In Brief

Hammersmith nude murders: new clues in ‘Jack the Stripper’ case

Scotland Yard considering criminologist’s theory that child killer Harold Jones was the culprit

Police are considering reopening the unsolved case of a serial killer who murdered at least six women in the 1960s, according to reports.

The young victims, all of whom are believed to have been prostitutes, were found strangled and naked near the Thames between 1964 and 1965. Their teeth had also been removed.

At the time, the killings became known as the Hammersmith nude murders, and the perpetrator, who was never identified, was dubbed “Jack the Stripper”, a reference to the 19th-century London serial killer Jack the Ripper.

The Times reports that police are now considering new information unearthed by David Wilson, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University. He believes the killer was Harold Jones, a Welshman convicted of murdering two girls in his hometown of Abertillery in the 1920s.

At the age of 15, Jones killed Freda Burnell, aged eight, but was acquitted because there was not enough evidence. “Two weeks later he murdered Florence Little, 11, and hid her body in his parents’ attic,” says the newspaper. 

Jones confessed to killing Florence and was sent to prison, being too young to hang. After being released, in 1941, he joined the Army.

“Nothing more was heard of him but he was later traced to Fulham, where he was living under the name of Harold Stevens,” The Times continues.

Wilson points out that this was the “epicentre” of the Jack the Stripper killings, says the BBC. Jones also had a connection to an industrial estate where police believed the victims were kept before their bodies were dumped.

And it is believed that he had worked as a panel beater, which may have given him access to paint similar to flecks found on the bodies of four of the victims.

During his 15-month investigation, Wilson traced Jones’ daughter, who was shocked to learn about her father’s past. 

Wilson, a former prison governor, passed on his findings to the Metropolitan Police and now hopes to see the case concluded.

“Because [the victims] were seen as sex workers they were seen as less deserving, their lives didn’t matter,” he said.

“It is really important that we try and get justice for the families of these women even if the crimes were committed in the 1960s, and in Harold Jones we are giving to the police evidence that they never had at the time and he emerges as a prime suspect.”

The investigation is outlined in new BBC Four documentary Dark Son: the Hunt for a Serial Killer, airing at 9pm on Tuesday.

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