Colin Ireland - Southend-on-Sea's Infamous "Gay Slayer"

On this blog we've discussed a number of odd customers around Southend-on-Sea. Cat-killers, men who dress in toilet roll even human-rat hybrids. But perhaps the worst resident of this town was a man named Colin Ireland. In the 1990's, Ireland murdered five people in London, gaining national infamy as 'The Gay Slayer'.

The unplanned child in a broken home, Ireland and his mother moved frequently around the country. Despite his mother's hopes to settle down and raise her son, their economic woes constantly stopped them from staying in one place for any long period of time.

Whilst in school he began his forays into crime by petty acts of theft and arson. A typical trait of future serial killers. Eventually, he was sent to a borstal, but this did not stop his criminal impulses and he was eventually imprisoned for a year due to burglary charges.

Ireland drifted through life with no purpose. he was married twice, the first union ending in divorce and the second ending when Ireland stole his wifes car and money and ditched her and her children. Eventually, in 1991, this habbitual thief and backstabber moved to Southend-on-Sea.

Again drifting from job to job, he began frequenting the Coleherne pub in London, an establishment frequented by homosexuals. Seeing the clintele as being vulnerable and easily preyed upon, Ireland began his campaign of murder when Peter Walker invited him back to his flat in Battersea.

Walker, a masochist, allowed himself to be tied to the bed. Ireland, however, did not have sex in mind and instead tortured his helpless victim mercillessly before killing him with a plastic bag. The corpse was further mutilated and Ireland left the flat the next day, but not before wiping down all his fingerprints to avoid detection.

Ireland's next victim, Christopher Dunn, was tied up in a similar manner to Walker. But now the true motive became more apparent as the killer demanded a PIN number from his latest victim. After being given what he wanted, he again tortured and suffocated the innocent man and spent the night with the corpse. Travelling back to sunny Southend the next day.

The next target of the serial killer was a change of pace. Perry Bradley III was the son of an American congressman who was not into the same S&M scene as the other hapless victims. Nevertheless, Ireland convinced this poor man to let himself be tied up. And once again, he asked for the PIN number. Once he had that, he used a noose to claim his third life.

Andrew Collier, victim number four, did not so easily give up his PIN number and even after torture refused to tell Ireland what he wanted. Infuriated by this brave defiance, Collier was not only strangled but mutilated posthumously. Even his cat wasn't spared. The poor creature had been throttled and draped across the body of his master in a sexual degrading posistion. Now consumed with his own ego and feelings of God-like power, Ireland rang the police and boasted of his latest killing. Never suspecting that he had left his fingerprints on the windowsil of Collier's flat.

The Collier murder turned out to be the apex of Ireland's brutality. And the last victim of Southend's 'Gay Slayer', Emanuel Spiteri, was not subjected to the same repulsive treatment. Ireland simply asked for the PIN number and strangled him. A purely financial killing from a man who had seemingly grown bored with the process. But luckily, his murder spree was about to come to a screeching halt.

The police, having realised that the murder were linked, created a vast publicity campaign to root out the killer and inform the gay community of the maniac who was picking them off. They launched public appeals and ratcheted up the pressure until Ireland went to his solicitor in Southend and negotiated his surrender. Eventually, Ireland admitted to all five killing whilst in prison. His motive was no homophobia, but simple bloodlust. He picked on the weakest portion of society, who already distrusted police, and wanted to live out his violent fantasies free from prosecution.

Eventually, Colin Ireland was sentenced and the judge added a fitting epitaph to the "career" of this monster:

By any standards you are an exceptionally frightening and dangerous man. In cold blood and with great deliberation you have killed five of your fellow human beings. You killed them in grotesque and cruel fashion. The fear, brutality and indignity to which you subjected your victims are almost unspeakable. To take one human life is an outrage, to take five is carnage. You expressed the desire to be regarded as a serial killer. That must be matched by your detention for life.
Given five life sentences for the five lives he needlessly and callously ended, it is unlikely that Colin Ireland will ever be released.

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