Hell in Hampstead
Hell in Hampstead
On 1 July 1982, Duffy and Mulcahy attacked and raped a woman close to Hampstead Station in London’s Hampstead village. The assault gave the two psychopaths a taste for terrorising women in similar scenarios and for the next twelve months women were assaulted across London and the outer counties. In all, eighteen women were raped near various train stations as well as in an area close to Duffy's Kilburn house.
The police set up an urgent workshop to try to find the perpetrators, called ‘Operation Hart’ which was the largest investigation to take place in the UK since the Yorkshire Ripper enquiry a few years before.
In autumn 1983 the attacks suddenly stopped. Police later found out that this coincided with Duffy’s separation from his wife.
Early in 1984 the attacks began again, this time in West London and North London. The police had no evidence to link the crimes and were unsure as to whether they were committed by the same man, or two different individuals.
Then, in July 1985, three women were raped on the same night, all in the Hendon and Hampstead area. Duffy and Mulcahy were pulled in for interrogation, but were eventually released. However, in August 1985, due to a bout of domestic violence at his home when he attacked his wife, Duffy was arrested.
He was interviewed and eventually added to the ‘Hart’ computer system as one of many thousands of men being investigated. Unfortunately Duffy was far down the list of suspects. Mulcahy, who was Duffy’s accomplice in the rape attacks, was also questioned and eventually released.
At this time a new concept in crime investigations evolved with the innovative ‘Psychological Offender Profiling’.
Professor David Canter from Surrey University was called in to aid the police investigation and it was his ‘profiling’ system which made its debut during this particular case. Canter drew up a list of seventeen personality and characteristic traits, including environmental clues that the offender may display. When Duffy was finally caught it transpired Canter was proved correct with at least twelve of these traits.
In September 1985, a woman was attacked in Barnet. The description of the attacker fitted Duffy and the police pulled him in for questioning and placed him in an identity parade. However, the victim, still traumatised from the assault, failed to pick him out.
Mulcahy was also questioned but eventually released. It was to be a grave mistake, costing the lives of several women.
On 29 December 1985, Alison Day, aged 19, was dragged off a train at Hackney station by Duffy and Mulcahy and repeatedly raped. She was then strangled with a piece of string.
This was the first time the victim had been killed. Police further stepped up their search for the attacker. The death of Day changed the attacker’s moniker from the Railway Rapist to the Railway Killer. There was still no evidence at this time to suggest that two men were carrying out the attacks.
In the spring of next year the two men attacked another helpless young victim. Fifteen-year-old Maartje Tambozer was abducted from Horsley station in East Surrey on 17 April 1986. After being raped and strangled, the teenager’s body was set on fire, most likely as a grisly attempt to destroy any evidence.
Less than a month later, on 12 May 1986, Duffy was arrested near North Weald station after been found carrying a knife. However, there was not enough evidence to charge him and he was released - only to kill again six days later.
On 18 May 1986, the victim was local TV presenter Anne Locke, 29, who was abducted as she alighted from her train in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.