Jack the Stripper – 1964-1965

By | January 3, 2017

Her knickers were in her mouth and her stockings around her ankles

jack-the-stripper

Westpoint Trading Estate, where the body of Bridie O’Hara was found

THE CRIME:

Jack the Stripper murdered six prostitutes from the Notting Hill—Bayswater area of west London. They were all between 1.52 and 1.6 m (5 ft and 5 ft 3 in) tall, they had all suffered from some form of venereal disease, they all disappeared between 11pm and lam and their bodies were thought to have been dumped between 5am and 6am.

The first victim was 30-year-old Hannah Tailford whose naked body was found under a pontoon by Hammersmith Bridge by two brothers preparing for a weekend’s sailing. Her knickers were in her mouth and her stockings around her ankles. At the autopsy it was discovered she was pregnant. Victim number two was Irene Lockwood, whose naked body was found at 8.30am on 8 April 1964 about 270 m (300 yd) from where Hannah Tailford’s body had been found. She had appeared in porn films and, like Hannah Tailford, Lockwood was pregnant when she was murdered. On 24 April 1964 the body of convent-educated Helene Barthelemey, 22, was discovered in Brentford. She was naked and four of her front teeth were missing. There were traces of spray paint on her body and sperm in her throat. Victim number four was Mary Fleming, 30, on 14 July 1964. Her false teeth were missing; she had paint on her body and sperm in her mouth.

Four months later, 21-year-old Margaret McGowan was found naked in a car parked near High Street Kensington Tube. Again there were traces of paint on her body and sperm in her mouth. The final victim was 27-year-old Bridie O’Hara, discovered on 16 February 1965 behind a shed on the Westpoint Trading Estate. Again there was sperm in her mouth and some of her teeth were missing.

Police discovered that paint flecks on the women’s bodies matched those of a paint spraying shop on the Heron Factory Estate. It was likely that this was where the women had been kept prior to their corpses being dumped. It seemed that the women had all choked to death while performing fellatio on their killer.

WHERE:

London; Brentford, Middlesex, England

WHEN:

Sunday 2 February 1964 —Tuesday 16 February 1965

THE AFTERMATH:

John du Rose, in charge of the case, announced that 20 suspects had been whittled down to three. One of them, a married security guard from Putney committed suicide in June 1965, saying that he could not “stand the strain any longer”.

However, despite intensive searches of the man’s home police found nothing to link him to any of the murders. Two unlikely suspects were the boxer Freddie Mills and Tommy Butler, the detective who investigated the Great Train Robbery (search the related post). However, there is no real evidence linking either Mills or Butler to the murders, which remain unsolved.

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