Crime Files Network

Archive for September, 2011


White supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer has been executed via lethal injection for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd jnr, a black man from East Texas.

Mr Byrd, 49, was chained up to the back of a pick-up truck and pulled whip-like to his death along a bumpy bitumen road in one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history.

Brewer, 44, was asked if he had any final words, to which he replied:

“No. I have no final statement.”

A single tear glistened from his right eye.

He was pronounced dead at 6.21pm local time (9.21am AEST), 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms, both of which were covered with intricate black tattoos.

Brewer’s parents and two of Mr Byrd’s sisters were in attendance.

Appeals to the courts for Brewer were exhausted and no last-day attempts to save his life were filed.

Besides Brewer, John William King, now 36, was also convicted of capital murder and sent to death row for Mr Byrd’s death, which shocked the nation for its brutality.

King’s conviction and death sentence remain under appeal.

A third man, Shawn Berry, 36, received a life prison term.

“One down and one to go,” Billy Rowles, the retired Jasper County sheriff who first investigated the horrific scene, said. “That’s kind of cruel but that’s the reality of it all.”

Mr Byrd’s sister, Clara Taylor, said someone from her brother’s family needed to be present to watch Brewer die so she was among witnesses in the death chamber.

“He had choices,” she said, referring to Brewer. “He made the wrong choices & now has paid the price.”

While the lethal injection would not compare to the horrible death her brother endured, she said: “Knowing you’re going to be executed, that has to be a sobering thought.”

It was about 2.30am on a Sunday, June 7, 1998, when witnesses saw Mr Byrd walking on a road not far from his home in Jasper, a town of more than 7000 about 200 kilometres north-east of Houston.

Many knew he lived off disability cheques, could not afford his own car and walked where he needed to go. Another witness then saw him riding in the back of a dark pick-up.

Six hours later and about 16 kilometres away on Huff Creek Road, the bloody mess found after daybreak was thought at first to be animal road kill.

Mr Rowles, a former Texas state trooper who had only just taken office as sheriff the previous year, believed it was a hit-and-run fatality but evidence did not match up with someone caught beneath a vehicle.

Body parts were scattered and the blood trail began with footprints at what appeared to be the scene of a scuffle.

“I didn’t go down that road too far before I knew this was going to be a bad deal,” he said at Brewer’s trial.

Fingerprints taken from the headless torso identified the victim as Mr Byrd.

Testimony showed the three men and Mr Byrd drove out into the county about 16 kilometres and stopped along an isolated logging road.

A fight broke out and Mr Byrd was tied to the truck bumper with a 7.5-metre logging chain. What was left of his shredded remains was dumped between a black church and cemetery where the pavement ended on the remote road.

Brewer, King and Berry were in custody by the end of the next day.

The crime put Jasper under a national spotlight and lured the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers, among others, to try to exploit the notoriety of the case which continues – many say unfairly – to brand Jasper more than a decade later.

King was tried first, in Jasper. Brewer’s trial was moved 240 kilometres away to Bryan. Berry was tried in Jasper.



Why cry for Davis...! The victim’s family and the victim himself deserve that expresion of emotion. Davis was proven up by the courts to be a killer of a man who went to help in a fight & got murdered.

Davis a Georgia citizen has been executed, 20 years after he was convicted of the fatal shooting of a police officer and despite a plea for clemency from almost a million people worldwide.

Troy Davis, 42, who had continued to maintain his innocence, died by lethal injection at 11.08am, Georgia time (1.08pm AEST) after desperate efforts by his defence team failed to win a stay.

Madison MacPhail, daughter of slain off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail,   speaks about her late father, with mother Joan MacPhail at her side.Madison MacPhail, daughter of slain off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, speaks about her late father, with mother Joan MacPhail at her side. Photo: AP 

His death was marked by last-minute drama when Georgia officials delayed the execution by an excruciating 3½ hours as they awaited a final ruling by the US Supreme Court.

Davis had been about to be strapped to a gurney to be injected, as state witnesses assembled to view his execution, when the schedule was interrupted. However the court ultimately denied him a reprieve.

Hundreds of supporters, gathered outside the jail in Jackson, about 60 kilometres south-east of Atlanta, fell into despair once the decision was known. There was a huge police presence to quell any eruption of anger.

Anneliese MacPhail talks about her son, Mark MacPhail.Anneliese MacPhail talks about her son, Mark MacPhail. Photo: AP 

The nation’s highest court was Davis’s last chance after Georgia’s judiciary rejected last-minute appeals from his defence team earlier in the day.

It was the fourth time that an execution date had been set for Davis, who was convicted of the 1989 shooting of 27-year-old policeman Mark MacPhail. The off-duty officer was shot in the chest and face when he sought to intervene in an argument in the car park of a Savannah takeaway.

Three stays had been granted since 2007, with Davis on one occasion coming within 2½ hours of being executed.

Protesters for Troy Davis gather on the steps of the Georgia Capitol building.Protesters for Troy Davis gather on the steps of the Georgia Capitol building. Photo: Getty Images/AFP 

The extraordinary legal case has put America’s death penalty in an uncomfortable spotlight.

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide , pleaded for clemency in the wake of a series of court appeals and with seven of nine witnesses having recanted their original testimony, some claiming to have been coerced by police.

No weapon, DNA evidence or surveillance footage was found to link Davis to the crime. His defence team pointed the finger at a second man who had been with Davis on that evening and who later became the prosecution’s star witness.

