“I didn’t give a damn who I was with… we’re all dying sooner or later”
Gilbert Paul Jordan was born as G.P. Elsie in Vancouver, Canada on 12 December 1931. By the time he was 16, he was an alcoholic (he drank more than three bottles of vodka a day —”Sober people wouldn’t go out with me, so I didn’t have much option. I didn’t want to drink in my room all by myself”) and high school dropout. By the time he left his teens, he had a criminal record for theft, assault, car theft and possession of heroin. He picked up 200 women a year for sex and would often pay prostitutes he picked up in the slums and bars of Vancouver’s seedy Eastside.
In 1961 police found him with a five-year-old girl in his car but, although charged, he was never convicted of abduction. In December that year he threatened to jump off the Lion’s Gate Bridge. In 1963 he was charged with theft and rape after luring two women into his car but was convicted only on the theft charge. In prison he learned hairdressing skills and opened Slocan Barber Shop, on Kingsway Avenue, Eastside. He invested his money in the stock market.
Soon the “Boozing Barber” progressed to murder. Elsie would pay women to drink or have sex with him in his barbers’ shop or in a cheap hotel. He then offered more money if they drank straight liquor. When the women passed out, he forced alcohol down their throats, and raped them as they died. In 1965 he picked up English-born Ivy Rose “Doreen” Oswald, whose nude body was found in a Vancouver hotel room the next day. Her death was ruled accidental and would officially remain that way until 1987.
A few days after the murder, Elsie changed his name to Jordan. As well as murdering at least ten women, Jordan also racked up convictions for indecent exposure and indecent assault in the early 1970s. In 1975 he was sentenced to 26 months for kidnapping a woman from a mental institution. Between July 1982 and June 1985 three alcoholic prostitutes died at his barbers’ shop. On 11 October 1987 Jordan took prostitute Vanessa Lee Buckner, 27, to the downmarket Niagara Hotel in Vancouver. Her nude body was discovered the next morning after an anonymous call to police.
The call was traced to Jordan’s room at the nearby Marble Arch Hotel. In November, when Edna Shade died of alcohol poisoning, police followed Jordan. In the next 15 days, he attempted to poison four women but was disturbed each time by the police who finally arrested him as he tried to pour vodka down a prostitute’s throat.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Linked to ten deaths, he was charged with seven but convicted only in the death of Vanessa Lee Buckner in 1988. “They were all on their last legs,” he said at the trial. “I didn’t give a damn who I was with. I mean, we’re all dying sooner or later.” He received 15 years for manslaughter, which was reduced to nine on appeal. Jordan served six. He died on 7 July 2006 in Victoria, British Columbia.