Serial killer news: A new report has been published calling for an investigation into a possible serial killer
The renewed fears come after a 179-page report was published, suggesting the two Wilmslow, Cheshire incidents may be caused by the same serial killer. It comes from Stephanie Davies, Cheshire’s senior coroner’s officer, who believes the two cases were in fact murders due to their similarities.
The two cases re-examined by the report were Howard and Beatrice Ainsworth, and Donald and Auriel Ward.
Mr Ainsworth, 79, and Mrs Ainsworth, 78, were found dead by police after gruesome deaths in 1996.
Mrs Ainsworth was found with a knife in her forehead, and had her face hit repeatedly with a hammer and partially covered by pillow.
Mr Ainsworth was also discovered dead, with a bag tied around his head.
Cheshire Police had found a suicide note seemingly written by Mr Ainsworth, leading to the coroner and officers agreeing the case was a murder suicide.
Serial killer news: Two elderly couples died in similar circumstances in the 1990’s
A similar case took place in 1999, where Mr and Mrs Ward were found dead in their homes after an apparent murder-suicide.
Mrs Ward was found bludgeoned, stabbed and suffocated, similarly to Mrs Ainsworth, whereas Mr Ward was found with a knife stabbed into his heart.
In both cases, police found no evidence of violence in the couples relationships, and suggested the cases were moments of madness or euthanasia.
But Christine Hurst, Cheshire’s senior coroner’s officer at the time, did not accept the official explanation and kept the case files in a “special interest” folder.
Serial killer news: The report investigated three similar deaths since 2000
Ms Davies re-examined her predecessors case files, producing the new report in her spare time.
Using modern crime science, she discovered two more nearby cases, plus one in Cumbria, in 2000, 2008 and 2011.
Ms Davies found the three cases fit the pattern of violence seen in Ms Hurst’s files.
In her report, she urged the National Crime Agency and Interpol to urgently review cases across Britain to see if there are any more similar cases.
Seen by the Sunday Times, Ms Davies said in the report she decided to raise the cases with the police because of “the concern that there is an outstanding offender, who could still be offending, and who needs to be brought to justice”.
Ms Davies also enlisted the help of Steve Chancellor, one of America’s top “cold case” police forensic investigators, who then argued both of the 1990’s cases were likely double murders.
He said vital evidence had been missed by the Cheshire officers at the scene, and added: “I would be looking at the same offender involved in both cases as a very real possibility.”
Mr Chancellor went onto suggest it was extraordinary two similar cases had occurred in the Greater Manchester areas, calling the probabilities for the cases similarities “astronomical”.
He added: “In all four cases, there is no history of domestic violence within the marriage and, more importantly, in each case the husband’s alleged perpetrator actions were described as out of character.
“I would suggest a detailed look throughout the country for any additional victims or other similar cases.”
Serial killer news: Interpol has been informed of the reports findings
Cheshire police said they have made Greater Manchester and Cumbria police forces aware of the report’s findings.
Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor for the northwest, said: “The concerns raised in this report need to be taken very seriously.
“We could potentially have a serial killer in our midst.”
Chester MP Chris Matheson added police must act swiftly: “The implications don’t bear thinking about if there is an offender responsible for a series of what were dreadful crimes.”