Kimberly Davis speaks about her brother Troy Davis.Kimberly Davis speaks about her brother Troy Davis. Photo: AP 

Petitioners had included Pope Benedict, Nobel peace laureates Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former FBI director and at least 40 members of the US Congress.

Davis’s advocates had included Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, as well as the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate 17 death-row inmates through DNA testing.

A New York Times editorial called the execution “a grievous wrong”. It said the failure of Georgia’s Pardon and Parole Board to grant clemency was “appalling in the light of developments after [Davis’s] conviction”.

This undated handout image from  the Georgia Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Troy Davis. A parole board in Georgia has denied a last-ditch clemency appeal on September 20, 2011 by Davis, a Georgia man set to be executed in a high-profile case on September 21 for the murder of a police officer. The case has attracted international attention and became a focus for opponents of the death penalty because seven of nine trial witnesses have since recanted their testimony and his supporters say he may be innocent.This undated handout image from the Georgia Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Troy Davis. Photo: Reuters 

“Across the country, the legal process for the death penalty has shown itself to be discriminatory, unjust and incapable of being fixed.”

Davis had spent Wednesday saying goodbye to about 25 visitors before refusing a last meal. He also spent time praying with his local pastor, who described the delay in his execution as “a human rights violation” and “a cruel and unusual punishment”.

Speaking through a lawyer on Tuesday, he said: “I will not stop fighting before I’ve taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

Davis’s defence team had sought a polygraph, or lie detector, test for their client before his scheduled execution in a bid to win a further stay, but that had been denied by prison officials.

Their last appeals to the judicial system were denied successively by the state’s Superior Court and Supreme Court, and finally by the highest court in the US.

Supporters rallying outside the jail were briefly encouraged when word came that the Supreme Court had delayed the execution just minutes before its scheduled start at 9am. But it quickly emerged that the delay was only temporary, while the court’s nine justices considered whether to issue a stay.

Under Georgia law, the state governor does not have the power to intervene. That power is delegated to the parole board, which on Tuesday ruled that the execution could proceed.

“The board has considered the totality of the information presented in this case and thoroughly deliberated on it, after which the decision was to deny clemency,” the board’s statement read.

Prosecutors and Mr MacPhail’s widow and mother all said they had no doubt about Davis’s guilt and that the correct  person was being punished.

“I’m hoping that this is the end for our family,” said widow Joan MacPhail before the execution. “We want to believe so desperately that this is it.”

The dead policeman’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said: “I will never have closure because that can’t be. But I may have some peace which I hope for. I certainly need it.”

Spencer Lawton, the retired prosecutor in the case, told CNN: “There is the legal case, the case in court, and the public relations case. We have consistently won the case as it has been presented in court. We have consistently lost the case as it has been presented in the public realm, on TV and elsewhere.”

Davis became the fourth person executed in Georgia this year and the 34th across the 34 states that retain the death penalty. Texas accounts for a third of executions. However, America’s execution rate has been declining since the death penalty was reintroduced in the mid-1970s.


It could be suggested that there is  a case for capital punishment, because of the brutality of some of the murders committed, and these require fit and proper justice to be administered and punishment  to suit which should include capital punishment.

However the risk is the wrongful conviction of a person etc.

Also  the death sentence should only be given under very tight guidelines that need to be assessed & only by a panel of suitably qualified persons not a single judge.

I for one am in favour of the death penalty but its application would have to be rigourously monitored & controlled.

There are far too many examples of cruel sadistic killers getting to live in jails whilst the victims are dead and their families go on suffering for the rest of their lives.

More consideration for the victims & their families is in order.

Troy Davis should be grateful he got a clean death & not like some of the gruesome execution methods I have posted here in this site only days before this posting. It is not the death penalty that is the issue I would think here but the concern that he may be innocent. The courts have ruled that he was found guilty and consequently sentenced.What is it that the death penalty protestors do not understand about that process.

We have heard all the arguements for and against the death penalty time and time again, and nothing but nothing has yet convinced me that we should abolish the death penalty. More to the point is that the system to pass down & administer the death penalty needs to be looked at to minimize the number of ‘mistakes’ that will happen



1. Pendulum slicer

The pendulum was an instrument in torture and death via capital punishment used by the Spanish Inquisition. Although designed to cause maximum pain before death, the pendulum was also used to induce psychological fear into the victim, thereby extracting confessions quickly. The victim was first fastened to a wooden bench with ropes so that it was impossible for him to move. Above the victim was a crescent-shaped blade which would begin swinging to and from. Gradually the bar to which the blade was attached would be lowered bringing it closer and closer to the victim’s torso. It would usually be at this point that the victim would confess. If no confession was made, the blade would continue to lower until it began cutting through the victim’s torso. Eventually, the victim would be cleaved in two.

2. Immurement

Immurement is a form of capital punishment where a person is walled up within a building and left to die from starvation or dehydration. This is distinct from being buried alive, in which the victim typically dies of asphyxiation. The folklore of many Southeastern European communities refers to immurement as the mode of death for the victim sacrificed during the completion of a construction project, such as a bridge or fortress. Many Bulgarian and Romanian folk songs describe a bride offered for such purposes, and her subsequent pleas to the builders to leave her hands and breasts free, that she might still nurse her child. Later versions of the songs revise the bride’s death; her fate to languish, entombed in the stones of the construction, is transmuted to her nonphysical shadow, and its loss yet leads to her pining away and eventual death.

3. Lapidation

Lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject. This is in contrast to the case of a judicial executioner. It is slower than other forms of execution, and hence is a form of execution by torture.

4. Back Breaking

A form of capital punishment was merely to break the back of the criminal and leave him to die of thirst. It was a Mongolian method of execution that avoided the spilling of blood on the ground.

5. Iron Maiden

An Iron Maiden is an iron cabinet constructed to kill or torture the condemned. The iron cabinet was built with sharp objects like spikes, knives or nails inside of it. An individual was placed inside standing and the doors of the cabinet were closed repeatedly forcing bleeding and punctures until death due to blood loss or lack of oxygen should lungs be punctured. This form of capital punishment was used throughout the 18th Century in England

6. Execution by Elephant

Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The animals were trained and versatile, both able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly over a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were used to signify both the ruler’s absolute power and his ability to control wild animals. The sight of elephants executing captives attracted the interest of usually horrified European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by Western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.

7. Damnatio ad bestias

Damnatio ad bestias was a form of capital punishment in which the condemned were maimed on the circus arena or thrown to a cage with animals, usually lions. It was brought to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC from Asia, where a similar penalty existed from at least the 6th century BC. In Rome, damnatio ad bestias was used as entertainment and was part of the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre. In the 1st–3rd centuries AD, this penalty was mainly applied to the worst criminals and early Christians (Latin: christianos ad leones, “Christians to the lions”). It was abolished in 681 AD.

8. Sawing

Sawing was a method of execution used in Europe under the Roman Empire, in the Middle East, and in parts of Asia. The condemned were hung upside-down and sawn apart vertically through the middle, starting at the groin. Since the the body was inverted, the brain received a continuous supply of blood despite severe bleeding, consciousness thereby continuing until, or after, the saw severed the major blood vessels of the abdomen. The movement of the saw caused a body to sway back and forth making the process difficult for the executioners. The Chinese overcame this problem by securing the victim in an upright position between two boards firmly fixed between stakes driven deep into the ground. Two executioners, one at each end of the saw, would saw downwards through the stabilized boards and enclosed victim.


The execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by most societies—both for crime punishment and to suppress political dissent. Execution of a person by the judicial process as a punishment for an offense is called capital punishment or death penalty. In most places that practice capital punishment it is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and sodomy, also carry the death penalty. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking, corruption, cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny are also capital offenses. Most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system.However some methods of execution were quite vicious & brutal .They are listed herein

[WARNING:  Contains some disturbing images]



The garrote was very common once,  but is no longer sanctioned by law in any country though training in its use is still carried out in the French Foreign Legion. The garrote is a device that strangles a person to death. It can also be used to break a person’s neck. The device was often used in Spain until it was outlawed in 1978 together with the abolition of the death penalty. It normally consisted of a seat in which the prisoner was restrained while the executioner tightened a metal band around his neck until he was dead. Some versions of the garrote incorporated a metal bolt which pressed in to the spinal chord, breaking the neck. The victim may pass into a state of severe and painful convulsions and then pass into death. This spiked version is known as the Catalan garrote. The last execution by garrote was José Luis Cerveto in October 1977. Andorra was the last country in the world to outlaw its use, doing so in 1990. However garroting is still common in India according Indian author and forensic expert Parikh.



Scaphism, also known as the boats was an ancient Persian method of executing people & designed to inflict a very torturous death. The naked person was firmly fastened within a back-to-back pair of narrow rowing boats (or a hollowed-out tree trunk), with the head, hands, and feet protruding. The condemned was forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of developing severe diarrhea, and more honey would be rubbed on the body so it would attract insects to the exposed appendages. The person would then be left to float on a stagnant pond or be exposed to the sun. The defenseless individual’s faeces accumulated within the container, attracting more bugs & insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed and increasingly gangrenous flesh. The feeding would be repeated each day in some cases to prolong the torture, so that dehydration or starvation did not provide him or her with a quick death. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock. Delirium would typically set in after a few days. Death by scaphism was deliberately painful, humiliating, and protracted



Flaying is the removal of skin from a living body. Like a slaughtered animal is flayed in preparation for human consumption, or for its hide or fur; this is more commonly called skinning, flaying is similar method applied to living humans. Flaying of humans was used as both a method of torture and execution, depending on how much of the skin is removed. Flaying is an ancient practice, used by Assyrians and Ming Dynasty.



Known also as slow slicing, Lingchi was reserved for crimes seen as especially severe, such as treason or killing of one’s parents. Also could be translated as slow process, lingering death or death by a thousand cuts, was a form of execution used in China from about AD 900 until its abolition in 1905. The process involved tying the person to be executed to a wooden frame, usually in a public place. The flesh was then cut from the body in multiple slices in a process that was not specified in detail in Chinese law and therefore most likely varied. In later times, opium was sometimes administered either as an act of mercy or as a way of preventing fainting. The punishment worked on three levels: as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death, and as a punishment after death. In variable forms, it also involved dismemberment i.e cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs & genetalia of the condemned.



Breaking wheel or the Catherine wheel was a capital punishment device used  in the Middle Ages and early modern times for public execution by cudgelling to death. It was used during the Middle Ages and was still in use well into the 19th century. Breaking on the wheel was a form of torturous execution formerly in use in countries like France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Russia, the US. The wheel was typically a large wooden wagon wheel with a number of radial spokes, but a wheel was not always used. In some cases the condemned were lashed to the wheel and beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the cudgel to break through. Alternatively, the condemned were spreadeagled and broken on a St Andrew’s cross consisting of two wooden beams nailed in an “X” shape, after which the victim’s mangled body might be displayed on the wheel.



