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Police warn of five more John Sweeney murder victims |
4th April, 2011
John Sweeney, who murdered his two lovers and dumped their bodies in canals, may have killed five other people.
Sweeney – who called himself the Scalp Hunter – is thought to have carried out a murder spree in Britain and Holland spanning several decades.
The 54-year-old was convicted yesterday of murdering model Melissa Halstead in Rotterdam in 1990 and prostitute Paula Fields in London ten years later.
Doomed affair: Paula Fields was killed and her body chopped up by John Sweeney Pictures: Enterprise
But police fear three other former lovers may have met the same fate, as well as two German men he caught with Miss Halstead.
Det Chief Insp Howard Groves said: ‘Sweeney had finally convinced himself that he would never be caught for these heinous crimes. As he contemplates a life behind bars, I can assure him this investigation will continue as we seek to identify and trace other potential victims.’
The killer may have known three women who lived and worked in north London and disappeared, detectives believe.
Dutch police are also looking into boasts by 54-year-old Sweeney that he killed two German men he caught in bed with Melissa Halstead, one of his victims.
Victim: Melissa Halstead’s body could not be identified for 18 years
The first missing woman is named Sue, from Derby or Derbyshire.
She was believed to be in her 20s or 30s in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
‘There is some information to suggest she was a devoted churchgoer,’ said Det Ch Insp Howard Groves.
Sue lived and worked in the Holloway Road and Seven Sisters areas of north London before possibly attending a nursing college in Switzerland.
The second woman is called Irani, a Brazilian who was in her mid-40s and living in north London between 1996 and 1997.
The third woman is Maria, a Colombian in her late 30s who lived in the north London area from 1997 to 1998.
‘We can’t trace them – the main focus of our inquiries is to establish their whereabouts,’ said Det Ch Insp Groves.
Dutch police also investigated Sweeney’s claims that he killed two German men in Amsterdam in 1990 but no bodies were found and he could have been ‘playing games’, added Det Ch Insp Groves.
Liverpool-born Sweeney, a father of two, had a history of violence towards women stretching back to his marriage in the 1970s and 1980s.
The dismembered body of American Miss Halstead, 33, was found in a canal in Rotterdam in May 1990. Her head and hands have never been found and she was only identified 18 years later by DNA.
In 1994, Sweeney went on the run after a hammer attack on his girlfriend, nurse Delia Balmer, whom he kept prisoner in her flat. Seven years later, the body parts of Miss Fields, 31, were found in six holdalls floating in the Regent’s Canal in Camden, north London. Her head, hands and feet are still missing.
Sweeney boasted of his attacks in paintings and poems, including one drawing featuring a bloody axe in which he called himself the Scalp Hunter.
He also wrote on the back of a scratchcard: ‘Poor old Melissa, chopped her up in bits, food to feed the fish, Amsterdam was the pits.’
In 2002, Sweeney was given four life terms for the attempted murder of Miss Balmer and possessing guns. He will be sentenced for the murders at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/8599 ... ctims#ixzz1IbDxUKw2