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‘I see him strolling his dog in the park’– how serial killer Bible John traumatised Glasgow|Real criminal offense (Podcasts)


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T hroughout the 1960s, fit, booted and elaborately coiffed Glaswegians would pertain to the Barrowlands, the city’s greatest ballroom, to leave the humdrum through a boozy mix of colour, shine, dancing and debauchery. By the end of the years, however, a shadow was cast over the place, after 3 females’s bodies were discovered on the streets, on each event within hours of them leaving the dancehall. Glasgow was– and is to this day– haunted by the guy thought to be their killer: Bible John.

” The city that enjoyed dancing was all of a sudden residing in worry of a killer who was choosing his victims on the dancefloor,” states Glaswegian Audrey Gillan, who was 2 weeks old when the very first victim was killed. “They saw an artist’s sketch of him and believed, ‘That’s the person at the corner store.’ Or, ‘I see him strolling his dog in the park.’ It altered the method females felt– and kids like myself matured believing he was a bogeyman.”

Gillan, a previous Guardian reporter, understands more than the majority of about the guy behind the secret: she’s simply launched a podcast series, Bible John: Development of a Serial Killer, on BBC Sounds. However far from simply being morbidly interested with the killer, the podcast checks out the little informed stories of the 3 females– Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock– while likewise taking apart the misogyny their murders were consulted with by the press, authorities and public. Gillan states she shares the pity for this treatment, having actually formerly covered the story for a Scottish paper 26 years earlier.

Patricia Docker, 25-year-old nurse, was murdered after leaving Glasgow’s Barrowlands with a man later dubbed Bible John.
Little-told stories … Patricia Docker, a 25-year-old nurse who was killed after leaving the Barrowlands in 1968. Photo: PA

While cutting her teeth as a press reporter, she released a special declaring that– after brand-new DNA findings and an exhumation– Bible John had actually lastly been determined. In the end, that ended up not to be the case. However that’s not what Gillan is attempting to correct. “The story I did had to do with this person, and the females were simply a sidebar,” she states, her voice plainly loaded with remorse.

Throughout lockdown, Gillan chose to return over all the files she had actually obtained about the case. “Being older,” she states, “and now having a various point of view, I took a look at them and believed, ‘These are so horrible!’ It was so misogynistic.” It was time to re-examine the story. On the Ground, Gillan’s thrilling and troubling 2020 podcast about being embedded in Iraq for this paper throughout the war, was chosen for a Foreign Press Association award. Gillan felt Bible John would fit the podcast format completely, its flexibilities enabling her to dig deep and consist of more voices in the story, as she needed to fantastic result in On the Ground.

According to Gillan, the authorities made notes on how the victims “liked the business of guys”, identified them as “promiscuous” and explained one as “a just kid and rather spoilt”. All the females were on their durations when their bodies were discovered. Their utilized hygienic items connected the murders, however they likewise triggered a basic protest of: “Picture having the audacity to head out dancing while on your duration!” They were evaluated for that, Gillan states. “Picture if the victim was a male– the notes would not be composed in that method. I believe that was a huge stopping working.”

Never caught … portrait of the man believed to be Bible John.
Never ever captured … picture of the guy thought to be Bible John. Photo: Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy

Bleak as all of it noises, Gillan lets light into the series by clearly painting individuals of Glasgow and commemorating the neighborhood, in addition to concentrating on the 3 females: Pat, Jemima and Helen. “I would like to know what these females resembled. What colour lipstick did they use? What did they sing in the shower?”

To discover responses, she handed the mic over to member of the family to speak about their enjoyed ones’ lives instead of their deaths. A reward episode is provided over to Alex Docker, child of Patricia, who was too young to correctly remember his mom, however remembers memories from his dad and auntie. He speaks about household time invested in Cyprus with the animal dog, his moms and dad’s separation, bath times in the two-storey tenement above a store, and his mom’s laughing face.

Undoubtedly, we are likewise informed what’s understood about the killer, which really isn’t much. The name was created due to the fact that witnesses stated they heard him pricing quote passages from the bible. However any gripping real criminal offense podcast requires to come with a bombshell discovery, and from the very first episode, Gillan speaks about a “dynamite parallel” story that she might have missed out on at the time she covered the case. “I can’t inform you about that,” she states, discussing that more will be exposed in additional episodes. “I do not wish to ruin it for you.”

Can there ever be an acceptable end to the story, considered that the killer has never ever been discovered and is most likely long dead? “Individuals may feel annoyed,” states Gillan. “However they will learn more about these females than they have actually heard prior to. It’s not our task to fix these murders. I’m a reporter. I’m not an investigator.”

Bible John: Development of a Serial Killer is offered now on BBC Sounds

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