Brazen Bull or the Sicilian Bull is a  execution device designed in the ancient world of Greece. Perillos of Athens, a brass-founder, proposed to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, the invention of a new means for executing convicted criminals. Accordingly, he cast a bull, made completely in brass, hollow, with a door on the side. The condemned was placed & locked in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became yellow hot and causing the person inside litterally  roasting to death. The bull was  designed in such a way that its smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense. The head of the ox was designed with a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner’s screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an angry  bull. It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the scorched bones of the remains shone like jewels and were made into bracelets & other ornamental items.



Disembowelment or evisceration is the removing of some or all of the vital organs, usually from the abdomen. On humans, as a method of death penalty, it is fatal in all cases. It has historically been used as a severe form of very painfull capital punishment. Finally the last organs to be removed were invariably the heart and lungs so as to keep the condemned alive (and in pain) as long as possible.  Disembowelment played a part in methods of execution and ritual suicides once in Japan.



Where the victim is dipped in a big bowl. This method was used in Russia and Europe 3000 years ago and they used oil, acid or water. This type is considered slow and extremely painful. This penalty was carried out using a large cauldron filled with water, oil, tar, tallow or even molten lead. Sometimes the victim was immersed, the liquid then being heated, or he was plunged into the already boiling contents, usually head first. The executioner could then help speed their demise by means of a large hook with which he sank the person deeper. An alternative method was to use a large shallow receptacle rather than a cauldron; oil, tallow or pitch then being poured in. The victim was then partially immersed in the liquid and fried to death.



This method of execution is probably the most painful and interesting death method. Impalement as a method of  execution involves a person being pierced with a long sharpened stake. The penetration could be through the sides, through the rectum, through the vagina, or through the mouth. This method leads to a painful death, sometimes taking days. The stake would often be planted in the ground, leaving the impaled person suspended until death.  In some forms of impalement, the stake would be inserted so as to avoid immediate death, and would function as a plug to prevent blood loss. After preparation of the victim, perhaps including public torture and rape, the victim was stripped and an incision was made in the perineum between the genitals and rectum. A stout pole with a blunt end was inserted. A blunt end would push vital organs to the side, greatly slowing death. The pole would often come out of the body at the top of the sternum and be placed against the lower jaw so that the victim would not slide farther down the pole. Often, the victim was hoisted into the air after partial impalement. Gravity and the victim’s own struggles would cause him to slide down the pole. This method is extremely painful and was used by the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Greek empire, and ancient Roman Empire.



To be hanged, drawn and quartered was the penalty for high treason in medieval England has remained on the statute books but seldom used in the United Kingdom and Ireland until abolished under the Treason Act of 1814. It was a spectacularly gruesome and public form of torture and execution, and was reserved only for the most serious of crimes, which was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital offences. It was applied only to the male criminals, except on the Isle of Man. Women found guilty of treason were sentenced to be taken to a place of execution and burned at the stake, a punishment changed to hanging by the Treason Act of 1790 in Great Britain. First the convict is dragged on a wooden frame called a hurdle  to the place of execution. This is one possible meaning of drawn, then he is hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead. After that he is disembowelled (described above) and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before the condemned’s eyes. Finally the body beheaded and the torso divided into four parts. Typically, the resulting five parts (i.e., the four quarters of the body and the head) were gibbeted (put on public display) in different parts of the city, town, or, in famous cases, in the country, to deter would-be traitors who had not seen the execution.

Profile of wife killer & murderer

Malcolm Webster

The man described as a ‘murderer, fraudster, philanderer and criminal mastermind’ has been found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow.

By Shiona McCallum

19 May 2011 15:10 GMT

Malcolm Webster: Found guilty of murder at the High Court in Glasgow. Pic: © STV

It became the longest murder trial against a single accused in Scottish legal history.

For four months, Malcolm Webster arrived at the High Court in Glasgow accused of murdering his first wife in a deliberate pre planned car crash, and attempting to murder his second by the same method five years later.

On Thursday May 19, he was found guilty.

Dressed in an array of woolly jumpers and chino trousers, portly, chubby-cheeked Webster certainly did not fit the stereotype of a cold-blooded killer.

He looked nothing short of cuddly as he shuffled to court every day and sat quietly reading newspapers as he waited for his case to be called. But inside Lord Bannatyne’s courtroom, his mask was stripped away as prosecutor Derek Ogg QC forensically presented a damning body of evidence against the former nurse.

When Webster finally spoke to the court he insisted “it was not a murder, it was a tragic accident”.

But he has been revealed as a “cold-blooded” and “sadistic” killer, a serial womaniser and a fraudster, who spun a web of lies to his victims.

Perhaps above all else though, Webster was a supremely talented actor. At his wife’s funeral he played the part of a bereaved husband to perfection.

Detectives believe Webster started planning Claire Morris’ murder before their wedding in Aberdeen 18 years ago.

Webster came from a comfortable background in Surrey – the son of a former chief superintendent with, of all things, the Fraud Squad at the Metropolitan Police.

Dorothy Allan, who worked with Webster, spent time with him following Ms Morris’ death.

The mother-of-three spent a weekend on Webster’s yacht “weeks” after Claire Morris died. Webster bought the yacht shortly after he received the insurance money from his wife’s death.

After committing a near-perfect murder in 1994 and getting away with it for 17 years, he embarked on another plot of lies and deceit and began to plan the murder of his second wife.

