Press "Enter" to skip to content

Cops ‘have name of serial killer prime suspect’ as they re-examine string of suspicious elderly ‘murder-suicides’

COPS have the name of a prime suspect in a potential serial killer case targeting elderly couples.

Cops are currently re-examining five historic “murder-suicides” after a report written by a senior coroner’s officer for Cheshire cast doubt on the original verdicts.

A male who lives in the north has been identified by name in the report but cannot be named for legal reasons.

He has strongly denied any involvement, according to The Sunday Times.

The report by Cheshire Police’s chief coroner’s officer Stephanie Davies was submitted to cops last month and is being reviewed by three separate forces.

Ms Davies’s report began by examining in detail two alleged murder suicides in the Cheshire town of Wilmslow, and concludes they could be double murders by a single offender.

Detective Chief Superintendent Aaron Duggan – head of crime at Cheshire Police who is leading the force’s review – said: “The contents of the report and its conclusions are being considered by detectives.

“At this time there is no reason to believe that the cases were not investigated by the police appropriately.

“They were also the subject of inquests. For these reasons, the constabulary has not reopened the cases. However, this decision will remain under review.”

The 179-page report suggested that the killings may be the work of a serial killer.

In the first case, Howard and Bea Ainsworth died in 1996, in what was believed to be a murder-suicide. 

This was followed three years later by the apparent murder-suicide of Donald and Auriel Ward.

Both deaths involved horrifying levels of violence – with Bea, 78, found stabbed in the forehead with a knife. 

She had also been struck repeatedly in the head with a hammer, and was found with a pillow covering her face.

Husband Howard, 47, was found lying beside her in his pajamas – with his head covered by a bag. 

Police investigating the case found a suicide note – which appeared to be written by Howard- at the scene and subsequently declared the deaths a murder-suicide.

Meanwhile, the second couple Auriel and Donald Ward died in 1999 in a similar frightful scene.

Auriel was discovered beaten, stabbed and suffocated and, like, Bea, had a pillow partially covering her face.

Donald was found with a knife plunged into his chest.

Police initially concluded that both cases were murder-suicides.

The coroner’s officer for Cheshire at the time, Christine Hurst, reportedly said the cases didn’t feel “right” and was “appalled at the level of violence” – as well as the eerie similarities between them.

On her retirement in 2017, she passed the cases to her successor Ms Davies who has filed the new report.

Now, she has challenged the rulings of the two cases as murder-suicides – citing a number of inconsistent factors in the evidence. 

In her new report, she calls on the National Crime Agency and Interpol to conduct an urgent review of the cases.

Nafir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor for the northwest, told the Sunday Times after reviewing Ms Davies’ report: “We could potentially have a serial killer in our midst.

“There needs to be a proper review of these cases and others which carry similar hallmarks.”

A top “cold case” police forensic investigator said of the report: “I would be looking at the same offender involved in both cases as a very real possibility”.

The investigator added, however, that he was not certain.

Ms Davies also identified three other ‘murder-suicide’ cases, which occurred in 2000, 2008 and 2011, which she believes could be related to the deaths of the Wards and the Ainsworth’s. 

One of the cases took place in Cumbria, and the other two in Greater Manchester.

Both police forces have now been made aware of the findings in the report. 

All three cases bore similar characteristics to the Wilmslow deaths – with police saying that the husbands had stabbed their wives and hit them on the head before taking their own lives. 

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *