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Murdertown S2: episodes

Murdertown S2, episode summary

1. Portsmouth

This episode features serial killer Allan Grimson and his numerous convictions. Grimson worked as a petty officer in the Royal Navy and when stationed, lived in Portsmouth. Police first became aware of him in 1998 in connection with a missing sailor Nicholas Wright. A year later when re questioned Grimson confessed to luring Nicholas back to his flat where he battered him with a baseball bat, finally slitting his throat and dumping his body near a country lane. While questioned Grimson admitted to killing another young man a year to the day after Wright was killed and was convicted of murdering the two. With both murders occurring on December 12th police realised this date was significant to Grimson and when looking in the archives, found other stories of sailors having gone missing on this date. The most notable, was Simon Parkes in 1986 – who disappeared while onshore in Gibraltar, with a fellow sailor confirming Parkes had been drinking with Grimson on the day. Simon’s body has never been found, and without it Grimson hasn’t been charged. Grimson previously confessed to murdering Parkes, but later retracted his statement.Monday 16th September, 9pm.

2. Wrexham

This episode tells the story of the murder of retiree Nicholas Churton by Jordan Davidson. Previously convicted for knife crimes Jordan Davidson was being housed in Wrexham following his release from jail. While released Davidson burgled Nicholas Churton at knife point, threatening him but leaving him unharmed. Churton alerted the police, but just days later his body was discovered in his home – he had been stabbed with a machete and beaten to death with a hammer. The police learned that Davidson might be planning more crimes, and even intending to attack the police. But after a dramatic and violent confrontation, Davidson was arrested. He would later be convicted of murder, as well as two burglaries, a robbery, an attempted robbery, attempted grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm on police officers. These crimes were committed in the days around the murder and were attacks on older men.

3. Middlesbrough

This is the story of a man who tried to commit the perfect murder, in the town of Middlesbrough. Reginald Wilson posed as a courier driver, and after selecting his victim, posted a ‘notice of delivery’ through his target’s letterbox. His victim was Dr David Birkett, who unsuspectingly called the courier service to rearrange the delivery. Wilson then answered the phone and retuned to Birkett’s address where he entered the house before killing him with a hammer concealed in a plastic bag. Wilson fled the scene, but a fingerprint left on the bag led to an investigation after which Wilson was traced, arrested, and jailed. He was labelled by the criminal psychiatrist as one of the most dangerous men ever to be assessed.

4. Ipswich

This episode tells the story of the murder of Rosalyn Hunt and Desmond Thorpe by Britain’s youngest female double-killer Lorraine Thorpe, who at the age of 15 became involved with the street-drinking community, befriending fellow drinkers Paul Clarke and John Grimwood. Thorpe’s first crime in Ipswich was the murder of Rosalyn Hunt, who was beaten and tortured. Thorpe’s father Desmond Thorpe was later attacked and killed, with police charging Thorpe, Clarke and Grimwood for the crime. Evidence from all three was found at the scene, but police were uncertain as to who was responsible for the fatal blow. Thorpe and Clarke were convicted, and given life sentences but Grimwood was cleared of murder, and released. Less than a year later and back on the streets, Grimwood went on a spree, stabbing another street drinker called Carrie Talbot and attacking his girlfriend, Allison Studd. Studd later died in hospital, while Talbot survived the attack. Grimwood was arrested and pleaded guilty at trial. Paul Clarke has since taken his own life, while behind bars. Thorpe is due to be released in 2025, she will be 31.

5. Darlington

This episode tells the story of the murder of single mother Julie Paterson by 24-year-old David Harker. Harker claimed to have strangled Julie during sex with a pair of tights. He then went on to partake in acts of necrophilia and cannibalism, finally dismembering her body. Harker became a suspect when police searched his flat after he had boasted to numerous people about his crimes. Paterson’s remains were discovered by a police dog handler on a wasteland close to Darlington football ground. In a remarkable twist, as a result of Harker’s crimes, Paterson’s on-off partner Alan Taylor plotted to take revenge. Whilst intoxicated Taylor strangled his friend John Morrison in the hope he’d be jailed in the same prison as Harker. Taylor was convicted of murder, but was jailed in a different location to Harker. A year into his sentence Taylor committed suicide.