Felicity Drumm, 50, was travelling in a car with Webster when he claimed there was something wrong with the steering.

He suddenly swerved across two lanes and then drove the car off the road, ending up in a ditch beside some trees. Webster then clutched his chest and said he was having a heart attack in an “Oscar-winning performance”.

He then planned to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee, from Oban, Argyll, to gain access to her estate.

In a web of lies he told her that he was terminally ill with leukaemia when he was actually in good health.

He pretended to be undergoing treatment for leukaemia in London, when he was in fact having a long-distance relationship with American Brenda Grant.


Webster might still be free today but for the most astonishing twist of this entire tale.

In 2006, while he was faking leukaemia, Felicity Drumm’s Jane was attending a conference in London.

She had a chance conversation with a senior officer from the Metropolitan Police and told him everything. He informed Grampian Police, who flew officers to London to question her.

It was that meeting that led to Webster’s downfall as Grampian Police started a fresh search for evidence.

In Aberdeen, pathologist James Grieve and toxicologist Duncan Stephen examined a tissue sample taken from Claire Morris at her post mortem 14 years earlier.

They devised a new technique, never tried before anywhere in the world – and found possible samples of Temazepam in her liver.

During the course of the investigation into Malcolm Webster a total of 1200 statements were taken. Every person who had a significant role in Malcolm Webster’s life over the past 20 years was tracked down and interviewed.

Witness statements were taken from New Zealand, Australia, Sierra Leone, America, France and Spain. The FBI was drafted in to take statements in the US.

Witnesses were eventually brought from Peru, Yemen, the US, New Zealand, Australia, England and Scotland to the High Court in Glasgow. Four witnesses also gave evidence via video link from New Zealand.

At one point in their preparation for the trial, prosecutor Derek Ogg and his team prepared a whiteboard of ‘Webster’s Women’ the eight women that had been taken in by him at various stages. At some points, the former nurse was seeing three women at once.

Malcolm Webster was granted bail for the duration of the trial because the murder he was alleged to have committed happened 17 years ago but he was subject to very strict bail conditions and was required to check in with police every day. He complied fully with those restrictions.

Sourced from news of Scottland by Henry Sapiecha

Wife Killer Malcolm Webster

murder trial:

How a chance meeting led to

wife-killer’s downfall


At least the next investigation about UK killer Malcolm Webster is covered by Ross Coulthart. I realise the making of any current affairs show is its ability to break news but I’m tiring a bit of killers, kidnappers, missing persons and voices from behind bars at 6:30 on a Sunday. Sure they have their place, but I’m in a much lighter mood at that hour….

Wife Killer
A Sunday Night worldwide investigation into the life, and loves, of convicted wife killer Malcolm Webster. A cunning and charismatic serial psychopath, whose father was a senior Scotland Yard police officer, Webster had an insatiable appetite for money and possessions. He would seduce, date, marry and insure his lovers…. before carefully plotting to kill them. Reporter Ross Coulthart follows the trail of Webster, who has just been convicted of murdering his Australian wife Claire, attempting to murder his second wife, as well as planning the death of his new fiancé. A trained nurse, Webster spent three periods living in Australia, and the hunt is on to find his victims here.

May 20 2011 By Charlie Gall

AN incredible chance meeting re-ignited the inquiry into Malcolm Webster and finally brought the killer to justice.

Jane Drumm – sister of Webster’s second wife Felicity – shared her concerns about him during a social chat with a police officer.

Jane Drumm's chance meeting with a police officer led to Webster's downfall

She told him she feared Webster had tried to kill her sister – and had successfully murdered his first wife in Scotland.

Jane, right, was director of a domestic violence prevention organisation in New Zealand and was in the UK on a fact-finding mission in June 2006.

There, she discussed Webster with an English police officer.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Chapman, who led the new investigation in Grampian, said: “The cop was a senior officer with a north of England force.

“In a private conversation she raised her concerns with this officer, who clearly felt there was a need to pass that information us. We went and interviewed Jane before she went back to New Zealand.

“Jane was aware that Malcolm was in the UK. She didn’t demand an investigation. She just spoke about her concerns.

“She just related exactly the circumstances of the two separate incidents and said, in essence, her family were concerned Malcolm had murdered his first wife and attempted to murder Felicity.

“Anybody who listened couldn’t help but be moved by the striking similarity between the two events. It was like lightning striking twice. It certainly raised enough of a degree of suspicion in us.”

The crash which killed Webster’s first wife Claire was recorded as a death by dangerous driving because the motorcyclist Webster claimed he’d swerved to avoid was never traced.

DCI Chapman said: “For us to go back and review that, we had to come up with fresh evidence and fresh information which would allow us to go to the fiscal service.

“As the senior investigating officer I had to establish whether a crime had been committed.”

DCI Chapman’s team of 25 detectives went back and looked at the original crash “afresh” to satisfy themselves there was sufficient evidence to reopen the case.

He said: “In essence it was an open crime file. There were witnesses but never to the aspect of there having been a bike.

Second wife Felicity Drumm survived a murder attempt by Malcolm Webster

“Post-incident there were plenty of witnesses, pre-incident there were no witnesses. That crime, as many crimes do, remained undetected.”

The DCI travelled to New Zealand with four of his team to interview Felicity Drumm, right, and speak to detectives there.

Now they had an actual witness who was claiming Webster had tried to kill her.

