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Major true crime anniversaries in 2023

2023 true crime anniversaries


2nd January: Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare are shot in Birmingham (2003)

20 years ago, teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare were shot with a MAC-10 machine pistol in Aston, Birmingham. The girls were simply leaving a party but were in the wrong place at the wrong time and innocent victims of a gang-related drive-by shooting.


12th February: James Bulger abducted and murdered by two ten-year-old boys (1993)

It's the 30th anniversary of the abduction and murder of James Bulger in Liverpool. James was just two when he was abducted, tortured and murdered by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. Thompson and Venables became the youngest-ever convicted murderers in modern British history.

14th February: Oscar Pistorius shoots Reeva Steenkamp (2013)

On Valentine’s Day 2013, former Paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through the door of their ensuite bathroom. Pistorius claims he woke in the night and thought there was an intruder in the house. However, after a very public and televised trial, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to thirteen years in prison.

27th February: Camden Town Bombing (1993)

The Camden Town Bombing injured eighteen people when a bomb exploded in Camden High Street, London. The bombing was an act of the Provisional IRA, who planted the bomb in a rubbish bin and aimed for the busiest time of the week to cause the most damage.


March: The Peterborough Ditch Murders (2013)

The Peterborough Ditch Murders was a series of murders that took place ten years ago in Cambridgeshire. All three victims were male, died due to stab wounds and their bodies were dumped in ditches near Peterborough. Two more men were stabbed in Hereford but survived. The perpetrator was found to be Joanna Dennehy, who became known as Britain's most dangerous woman.

12th March: The suspicious death of Nikolay Alekseevich Glushkov (2018)

Nikolay Glushkov was a Russian businessman who died in unexplained circumstances five years ago. He claimed his business was ‘a cash cow to support international spying operations’ and ended up arrested and tried in Russia before receiving political asylum in the UK in 2010. The Coroner's Court ruled he was unlawfully killed after his extradition to Russia was denied.


15th April: The Boston Marathon Bombing (2013)

Ten years ago, the domestic terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon took place. At the annual event, terrorist brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finishing line. Three people died, and hundreds more were injured.

22nd April: The murder of Stephen Lawrence (1993)

It is 30 years since Stephen Lawrence was murdered simply for being black. Stephen was just eighteen and waiting for a bus on Well Hall Road in Eltham when he was approached by a group of white youths who racially abused him, attacked and stabbed him. The murder led to suggestions of institutionalised racism in the Metropolitan Police Force and the partial revocation of the rule against double jeopardy.


May Day Bank Holiday: The shooting of William and Patricia Wycherley (1998)

25 years ago, husband and wife William and Patricia Wycherley were shot and murdered in their home in Mansfield. The couple was murdered by their daughter Susan and her husband, Christopher who committed many acts of fraud in the Wycherleys' name, such as bizarrely adding to their huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia.

22nd May: The murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby (2013)

Ten years ago, on 22nd May 2013, Fusilier Lee Rigby was killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Rigby was off duty at the time when his attackers ran him over with a car and then used knives and a cleaver to murder him. His body was dragged into the road, where the murderers told onlookers he had been killed to avenge Muslims killed by the British military.


29th June: The stabbing of Ben Kinsella (2008)

It's been fifteen years since Ben Kinsella, a sixteen-year-old student, was stabbed to death by three men in Islington. Ben's murder led to increased attention on knife crime in London, and his murder was highly publicised as the seventeenth stabbing death of a teenager in London in 2008. His murder led to anti-knife-crime demonstrations and a review of sentencing laws for UK knife crime.


2nd July: The murder of Alesha MacPhail (2018)

The shocking murder of Alesha MacPhail hit the headlines when the perpetrator was found to be sixteen-year-old Aaron Campbell. Alesha was reported missing from her grandparent's home on the Isle of Bute, with her body found in woodland. The murderer was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in jail for his actions.

12th July: The first Moors murder (1963)

July 1963 marks the 60th anniversary of the first of the Moors murderers' crimes. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley went on to murder a total of five teenagers and children. On 12th July 1963, they murdered their first victim, Pauline Reade.


8th August: The Great Train Robbery (1963)

The Great Train Robbery saw £2.6 million taken from a Royal Mail train on its way from Glasgow to London. It's been 60 years since the heist took place, and the story of the gang involved, especially Ronnie Biggs, has gone down as one of the most remarkable in criminal history.


11th September: The honour killing of Shafilea Ahmed (2003)

Shafilea Ahmed was a seventeen-year-old British-Pakistani girl who was murdered by her own parents in a suspected honour killing. Recordings of Shafilea crying showed that she feared her family would harm her as they had concerned she had become too ‘Westernised’. Her parents were imprisoned for a minimum of 25 years for her murder.


27th October: The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting (2018)

The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting took place five years ago at L'Simcha Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh. The congregation was attacked in an anti-Semitic assault during the Shabbat morning services. With eleven people killed and six people wounded, including Holocaust survivors, the event is recognised as the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on American soil.


26th November: The Sunderland Strangler kills teenage boy (1993)

Steven Grieveson, who became known as the Sunderland Strangler, murdered four teenage boys between 1990 and 1994. Thirty years ago, he committed the first of the three murders that initially sent him to prison. On 26th November 1983, Grieveson murdered eighteen-year-old Thomas Kelly and set his body on fire.


20th December: The conviction of the Gay Slayer (1993)

Colin Ireland, known by the tabloids and media as the Gay Slayer, was a British serial killer who murdered homosexual men. On 20th December 1993, he was given a life sentence for the murders of Andrew Collier and Emanuel Spiteri, though it was discovered he murdered three other men too. Ireland picked on gay men because he considered them easy targets and pretended to be gay to lure his victims in.

21st December: Pan Am Flight 103 shot down over Lockerbie (1988)

The Lockerbie Bombing was an infamous terrorist attack that saw Pan Am Flight 103 blow up mid-flight due to a terrorist bombing. A bomb had been planted on board, causing the death of 243 passengers, sixteen crew and also eleven residents in the town of Lockerbie. A joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) saw several Libyan terrorists arrested and charged for the offence, with indictments ongoing as recently as 2020.