Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

British Maniac Patrick Mackay


Patrick Mackay
Patrick Mackay

Clark and Penycate also did a thorough review in their BBC documentary and book of how Patrick Mackay was passed from one place to another. Each time he got into trouble, he received the same sentence: probation. In other words, he was passed along in the hope that, somewhere along the line, he'd wise up, get better, or grow out of it. "It seemed that those in a position to do something about it wouldn't," they conclude, "and those who wanted to help couldn't." He wasn't going to grow out of it; he was only going to get worse, and those in a position to know about juvenile violence ought to have seen his frightening potential and made more of an effort.

But this case is long over. The point now is to use it to study others and to understand what can be done to hinder psychopathic violence. In part, that comes from learning from the killers themselves.

In Lustmord, King includes some entries from Mackay's prison journals, dated in 1975, as he awaited his trial. Mackay discussed how his father would get violently drunk and aggressive, "and always when he was like this beat me with the back of his hand and sometimes his fist." Harry would not admit to having a problem with alcohol, but in retrospect, Mackay believes that he did. While Mackay's father never seemed to beat his sisters, Mackay's mother was assaulted as frequently as he was. "It was plain bloody regular," he wrote.


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