Visiting Crime Scenes

ChrisBoardman

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Does anybody have an interest or obsession with visiting the scenes of famous crimes?

Or maybe just finding them on google earth.

I've noticed the lane where the range rover murders happened has been taken off the map, but can bee seen on google earth.

Last week I was trying to find out which house Colin Pitchfork lived in in Haybarn Close, no luck, but I did find out where the murders happened. Colin Pitchfork was the first murderer ever caught by DNA, he even got a friend to take a DNA test for him.

Has anybody else done the same with other crimes?
 

Heckler

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I actually do a Jack the Ripper walk for friends and family so I've become quite familiar with those crime scenes.

I suppose the difference there is that the location is almost always gone so it's more an opportunity to give a talk on the poverty of the period that lead to the women being on the streets in the early hours than a gawp at the place.

Interestingly in the book 'the Worst Street in London' about Dorset street, the author mentions how within weeks of Mary Kelly's murder the new occupant was charging the curious to see the blood stains on the wall of 13 Miller's Court.
 

Yithian

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The only murder scene I've knowingly visited (useful caveat) is Mitre Square in November, in the middle of a downpour at the end of a grey-old day. It was fairly dull if atmospheric due to the weather, and I must say my earlier trip to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry was much more interesting:

http://www.whitechapelbellfoundry.co.uk/foundry.htm
 

drbastard

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This sort of thing interests me as well, although I feel embarrassed about the ghoulishness of it. Is it right to be fascinated by such things?

I went to see Lord Lucan's House in Belgravia when I was staying there on conference just before Xmas, as I was staying just round the corner.

10 Rillington place is interesting as the council flattened the houses and rebuilt the place in such a way as to make it difficult to work out where the actual house and garden stood.
 

ChrisBoardman

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I guess there are plenty of places in London.

Rillington Pace (now Ruston Mews I think)

Gowan Avenue (Jill dando)

Hilldrop cresent (Dr Crippen)
 

Spookdaddy

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I was once sitting in the kitchen of a house in Brixton (where I'd been couch-surfing with friends) when we found out, more or less by accident, that a murder had taken place there. For some reason the anonymity of the crime (bar a flurry of newspaper reports at the time it had hardly caused a ripple, and certainly hadn't entered the annals of the history of true crime) made the whole experience seem odder and more unnerving than it might have been; it felt almost as if a little notoriety would have made us all feel we had company, if only in the form of the interest shown by others in the subject, whereas we were all on our own with it. (I don’t know if that makes sense – I don’t think I’ve explained it very well.)

I was also once at a party in a flat in Edinburgh when a similar story emerged, although this one was apparently better known. To my regret I can’t remember any of the details: it was a long time ago and I really can’t remember where I was, what I was doing, or who I was with. I’m kind of hoping it was 31 Buckingham Terrace, because that was the scene of the Merrett Mystery - one of the stories covered in William Roughead’s Classic Crimes which I have only just mentioned on the Suggestions for a good read thread – and I like that kind of coincidence.

Probably not though, unfortunately – I don’t think the venue was as posh as it is round that part of the city.
 

escargot

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I used to be in a Yahoo group about a famous murder case. Some of the members were a bit too obsessed with the perpetrator for my liking - sending xmas cards, quoting little witticisms from his replies to their letters, bragging about owning discarded bits of his property and so on.

One member, who wasn't a 'worshipper' but was very knowledgeable, did a carefully-planned tour of sites associated with the case and sent out a group email complete with photos.

That seemed a bit much to me but I did find it interesting. The sites are accessible to me so i could have done the same.
In fact, I discovered from his 'travelogue' that a pub I used to pop into was also frequented by the murderer some years before I moved to that area, brr!

Other members were fascinated. If the group hadn't folded I reckon there'd have been a charabanc tour this summer.

In my town there have been a handful of homicides and I can, and do, point out their locations to my passengers as I drive around. They love it. I think.
 

ChrisBoardman

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I remember the house where Ian Huntley murdered Holly and Jessica was sealed off until after the trial. Then it was demolished and every brick was taken away in a sealed container so morbid souvenior hunters could not get any pieces.

Today it is plain grass.

It was decided that a memorial would have become a tojurist attraction.
 

Spookdaddy

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(Erm, I appear to have somehow managed to delete the post that was originally at this point by replacing it with something that was supposed to be somewhere else.

I don't think it matters but I shall go and get my coat anyway.!

For what it's worth - I mentioned that the decsion to demolish Huntley's house was taken by the School Governors.)
 

Spookdaddy

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garrick92 said:
Being fair or unfair was probably the furthest thing from my mind when I typed the above...

I was trying to suggest that those decisions may not be as anonymously bureaucratic as the description suggested.

OK, so the school governors got to decide when the Huntley house got airbrushed out of history, but what about the others? Someone (or a committee of someones) had to think about this, and tick a box. (Figuratively, if not literally). That sort of minutiae fascinates me.

To be honest though, is it that common? I mean, given the ridiculous nature of property prices in the UK, I doubt anyone takes demolition lightly and Huntley, and West were especially infamous cases which attracted enormous amounts of public and media interest - much more than your average run of the mill murder case. Does demolition actually occur that often? (Yes, Rillington place was demolished - but this was at a time when thousands of such properties across London were being removed and replaced by blocks of flats, so I'm not sure we can pin the sole cause for its demolition on its notoriety.)

theyithian said:
The only murder scene I've knowingly visited (useful caveat) is Mitre Square in November, in the middle of a downpour at the end of a grey-old day...

When I lived in Bethnal Green I used the Ripper sites in order to get familiar with the East End. I'm not particularly a ripper-nerd but they were useful and recognisable focal points for my wanderings. I also used Rachel Lichtenstein's, Rodinsky's Whitechapel, which is a beautiful little book - a walking guide to the area covered in her other, larger work, Rodinsky's Room.

