Episode 152:

Live at the O2 Academy in Glasgow

Burke & Hare Murders

Georgia

Bible John Murders

Karen

Episode 152: Live at the O2 Academy in Glasgow

Karen and Georgia cover the Burke & Hare murders and the Bible John murders.

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Burke & Hare Murders

Burke & Hare Murders Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

"The Burke and Hare murders were a series of 16 killings committed over a period of about ten months in 1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland. They were undertaken by William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses to Robert Knox for dissection at his anatomy lectures.

Edinburgh was a leading European centre of anatomical study in the early 19th century, in a time when the demand for cadavers led to a shortfall in legal supply. Scottish law required that corpses used for medical research should only come from those who had died in prison, suicide victims, or from foundlings and orphans. The shortage of corpses led to an increase in body snatching by what were known as "resurrection men". Measures to ensure graves were left undisturbed exacerbated the shortage. When a lodger in Hare's house died, Hare turned to his friend Burke for advice and they decided to sell the body to Knox. They received what was, for them, the generous sum of £7 10s. A little over two months later, when Hare was concerned that a lodger suffering from fever would deter others from staying in the house, he and Burke murdered her and sold the body to Knox. The men continued their murder spree, probably with the knowledge of their wives. Burke and Hare's actions were uncovered after other lodgers discovered their last victim, Margaret Docherty, and contacted the police.

A forensic examination of Docherty's body indicated she had probably been suffocated, but this could not be proven. Although the police suspected Burke and Hare of other murders, there was no evidence on which they could take action. An offer was put to Hare granting immunity from prosecution if he turned king's evidence. He provided the details of Docherty's murder and confessed to all 16 deaths; formal charges were made against Burke and his wife for three murders. At the subsequent trial Burke was found guilty of one murder and sentenced to death. The case against his wife was found not proven—a Scottish legal verdict to acquit an individual but not declare them innocent. Burke was hanged shortly afterwards; his corpse was dissected and his skeleton displayed at the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh Medical School where, as at 2018, it remains.

The murders raised public awareness of the need for bodies for medical research and contributed to the passing of the Anatomy Act 1832. The events have made appearances in literature, and been portrayed on screen, either in heavily fictionalised accounts or as the inspiration for fictional works.."

— Source: Burke and Hare Murders Wikipedia

Bible John Murders

Bible John Murders Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Alex Harvey 🤙🏻 on Unsplash

"Bible John is an unidentified serial killer who is believed to have murdered three young women between 1968 and 1969 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Each of the victims of Bible John were young brunette women between the ages of 25 and 32, and all had met their murderer at the Barrowland Ballroom: a dance hall and music venue in the city. The perpetrator has never been identified and the case remains both unsolved, and one of the most extensive manhunts in Scottish criminal history. The murders committed by Bible John would prove to be the first time in Scotland in which the Crown Office authorized the publication of a composite drawing of an individual suspected of murder for public viewing. This unidentified serial killer became known as "Bible John" due to his having repeatedly quoted from the Bible and to have condemned any form of adultery while in the company of his final victim. The known movements and modus operandi of convicted serial killer and rapist Peter Tobin have led to suggestions he may have been responsible.

Several criminologists and investigators have opined that convicted serial killer Peter Tobin may have been Bible John. Tobin had been convicted in May 2007 of the 2006 murder of a Polish student named Angelika Kluk, who had been raped, beaten, then stabbed to death; he had relocated from Shettleston, Glasgow[86] to England in 1969 after marrying his first wife, whom he had met at the Barrowland Ballroom the same year as the murders attributed to Bible John had ended. Tobin would subsequently live in Brighton for 20 years from 1969, although from the late 1980s, he would alternately reside in either Scotland or the South of England.

Tobin had been in his mid-40s when he committed the 1991 murder of two teenage girls whose skeletonized bodies would subsequently be unearthed from the garden of his home in Margate, Kent in 2007. He would be convicted of these murders—alongside that of Kluk—between 2007 and 2009. Commencing serial murderous offenses of an extremely calculated nature at such an age is unusual—though not unique—for a male. Furthermore, the fact that Tobin had attacked Kluk with such violence, then hidden her body before absconding to London prior to his subsequent arrest in addition to the abduction, restraining and concealment known to have been exhibited upon the two 1991 murder victims unearthed from the garden of his Margate home did not suggest the work of an amateur in any of these three cases.

Striking contemporary visual similarities exist between Peter Tobin when aged in his 20s and the 1969 composite drawing of Bible John. In addition, all three of Tobin's former wives have given accounts of being repeatedly imprisoned, throttled, beaten and raped at his hands, and each has stated he had been driven to extreme physical violence by the female menstrual cycle (a factor long suspected by investigators as being the perpetrator's actual motive behind the murders). In addition, Tobin is known to have been a staunch Roman Catholic with strong religious views, and the alias Bible John had given to Jean Langford and Helen Puttock in 1969 is similar to one of the pseudonyms known to have been regularly used by Tobin: John Semple.

Professor David Wilson actively investigated Tobin's case for three years and strongly believes the available evidence supports his theory that Peter Tobin is Bible John. He has stated that the moment he believed Tobin was Bible John occurred during Tobin's trial for the 1991 murder of 18-year-old Dinah McNicol, one of the women whose body had been unearthed from his Margate garden. The circumstantial evidence which Wilson uses to support this theory includes striking similarities between trial testimony from an acquaintance of Dinah's who had been in her company on the evening of her abduction and the conversation with Bible John that Jean Langford claimed to have had on the evening of her sister's murder; among the important points of overlap are both men mentioning they did not drink at Hogmanay and had a cousin who had once scored a hole-in-one in a golf match. This information—alongside other circumstantial evidence—has led Professor Wilson to state: "I didn't set out to prove Tobin was Bible John, but I would stake my professional reputation on it."

Although DNA testing has been used to clear several suspects, detectives believe obtaining a forensic link between Peter Tobin and any of the murder victims linked to Bible John is unlikely due to the deterioration of the physical samples via poor storage..."

— Source: Bible JohnWikipedia