Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

British Maniac Patrick Mackay

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Adele Price
Adele Price

During the next year, Mackay took hospitality from a grudging social worker who was ordered to take him in. According to this man, who asked to remain anonymous, Mackay would talk endlessly about his violent fantasies and wonder if he was possessed by demons. He pondered dark subjects, and eventually, to the social worker's relief, he was forced to leave his home. Once again, he was on the streets, begging from relatives, none of whom wanted him near them.

He went back to the social worker, robbed him, and was arrested once again. He served four months in prison and was released on November 22. By then, he'd had time to form a plan to pay society back for its neglect of people like him. At first he mugged women, often charming them into trusting him, and then decided to find out where the elderly rich women lived to rob their homes. He had not forgotten how easy it was to gain entry into Isabella Griffith's home.

Mackay apparently enjoyed the feeling of power he'd derived from killing her, because on March 10, 1975, he knocked on the door at the home of Adele Price, 89. (Clark and Penycate say he came up behind her as she was opening the door of the house where several people resided in separate flats.) She offered him a glass of water, so he followed her into her flat. Gregg and Lane indicate that he immediately strangled her, but apparently she engaged Mackay in some conversation first. As she got the water for him, he came up behind her and strangled her, letting her fall to the floor face-down. She still wore her overcoat.

Mrs. Price's sitting room
Mrs. Price's sitting room

Mackay reported later in a confession that this murder had given him a "peculiar" feeling that lasted for several days and had something in common with the other murders he'd committed. It had no motive whatsoever. Clark and Penycate fail to clarify what Mackay might have meant by "peculiar."

Afterward, he lay down on Ms. Price's couch and took a nap. He was woken by the sound of someone trying to come in — the victim's granddaughter, who also lived there. When she couldn't enter, she went to call from a hallway phone, and Mackey ran out, passing her on the stairs. But because others lived in the house, there was no reason for her to remember him. Adele Price's death was initially believed to have been the result of a heart attack, but suspicious things about the apartment soon changed its status to murder.

Because Mackay had no connection to the victim, the police had a difficult time finding a perpetrator, so the crime went unsolved and Mackay continued on his deadly way.

 

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