crimes that shook britain

Crimes That Shook Britain is a six part series investigating some of the country’s most horrendous murders through the eyes of people at the core of the crime.

Together with reconstructions, key interviews and archive material we piece together the last moments of the victim’s life and how the fallout from the crime led to significant changes in British law.

Series 1


On the 19th August 1987 the sleepy town on Hungerford in the UK was changed forever.  A lone gun man, Michael Ryan, opened fire on villagers killing sixteen people and injuring a further fifteen.

Known locally as a quite, reserved young man the devastation was one of the largest crimes to hit Britain.  It took Police hours to contain Michael Ryan as he randomly fired at neighbours through the picturesque streets.

His reign of terror eventually came to a head in his local school.  Ryan barricaded himself in and ended his life…taking his motive to the grave with him.

This documentary tells of that chilling day through the eyes of people at the centre of the tragedy.

Alison Chapman was a young girl who was shot by Ryan.  The crazed gun man opened fire on Alison and her mum as they were travelling in their car.  Doctors had to battle for hours to save their lives.

Carl Harries risked his life to run through the streets saving victims in Ryan’s wake.  His actions were recognized with a Queens Bravery Award.


Dr Harold Shipman is one of the World’s biggest serial killers.  In 2000 he was convicted of murdering 215 patients by lethal injection.


For over 20 years this general practitioner worked under the guise of a kind, caring man of the community.  Whilst fooling his family, colleagues and patients he preyed on those who trusted them the most and killed them with an injection of diamorphine.


Such a trusted pillar of the community, Shipman, went unquestioned for years killing men and women in the small town of Hyde, in the UK.  His cover was eventually blown when he tried to forge one victims will.  The true devastation unraveled revealing the doctor to be one of the world’s biggest single serial killers of all time.


Shipman never revealed his motive and committed suicide in prison in 2004.


This film documents Shipman’s horrendous crimes told by the people who were affected by his actions.


Danny Mellor’s mother was murdered by the GP.  Danny and other relatives were shocked.  She’d been in good health just days before.

Lesley Creasey’s Auntie was killed by Shipman after a routine visit to her house.  She appeared fit and well to neighbours just hours before.

Dr Raj Patel worked across the road from Shipman countersigning death certificates for years.  His detective work along with his colleagues helped bring the murderer to justice.

Dr Sue Booth, a colleague of Dr Patel’s also countersigned Shipman’s death certificates.  She along with other doctors became suspicious of Shipman’s actions.

Debbie Massey is an undertaker who worked with Shipman.  Her suspicions helped to raise the alarm.

Bernard Postles was a Detective Chief Superintendent on the case.  His work and the diligence of his officers help put Shipman behind bars.


In 1992, 25 year old Stephanie Slater was abducted from an empty house and held for eight torturous days in a make shift coffin.


Her captor was a crazed one legged man, Michael Sams.  His intention was to hold her for ransom.  Stephanie endured painful days and nights in the back of his grubby workshop.  She was raped, tortured and made to lie in a bin for up to 23 hours a day.


Her ordeal finally came to a head when Sams carried out his elaborate plot and received £175,000 ransom.  Police eventually tracked him down and brought him to justice.  Some of the money has never been recovered.


Stephanie’s terrifying account is told in gripping detail in this film.  Her ordeal went down in history as the first ransom demand in the UK where the hostage was released.


In 1991 newly qualified nurse, Beverley Allitt, carried out despicable crimes.  Instead of caring for children on her ward, she was murdering them.  In 1993 after months of detective work she was convicted of killing four children and severely injuring a further nine.


To most parents and colleagues she appeared helpful and friendly.  But once left alone with the patients she murdered babies and children through fatal injections or suffocation.


Child after child was collapsing on the ward but none of the staff could understand why.  Her wicked crimes were eventually uncovered after blood tests on some of the patients.


Allitt’s devastating crimes will be told through personal accounts in this documentary.


David Crampton’s son, Paul, was attacked three times by Allitt.  The insulin levels in his blood were so high; the machine could not give a reading.


Alan Davidson’s son, Michael, was attacked by Allitt after coming onto the ward from a gun shot wound.


