Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The UK Hammer Murders


One month earlier, on January 8, a 17-year-old woman from the Strawberry Hill area of southwest London was on her way back from the local shops, listening to a Walkman when she appeared to have fallen on the ice, according to the BBC. The womans father found her barely conscious and she was promptly treated at a nearby hospital. It later emerged that the woman hadnt fallen, but had   actually been attacked with a blunt hammer-like instrument.

The assaulted woman had been repeatedly bludgeoned about the head and face, resulting in deep cuts to her scalp, a fractured cheek, a ruptured eye socket and a concussion. The head trauma was so severe that the woman was unable to remember the event. Authorities believed that the person who attacked her was likely the same person who killed Marsha.

Several weeks after Marshas murder and less than a mile from where her body was found, there was yet another attack. This time the victim was an 18-year-old man, who claimed that an unidentified hooded man tried to strike him with a heavy tool resembling a hammer or wrench. The 18-year-old escaped unharmed, but was unable to provide police with a detailed description of the assailant. Investigators grew increasingly concerned because there were few leads to work with, despite the increasing frequency of the attacks.

However, approximately one week later, a witness came forth with critical evidence, which police hoped would help them identify the attacker. The witness helped to construct an e-fit sketch of a man that was seen leaning over a young womans battered body late one evening in Walpole Gardens, Strawberry Hill. The victim the witness encountered turned out to be the 17-year-old woman who barely escaped death after being viciously bludgeoned on January 8.

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