Case File #0182
The Stockwell Strangler
Kenneth Erskine
"He had this sort of terrible grin on his face"
During the summer and autumn months of 1986, a vicious serial killer stalked the housing estates of North and South London, targeting elderly men and women who were sexually assaulted and brutally strangled to death in their own homes. The first such murder occurred in April 1986, with the death of Nancy Emms, a 78-year-old spinster who was initially considered to have died from natural causes. A subsequent post mortem soon established she had been raped and strangled. The following month, two elderly men were found suffocated and strangled in their beds, and there had been a rash of burglaries in the area which some suspected might be a possible motive. Police were not quick to link these murders to a single perpetrator, then on 9 June, another woman was found strangled in her flat in Wandsworth. This time the killer did not sexually assault the victim, but did leave a clear fingerprints at the crime scene. Later that same month two elderly Polish men were sexually assaulted and murdered, whilst another managed to survive his encounter to give police a chilling description of the killer. In July, a further three men were found murdered under similar circumstances, and police were closing in on the elusive murderer. On 24 July, 80-year-old Florence Tisdall was found dead in the same way as previous victims, only this time a witness reported a strange man she encountered near the scene of the crime. Just four days later, police arrested a suspect in what the press were calling the Stockwell Strangler Case.
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