Dr Nanayakkara was as a consultant on the ward.  He worked beside Allitt and never suspected her evil ways.  His actions thankfully saved some of her victims.


In 1996 two girls and their mother were brutally attacked in the English countryside of Kent.  Local loner, Michael Stone, carried out a brutal and frenzied hammer attack on the family and left them for dead.


Lin Russell and her six year old daughter, Megan, died from their injuries.  Against all odds, eldest daughter, Josie, made a remarkable recovery.


This horrific attack struck a cord with the nation.  Three females walking down a country lane on their way home from school subjected to a relentless unprovoked assault.


This devastating crime is told through the eyes of those closest to the tragedy, in particular, father and husband, Shaun Russell, who opens his heart about the tragic loss of his family.


Dave Stevens was a police officer on the case whose relentless work helped bring the killer to justice.


Lucy Gregson is a close friend of Josie Russell who used to walk to and from school with her.


Lynda Roberts is Josie Russell’s former primary school teacher.  She reveals the devastation the murders left on the whole community and how everyone rallied together to help her recover.


Pauline Smith was a Police family liaison officer on the case and spent years working with the Russells, rehabilitating Josie and piecing together her memory of the attack.


In 2000, eight year old Sarah Payne vanished whilst playing in a field near her grandparent’s home.  For seventeen days the police launched one of the biggest hunts in the UK to find the little girl.


Sadly, on the 17th July her body was found over ten miles away in a field.  An already convicted pedophile, Roy Whiting, had taken her life.


In this heartbreaking film, Sarah’s mum, Sara, relives that tragic day her daughter went missing.  She recounts the horror and the agonizing days that unfolded.  Sara also talks about her fight to change the system in the UK in a bid to protect children in the future.  Her campaign for ‘Sarah’s Law’ has gone on to alter many pieces of legislation.

Series 2

Rhys Jones

Rhys Jones, an eleven-year-old boy from Croxteth in Liverpool was gunned down in broad daylight yards from his home in August 2007.


A bullet fired by a gang member intended for a rival, hit Rhys as he walked home from football practice across the Fir Tree Pub car park.  As the thugs fled, Rhys lay dying from his injuries.


The devastating news of this boy’s murder made national headlines as the country faced the serious issue of escalating gun crime and gang violence.

The hunt for Rhys’ killer was to become one of the biggest investigations Merseyside Police had ever conducted.


In this personal account of that tragic day, Rhys’ mother and father, Mel and Steve Jones relive the horrific moments when they lost their youngest son.  Family friends and football coaches Steve Geoghegan and Tony Edge also recount their memories of the crime through a timeline of events.

London Nail Bomber

The nation’s capital was brought to a standstill in April 1999.  David Copeland, a 23 year old political extremist caused terror throughout London with a bombing campaign targeting the black, Asian and gay communities.  His homemade explosives killed three people and injured hundreds.  After 13 days and three explosions, the Met police hunted Copeland down.  He was sentenced to six life sentences.


David Copeland was a young British engineer’s assistant on the London Underground network.  In  two successive weeks in April 1999 bombs packed with nails up to 15cm long were detonated in a crowded market on Brixton High Street and in Brick Lane, centres of London’s black and Bangladeshi communities. More than 100 people sustained horrific injuries and one victim a baby boy was found with a nail lodged in his skull.


The MET Police released an image of the most wanted man in Britain.  A lone figure they believed was responsible for the two terrifying explosions.

Having attacked communities in Brixton and Brick Lane over two weekends, officers were in a race against time to catch the culprit.


Despite a nationwide appeal, the terrorist struck a third time.  The device tore through Soho causing the biggest devastation so far, killing three people including a pregnant woman and maiming many others.


This story is told through the eyes of the victims, family members, police officers and witnesses of David Copeland’s horrific crimes.

Jill Dando

Jill Dando was one of Britain’s most high profile television presenters at the pinnacle of her career, when she was mercilessly gunned down outside her house.  Her killer left the scene without a trace.

Her cold-blooded murder sent shockwaves through the country leaving a nation grieving for the golden girl of TV.


On the 26th April 1999, the BBC Television presenter was shot by a single bullet to her head on the doorstep of her home in South West London.

