Police ready to link Peter Tobin to further murders

PETER Tobin is already one of Scotland's most notorious killers and a name that has become synonymous with cold-blooded cruelty.

•Peter Tobin has been linked with more deaths

Now detectives are on the brink of adding to his infamy by linking him to more deaths.

Ever since charging the 63-year-old with the murder of Angelika Kluk, 23, in September 2006, police have been convinced they were dealing with a serial killer. The professional manner with which Tobin killed and disposed of the body of the young Polish student left them sure he had killed before.

They quickly linked him to the disappearances of Vicky Hamilton, 15, last seen waiting for a bus in Bathgate, in February 1991, and Dinah McNicol, an 18-year old sixth-former from Tillingham, Essex, who had been hitch-hiking in August of the same year.

Both girls would be found buried in the back garden of Tobin's former home in Margate, Kent, where he had moved from Bathgate, shortly after Vicky's disappearance. Tobin was found guilty of both murders in separate trials.

But even as Lord Emslie told him "it is hard for me to convey the loathing and revulsion that ordinary people will feel for what you have done", while sentencing him to life for the murder of Vicky, police knew they had only scratched the surface of his criminality.

It seemed unlikely that Tobin had killed twice in 1991 and then waited until 2006 before targeting another victim.

And when it emerged that he lived in Glasgow in the 1960s, he was instantly linked to three unsolved murders committed by a man known as "Bible John", because he was heard quoting verses in the Barrowland dancehalls where he selected his victims.

In his book The Lost Serial Killer, which is out next month, Professor David Wilson, professor of criminology at the Centre for Criminal Justice Policy and Research at Birmingham University, wrote: "Peter Tobin has probably been killing for longer than any other British serial killer. I didn't set out to prove Tobin was Bible John, but I would stake my professional reputation on it."

The many relatives who have come to believe that Tobin murdered their loved ones now face an anxious three-month wait before police start naming more victims.

Strathclyde Police Detective Superintendent David Swindle said: "We hope to answer a lot of questions as to what Tobin has or hasn't done. We're putting pieces of the puzzle together. The purpose is to look at his whole life – to carry out investigative analysis of a serial killer.

"This is not about Peter Tobin getting more time in jail, because he's going to die there anyway. It's about his victims. We owe it to the public to find out what else he has done."

Operation Anagram involves eight UK police forces and has already generated about 6,000 lines of inquiry and more than 3,000 documents.

Det Supt Swindle said: "We set up Anagram in 2006, and the very fact that we're still here, still going, should tell you something. We would hope to answer a lot of questions as to what Tobin has or hasn't done within the next three months. But Anagram is still a live inquiry. We're on fire – we're busier than we have ever been.

"We may come out and say that we think he has done certain things. We are also looking to be able to rule things out."

They have found bank records, traced his movements from day to day and identified 120 cars owned by Tobin, some for just one week.

Det Supt Swindle, who leads the team, said: "It was small bits of information that led us to Vicky and Dinah – the fact Tobin lived in Bathgate when Vicky disappeared, he was driving from Hampshire when Dinah vanished, his neighbour remembering he had dug a big hole in his garden."

He added: "When we put the pieces together, they become significant."

Police attention also turned to Norfolk, where Tobin used to go on holiday.

The deaths of Susan Long, 18, and Natalie Pearman, 16, and the disappearances of Yvette Watson, 17, and Pamela Exall, 21, which took place in the county, have been linked to Tobin.

In 1969, Tobin moved to Brighton, Sussex, with his 17-year-old girlfriend, Margaret Mountney. They married but split after a year.

He has been linked to the disappearances of Louise Kay, 18, and art student Jessie Earl, 22, who both went missing from nearby Eastbourne.

The "Babes in the Woods" murders of Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows took place in Brighton. Aged ten and nine, they would be Tobin's youngest victims. However, there are also suggestions that Tobin did not want to commit crimes on his own doorstep.

