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John Duffy was a British serial killer who, in partnership with childhood friend David Mulcahy, murdered multiple women the 1980s.
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It would be two years before Duffy would speak out and admit that he carried out the attacks with an accomplice.
Duffy went on trial in February 1988 and was convicted of two murders and four rapes, though he was acquitted of raping and killing Anne Locke.
He was given a minimum sentence of 30 years by the judge, later extended to a whole life sentence by the Home Secretary. This was rescinded by a European Court of Human Rights ruling, that later removed the right of politicians to reset sentence lengths.
Duffy kept silent about having an accomplice until he decided he wanted to clear his conscience while undertaking a counseling session.
He chose not to reveal any more information about his partner in crime until nearly 15 years later in 1997 when he implicated Mulcahy. The police had suspected Mulcahy for years but had no evidence on which to convict him until Duffy's confession.
Duffy also admitted his involvement in the attack on Anne Locke, although he couldn't be retried under the double jeopardy rule.
However, Mulcahy, a married father of four—had been tracked for several months by police prior to his arrest. DNA tests, which were not yet in use during the original investigation, finally proved his involvement conclusively.
In 2000, Duffy appeared at in court as a witness against Mulcahy and gave detailed and graphic evidence over 14 days. It was the first time a highest-category prisoner had ever given evidence against an accomplice.
Mulcahy emerged as the chief perpetrator of the crimes and the first to decide that sexual stimulation was no longer enough of a thrill, leading the pair to turn to murder. He was said by a former employee at a cab firm he worked at to despise women.
"He liked women to be at the kitchen sink where they should be, or in bed," said Lola Barry, a controller at the cab firm.
She said Mulcahy had once crept up behind her in the office.
"He actually got me round the neck, saying 'How does that feel—are you scared?'"
Prosecutor Mark Dennis said in Mulcahy's trial, "As they fed their newfound predilections they treated their victims as objects rather than persons." It was "only a comparatively small step" between the violence of the rapes and the murders—and Mulcahy was the first to take that step.
"He was the instigator and prime mover in the murders, and the one for whom the sexual abuse had become insufficient to satisfy," said Mr. Dennis.
In the witness box, Duffy catalogued their heinous campaign of rape and murder, describing how the two friends would go out on "hunting parties" in the '80s searching for women. Duffy used his knowledge of the rail network to target his victims and drag them into concealed areas where they could be attacked.
"We would have balaclavas and knives," Duffy claimed. "We used to call it hunting. We did it as a bit of a joke. A bit of a game."
Mulcahy protested his innocence, but on February 5, 2001, was given three life sentences for murdering three women. He also received 24-year jail terms on each of seven counts of rape and 18 years each for five conspiracies to rape, to run concurrently.
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Many of the most horrifying acts of violence are committed by serial killers. Always looking for next victim, these murderers kill again and again, never fully satisfied by their bloody deeds. Their twisted motivations—and even more twisted techniques—land the people in this group among the most frightening criminals in history.
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