The hunt for her murderer and the motive proved to be one of the largest, most difficult and expensive inquiries ever conducted by the Metropolitan Police.

Two years later, during a controversial court case, local resident Barry George was found guilty for the killing.  But after a dramatic retrial in 2008, he was cleared of Jill Dando’s murder.


So who shot one of Britain’s best loved television personalities?


This is the story of the brutal slaying of Jill Dando, told from the inside through the eye witness accounts from those closest to the story.

The Dunblane Massacre

On the morning of March the 13th 1996, the city of Dunblane in Scotland was changed forever when Thomas Hamilton stormed into a local primary school and opened fire.  In an unprovoked attack a class of five and six year olds were targeted with horrific consequences.


Sixteen children and their teacher were brutally shot and murdered at Dunblane primary school, before the perpetrator, Thomas Hamilton, turned the gun on himself.

A senseless crime so devastating it sent shockwaves across the world as people reeled with the loss and called for urgent changes in gun laws.


The story is told through the eyes of parents Martyn Dunn & Mick North who both sadly lost their 5-year-old daughters, Charlotte and Sophie, at the hands of the killer on that fateful day.


Martyn Dunn & Mick North both give an insight into the pain and devastation caused by Thomas Hamilton and the lasting effects this unimaginable crime left on the small town of Dunblane.

Stephen Cameron

A stunned nation was gripped by the horrific road-rage murder of 21 year old, Stephen Cameron, as it made headline news in 1996.


On the 19th May, an apparent road rage confrontation on a busy road just off the M25 motorway resulted in Stephen Cameron being stabbed to death by Kenneth Noye.


This senseless killing of a young man in broad daylight was witnessed by many passersby, but only Stephen’s fiance helped bring the killer to justice in one of the biggest investigations Kent Police have ever faced.


This is the tragic story of the murder of Stephen Cameron told from the inside through the accounts of his mother and father, Toni and Ken Cameron, and the Detective Superintendent tasked with tracking down the murderer.

Jeremy Bamber

The brutal slaying of Jeremy Bamber’s family in their farmhouse in Essex has rocked the nation for over 25 years.  Convicted of killing his parents, sister and her twin boys in 1985, Bamber has continually protested his innocence ever since.


Now for the first time, we investigate vital evidence brought to light by his legal team, which could cast doubt on Bamber’s original conviction.  Is the right person behind bars?


In the dead of night on the 7th August 1985, five members of the same family were brutally shot and murdered in the sleepy village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy.  Police originally concluded that the sister, Sheila Caffell, had killed her family before turning the gun on herself.  But a sensational turn of events shifted the focus to the only surviving immediate relative, Jeremy Bamber.


After a short investigation, Essex Police arrested the young farmer and charged him with the five murders.  In 1986 he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years behind bars.


In this exclusive programme this dramatic case is told through the account of an officer investigating the murders along with a journalist, photographic expert, solicitor and MP.

Series 3

The Murder of Rachel Nickell

Rachel Nickel was innocently walking her dog on Wimbledon Common back in 1992 when she became the victim of a vicious sexual assault and was stabbed forty times, with her attacker fleeing the scene. Along with her dog, Rachel’s two year old son Alex was also present.  A passer-by found Rachel’s body, with Alex clinging to her side, repeatedly saying “wake up mummy, wake up”.

A huge police investigation ensued, and although the police didn’t have many clues as to who carried out the fatal attack, they pinned their leads on to one man, Colin Stagg. They began ‘Operation Edzell’, what was later described as a ‘honey-trap’, which involved an undercover female officer, “Lizzie James”, feigning a five month relationship (involving meeting together, phone conversation and letters) to try and coax the ‘truth’ out of him.

Believing they had enough evidence to send him to trial in 1994, the judge at the Old Bailey threw it out, believing it to be “deceptive conduct of the grossest kind”.

Although never completely rid of the allegations (even up to fifteen years later), in 2007 Stagg had received over £700,000 in compensation, and after new D.N.A. evidence arose, Robert Napper, who was (and still is) incarcerated in Broadmoor prison, was found guilty of her manslaughter. Colin Stagg had also received a full apology from the police.

