Wilmslow deaths: Serial killer could be responsible for pensioner murders claims leaked report

Cheshire Police said they were conducting a review of the findings in the report, which was handed to the force last month.

A serial killer could be responsible for the multiple murders of pensioners, according to a confidential report leaked to the press.

The Sunday Times claimed the report raises concerns two suspected double murders in Wilmslow, Cheshire, could have been the work of an offender unknown to the police.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Read More

Read More
Stand Comedy Club starts redundancy process as stars demand funding lifeline
PA Photos

The first two double killings happened in 1996 and 1999 only two miles apart. In both cases husbands were previously thought to have murdered their wives before killing themselves.

But after re-examining the cases using modern techniques, the report finds both cases were likely to have been double murders, reports The Sunday Times.

Cheshire Police said they were conducting a review of the findings in the report, which was handed to the force last month, the newspaper said.

They are also said to have alerted Greater Manchester and Cumbria Police - where some of the killings took place.

The 179-page report calls on the National Crime Agency and Interpol to review cases in Britain and Europe to determine whether there are more related murders.

"This individual will not stop killing until someone or something stops him," the report is quoted as saying.

The report, written by Stephanie Davies, the senior coroner's officer for Cheshire, is supported by evidence from her predecessor at the time of the first deaths and a US-based crime-scene analysis expert.

The deaths of Howard and Bea Ainsworth and Donald and Auriel Ward were considered by police to be murder-suicides.

Both couples were discovered lying on blood-soaked beds in their nightclothes.

Similarities between the cases included the extremity of violence, with knives left in bodies at the crime scene; injuries to the head from a blunt weapon and stab wounds; and the fact that the women had been left with their nightdresses lifted.

The report points to "a number of inconsistencies which do not corroborate the original manner of death of being murder suicide".

It also identifies a further three murder-suicide cases, in 2000, 2008 and 2011 which should be reviewed, two in Greater Manchester and one in the Lake District.

In each case police said the wife had been stabbed and hit on the head with a blunt object by the husband before he took his own life.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police told The Sunday Times: "We are in receipt of the report and it is being reviewed. This is a piece of research which has been undertaken by the staff member, independently.

"As with any case that has been closed, where new information comes to light it is reviewed and acted upon if appropriate. We have notified Greater Manchester Police and Cumbria constabulary."

Reporting from PA

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.