SELF MADE SERIAL KILLER
'The motivation seems to have been this quest for infamy – to be a serial killer.' Martin Finnegan, Detective Inspector
Colin Ireland, now 39, decided to take advantage of the knowledge he’d acquired studying a subject that fascinated him: Serial Killers.
He knew Geographic Profiling helps locate killers. Most commit crimes in a radius of about 7 miles from where they live. For this reason, Colin chose London as his ‘murder ground’, well away from his Southend-on-Sea base.
The Coleherne pub in West London was a cavernous, dimly lit bar with blacked out windows and an industrial decor.
'The Coleherne back then was the destination venue for gay leather men in London. Paul Burston, Author ‘Queens’ Country’
It’s where sadomasochistic men met. Punters would wear colour-coded handkerchiefs to indicate their sexual proclivities, and whether they were sadistic or masochistic:It wasn’t uncommon for complete strangers to agree to go off and have sex within minutes of meeting. It was the perfect hunting ground for Ireland.
'I went to the Coleherne that evening and I felt that if I was approached by one of the group that tended to trigger feelings in me – masochistic men – I felt there was a likelihood I would kill.'
On a Monday evening, on 8 March 1993, Ireland was posing as a ‘top’-S&M shorthand for ‘dominant partner’ when he met his first victim. Peter Walker, 45, who was a renowned assistant theatre director by profession. He was a ‘bottom’-or submissive partner-by proclivity.
Peter spilt his drink on Ireland. They chatted and soon left together. On the way, Ireland put on gloves. In Peter’s Battersea apartment, Ireland gagged him with knotted condoms. This was foreplay. Peter willingly let himself be bound with cord to his four-poster bed.
Ireland then revealed his ‘murder kit’ containing a knife, gloves and a change of clothes. He viciously beat Peter with a belt and his fists. He then put a plastic bag over Peter’s head. When Peter was close to suffocating, Ireland removed it. As Peter recovered, Ireland then replaced it. He repeated this again and again. He told Peter he was going to die. Ireland greatly enjoyed the power. Eventually, Ireland didn’t remove the bag.Ireland compared the ‘buzz’ of his first kill to that of losing his virginity.
In cleaning the apartment of any forensic traces, Ireland found evidence Peter had been HIV positive. Incensed, he pushed a condom into the dead man’s mouth and another into his nostril.
He also placed two teddy bears in a 69 position on top of Peter. Ireland would often leave such items as symbols of innocence lost.
After this, Ireland then returned to erasing any trace of his presence. He bagged up his own clothes. Then he waited patiently for the morning rush hour:
At seven o’clock he then left and mingled out with the crowds and just blended into obscurity.' Martin Finnegan, Detective Inspector.
'I remember walking down the road, and I thought they must see in my face that I have just murdered someone.' Colin Ireland.
Ireland disposed of his clothes, gloves and shoes by throwing them out of a train window, within the boundaries of the London transport system. This was another of his counter measure rituals.He later rang the Samaritans and told them that he’d locked up Peter’s dogs and they needed to be released. He wasn’t concerned for the animals welfare, only that the murder would be revealed. So he also rang ‘The Sun’ newspaper and calmly told an editor what he’d done;
'It was my New Year’s resolution to kill a homosexual. He was a homosexual and into that kinky sex. You’re into all that stuff aren’t you.'
Ireland also took money out using Peter’s bank card:
'He got into the habit in his early crimes of reimbursing himself for the expense of committing them'John Nutting, Prosecutor
As Ireland was unemployed, his counter forensic destruction of his clothes, gloves and shoes was an expense he could only finance through theft.
After two months, Ireland wanted to kill again. On 28 May 1993, he returned to the Coleherne. He met 37-year-old librarian Christopher Dunn. Christopher said he liked domination and they went to his Wealdstone flat. There they watched S&M porn and then Ireland tied up his willing victim. Face down, feet tied and handcuffed, Christopher was then burnt with a lighter. Realising this wasn’t fetishitic foreplay, he told Ireland his PIN number. Ireland then strangled him with a piece of cord.
Ireland again cleaned the crime scene. He even cleaned his fingerprints off his torch batteries. And again Ireland waited until he felt it was safe to leave. The pre-killing Colin found it hard to sit with the cooling bodies of his victims, but the cold, psychopathic part of Ireland ensured he stayed put till it was safe.
Two days later, a friend discovered Christopher’s body.
SUMMER OF FEAR
On 4 June 1993, just six days after killing Christopher Dunn, Ireland returned to the Coleherne. Perry Bradley was a 35-year-old Texas businessman and son of a serving US congressman. He took Ireland back to his Kensington apartment. This time Ireland had to persuade Bradley to be tied up saying he couldn’t get aroused without it. Once tied up, Ireland tortured, threatened, obtained Perry’s PIN number, and then killed him. He placed a doll on Perry’s dead body.
He then made himself a sandwich. After his usual clean up, and when he felt it safe, he left.
But Ireland’s counter forensic measures were only so that he would be free to kill. He wanted the police to realise they were all the work of one serial killer.
'His motive was fame, not sexual satisfaction...he wasn’t so much a serial killer as a lethal parody of one.' Anna Gekoski, Interviewer of Ireland.
So three days later he went back to the Coleherne. Andrew Collier was 33 and HIV positive. A fact Ireland found only after binding him at his flat and searching through his possessions. Enraged to have been deceived twice, he killed Andrew’s cat in front of him. He then burnt bits of Andrew’s body. He also shoved a condom into Andrew’s throat and suffocated him.
But a serious street fight around one in the morning had attracted Ireland’s attention. In trying to get a good look out the window, Ireland had accidentally placed a finger down on a bar that ran across the window.It was a fingerprint he didn’t clean off.
It was his only forensic mistake.
On 12 June 1993, Ireland called the Kensington and later Battersea police, claiming he had killed four men and they had to stop him from killing again. He gave them crime scene details about Collier’s cat that convinced them he was genuine.
He asked them if they were interested in the murder of Peter Walker and why they had stopped the investigation. He told them he would kill again, as he had always dreamed of committing the perfect murder.
This is an extract of his bizarre conversation with the officer:
Officer: 'Why are you doing this?'Ireland: 'Because I set out to see cos I’ve read several books on serial killers and you see, you know I wondered if it could be possibly done and got away with.’Officer: 'But what was your aim in all that?'Ireland: 'Just to see if it could be done alright, so I’ll leave you to get on with it. Bye bye.'
Ireland’s fifth and final victim was 41-year-old Maltese chef Emanuel Spiteri. On the night of 12 June, Ireland followed Emanuel from the Coleherne. They talked and then went to Emanuel’s Catford flat.
Ireland bound Emanuel to his bed, handcuffed him, put a noose around his neck and demanded his PIN. But Emanuel refused.
Ireland then strangled Emanuel. He cleaned up and watched television until he felt it safe to leave. This time though he started a fire in Emannuel’s bedroom. He hoped it would spread and burn down the whole block.It went out in the bedroom.
The next day Ireland rang the police telling them to look for a body at the scene of a fire in south London. He also explained why he’d ended five people’s lives:'I have read a lot of books on serial killers. I think it is from four people that the FBI class as serial, so I may stop now I have done five.'
Back in Southend-on-Sea, associates casually mentioned to Ireland that he resembled the image of the gay serial killer the police had revealed.
Ireland wanted control to the last. He went to his solicitor and signed an affidavit explaining why he was with Spiteri on CCTV. He calmly sat in his solicitor’s office, and asked him to ring the police.