The Crossbow Cannibal

Stephen Griffiths (self-named as The Crossbow Cannibal) was arrested on the 24th May 2010 after being accused of murdering three women, all prostitutes who had worked in Bradford’s red light district, close to where he had lived. A PhD student at the time, Griffiths was working on his doctoral thesis regarding applied criminal justice. He was swiftly charged with murdering 43-year-old Susan Rushworth (disappearance on the 22 June 2009), 31-year-old Shelley Armitage (disappearance on the 26 April 2010) and 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires (disappearance on the 21 May 2010). Four days after Ms Blamires vanished, he was arrested.

Griffiths hid a dark side, obsessed with murder and serial killers, he is said to have had a misogynistic, vicious and violent streak, seeing prostitutes as below him, enjoying what he saw as some sort of ‘power’ over them.

On the 24 May, 2010, a caretaker at Griffiths’ block of flats was checking CCTV from the weekend before. What he saw was to shock him. A lady had been seen running from Griffiths’ flat, petrified and screaming. Seconds later, he was chasing her, before going out of camera shot. Knocking her unconscious, Griffiths dragged her back in front of the camera, before firing a bolt through her head.  This was Suzanne Blamires. He then deposited her body in the nearby River Aire, where officers found it the day after arresting Griffiths. Human tissue remains were also found of Armitage, however, no remains of Rushworth have ever been found.

Currently serving a whole life tariff in Wakefield Prison, we have interviewed the families of his victims along with those who knew Griffiths, and those affected by his terrible actions, to gain an insight to the man who calls himself ‘The Crossbow Cannibal’.

Victoria Climbie

In February 2000, seven year old Victoria Climbie died at St Mary’s Hospital, Middlesex.  She had suffered the worst case of child abuse ever seen in the UK, at the hands of her Aunt, Marie Therese Kouao and an acquaintance, Carl Manning.  Victoria had 128 separate injuries, which social services had failed to notice and act upon.  As a result of her murder, the Government conducted the biggest overhaul of the child protection service in this country.  In a rare move, the inquiry that followed called both Manning and Kouao to give evidence to try and understand the authority’s failings.

Sally Anne Bowman

Sally Anne Bowman was just 18 years old when she was brutally raped and                                                 murdered after a night out with friends.  Two weeks after her birthday on 25th September 2005, she was attacked with a knife on her own doorstep.  A local chef by the name of Mark Dixie was eventually arrested for Sally’s murder following a high profile investigation by the Metropolitan Police.  The 35 year old had a string of previous convictions, but was only linked to the murder through DNA after being arrested for a separate offence.

In 2008, three years after Sally Anne’s death, Dixie was found guilty of the crime and given life imprisonment, with a recommendation that he serves at least 34 years in prison.

The Omagh Bombing

On 15th August 1998, in the small village of Omagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, a car bomb was detonated in the main shopping street, which is Market Street. Twenty nine people and two unborn babies died as a result.  The victims included children, both Catholics and Protestants, tourists both from the Republic of Ireland and Spain and a pregnant woman.

Three days after the attacks, the Real IRA (RIRA) claimed responsibility for the attacks.  Although one man was charged and convicted with the crime (Colm Murphy, sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2002), he was released in 2005 due to evidence that the Gardai had tampered with his interview. To this day, nobody has been convicted and remains in prison for the crime. There have been allegations of cover-up by the police force both sides of the border, and of a lacklustre performance in the investigation by the then Royal Ulster Constabulary (Now the Police Service of Northern Ireland, or PSNI), and although never formally tried in court, a civil case taken by members of the victim’s families stating that Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were guilty of the bombings, and were held liable for £1.6 million of damages.

James Bulger

On 12th February 1993, two year old James Bulger was abducted from a shopping centre in Bootle, Liverpool by two ten year old boys.  Robert Thompson and Jon Venables tortured him for over two miles before killing him next to a railway line.  The crime shocked the world through the brutality of the senseless crime, and the fact the killers were children themselves.  Controversially sentenced until they were 18 years old, Thompson and Venables were then released just eight years after the killing.  Recently Venables was imprisoned once again for possessing indecent images of children.

