Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colin Ireland

The Story

On the 19th, police were present at London's Gay Pride festival, which was attended by around 50,000 homosexuals, - to distribute leaflets giving details of the murders of the five men, appealing for anyone with information to come forward, and warning gays to be careful in their casual encounters with strangers. Police said that the killer might well be present at the festival, in search of his next victim.

The police also sought the advice of psychologist Dr Mike Berry, whom they asked to draw up a psychological profile of the killer. Berry told police that the killer they were seeking was fuelled by violent fantasies. But with every murder there came only disappointment and frustration: it was not quite how he imagined it, he needed to keep refining his 'art'.

"The one thing about fantasy-driven offences is that the reality is never quite up to the fantasy. And therefore the serial killer has to do it again and again...This is a well-organized serial killing and he takes great pleasure in it. I think that it is unlikely that this man is HIV positive and is taking revenge on homosexuals. This is not the underlying motive. This guy has been fantasising about violence for a long time and has at last started."

Dr Jonas Rappeport agreed, suggesting that the killer might be pretending to be a homosexual in order to lull his victims into a false sense of security, but he was not a homosexual himself. The police, he said, should be "looking for a large or physically very strong man. He is clearly confident in committing crimes, and I would suggest they should look for someone with other features of criminality in his personality." Advice was also given by criminal psychologist Paul Britton, Michigan psychologist Dick Walter and Robert Ressler.

On the 24th of June, the police issued a description of a man seen with Emanual Spiteri on the train from Charing Cross to Hither Green. The suspect was a white male aged 30 to 40, over 6 feet tall, clean shaven, with a full to fattish face, short dark brown hair, and dirty and discoloured teeth. An E-Fit (Electronic Facial Identification Technique), or Videofit, was issued. (E-Fits have replaced the old technique of photofits such as those used in the Yorkshire Ripper case. An E-Fit is a computer-generated likeness based on verbal descriptions, with many more features to choose from than the 800 possibilities of the old photofits.)

Assuming that Spiteri and his killer had taken the train from Charing Cross, which is where they were sighted, the police asked if it mightn't it be the case that they had been captured on the security camera? On 2 July, the police released a picture they had found on security-camera film: it was of Spiteri and another man at Charing Cross Station, a man very similar to their E-Fit. An appeal was made for the man to come forward to be eliminated from inquiries. John announced: "Somebody in the community will know this man. My appeal to that person or these persons is: 'Who is the man and where is the man?' I just need to identify him and talk to him." To the killer he said, "The lines of communication are not down, but very much open." By the next day the police had received 40 calls, some of them claiming that they had seen or talked to the man in the Coleherne.

 

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