Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Truth is always stranger than fiction - Bible John - Glasgow's unsolved murders

Who was Bible John? 

In Vile City, a serial killer is going around Glasgow abducting and killing young women. The press have dubbed this killer the Glasgow Grabber.

In real life, Glasgow's most notorious serial killer is a man who has never been caught. Someone who's nickname even today, sends terror throughout the city.

A good looking, well dressed, soft spoken man who was given the name Bible John because he said his name was John and he quoted from the bible.

He's believed to have murdered three women in Glasgow between 1968 and 1969 that he'd met at the city's Barrowland ballroom. All three victims - nurse Patricia Docker, mum of three Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock - were raped and strangled with their own stockings and their handbags were taken.

What makes Bible John so unusual is that he shared a taxi with one of his victims (his 3rd and last know victim), Helen Puttock and her sister Jean and happily chatted away to them. Jean also invited another man to share the cab with them too (despite appeals, he never came forward). That left two people - the sister and the taxi driver - who could have identified him.

It was because of that taxi ride that the police managed to get so much information on the killer, including developing a psychological profile and a photofit. By all accounts, Bible John was an extremely polite and easy going companion.

The sister Jean got off at her stop, leaving tragic Helen Puttock alone with Bible John.

Poor Helen was found raped, beaten and strangled in the garden of her own flat the next morning. She'd put up a fight and there were grass stains on her feet showing that she'd tried to run. Her handbag was missing and police think her killer took it as a trophy.

A man was later spotted with his face covered in scratches and in a rumpled state on a bus heading into the city centre. Whenever that was Bible John or not, it’s impossible to tell.

Was Bible John's motive misogyny? 

One facet of the crimes that shocked Glasgow were that all three women were menstruating at the time they were brutally murdered, suggesting a hint of misogyny to the murders. Or was it a case of he wanted to have sex with the women, but saw them as unclean? Who knows what goes inside the head of such a warped individual? 

Bible John has never been found. Like other infamous killers who escaped justice, theories abound about Bible John's whereabouts and his identity. but the one person who may have been able to identify him, tragic Helen Puttock's sister Jean, has long since passed away.

One belief is that the well spoken man who recited from the bible, may have gone overseas to work as a missionary which would explain why the murders abruptly stopped. Could he have carried on his killing spree undetected abroad, perhaps in Africa?

There are other theories such as that Bible John joined the army or was a police officer (apparently the way he was dressed was the way members of Her Majesty's Constabulary dressed at the time).

Is evil Peter Tobin Bible John?

A young Peter Tobin next to a photofit of Bible John 
Evil killer Peter Tobin, who has been convicted of three murders and who is believed to behind many more, has also been linked to the killings as there are those who think he resembles the Bible John photofit.  The name Helen Puttock's sister said Bible John gave them was also similar to one of Tobin's known aliases.

However the man who probably knows him best and who brought him to justice, retired DCI David Swindle believes there's no evidence to link Tobin with the crime. 

Tobin's victims were all very different from Bible John's who murdered grown women.

Tobin's victims could be described almost as children - Vicky Hamilton, 15, Dinah MacNicol, 18 and Angelika Kluk who although she was 23 looked much younger and was living a long way away from her Polish homeland when Tobin who was working as a caretaker at the church where she was staying raped and murdered her.

Bible John was also described as well-spoken and well dressed, two things weasel-faced Tobin could never be described as. 

It seems like we'll never know the true identity of the monster who held Glasgow in a grip of terror and destroyed three families' lives forever.

You'll need to read Vile City  to find out if DI Waddell and his team catch the man they are after, the man dubbed the Glasgow Grabber. 

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

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