Series 4

Garry Newlove – August 2007

Garry Newlove was brutally attacked and murdered outside his home after confronting a gang who were vandalising his car.  He died two days later in hospital.  His death shocked the nation and Garry’s family campaigned for tougher sentences for gang violence.

Colin Ireland – 1993

Colin Ireland stalked gay men in London in the 1990’s, lured them back to his flat and brutally murdered them.  Enticing the men back with the promise of sexual games, Ireland would tie his victims, incapacitating them, before slaughtering them.  He was only one of a handful of prisoners to be given a ‘whole life tariff’ in the UK and died in prison in 2012.

Raoul Moat – July 2010

Raoul Moat went on a killing rampage after leaving prison in 2010.  Jealous of his ex-partner, he marched over to her house, shooting her and her partner whose injuries were fatal.  Moat then went on the run, shooting PC David Rathband in the face before a high profile stand- off with police officers.  He eventually shot himself dead after a week-long man hunt.

Christopher Foster – August 2008

Failed business man Christopher Foster killed his wife and daughter before burning their mansion in Shropshire to the ground in August 2008.  We investigate this complex case and by talking to Christopher’s brother, his personal assistant, psychologists and criminologists we reveal more about this category of crime known as ‘family annihilation’.  What drove Foster to murder his family and pets before destroying his possessions and home?

Stephen Lawrence – April 1993

The murder of Stephen Lawrence is undoubtedly one of the most infamous and important in British criminal history.  His death at the hands of a racist gang in 1993 sparked a 20 year battle by his family for justice who fought against both an inept police investigation and racism.  We speak to Stephen’s mother and brother as well as key figures in their fight for the truth to reveal what happened to Stephen and how his killers were finally, 20 years later, brought to justice.

Peter Sutcliffe – 1970’s-80’s

Arguably Britain’s most infamous serial killer, Peter Sutcliffe became known as The Yorkshire Ripper when he began murdering women in the North of England during the 1970’s.  Despite a 5 year police operation that cost £5 million and ate up over 2 million man hours, Sutcliffe was only caught after a chance encounter with 2 Police constables on a routine patrol.  We tell the horrific story of his reign of terror speaking exclusively to Sutcliffe’s own brother as well as Neil Jackson, the son of one of his earliest victims.  We also talk to one of the detectives who interviewed Sutcliffe as part of the inquiry, to lay bare the mistakes that were made that allowed him to carry on killing for so long.

Series 5

Jimmy Savile

Once a national treasure, now the most vilified man in the UK, one year on from his death        Jimmy Savile was branded as the worst sex offender the UK has ever seen.  In October 2012, an investigation into Savile began, prompting hundreds of victims of child sex abuse to come forward to 28 police forces.  Allegations dated back to 1955, but how could such a high profile entertainer with such a prolific background in abuse, go apparently undetected for so long?  Title Role talks to victims, family members and former colleagues of Savile to lift the lid on one of the biggest scandals this country has ever seen.

Lee Rigby

In broad daylight on a busy Woolwich street on 22nd May 2013, serving soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby was attacked and murdered by Islamic extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.  The men used their Vauxhall Tigra to strike the soldier from behind as he crossed the road.  They then proceeded to use knives to hack at Lee’s body in an attempt to decapitate him before dumping him in the middle of the road.  These sickening events were caught on camera phones by horrified onlookers and the killers were filmed claiming to have carried out the attack in the name of Allah.  In a dramatic sequence of events, police arrived at the scene within minutes and shot at the two men as they ran towards them holding up their weapons. Both Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey. In this programme we speak to witnesses to the attack and experts on terrorism to examine how two young British men could be radicalized to such an extent that they killed an innocent man in the name of religion.

Rose West

With her husband Fred, Rose West brutally murdered ten girls between 1973 and 1979, making her one of the most high profile serial killers in the UK.  When several bodies were discovered buried in the back garden of their Gloucester home in 1994, a media furor surrounded the couple after it was learned that most of their victims – which included two of their own children – died following episodes of sadistic rape and torture.  Whilst Fred was first held accountable as the instigator, Title Role highlights new information which uncovers Rose as a cold blooded killer single handedly guilty of several murders of her own.  Featuring exclusive interviews with Rose’s solicitor, surviving victim Caroline Roberts and the man who led the investigation – former Detective Superintendent John Bennett.