DCI Chapman said: “We looked specifically at the toxicology, given the evidence from New Zealand with regards to the drugging of Felicity.”

A postmortem had been carried out on Claire Webster’s body after the crash and her liver was tested for alcohol – but not drugs.

Now, 13 years on, a slide held in a lab containing a sliver of Claire’s liver was about to give detectives the major breakthrough they desperately sought.

DCI Chapman said: “Because it was a section one road traffic accident they had kept this tissue sample.

“That’s retained as a matter of record from the autopsy involving any fatal accident or sudden death reported to the fiscal.

“We had to work up the experimental process with the toxicologists around the examination of Claire’s liver tissue.”

The ground-breaking tests were led by Dr Duncan Stephen, a toxicology expert based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

DCI Chapman said: “There had never been a requirement to do that before – to analyse a historical piece of tissue to find if drugs are in it 13 years after the event.

“We were breaking new ground.”

The piece of tissue had been set in wax to preserve it. The experts had to dissolve the wax to analyse it and there was a risk that any material within it could be washed away.

It took some time to come up with a process that worked.

DCI Chapman said: “They came back and told us they had found trace evidence of benzodiazepam with the 92.4 per cent probability that it was temazepam.”

The presence of temazepam in Claire’s liver was reported back to the Crown Office, who gave the go-ahead for a review of the whole circumstances of her death.

DCI Chapman said: “The two incidents in isolation are pretty remarkable incidents but taken together, the similarities are striking.

“He married both women under the auspices of using them as a vehicle to obtain finance and wealth.

“That’s not rational behaviour. It shows his contempt for human life, and particularly the fact the people involved were his wife and his second wife – the second being the mother of his child.

“Indeed, he was drugging Felicity while she was actually pregnant.”

As the police closed in on Webster, more than 1000 witness statements were taken as the investigation stretched from Scotland to New Zealand, America, Sierra Leone, Australia and France.

DCI Chapman said: “Three quarters of the inquiries were outwith the Grampian area.

“It was reasonable to suggest that he’d murdered Claire – now we needed to establish a connection with New Zealand. We had the added element of Webster becoming aware due to press coverage that this was happening.”

But Grampian Police were not yet ready to arrest him.

They knew exactly where he was. Despite still being married to Felicity, he had become engaged to Simone Banerjee, 41, a health service worker in Oban.

When police warned her about Webster, she called off the engagement and he returned to the London area – and the investigation continued.

DCI Chapman said: “We knew that with Felicity there were insurance policies and financial motive. But only in Claire’s case did Malcolm receive any money. It was a very challenging thing to do.”

Some 80 search warrants were executed across financial institutions throughout the UK to find application forms for insurance policies and termination documents.

Pay slips as well as bank and credit card statements were sourced.

And they found Claire had signed a last will and testament bequeathing her entire estate to Webster in the event of her death.

DCI Chapman said: “Ultimately, the picture we developed was that Webster had a motive and his motive was his insatiable appetite for money and wealth.

“His means of obtaining wealth was through insurance policies which were guaranteed to pay out in the event of the death of someone he had placed an insurance policy for – and allegedly loved.

“That was the most callous part of it. From Claire’s family’s view, she was madly in love with this guy. Felicity felt the same way.”

Within the year, detectives believed they had a compelling case against Webster.

But DCI Chapman added: “We had to look at what else he had done – could there be other victims?

“We had, on a week to week basis, detectives going all over the UK looking at his friends, his family, his associates, his work colleagues, his bank and insurance details.

“We had been liaising with the New Zealand police right from the start and they were first class.

“They showed us all their files but we had to go through the case from a Scottish perspective to make sure the evidence would stand scrutiny under Scots law.

“Ultimately when all the reports and evidence we needed were available to go and arrest him, we did.”


He murdered one wife, tried to kill another and conned a third lover, but Webster had an eye for ladies

Brenda Grant

Webster spent a week in Paris with Brenda, from Missouri, US, just weeks after he moved in with Simone Banerjee.

He told the divorced mum-of-three, who once worked with him at a US healthcare firm, he was divorced. She insisted the trip was strictly platonic.

Caroline Mcintosh

Webster took secret lover Caroline McIntosh for a trip on his yacht just months after he killed his wife.

Caroline, 45, met Webster in August 1994 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where they both worked. The couple stayed at a hotel in Inverness.

Geraldine Oakley

Former colleague Geraldine Oakley, 50, told the jury she slept with the killer on his first wedding anniversary.

She said Webster called her that night and told her he did not want to be alone. She first met the killer in 1993 when she was a computer manager at Grampian NHS and he was a nurse.

Catherine Brown

Webster took nurse Catherine Brown to visit his first wife’s grave after they spent the weekend in a hotel together.

The killer met the theatre nurse in June 2005 when she started her job at Lorn & Islands hospital. He lied to her that he had leukaemia.

Ann Hancock

The physiotherapist, 50, revealed Webster was nicknamed Dr Death as he was studying for a degree in euthanasia.

They met in Glasgow in 2004 but did not begin a relationship until late 2007.

Police finally warned her about his past.

Christina Wills

She fell in love with Webster after they met at Lorn & Islands hospital in Oban in 2002.

The 61-year-old was duped by Webster into believing he had leukaemia for more than two years. He shaved off his hair and eyebrows and pretended to have chemotherapy. He dumped her in 2005.

