman Mystery

A hatchet supposedly thrown through the window of Air Force cadet Robert Bennett's car while parked in the 5400 block of Guinea Road, Fairfax, VA, October 31 1970.Come with us as we chase a rabbit down a hole — a blood-thirsty psychopath dressed in a monstrous, man-size bunny costume. Parents and grandparents in Fairfax, VA, are supposed to warn their children: "Be good, or the Bunnyman'll get you!"

The blood-spattered Bunnyman has won a place in the rogue's gallery of American horror fiction. But is the story based on fact? Who was the Bunnyman? And is he still out there?

Our quest to identify the legendary Bunnyman led us through a maze of myth, mystery and murder.
Prepare to enter a wonderland of nightmares, where nothing is what it seems.

Acknowledgements

  • Donnie Darko, Flower Films,2001, written and directed by Richard Kelly.
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (Donnie Darko cinema scene), Steven Baker and Carmen Daye.
  • Killing Moon, Echo & The Bunnymen (Sergeant, McCulloch, Pattinson and de Freitas). Produced by David Lord, Korova, 1984. 
  • Bunnyman, Osiris Entertainment, 2011, produced and directed by  Carl Lindbergh.

Listen to "The Bunnyman Mystery" on Spreaker.


Walter Chadwick: A Rival Of Jack The Ripper?

Walter ChadwickJack the Ripper was the Devil incarnate. He rose to notoriety from among the countless demons who preyed on the poor and vulnerable of Victorian London. But whereas Jack was driven by unexplained, dark urges, his contemporaries killed and mutilated their victims in the course of more mundane crimes. 

These were the robbers and housebreakers who plagued the metropolis. They were quick to resort to violence and the homicide rate soared. London's police struggled to contain an epidemic of lawlessness unrivalled until the rise of the gangsters in 1920s America.

Two cases, in particular, horrified the citizens of London. Both were senseless acts of violence, committed by a psychopath who clearly killed for the sake of killing. One man was suspected of both murders. But would the Metropolitan Police find enough evidence to hang him? 

Listen to "Jack The Ripper's Rivals: Did Walter Chadwick Get Away With Murder – Twice?" on Spreaker.


All Episodes 

This is it – every Psycho Killer shocking true crime podcast ever made. 

Psychopathy Test 

Answer the $64,000 question: 'Am I a psychopath?'


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