As Rose West serves her life sentence in prison, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the first body discovered at the family home.

The Marchioness

In the early hours of 20 August 1989, 131 people were attending the birthday party of Cambridge graduate Antonio de Vasconcellos in London.  Held on the River Thames on the pleasure boat Marchioness, the boat collided with dredger Bowbelle and sank within minutes resulting in the loss of 51 lives.  Following the disaster, families were told they could not see their loved ones and questionable practices were carried out on the deceased causing an inquiry to take place several years later.  Marking the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, Title Role uncovers not only how the tragedy unfolded but how it continued in the aftermath of the accident.  Talking to survivors, relatives and Maritime experts we reveal the mistakes made and the changes now in place to ensure that this type of disaster never reoccurs.

Clare Wood

In April 2007, Clare Wood met George Appleton on a dating website and they embarked on a relationship together.  Unbeknownst to her, Appleton was a criminal with a severe history of violence against women.  Several months later Clare decided to end the relationship, but Appleton was furious and began to torment Clare at home.  Although she was interviewed by police several times, Clare’s pleas for help went unheeded and her burnt body was discovered at her home in Salford in February 2009. Appleton had raped Clare, and then strangled her to death before setting her body alight.  A police man-hunt for Appleton ensued, but after 5 days he was found hanged in a derelict pub, escaping justice.  After years of hard work, a group of campaigners – this included Clare’s father, politicians and journalists – successfully launched Clare’s Law, a renewed version of a national scheme that allows people to find out if their partners have a history of violence.  The programme contains exclusive interviews with Clare’s father, Home Secretary Theresa May, and journalists and police officers instrumental in changing the law to give domestic violence sufferers ‘the right to know’.

The Philpotts

When six children died in a house fire in Allenton, Derby in May 2012 it shocked the nation.  Parents Mick and Mairead Philpott were seen visibly distraught in front of the press but just weeks later, they were charged with the murders.  Now convicted of manslaughter for their children’s deaths, we uncover the reasons behind the arson attack on their own home.  Speaking to eye witnesses who desperately tried to save the children’s lives, as well as family members and neighbours that knew the couple well, Title Role will unravel the real story behind the tragic deaths of Jade, John, Jack, Jesse, Jayden and Duwayne.

Series 6

Rolf Harris

Aside from Jimmy Savile, Harris is considered one of the country’s best loved entertainers who was accused of a string of degrading sex attacks. The difference is, he was still alive to be brought to justice.  Originally from Australia, Rolf Harris became a television star in the UK back in the 1960’s.  He became famous for his artwork and music, even painting a portrait of the Queen for the jubilee.  But this all came crumbling down in August 2013 when he was accused of 12 assaults on girls as young as eight years old between 1968 and 1986.  In July 2014 he was sentenced to five years in prison for his actions.

We hear from victims, their families, ex colleagues of the star and police who had to investigate the abuse.

April Jones

The hunt for five year old April Jones, when she vanished in October 2012, was the largest missing persons search in UK police history.  April went missing whilst playing with her friends

and was last seen getting into a van in Powys Wales.  The nation held their breath as the hours, days and weeks rolled on, in the desperate hope to find her alive.  But on the 6th October a local

man, Mark Bridger was charged with the disappearance.  He pleaded not guilty but accepted that he was ‘probably responsible’ for her death.  Bridger was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with a whole life tariff.  He apparently confessed to a prison chaplain that he disposed of April’s remains in a river near his house.

Dale Cregan

Dale Cregan hit the national headlines in September 2012 when two young police women (Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone) were murdered on a routine call out in Hattersley, Manchester.  Using grenades and high powered weapons, Cregan allegedly lay in wait for the officers and attacked, giving them no time to escape.  The nation went into mourning, with the streets of Manchester lined with grieving members of the public.  But Cregan’s bloody battle had started some months before with the killing of a father and son, David and Mark Short.