Sourced from Scottish news by Henry Sapiecha

The ‘Stanford Prison’ Experiment on inmates & guards

Like the ‘Pavlovs dog’ experiment, the Stanford prison experiment was a psychological study of human responses to captivity and its behavioral effects on both authorities and inmates in prison. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychologist Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Undergraduate volunteers played the roles of both guards and prisoners living in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited “genuine” sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early. Finally, Zimbardo, alarmed at the increasingly abusive anti-social behavior from his subjects, terminated the entire experiment early.

Now all this reaction from a group of people who were not even in the real life situation.Does that imply that the real scenario has even far more reaching consequences?…Hmmmmmmm..!




There is a tendency for us to delegate evil deeds to the male of the species and forget that females have played & do also play their part as evil doers.Perhaps here we can see some of these wicked women over the years who have been serial killers and caused grief, injury,tragedy and death to many persons in various communities, towns and countries throughout history

1. Elizabeth Bathory

Born: 1560; Died: 1614

Elizabeth Bathory was one of the most evil women in human history. She slaughtered & butchered at least 80 young women (though some witnesses claimed the number was closer to 650) and has the rather unfortunate reputation as being the world’s first known female serial killer. Because of her gruesome crimes many misconceptions have arisen about her – here we look at the most prominent.

The myth: Elizabeth Bathory bathed in the blood of her victims

They tied the hands and arms very tightly with Viennese cord, they were beaten to death until the whole body was black as charcoal and their skin was rent and torn. One girl suffered more than two hundred blows before dying. Dorko [another accomplice and procurer] cut their fingers one by one with shears and then slit the veins with scissors. — Ficzko (Servant of Bathory)

Elizabeth Bathory (7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) certainly was one of the most prolific and heinous murderers in history, but because of the scarcity of such horrific crimes during the Middle Ages, her infamy was so great the rumors, misconceptions, and myths grew to surround her. Aside from the misconception that she killed 650 young women when in reality it was between 80 – 300, the most well known is that she bathed in the blood of her victims to give & maintain her youthful appearance.

This is completely untrue; it is a myth that arose due to embellishments of her actions by story-tellers who came after her death. Nevertheless, Bathory committed some of the most shocking and vile acts against her victims. The list of her crimes is quite extensive (and well documented through the trial of her helpers) and it includes such depraved excesses as: burning or freezing to death, mutilation, attempted surgeries, sexual abuse, and starvation.

Amazingly Bathory was never tried for her crimes though she was compelled to remain walled up in her castle. She remained there until she died four years later. The reason for her evading prosecution was that it would cause scandal to the ruling family of Hungary and the crown would be compelled to seize all of Bathory’s land and belongings – leaving her children peniless. Furthermore, the King (King Matthias) owed her a great deal of money and the debt was written off as “punishment”. Three of the servants who helped her with her killing spree were given a trial and found guilty. They were executed by having their fingers ripped off before being burnt to death at the stake.

Prime example for the return of capital punishment one could argue for other hideous crimes in the 21st century

Interesting Fact: Historian László Nagy has argued that Elizabeth Báthory was a victim of a conspiracy. Nagy argued that the proceedings were largely politically motivated. The conspiracy theory is consistent with Hungarian history at that time. There was great conflict between religions, including Protestant ones, and this was related to the extension of Habsburg power over Hungary. As a Transylvanian Protestant aristocrat, Elizabeth belonged to a group generally opposed to the Habsburgs.

2. Queen Mary I

Born: 1516; Died: 1558

Mary was the only child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, plus the only one to live past infancy. Crowned after the death of Edward VI and the removal of The Nine Days Queen-Lady Jane Grey, Mary is chiefly remembered for temporarily and violently returning England to Catholicism. Many prominent Protestants were executed for their beliefs leading to the ‘ nickname’ moniker “Bloody Mary”. Fearing the gallows many Protestants left the country, unwilling to return until her death or removal. It should be noted that Elizabeth Ist  also shares a position on this list for her equally bad reputation.

3. Isabella of Castile

Born: 1451; Died: 1504

Isabella I of Spain, well remembered & known as the patron of Christopher Columbus, with her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon, together are responsible for making possible the unification of Spanish interests under their grandson Carlos I. As part of the drive for unification, Isabella appointed Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General of the inquisition. March 31, 1492 marks the implementation of the Alhambra Decree; expulsion edicts forcing the removal or conversion of Jews and Muslims. Roughly 200,000 people left Spain; those remaining who chose conversion were subsequently persecuted by the inquisition investigating Judaizing conversos. In 1974, Pope Paul VI opened her cause for beatification. This places her on the path toward possible sainthood. In the Catholic Church, she is thus titled Servant of God.

4. Katherine Knight

Born: 1956

The first ever Australian woman to be sentenced to a natural life term imprisonment  without parole, Katherine Knight had a history of extreme violence in relationships. She smashed the dentures of one of her ex-husbands and slashed the throat of another husband’s eight-week-old puppy before his eyes. A heated relationship she was in with John Charles Thomas Price became public knowledge with an Apprehended Violence Order that Price had filed against Knight and ended with Knight stabbing Price to death with a large  butcher’s knife. He had been stabbed at least 37 times, both front and back, with many of the wounds penetrating vital organs. She then skinned him and hung his “suit” from the door frame in the living room, cut off his head and put it in the soup pot, baked his buttocks, and prepared gravy and vegetables to accompany the ‘roast’. The meal and a sarcastic note were set out for the children, luckily discovered by police before they arrived home.

