Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colin Ireland

The Story

Ireland intended to kill again, but he was careful, and waited for the police activity to die away, and potential victims' suspicions to calm. After just over two months, he returned to the Coleherne on 28 May. "I had gone out quite prepared to kill the man... and I was going to have him," Ireland later told police of his second victim, thirty-seven-year-old librarian Christopher Dunn. Like Walker, Dunn told Ireland that he liked to be dominated and they returned to Dunn's flat in Wealdstone. Here they settled down to watch an S&M video and have something to eat before Ireland told Dunn to go and 'get ready'. When Ireland entered the bedroom he found Dunn naked except for a body harness and studded belt. Telling Dunn to lie face down, Ireland handcuffed him and tied his feet together, asking him how he felt. "Frightened but excited," Dunn answered. He was right to feel frightened.

Ireland demanded his PIN number for his cash-card, telling him that he had better co-operate "if he wanted to hear the birds singing the next morning." When Dunn gave him his number, Ireland beat his victim with a belt and then held a lighter-flame to his victim's testicles, and then suffocated him by stuffing pieces of cloth into his mouth.

Nutting later told the court that Ireland stole from his victims "to reimburse himself for the costs of the last murder and re-equip himself for the next." Ireland said, "I made a point of disposing of any footwear I was wearing...I always disposed of the gloves I had worn. In the case of the shoes I would rip them apart and then buy another pair." He was on the dole at the time, and thus unable to meet the expenses that the murders incurred. He stole £200 from Dunn's bank account although he was, he told police, "tempted to steal more... But I didn't in the end. I didn't want anything later on to be used as a pointer to me." He tells me that "One of my victims [Dunn] had a rare and valuable collection of Dinky toys. Let me say it took a great deal of will to leave them."

After the murder, Ireland again went through the ritual of cleaning the crime scene and himself. He bagged the glass and plate he had used earlier, removed the cord from Dunn, and even threw away his torch batteries after wiping his prints off them. "I had got that idea after watching The Bill," Ireland told police; "you know you ought to ban that programme... it gave me lots of ideas." He then stayed with the body until it was safe to leave. In his statement he told officers that he thought sitting with the corpses: "affected me mentally to quite a degree. I think if I had just killed these people and gone I wouldn't have been affected so much. But sitting with these bodies like five or six hours on some occasions watching them gradually sort of blotch as they go cold. It wasn't something I think I could cope with quite honestly."

Dunn's body was discovered by a friend two days later - on May 30th. The connection to Peter Walker's murder was not immediately noted, however, as officers who arrived at the scene were from a different station to those investigating the first murder. It was initially believed that Dunn had accidentally suffocated in a sex game gone wrong, but when the police discovered that money had been taken from Dunn's bank account after his death, they thought that he might have been killed for financial gain. Again, they had neither forensic evidence nor witnesses.

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