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True crime anniversaries in March

An investigation board graphic which reads 'March True Crime Anniversaries'

Each month we are looking back over the crime anniversaries from some of the most significant cases in recent history. Let’s explore the criminal history of March.

3rd March: The murder of Sarah Everard (2021)

Perhaps the most significant murder case of recent times and a shocking crime that is set to change policing forever, 33-year-old Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered on 3rd March 2021. Sarah's murderer was off-duty Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens who used his position to gain her trust before taking her life. Sarah's murder sparked outrage across the country and opened a debate about the role of the police in British society and women's safety.

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

Glushkov was a successful Russian businessman who died in unexplained circumstances on 12th March 2018. His death has been linked to espionage, as were his business activities, and he was a wanted man in Russia. In 2010, Glushkov received political asylum in the UK. However, in 2018, it was ruled his death was unlawful and potentially a response to the denial of his extradition to Russia.

13th March: The Dunblane Massacre (1996)

On 13th March 1996, Thomas Hamilton shot dead sixteen pupils and one teacher at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland. Fifteen others were injured and he also took his own life. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history and immediately led to a change in gun ownership laws in the United Kingdom. Since the massacre and the tightening of legislation, there have been no further mass shootings with handguns in the UK.

19th March: The Peterborough Ditch Murders begin (2013)

The Peterborough Ditch Murders was a series of murders that took place ten years ago around Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. There were three victims in total, with the first murder believed to have taken place on 19th March. All three victims had been stabbed multiple times and their bodies were disposed of in ditches near Peterborough. Two more men were stabbed but survived before the perpetrator was discovered.

Joanna Dennehy, who became known as Britain's most dangerous woman, specifically targeted men and planned to emulate Bonnie and Clyde by killing nine in total. She was said to stab her victims for ‘entertainment’ and that she found murder ‘moreish’. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2014.

23rd March: The unsolved murder of Deborah Linsley (1988)

Deborah Linsley was murdered on the train somewhere between Petts Wood and Victoria Station, London. Despite there being over 70 other passengers on the train and evidence suggesting Deborah fought back against her attacker, only one person said they had heard anything suspicious. The killer has still not been identified. Advancements in DNA technology mean the case has been re-examined and was officially reopened in 2002, with a police reward still on offer for anyone with valuable information.

26th March: Young mum Rukhsana Naz murdered by her own family (1998)

Rukhsana Naz's death was another example of a so-called ‘honour killing’. Rukhsana was just nineteen when she was killed, and her mother and two brothers were put on trial for her murder. Rukhsana was of British-Pakistani descent, and when she was just fifteen, she was taken to Pakistan and forced into a marriage with her cousin. On returning to her home in Derby, she began an affair with her childhood sweetheart and found herself pregnant.

After trying to coerce her to terminate her pregnancy and remain in her marriage, her family then killed her. Rukhsana was strangled to death, and her body was dumped in Denby Dale, West Yorkshire. Her mother, Shakeela Naz, and brother, Shazad Naz, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Rukhsana's murder led to the creation of the Forced Marriage Unit department of the Home Office.

27th March: The Beast of Bastille is finally apprehended (1998)

Guy Georges, who became known as The Beast of Bastille, is a prolific serial killer and rapist known to have killed seven women between 1991 and 1997 in Paris. He also raped many others and was finally caught and arrested in March 1998. Diagnosed as a narcissistic psychopath, Georges was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2001.

29th March: Teen killer James Fairweather murders for the first time (2014)

James Attfield, a 33-year-old father with a brain injury, was stabbed to death in Colchester on 29th March 2014. He was stabbed over 100 times, and three months later, his murderer struck again, killing Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea. The perpetrator was fifteen-year-old James Fairweather. He pleaded guilty to both murders when caught, receiving a minimum life imprisonment term of 27 years.

31st March: The first Babes in the Woods murders (1970)

The Babes in the Woods murders was the name given to the killing of two young children in a copse in Sewardstone, Essex. Susan Blatchford, aged eleven and Gary Hanlon, aged twelve, were lured away from their homes before they were raped and murdered. Their bodies were not discovered for over 70 days after their deaths. The cases remained unsolved for almost 30 years until known paedophile, Ronald Jebson, admitted to the murders in 1998. Jebson is now serving three life sentences.