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Murdertown S1: Episodes

Episode summary

Episode 1 - Hull

This episode explores two terrible crimes that left a lasting impression onHull - and reveals how complex investigations into one case finally led to both mysteries being solved. The story begins with the apparent kidnap and murder of Christopher Laverack, a crime that initially had police stumped. It would remain unsolved for years. We also tell the story of the disappearance of Joanne Nelson, who vanished from the city on Valentine’s Day, 2005. It was a story that had the whole city on edge and led to the biggest search in Humberside Police history, before a breakthrough led police to finding her killer, and the whereabouts of her body. With contributions from the lead detective, forensic experts and members of the local community, this episode explores the devastating impact crimes can have, and how police will never stop in the search to identify a killer.

Episode 2 - Dartford

There are some crimes that leave a permanent mark on a place - and this episode tells the story ofDartford, and the shocking murder of Claire Tiltman. When her body was found with multiple stab wounds beside a busy main road, her friends and family were devastated. A murder enquiry was launched, but initially drew a blank. They suspected the killer was local, and Claire’s family feared the killer was someone they knew. But for years he remained in the shadows. This episode explores how a serial attacker was eventually snared by police, but it would be more than 20 years later that the details of Claire’s killer would finally be revealed. With contributions from senior police officers, Claire’s friends, and witnesses from the time, this episode is a revealing exploration into the most shocking murder ever to strike the community of Dartford.

Episode 3 - Dundee

When police received a call to a possible murder, in 2017, they could be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu. The details of a violent attack had all the hallmarks of an attack some twenty years earlier. But lightning couldn’t have struck twice. Could it?Dundee is an upcoming city, and growing tourist destination, but in the shadows are stories of bloodshed. And two attacks, decades apart, in some of the most iconic and picturesque parts of the city had everyone on edge. This episode examines how one man tormented the city of Dundee on two separate occasions. It hears from his latest victim, who miraculously survived, and reveals how police worked at speed to snare the attacker and ensure he was brought to justice. She tells the full story of how she feared for her life, and believed she would be the cities next murder victim, before passers-by rushed to her aid. With exclusive access to the senior officers involved in both investigations, this episode examines a shocking story which still hangs over the city.

Episode 4 - Barnsley

When a killer strikes in any community, there’s always a sense of anger, disbelief, and sadness. But in this episode we explore the story of a killer who was able to strike, serve a sentence in prison, and then after his release, was able to do the same thing again. We find out about the murder of Irishman John Gogarty, a man so concerned about his safety that he would never open the door to strangers. And yet, when his body was found inside his home, it seemed that the killer had been invited in. A complex enquiry led police to CCTV, and a sudden realisation that the killer might already be known to them. The crime has extraordinary parallels to another murder, more than 20 years earlier, which saw an elderly man lose his life after apparently inviting someone into his home. But when police began to probe, they discovered that the similarities between the crimes weren’t a coincidence. With contributions from police, local reporters, and even a friend who found himself arrested on suspicion of the murder, this episode shines a light on the darkest chapter inBarnsley’s history.

Episode 5 - Pontypridd

All murders are tragic events which leave a trail of destruction in their wake. But there are some, for which the details are so unexpected, that they shock and dumfound even the police officers who are asked to investigate. InPontypridd, a town once dubbed the murder capital of Wales, there have been two such cases in recent years. This episode tells the horrific story of Tracey Woodford, a woman who disappeared and sparked a massive police hunt. Police tracked her down using CCTV, and found that she’d last been seen in pubs in the town centre. But from there the trail went cold. We explore how police secured a breakthrough that led to a killer who lived within the same community, and had committed the most ghastly of crimes.

We also explore one of the most bizarre murder investigations in Welsh policing history, a murder that for several days, the police had no clue as to who the victim might be. Leaving no stone unturned, police follow every lead until they reach the most unlikely, and puzzling conclusions; a killer that nobody ever suspected, and a crime hidden for more than 20 years. With contributions from the lead police investigator, friends and colleagues of the killers, this is an episode that proves the old adage that truth is always much stranger than fiction.

Episode 6 – Tamworth

Every corner of the UK has played host to murder. ButTamworth, for many years, could rightfully claim it was a safe place to be. But all that changed, when a young girl went missing on her way to a dance class, and her body was discovered the following day. Police launched a nationwide manhunt, although they believed the killer was likely to be local. And they made a direct appeal through the local newspapers to try and unearth the clue that could unlock the case. This film reveals how a breakthrough came from the most unlikely of sources, and how police covered every angle in their pursuit of a killer. With contributions from the lead detective in the case, and reporters who helped them reach the community, this film profiles how a whole town can come together, and how modern forensic science left a killer with nowhere to go.

Episode 7 - Watford

Most victims of murder know their killer. But when a violent crime is carried out by a complete stranger, it can often be much harder for the detectives to solve. InWatford, police found themselves on the backfoot when a womans body was found in a popular local park, with no immediate clues as to who was responsible. This episode reveals how a fleeting sight of a man running across a nearby motorway put police on the tail of a dangerous killer. And it probes how the efforts were initially thwarted as their suspect went into hiding.

With contributions from the main detective and from local residents and reporters, this is an episode that gets under the skin of one of the most tragic episodes in Watford’s history.

Episode 8 - Huddersfield

When sex offender Robert Hind disappeared from his bail hostel in the town ofHuddersfield, police and the community feared he was up to no good. But in fact – the truth was far more shocking than anyone realised.

This film examines how the hunt for Hind quickly turned into a murder investigation and brought a suspect already known to the police back into their sights. And it reveals how even when a killer is locked up, there’s no guarantee that their criminal days are over. The episode also tells the heartbreaking story of polish student Tobiasz Minski – a man who disappeared shortly after arriving in Huddersfield to study – and found himself in the company of a man who had murder on his mind. With contributions from the lead detective, a former cell mate, and friends of the victim, this film explores three murders and two killers spread across Huddersfield.

Episode 9 - Sunderland

When teenage boys began being found dead in the city ofSunderland in the early 90’s, police initially thought they were the victims of accidental deaths. But as their families campaigned for answers, more victims began to appear, and detectives realised their crimes were more than simply a coincidence. This episode looks at one of the most shocking cases of murder anywhere in the UK, and how it impacted the close knit communities in Sunderland. We learn how one man committed a murder spree that he nearly got away with, and how it was only the tenacious work of family members that ensured the killer was caught. The episode also tells the tragic story of Dean Pike, killed as he slept by bungling arsonists who targeted the wrong property and left a family in ruins. With contributions from victims, and their families as well as key reporters on the case, this is the first time these stories have been told in forensic detail.

Episode 10 - Brighton

When killers strike, they don’t usually want to be caught. But inBrighton, two murderers carried out despicable crimes and then went to the effort of confessing. In this episode we tell the story of Derick Marney, horrifically murdered in a crime that wasn’t detected for over a week. We meet the tarot card reader who saw the crime through her cards, and alerted police to what had happened. And we examine the tragic recent slaying of local woman Jill Howells – murdered in her own home trying to help a friend in need. With contributions from witnesses, friends and reporters, this is the story of horrific murder, and bizarre confessions in one of the UK’s trendiest cities.