East Lancs Ripper Brutally Murdered & Sexually Mutilated Four Women
The East Lancashire Ripper — Never Caught
It seems that the brutal murders of four sex workers Linda Donaldson, Maria Christina Requena, Vera Anderson and Julie Finley may have been inspired by a film about the infamous Jack The Ripper.
The women’s mutilated bodies began to be found some 32 years ago with the first being found in a field, hidden behind a hedge in Lowton, Greater Manchester. This murder took place on October 18th 1988, the very same day that the film was televised telling the story of the East End London murders that had taken place 100 years previously.
The second murder took place some 27 months later sometime between New Year's Day 1991 and January 6th 1991 and the victim was a mother of one, 26-year-old Maria Requena.
Maria’s dismembered remains were found by two children who were fishing in a 170-acre lake at Pennington Flash, Leigh. Greater Manchester. The children spotted five black bin liners floating in the lake, they thought something was suspicious and raised the alarm. The police were met with a dreadful find when they retrieved the bags and opened them, Maria had literally been chopped up and bagged up.
This case has never been allowed to truly become a cold case
The third victim, believed to have been murdered by the same elusive killer was found on August 25th 1991, she had been killed by having her throat slashed. Vera Anderson, aged 38 was found viciously wounded in her Ford Cortina in Tannery Lane, Penketh, Greater Manchester. This murder was also linked to those of Linda and Maria, although I have to say I am not absolutely convinced about that, I do not feel the modus operandi to be similar enough.
The fourth alleged victim was 23-year-old Julie Finley whose naked body was found in a carrot field off the Rainford by-pass close to St.Helens, Merseyside. I am not at all convinced that this murder is linked in any way, but it has been suggested that the same killer may have been responsible.
Greater Manchester police’s cold case unit has always continued to pursue the killer of the three sex workers and the possible link to Julie Finley, but despite the passing of time, no one has ever been convicted of the heinous crimes.
Before I go any further I make it abundantly clear that I do not believe the theories suggested by certain “armchair detectives” that these murders were carried out by serial killer Christopher Halliwell. In fairness, I do not see Halliwell’s description of “Serial Killer” as an accurate elucidation as he has been convicted of just two murders, so in my opinion, a killer has remained elusive for 32 years thus far.
In the words of a Greater Manchester police officer “They were bought, used, killed and discarded” and that is just terrible. How any person, no matter how sadistic a person’s mind can buy sexual favours then kill the woman that has been used is bad enough, but to mutilate and chop up the body is almost beyond belief.
The killer that took these women’s lives was clearly in a very, very dark place in his or her life at the time and I am sure that unless he or she is dead other attacks and murders must have taken place at the hands of the same assailant.
Police say that they are satisfied that at least three of the murders were the actions of the same assailant and it is worth noting that all four killings were within the area crossed by the East Lancashire Road M6/M62.
Interestingly at least two of the victims had taken part in TV documentaries in fairly recent times prior to their murders, looking at the lives and dangers of sex workers. We have to ask ourselves the question “Was someone unhappy about something that the women said or maybe the way in which sex workers were portrayed in the documentaries”? I will definitely try to get to view these documentaries, if anyone has links to them then please do let me know via email.
The two victims that took part in the documentaries were Maria Requena and Linda Donaldson, worryingly they were the two that were badly mutilated in their murders. I cannot help but feel that somehow or other there is a link between those documentaries, the TV programme about Jack The Ripper with Michael Caine and the murders. Most definitely a point for a lot more research in the future.
Sex workers really feared for their lives during this killing spree
In 1996 a special operation was set up to try to establish if a serial killer could have been responsible for some two hundred unsolved murders. Operation Enigma used special techniques pioneered by the FBI to carefully study all of the unsolved cases where the victims were women dating back to 1992 and where victims were known sex workers dating all the way back to 1988. The operation used methods to identify clusters of murders which could have been the work of the same killer.
The results are very interesting in that Operation Enigma established that it is very likely 21 separate killers were responsible for 70 different killings during those periods. The methods used during the operation seem quite strong and in many ways infallible so this is very important data that I have recorded on my files for future reference.
There was an almost definite link established between the killings of Linda and Maria, whilst the murders of Vera and Julie were much more unspecific. The relevant points of Location, sexual mutilation and definitive links to prostitution were the reasoning behind the two being certain of being linked.
Maria and Linda were both known to have been working the streets as prostitutes up until their murders, both were identified as being very vulnerable in that they were trying to support children, serve a pimp and finance their drug addictions in a very difficult financial time of their lives, were both somewhat living on the edge.
A maroon-coloured Ford Granada Mark two was seen parked at the entrance to the field at around 0545 where Linda’s body was found just six hours later by an elderly couple, the vehicle nor the driver have ever been identified.
Over the years two known prostitute killers have been questioned about the murders but to no avail and the cases remain unsolved
Martin Bottomley, head of Greater Manchester Police’s cold case unit told the Daily Mirror newspaper “No undetected murder is ever forgotten and we focus on and strive to solve them. The passage of time is no reason to shelve an enquiry and give up”.
I will leave this one there, it’s an interesting case and I do feel that at least the murders of Linda and Maria could be solved with a little persistence in visits to the criminal underworld.
If you have any information on these dreadful killings then please contact the cold case review team on 0161 856 5961 or of course you can contact Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111
I have a lot of questions about this case that I will try to delve into further and bring you more soon.
As with all my cases if you have any information or want to discuss this case or any other then please do get in touch of course I would appreciate it if you would click here and buy me a coffee