We also spent one weekend trying to track down and photograph all the sites in the film version of The London Nobody Knows. And a wet Saturday afternoon trying to work out if Gerald Kersh's Fowler's End was based on a real bit of London.
 

ChrisBoardman

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One crimescene in London I haven't been to is the gay pub where Colin Ireland met his victims....

I think I'll give that one a miss just to be safe.
 

smokehead

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I believe the residents of Hanbury street did a brisk trade charging people to look at the back yard of number 29,the site of Anne Chapmans murder,
My brother,who moved from the Midlands to the Wirral bought a nice house,very reasonably priced,and later found out someone had been stabbed to death in the bedroom.
I stripped the wallpaper off the front bedroom of 73 Vicarage Road West Bromwich, someone had painted a life size figure of a man dressed in black with a goatee beard holding a knife in his right hand which was dripping blood.
 

Cherrybomb

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ChrisBoardman said:
There is also a website that covers such things....

http://www.shadyoldlady.com/

But it only covers london. But it covers everything from murder to weird architecture.

Great link, thank you!

Having been watching "Killers behind bars" on Channel 5 with great interest it's something I thought about the other day. I've been around much of Jack the Rippers stomping ground, but TBH I'd be interested to visit more recent murder locations. Althought that does make me sound rather ghoulish :shock:
 

Yithian

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smokehead said:
My brother,who moved from the Midlands to the Wirral bought a nice house,very reasonably priced,and later found out someone had been stabbed to death in the bedroom.

I always wondered whether there wasn't some kind of legal obligation to tell potential buyers things like this.
 

Cherrybomb

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garrick92 said:
I wonder which pen-pusher, in which anonymous department, gets to decide when a murder-hourse should be demolished? I mean, not all murder-houses get the treatment, so there must be some criteria. Home office? But it would appear to be more of a local planning issue. Council officer?

See, this is an interesting topic because some really nasty places are still in one piece. 23 Cranley gardens (Dennis Nilsen's old home) is still there and looks just like every other house on that road. I wonder if it gets much attention from murder tours?
 

Yithian

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I thought the trend nowadays was for fully shaved?
 

Spookdaddy

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theyithian said:
smokehead said:
My brother,who moved from the Midlands to the Wirral bought a nice house,very reasonably priced,and later found out someone had been stabbed to death in the bedroom.

I always wondered whether there wasn't some kind of legal obligation to tell potential buyers things like this.

I don't think there is.

Although legal responsibilities when selling a house go beyond the old idea of caveat emptor, in that you do have to disclose information about any physical defects that the potential purchaser might not be made aware of by inspection, and you do have to mention any ongoing problems with neighbours - beyond that I'm petty sure you are under no obligation to actually volunteer information.

However, if you are asked for such information and don't disclose what you can later be proved to have known at the time - then you're in trouble.
 

Yithian

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Gotcha.

Can you imagine asking at the conclusion of the viewing, "I really like the place, but I must ask, has anyone ever been murdered here?"
 

ChrisBoardman

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A lot of murders don't make national news.

I've heard of cases where someone moves to the area, buys a house and all their neighbours tell them it is the murder house.
 

Spookdaddy

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theyithian said:
Gotcha.

Can you imagine asking at the conclusion of the viewing, "I really like the place, but I must ask, has anyone ever been murdered here?"

To be honest, I think I can imagine some people asking that.

Many years ago I found online a list of questions - provided by a firm of UK solicitors - that a prospective purchaser might like to ask in order to save surprises later on. I'm not at all sure that 'unpleasantness' in the history of the building wasn't the basis of one of them.
 

McAvennie

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Last time I was in San Francisco I had something of a morbid desire to visit the street corner where the first Zodiac victim was killed.

Going back to SF in September as part of our honeymoon, will maybe see if I can come up with a romantic suggestion to swing by that area... 8)

I guess it is something within us kind of similar to that feeling of wanting to stand that extra inch closer to the edge when on a high-building or the tendency to rubber-neck an accident. Reminds us of our mortality.
 

McAvennie

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garrick92 said:
Fred and Rose West's gaff was similarly Wiped From The Face Of The Earth.

I wonder which pen-pusher, in which anonymous department, gets to decide when a murder-hourse should be demolished? I mean, not all murder-houses get the treatment, so there must be some criteria. Home office? But it would appear to be more of a local planning issue. Council officer?

I just discovered one recently here in Paris, the Marcel Petiot murders at 21 Rue le Sueur. When you Google Earth that address you can see it has almost certainly been demolished and a new structure put in its place.
 

Cherrybomb

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McAvennie_ said:
Last time I was in San Francisco I had something of a morbid desire to visit the street corner where the first Zodiac victim was killed.

Going back to SF in September as part of our honeymoon, will maybe see if I can come up with a romantic suggestion to swing by that area... 8)

Is it wrong that I'd find going there rather romantic? :oops: :?
 

Spookdaddy

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McAvennie_ said:
...I just discovered one recently here in Paris, the Marcel Petiot murders at 21 Rue le Sueur. When you Google Earth that address you can see it has almost certainly been demolished and a new structure put in its place.

Looks like it.

I read David King's Death in the City of Light last year, and the buildings either side of 21 are the same as are shown in the 1944 photograph of the house, which is reproduced in the book, whereas 21 (using Street View) is a new block - flats by the look of it.
 

smokehead

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I'll get more details about the murder house from my brother next time I see him, it has the intriguing whiff of urban legend about it :?
My sister,bless her, is an absolute believer in the paranormal,ghosts particularly, I know when she went to stay for a few days they didn't mention it to her, because they knew she wouldn't be able to get to sleep. :D
 
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