The Moors Murders

Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were convicted of murdering five young boys and girls between 1963 and 1965.  Until 1985 both killers maintained their innocence, but eventually confessed and led police to all but one of the bodies – Keith Bennett, who remains missing until this day.

We investigate the brutal murders through relatives and officers, and look into new information held by Bennett’s brother that could finally reveal his resting place.

Suzy Lamplugh

Estate agent, Suzy Lamplugh, disappeared in July 1986 after going to meet a client at a house in Fulham.  Witnesses said they saw her arguing with a man near the address and then getting into a car.  She has never been seen since.  For almost thirty years police have followed many lines of enquiry – one being to identify who ‘Mr Kipper’ is that she went to meet.  So far they have reached a dead end.  In 1994 she was officially declared dead, presumed murdered.  The strongest theory to date is that convicted rapist and killer, John Cannon, killed Lamplugh.  But as yet, this hasn’t been proven.

Breck Bednar

Breck Bednar was 14 years old when he was lured to his death by an internet predator who had groomed him online for months.  Breck was a keen online gamer who along with a group of friends was contacted by Lewis Daynes, a 19 year old with a history of sexual violence against another boy. Concerned by the control Daynes was having over their son, Breck’s parents met other parents who all agreed to restrict content with Daynes.  Breck’s mother Lorin even called Surrey Police to express her concerns – this information wasn’t followed up until after Breck was dead.  On the 17th February (also his mother’s birthday), Breck visited Daynes at his flat where he was brutally murdered.  Daynes took pictures of his body and then circulated them to friends.  He then called 999 and asked for police and a forensic team.  He was sentenced to 25 years minimum in prison after pleading guilty to the murder.

Angus Sinclair

On an October evening in 1977, 2 girls were enjoying a night out in the World’s End pub in central Edinburgh.  The following day, both their bodies were found dumped on waste ground – they had been battered and raped before being strangled with their own underwear.


The girls were seen leaving the pub with a man but the identity of the killer would remain a mystery for the next 30 years.  In 2007, Angus Sinclair was charged with the girl’s murder after new DNA evidence linked Sinclair and his brother in law Gordon to the murders.  However the trial sensationally collapsed when a piece of crucial evidence was withdrawn.  Unbeknownst to the jury, Hamilton had a history of sex attacks starting at the age of 16 and culminating him serving a life sentence for the murder of a 17 year old woman in Glasgow in 1978


In 2014, following the development of new DNA technology, Prosecutors successfully applied for a change in a century’s old law allowing the same man to be tried twice for the same crime.  This time, the trial proved successful and Sinclair was jailed for a minimum of 37 years.  He has been described as Scotland’s worst serial killer and the authorities believe he may well have been responsible for numerous other murders.

Series 7

Joanne Dennehy

With exclusive, first time access to Dennehy’s mother and father, we hear from the murderer’s parents and how the crimes of their daughter have shattered a family. Joanne Dennehy is the first woman in the UK to be handed a whole life tariff by a Judge. The judge ordered that she should die behind bars for the brutal murders of three innocent men.  Dennehy showed no remorse for the killings.  Her reason – “to see if I was as cold as I thought I was. Then it got moreish and I got a taste for it”.  In this episode we delve into the mind of such a cold hearted killer and look at what drove her to become one of Britain’s most notorious female criminals.  We also hear from the officers who handled the case and an acquaintance of Dennehy’s who she bragged to.

The Rochdale Groomers

One of the UK’s biggest sex trafficking rings was uncovered in Rochdale in 2012.  In a horrific catalogue of abuse, girls as young as 13 were subjected to rape and torture by a gang of nine men.  One 15-year-old girl was even ‘recruited’ by the gang to lure other girls into the trap.  After plying them with alcohol and money, the victims would be raped by up to twenty men at a time. The gang were sentenced to between four and nineteen years for their crimes.

Peter Tobin

Peter Tobin is one of the most notorious serial killers in the UK.  From 1991 – 2006 he raped and murdered three young girls, Dinah McNicol, Vicky Hamilton and Angelika Kluk.  Yet even prior to these horrific murders he had a history of violence, raping two 14-year-old girls and leaving them for dead. Luckily they survived.

