The 'Jack the Ripper' murders
Whitechapel, London 1888.
Victims: Annie Chapman (above left), Mary Ann Nichols (centre), Elizabeth Stride (right), Catherine Eddowes and Marie Jeanette Kelly.
The deaths of these five prostitutes were all attributed to the most brutal - and accomplished - serial killer of recent times. All five had their throats slashed, while three of the bodies were grotesquely ripped open and stripped of organs.At the height of Ripper-hysteria, suspects ranged across the social classes, from drug-addled low-lives to a known satanist and two bogus doctors.
Recent 'Ripperologists' have also toyed with assorted Victorian A-listers, including HRH Duke of Clarence, grandson of Queen Victoria and an alleged frequenter of brothels. Yet Court Circulars show the Duke being away from London at the time.
The General's Wife
Ightham, Kent, August 24 1908.
Victim: Caroline Mary Luard
The well-connected 58-year-old was beaten to the floor and shot twice through the head in a woodland summerhouse (pictured above). She and her husband, Major General Charles Edward Luard, had walked out together.
The General needed to retrieve some golf clubs, while Mrs Luard just fancied the stroll. The elderly soldier found his wife the same evening, lying in blood, with purse and rings missing.
The victim of an apparently unjustified and vicious whispering campaign, Luard threw himself under a train three weeks later.
A man, convicted and hanged for another murder in 1910, has since been linked, but the case remains the stuff of Edwardian melodrama and mystery, and baffled senior detectives like Superintendent Taylor.
The Sawn-Up Man
Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, February 3 1938.
The case began when fishermen hauled an evil-smelling torso from the River Severn. Dismembered limbs were later recovered - but no head or hands.
The body, believed to be that of the philandering Captain William Butt (above), missing from home in nearby Cheltenham, was never formally identified. Coverage of 'the case of a thousand clues' fizzed with tales of homosexuality, blackmail and illegal abortion.Then it emerged that the seedy gigolo Brian Sullivan whose mother nursed Butt's sick wife - had committed suicide in Cheltenham.
The butchered torso and limbs are meanwhile buried in a Gloucestershire churchyard, still waiting to be matched with an owner.
The Pitchfork Murder
Lower Quinton, Warwickshire, February 14 1945.
Victim: Charles Walton
The 74-year-old farmworker, said to have strange powers over animals, was beaten with his walking stick, impaled with his own pitchfork and slashed through the neck with his billhook. Most chillingly, the same billhook was used to gouge a cross into Walton`s chest.
Not even the legendary Scotland Yard detective Robert Fabian could unravel a case that had the hallmarks of a ritualistic killing.
It didn't help that a local woman, suspected of witchcraft, was also murdered with a pitchfork in 1875. Witches could apparently yoke toads to ruin crops - and 'loner' Walton was known to keep natterjack toads as pets. For once 'Fabian of the Yard' failed to get his man.
The 'Bible John' Murders
Victims: Patricia Docker (pictured above), Jemima McDonald (pictured next page), Helen Puttock
The hunt goes on for the most notoriously creepy figure in Scotland's recent criminal history. In a year-long reign of terror, the three young Glasgow women were all strangled with their own tights by a baby-faced, bible-spouting weirdo, who stalked a city ballroom.
He'd been heard telling Helen Puttock, before luring her to her death, "I don't drink at Hogmanay, I pray." Police insist the case remains 'live'. In 1996, they exhumed the body of a 41-year-old man who had committed suicide - but DNA samples were inconclusive.
Peter Tobin, convicted recently of killing two teenaged girls in southern England in 1991, has also been linked.