Dark Son: The Hunt for a Serial Killer on BBC

Here’s the trailer for the documentary I’ve been talking about for several months. Dark Son will go out on BBC Wales on 12 January and on BBC4 on 22 January.

The revelations will be ‘astonishing’, according to Professor David Wilson, the leading criminologist who presents the film.

Dark Son: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
BBC trailer for Dark Son

It is remarkable that since I wrote The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper in 2017 this film has been made exploring fresh angles.

Leading criminologists, former detectives, a genealogist and writers have come together to re-investigate this unsolved, grotesque series of crimes. I was delighted to be asked to take part.

Who murdered six women and left their naked bodies in public places in the Swinging London of 1964-65? This was a huge police hunt and media story that eventually faded from the headlines.

Dark Son should refocus everyone’s attention on this mystery – not least that of the Met. A major theme of the film will look at child murderer Harold Jones.

As a 15-year-old he murdered two little girls in 1921. He served 20 years in jail.

However, detectives investigating the Nude Murders were never aware of the fact that he was living amid the crimes in Hammersmith during this time.

What would Scotland Yard’s detectives have discovered about him if they had known he was there?

Reopening Swinging London’s Nude Murders case

This was originally posted on robinjarossi.com on 2 7 17

It started as a suggestion for a new true crime magazine. Working as a freelance journalist at Mirror special projects, I wondered if there was a case we could cover that had not been written about a thousand times already.

Resident George Heard points to where he found  the body of murder victim Mary Fleming was found, in Berrymede Road, Chiswick July 1964.  Her strangled body was found by George Heard (34) (pictured) from his bedroom window this morning (0450am).  Her death was attributed to the work of a serial killer known as Jack the Stripper.  Also known as, The Hammersmith Murders case 1964-1965, when a serial killer was operating in London and killed 6-8 women prostitutes ; dumped their bodies around london or in the River Thames.  The serial killer has never been caught. *** Local Caption *** George Heard (34) of 53 Berrymede Road

Resident George Heard points to where he found the body of murder victim Mary Fleming, in Berrymede Road, Chiswick July 1964. Mirrorpix

I came across the Nude Murders of the early 1960s. This was a horrific series of killings in London that, despite the biggest ever police manhunt, was never solved. I had not heard of this shocking case. Most people I mentioned it to, apart from a couple of crime-fiction authors, had not come across it either.

Why had the killing of six, possibly eight, sex workers in Swinging London been largely forgotten? The killer could still be alive, walking the capital’s streets, despite having murdered more women than Jack the Ripper.

Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush

Between February 1964 and February 1965 one man cruised west London’s streets in his vehicle, particularly around Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush. He picked up and asphyxiated six women, leaving their unclothed bodies in various public places.

Two other similar murders, in 1959 and 1963, were possibly linked to this killing campaign.

I researched the case, spoke to former detectives to get their take on the investigation carried out 50-odd years ago. It turned out there were a lot of photos in the Daily Mirror‘s immense archive in Watford. It looked as though there would be plenty of material for a magazine piece.

Stephen Ward trial, Profumo, the Krays

The investigation gave an unusual and fascinating insight into Britain during that vibrant decade. It touches on major scandals and notorious figures. These include Stephen Ward’s trial, Profumo, the Krays – while exposing just how widespread and degrading the street sex trade was.

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