“My father says these places are dens of iniquity”
In a 20-month period in Glasgow, Scotland an unknown killer, who was given the nickname Bible John because he liked to quote from the Holy Book, murdered three women. The only link between the victims seemed to be a love of dancing. Patricia Docker, 25, a separated mother of a four-year-old son, became the first victim. She had been strangled and was found near a garage in Carmichael Lane on 22 February 1968.
On the night of her death she had been to the Majestic Ballroom in Hope Street. Police believed she had met a man there and left with him but refused to have sex with him because she was menstruating. In frustration, he killed her. A year and a half later, on 16 August 1969, mother of three Jemima McDonald was found at 23 Mackeith Street, a short distance from where she lived, and she, too, had been strangled. Police investigated and discovered that she had been at the Barrowlands Ballroom at midnight and had been seen with a man aged around 35.
On 30 October 1969 Helen Puttock, a 29-year-old mother of two, her sister Jeannie and two friends, Marion Cadder and Jean O’Donnell, went dancing at the Barrowlands Ballroom. Helen’s husband babysat the children. Jeannie was chatted up by a man called John and spent the rest of the evening with him.
Helen was approached by a man, also called John. They talked about a number of subjects and he mentioned the Bible several times. “My father says these places are dens of iniquity,” he said, adding he disapproved of married women going out dancing.
When the ballroom closed at 11.30pm the two couples left the club together. “Bible John” called a taxi and got in with the two women while the other John made his own way home. After dropping Jeannie off, the taxi left Helen and “Bible John” at Earl Street. Her body was found outside a tenement block at 7am the next day by a man walking his dog. Jeannie was interviewed by the police and was able to give a detailed description of “Bible John”. Newspapers printed a photofit with appeals and Scotland’s biggest manhunt began.
Thursday 22 February 1968-Thursday 30 October 1969
In 1995 Donald Simpson wrote a book, naming furniture salesman John Irvine McInnes as Bible John. The police had questioned McInnes at the time of the killings but took no further action. He died in 1980.
In 1996 Mclnnes’s body was exhumed and his DNA compared to stains left on the third victim and his teeth compared to bite marks on her body. The investigation took five months but the evidence was inconclusive and the Bible John murders remain unsolved.