Keith Blakelock

In 1985, PC Keith Blakelock was brutally murdered during a riot on a housing estate in North London triggered after a black woman died of heart failure during a house search.  Keith received more than 40 injuries during the sustained attack from a number of rioters.  Nobody has been brought to justice for his murder to this date, despite three investigations and the arrests of over three hundred people.

John Sweeney

Double murderer, John Sweeney, brutally murdered two of his girlfriends, dismembered their bodies and dumped them in canals.  Handed two life sentences he was told he will die in prison.  In a macabre twist, a key detective on the case tells how Sweeney allegedly hid clues to his killings in abstract paintings he produced, and how FIVE other girlfriends of his are currently missing as well.


Over the years in ‘Crimes That Shook Britain’, we have covered some of the most infamous crimes that the nation has witnessed.  From murders to bombings, from random killing sprees to cold hearted calculated abductions, we have shone a light on some of Britain’s darkest times.


In this special episode, we focus on those criminals who have been brought to justice for one crime only to be released to commit further terrible acts.  We speak to legal professionals to discover if the system is at fault or have these killers exploited legal loopholes.  We talk to victims and relatives of killers who preyed on their loved ones – if the perpetrators had been kept inside – would their loved ones still be alive?  And we discuss with campaigners what can be done to ensure the justice system can both rehabilitate but also ensure our safety.

Series 8


On the night of the 22nd of May 2017, at a little after 10:30PM, pop singer Ariana Grande had just finished her performance at the Manchester Arena in front of 14,200 people.  Most of them were young girls, just teenagers and children.  As the audience left the Arena, a terrorist bomb was detonated amidst the crowd.

22 people died with over 250 more injured.  The effects of the attack are still echoing across the city and the country.


These are the stories of those whose lives were changed that night, told in their own words.


Leeds school teacher, Ann Maguire, was brutally stabbed by one of her pupils, Will Cornick, in April 2014. He was the first secondary school pupil to ever murder a teacher in Britain.  The cold bloodied attack shook the whole nation when it was revealed that Cornick had planned the attack and bragged about his intentions.  He has shown no remorse for the murder since.  We examine the dark, twisted mind of the killer to ask the simplest of all questions – Why?

Stephen Port

At the end of summer 2014, three weeks apart, the bodies of two young men were found in the same east London churchyard, by the same woman, walking her dog.

Both men were of a similar build. Both in their 20s. Both propped up in the same position in the graveyard.

Both men were gay. Both died from drug overdoses. Neither came from Barking, the area in which they had been found.  Their deaths were barely investigated by police.

A year later a third body was found – So began the twisted tale of Stephen Port – a serial killer who preyed on young gay men.  Tragically, police missed the clues that led to his trail of death.

He was finally caught and sentenced to a whole life term in 2016.

Steven Wright

Steven Gerald James Wright is a serial killer, also known as the Suffolk Strangler and the Ipswich Ripper. He is serving life imprisonment for the murder of five women who worked as sex workers in Ipswich, Suffolk.

The killings took place during the final months of 2006 as he preyed on vulnerable women in Ipswich’s red light district.  We tell the tale of his crimes as well as the steps that have been put in place nationally to try and educate both sex workers and Police to try and minimise the risk of this type of crime.

The Stepping Hill murders

Usually it is immediately obvious when there has been a murder. But for some time after Victorino Chua embarked on his killing spree at Stepping Hill hospital during the summer of 2011, no one really noticed. His victims were mostly, but not exclusively, elderly. All were unwell. Each was already in hospital when he secretly loaded their drips with insulin to cause a hypoglycaemic attack, where blood sugar levels to plunge to dangerously – and sometimes fatally – low levels.

Tragically when Police were finally called, they arrested the wrong nurse.  Only when Prosecutors refused to accept their evidence did they find the real perpetrator.

Gemma McCluskie

Gemma McCluskie was a television actress and was a regular cast member in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, in which she played Kerry Skinner. In March 2012, McCluskie disappeared from her home in East London.  A few days later, parts of her body were discovered in London’s Regent’s Canal.

Her own brother, Tony McCluskie, was subsequently found guilty of her murder.  We reveal the inside story of this tragic tale from the perspective of her own family and the Police who caught her killer.