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Major true crime anniversaries in 2024

2024 true crime anniversaries


13th January: Harold Shipman commits suicide (2004)

Two decades ago, prison officers discovered Dr Harold Shipman hanging from the window bars of his cell. Shipman had killed untold numbers of his patients in Greater Manchester, and Home Secretary David Blunkett gave a remarkably frank reaction to the news of the suicide, saying, ‘You wake up and you receive a phone call, “Shipman's topped himself.” You have just got to think for a minute: is it too early to open a bottle?’


25th February: Fred and Rose West are arrested (1994)

Having already been investigated for sex offences, Gloucester labourer Fred West finally confessed to murdering his daughter Heather after police executed a search warrant on 25 Cromwell Street. The address was eventually revealed to have been a house of horrors where the depraved couple abused, tortured and murdered a string of women and girls.

25th February: The Sunderland Strangler kills his final victim (1994)

On the same day Fred and Rose West were snared, a lesser-known British serial killer claimed his last victim. Steven Grieveson, dubbed the Sunderland Strangler, preyed on teenage boys and was only charged with the brutal crimes over a year after the final killing. It was said in court that he committed the crimes because he was worried the boys would reveal his bisexuality, but also ‘simply because he enjoyed killing them’.


11th March: The Madrid Train Bombings (2004)

It is the 20th anniversary of the Madrid bombings when a series of explosives planted on four commuter trains killed almost 200 people. It was the worst terror attack to take place in Europe since the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 and was initially assumed to be the work of the Basque separatist group ETA. However, it was later revealed to have been an Islamist terror attack.

15th March: The Christchurch mosque massacres (2019)

Five years ago, Brenton Tarrant – a right-wing extremist and self-proclaimed ‘ethno-nationalist’ – targeted the Muslim community of Christchurch, New Zealand in two consecutive mass shootings. He live-streamed his first attack at Al Noor Mosque on Facebook, before carrying out more shootings at a nearby Islamic centre. Convicted of murdering 51 people, Tarrant was handed a whole life sentence.


20th April: The Columbine High School Massacre (1999)

After a long period of planning, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried out a mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 12 fellow students and a teacher. Despite the many school shootings to have taken place since then – some directly inspired by Harris and Klebold – Columbine remains a byword for a horrific phenomenon that shows no signs of abating.

26th April: The murder of Jill Dando (1999)

25 years have passed since one of the most shocking crimes in modern British history: the execution-style murder of popular BBC presenter Jill Dando. She was shot dead in broad daylight at the entrance of her London home – an inexplicable crime which led to the conviction of Barry George, a celebrity-obsessed fantasist with a track record of assaults. However, his conviction was later overturned and Dando’s true assassin has never been identified.


12th June: The murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman (1994)

It is 30 years since the fateful night Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were stabbed to death outside Simpson’s home in Los Angeles. The prime suspect was her ex-husband, OJ Simpson, whose trial became a media sensation and a part of the heated national conversation about race relations in America. Represented by a ‘Dream Team’ of lawyers, the former NFL star was controversially acquitted of both murders.

21st June: The ‘Mississippi Burning’ murders (1964)

It’s the 60th anniversary of one of the most consequential crimes during the US Civil Rights Movement: the killings of activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Carried out by the Ku Klux Klan and known as the ‘Mississippi Burning’ murders (after the FBI’s codename for its investigation), the case galvanised support for the Black struggle and helped drive momentum for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.


19th August: The murder of Amélie Delagrange (2004)

Amélie Delagrange, a French student visiting the UK, was fatally beaten with a blunt instrument near her London home. The brutal crime was soon linked to the very similar murder of another young woman, Marsha McDonnell, the previous year. The culprit was eventually revealed to be Levi Bellfield, whose spate of savage crimes – including the murder of Milly Dowler – would make him one of the country’s most notorious figures.


30th October: The murder of David Morley (2004)

David Morley, a much-loved member of London’s LGBTQ+ community who had survived a homophobic nail bomb attack on Soho’s Admiral Duncan pub, was killed in a senseless attack close to Waterloo Station. Morley was randomly set upon by a group of young people, including a 14-year-old girl, who beat him so badly that his injuries were akin to a car accident. The case made headlines as a shockingly violent example of the 'happy slapping' phenomenon.


13th November: The Amityville massacre (1974)

It has been half a century since Ronald DeFeo Jr shot dead his entire family – father, mother and four siblings – in Amityville, New York. The property where the massacre took place, 112 Ocean Avenue, is arguably the world’s most notorious ‘haunted house’ thanks to the supernatural activities described in the book The Amityville Horror and the subsequent franchise of horror films.