6. Bristol

This episode tells the story of the murder of 18-year-old Louise Smith by David Frost. Louise Smith a clerical worker was murdered as she walked home from a Christmas Eve disco in 1995. Her body was discovered eight weeks later in a disused quarry. Police visited over 1,000 homes in the area, interviewing more than 1,400 people and carried out DNA tests on 4,500 men. A DNA sample was requested from David Frost, Frost agreed to be tested, but failed to show up, shortly after leaving for South Africa for work. Officers contacted him in South Africa, collecting a mouth swab, which resulted in a close DNA match. Frost was questioned and arrested on return to the UK, later pleading guilty to murder. Frost recalled how he approached Smith on her way home, persuading her to walk with him to Barnhill Quarry where they had sex. Frost claims Smith then became upset, trying to calm her down he put his hand over her mouth to stop her screams. She then stopped moving and a panicked Frost dumped her naked body and fled. Frost was sentenced to a minimum term of 14 years, but has since been released, and is now living somewhere in the UK.

7. Greenock

This episode tells the story of the murder of 16-year-old Elaine Doyle by John Docherty. The murder of Elaine Doyle in 1986 changed the town of Greenock, near Glasgow. Doyle walked home on a night out with friend, but they went their separate ways at around midnight. Doyle’s naked body was found in a lane just yards from her home the next morning. She had been strangled. Police scoured the scene for clues, and the hunt for the killer became one of the biggest in Scotland. The crime never left the public consciousness in Greenock, and every few years, the police would re-open the files. 41 suspects found their name on a list – but none proved to be the killer. 26 years later in 2012, when police once again opened the files, they matched a DNA sample taken from Doyle’s chest and another from her face to local John Docherty. In 2014, 51-year-old Docherty was found guilty and jailed, concluding Scotland’s longest one of Scotland’s longest running.

8. Nuneaton

his episode features the tragic murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl, Naomi Smith who was brutally murdered in 19995 after nipping out of the house to post a letter leaving everyone in the community as a suspect. Her route would only take her to the end of her street - but when she didn’t return - worried family began to search, and her body was found in a nearby children’s playground. In the episode we hear from Naomi’s brother David Freeman, who reveals how neighbours lived in fear and everyone wondered who might be responsible. As well as members of the police team and national reporters that covered the story who open up on the police struggle to make headway, and the breakthroughs that finally led to arrests. This is a tale of a senseless crime and an account of how DNA evidence helped to provide justice.

9. Grimsby

This episode tells the story of two homeless men in Grimsby who met a tragic end. Adam Vincent (pictured left) was a familiar face in the town who engaged with drink and drugs - and he became involved with a notorious drugs gang during his time living on the streets of Grimsby. However, nobody knew of the dangers he was in, until a grim discovery of a human limb in a waterway just a few miles away. In the show, we hear Adam’s devastated dad, Keith who recalls the torment he experienced as he learned his son was likely to be dead. And reveal how a complex police enquiry identified a suspicious vehicle which led to a nearby property - and a gang known to deal drugs in the town - who would soon face justice. We also tell the story of Tony Richardson - another homeless man viciously assaulted outside the town shopping centre. His crime appeared to be a random attack - until police connected an earlier incident with a security guard and found evidence of a chilling plot to exact revenge had led to his death.

10. Croydon

The final episode in this series tells the dramatic and shocking story of Mario Celaire (pictured right) - a man who viciously assaulted two women he claimed to love and became the first person in UK history convicted of a crime for which he was previously found not guilty. In the episode we learn about the death of Cassandra McDermott (pictured left) who in 2001 was found dead at home with no sign of a break in leading police to immediately assume her killer was someone she knew. Police enquiries took them through a complex trail of CCTV and using pathology to establish a time of death to identity Celaire - a former boyfriend - as the likely killer. But when Celaire faced trial in 2002, he was found not guilty. Six years later, Celaire, attacked another ex-girlfriend, Kara Hoyte, with a hammer. The assault left Hoyte with terrible injuries including severe brain damage but she was still able to identify her attacker to police. Detectives noticed the similarities between the two attacks and arrested Celaire after the 2005 repeal of an 800-year-old legal principle in England and Wales, allowing the court of appeal to order a retrial if the evidence was strong enough to reopen the Cassandra McDermott case. This episode hears from Kara Hoyte, Cassandra McDermott’s mother, Jennifer McDermott as well as the detective who spent nearly ten years chasing Celaire.