5. Irma Grese

Born: 1923; Died: 1945

Another product of the Nazi’s final solution, Irma Grese or the “Bitch of Belsen” was a guard at concentration camps Ravensbrück, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Transferred to Auschwitz in 1943, (she must have shown particular enthusiasm and dedication to the job), she was promoted to Senior Supervisor, the 2nd highest ranking female in camp, by the end of the year. In charge of over 30,000 Jewish female prisoners, she reveled in her work. Her work included; savaging of prisoners by her trained and half starved dogs, sexual excesses, arbitrary shootings, sadistic beatings with a plaited whip, and selecting prisoners for the gas chamber. She enjoyed both physical and emotional torture and habitually wore heavy boots and carried a pistol to facilitate both.

6. Ilse Koch

Born: 1906; Died: 1967

This female war criminal of concentration camp attrocites “Die Hexe von Buchenwald” the Witch of Buchenwald, or “Buchenwälder Schlampe” the Bitch of Buchenwald was the wife of Karl Koch, commandant of the concentration camps Buchenwald from 1937 to 1941, and Majdanek from 1941 to 1943. Intoxicated on the absolute power rendered by her husband, she reveled in torture and obscenity of the worst kind. Infamous for her souvenirs; tattoos taken from the murdered inmates, her reputation for debauchery was well earned. After building an indoor sports arena in 1940, with 250,000 marks stolen from inmates, Ilsa was promoted to Oberaufseherin or “chief overseer” of the few female guards at Buchenwald. She committed suicide by hanging herself at Aichach women’s prison on September 1, 1967. A deranged and sickly woman.

7. Mary Ann Cotton

Born: 1832; Died: 1873

This poisoning Englishwoman Mary Ann Cotton is another for-profit serial killer, predating Belle Gunnes by thirty years. Married at age twenty to William Mowbray, the newlyweds settled in Plymouth, Devon, to start their family. The couple had five children, four of whom died of ‘gastric fever and stomach pains’. Moving back to the north-east, tragedy seemed to pursue them; three more children born, & yes three more children died. Husband William soon followed his offspring, dying of an ‘intestinal disorder’ in January 1865. British Prudential promptly paid a 35 pound insurance payout dividend, and a pattern was established. Her second husband, George Ward, died of intestinal problems as well as one of her two remaining children. The power of the press, always a force to be reckoned with, caught up with Mary Ann. The local newspapers discovered that as Mary Ann moved around northern England, she lost three husbands, a lover, a friend, her mother and a dozen children, all dying of stomach fever. She was hanged at Durham County Gaol, March 24, 1873, for murder by arsenic poisoning. She died slowly, the hangman using too short a drop for a ‘clean’ execution.Too bad, soo… sad!!

8. Belle Gunness

Born: 1859; Died: 1931

Belle Gunness was one of America’s most degenerate and productive female serial killers. Standing 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and weighing in at over 200 lbs (91 kg), she was an imposing and powerful woman of Norwegian descent. It is likely that she killed both her husbands and all of her children at different times, but it is certain that she murdered most of her suitors, boyfriends, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. The motive was greed-pure and simple; life insurance policies and assets stolen or swindled from her suitors became her source of income. Most reports put her death toll at more than twenty victims over several decades, with some claiming in excess of one hundred. Inconsistencies during her post mortem examination; the corpse was reported to be two inches shorter than Belle’s six feet, paved the way for Belle Gunnes to enter American criminal folklore, a female Bluebeard.

9. Beverly Allitt

Born: 1968

The nurse “Angel of Death, Beverley Gail Allit, is one of Britain’s most well known serial killers. Working as a pediatric nurse, she is responsible for the murder of 4 children and the serious injury of 5 others in her care. When available, insulin or potassium injections were used to precipitate cardiac arrest; smothering sufficed when they were not. Although convicted with death or injury in nine cases, Allit attacked thirteen children over a fifty-eight day period before being caught red-handed. Allit has never spoken of the motive for her crimes, but Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy explains her actions. This debatable personality disorder involves a pattern of abuse or harm to someone in your care in order to garner attention (Alitt was known as a child to wear bandages and casts over wounds, but would not allow them to be examined). Notice me , I have injuries and need attention.

10. Myra Hindley

Born: 1942; Died: 2002

The Moors Murders couple Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were responsible for the “Moors murders” happening in the Manchester area of Britain in the mid 1960’s. Together these two monsters were responsible for the kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture and murder of three children under the age of twelve and two teenagers, aged 16 and 17. A key for a lock found in Myra’s possession led to incriminating evidence stored at a left-luggage depot at Manchester Central Station. The evidence included a tape recording of one of the murder victims screaming as Hindley and Brady raped and tortured her. In the final days before incarceration, she developed a swagger and arrogant attitude that became her trademark. Police secretary Sandra Wilkinson has never forgotten seeing Hindley and her mother Nellie, leaning against the courthouse eating sweets. While the mother was obviously and understandably upset, Hindley seemed indifferent and uncaring of her situation.

Charles Manson .Slaughterer of innocents
Charles Manson organized a group and supervised the killings of several people. Interestingly, he never killed anybody but was still arrested on account of being associated with the crime. His group entered a well known actor’s home, killed his pregnant wife, cut open her stomach and stabbed the foetus to death as well

Dean Corll.Boy killer & rapist.

Dean Corll along with Elmer Henley and David Brooks raped and killed about 27 boys. They buried their bodies in a forest in Texas. Elmer Henley shot Corll soon after and was sentenced to six life imprisonments along with Brooks. Today they are both in jail and the requests for parole hearings have been denied.

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