He left Bathgate after the murder of Vicky Hamilton and moved all the way to Margate. And if he is proven to be Bible John, he would have murdered Helen Puttock in Glasgow, having already moved south to Brighton. If Tobin travelled far and wide to commit his murders, the identity of his victims becomes harder to predict.

Since the end of his trial for the killing of Miss McNicol – Tobin's third murder conviction – police have been able to seek publicity to aid their investigation without the fear of breaching sub judice rules.

They have released photos of jewellery he may have hoarded as "trophies", and made TV appeals for new witnesses. Soon, the relatives, who have waited years for answers, will be told what they

have uncovered.

Ten more victims whose killings may finally be solved

Natalie Pearman

THE 16-year-old prostitute's half-naked body was found at Ringland Hills, near Norwich, in November 1992. She was found strangled after disappearing from the red-light area of Norwich. Despite the case being briefly linked to Steve Wright, who was convicted of the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006, her killer has never been found.

Patsy Morris

THE 14-year-old disappeared in London, in 1980. Her body was discovered hidden in undergrowth on Hounslow Heath, in the south-west of the capital in mid-summer.

Her father, George Morris, believes that she might have been one of Tobin's victims.

"As soon as I read about the other girl's body being found in his backyard, something inside me clicked," he said.

Barbara Mayo

THE 24-year-old teacher went missing in October 1970 after leaving her home in London to go hitch-hiking. Her body was found six days later in a wood at Hardwick Hall, a National Trust stately home near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She had been raped and strangled. Tobin is suspected of using the M1 motorway network to dump the bodies of his victims.

April Fabb

THE 13-year-old, from Melton, left to cycle to her sister's home in Roughton on 8 April, 1969, to give her brother-in-law a birthday present. However, between 2:06pm, when she was seen by a tractor driver, and 2:12pm, when her blue and white bike was found lying on its side in a field, she vanished.

No trace of her has ever been found in more than 40 years since.

Louise Kay

LOUISE, 18, had been out clubbing in Eastbourne, Sussex, on the night she disappeared. She was last seen driving a girlfriend home in her dad's Ford Fiesta at 4:30am. After dropping her off she said she intended to drive back to her parents' house, which was just outside the town. However, neither Louise nor the car have been seen since.

Nicola Fellows

THE abduction, sexual assault and murder of nine-year-old Nicola Fellows and her playmate Karen Hadaway shocked the UK in 1986. Her uncle, Ian Heffron, has campaigned for improved child protection for more than 20 years since her death, and earlier this year made an unsuccessful attempt to be elected to Thurrock Council as an independent.

Jemima McDonald

ON 15 AUGUST 1969, the 32-year-old went dancing on a night out at the Barrowland Ballroom.

The next day, she was found in an old building, strangled with her stockings.

She had left the club at midnight with a young man described as tall and slim, with red hair.

Witnesses said they heard the man quoting Bible verses to her.

Patricia Docker

THE first of Bible John's victims, Patricia Docker, was 25 when she was last seen alive leaving the Majestic ballroom in 1968.

The following morning the nurse was discovered lying in a doorway in a lane in Langside, on the south side of Glasgow.

Her strangled body was found by a group of young children who were playing games in the street.

Karen Hadaway

THE ten-year-old schoolgirl and her friend Nicola Fellows became known as the "Babes in the Wood", after being found strangled in Wild Park, Brighton, in October 1986. Russell Bishop, a labourer, was charged with their murders, but was then acquitted after the prosecution admitted a series of errors in the presentation of forensic evidence at his trial in 1987.

Helen Puttock

THE 29-year-old's body was found 77 days after that of Jemima McDonald. She had been to the Barrowland Ballroom the night before with her sister, Jean Langford, where they met Bible John. Jean got out in the Scotstoun area and the taxi continued to Earl Street, where Helen lived. Her body was found early the next day. She had been strangled.