Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

British Maniac Patrick Mackay

Quick Arrest

Mackay in custody
Mackay in custody

When arrested, Patrick David Mackay told the police that he was a gardener, but was currently without a job. The truth was, he'd had a number of jobs, none of which he could keep. He lived in London, he said, although he actually had no home. Only 23, he'd seen and done a lot, most of it sordid and violent.

Born on September 25, 1952, in England, he grew up in the home of a man who was an aggressive and violent alcoholic. No doubt Harold "Harry" Mackay was unhappy in his occupation as an accountant and with his poor economic circumstances, which only worsened with his illness. On a routine basis, he would get drunk, come home to his wife, accuse her of imagined offenses, and beat her up. In later years, the former World War II veteran would also turn on his son, although Mackay claims that he never touched the two girls, Mackay's sisters. The man was so distant and unloving that Mackay recalled only one pleasant interlude with him.

Harold, Patrick, Marion & Ruth
Harold, Patrick, Marion & Ruth

When Mackay was ten, his father died from the complications of alcoholism and a weak heart, leaving the home in peace but in a struggle to survive. Harry's final words to his son had been, "Remember to be good" — an ironic admonition from a man who'd made his son's life a nightmare. Yet Mackay was nevertheless traumatized. Not allowed to view his father's corpse or attend his funeral, he could not come to terms with the loss. He began to tell people that his father was still alive and kept a photograph of Harry close to him at all times. Clark and Penycate speculate that he likely felt extreme guilt over having wished his father dead on so many violence-filled nights, and he might have believed that he'd caused it in some way. For a ten-year-old, that is a heavy burden, and not one that he's going to lighten by telling someone else.


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