The unsolved west London murders of eight prostitutes in the 1960s, which drew comparisons to Jack the Ripper, is the focus of a new book by a retired Flying Squad detective.
Laid Bare by Dick Kirby examines what became known as the Nude Murders which saw the discovery of eight women who had all be stripped naked, strangled and left by the Thames.
The serial killer, given the name Jack the Stripper , committed the crimes between 1959 and 1965, with the final six murders carried out in the space of 12 months.
Now Mr Kirby is turning his attention to the killing spree in Laid Bare, where he speaks to Scotland Yard officers who worked on the case more than 50 years ago.
In it Kirby looks to untangle facts from speculation and questions everything thought to be known about the case, including whether or not the police’s number one suspect Mungo Ireland, who committed suicide under the pressure of suspicion in 1965, was really Jack the Stripper.
However, a book published in 2013 states the murderer was Harold Jones, a Welsh man convicted of killing two girls aged eight and 11, when he was just 15.
After serving 20 years in prison he was released in 1941 and moved to the Fulham area, where he was known as Harry Stevens, and lived until his death in 1971.
Remembering the Nude Murders
Legendary Scotland Yard investigator Detective Chief Superintendent John Du Rose was brought in to orchestrate the inquiry.
He flooded the night-time capital with police officers in plain clothes, while women police officers dressed up as prostitutes and carried out dangerous decoy patrols.
Over 120,000 people were interviewed, and 4,000 statements were taken. There were 26 suspects.
Mr Du Rose later said the No 1 suspect was Ireland. Another of the chief suspects was Former British boxing heavyweight champion Freddie Mills. His death from gun shot wounds sustained in a car in July 1965, months after Ireland’s suicide, led police to close the book on the case.
Brian Collett was chief reporter on the Acton Gazette at the time. He said: “I remember being at Acton Magistrates’ Court in 1964 when a PC told me a woman had been found floating under Hammersmith Bridge. That was Hannah Tailford.”
He recalls the impact the deaths had on prostitutes working in the area as more bodies were quickly found: “One thing we did notice was at the time quite often you’d see a few Toms in Acton, hanging around the street corners.
“But they disappeared from the street for fear of Jack the Stripper coming along.”
The Nude Murders victims:
Elizabeth Figg, 21, found near River Thames in Chiswick on June 17, 1959
Gwynneth Rees, 22, dumped in rubbish tip in Mortlake on November 8, 1963
Hannah Tailford, 30, found on February 2, 1964 near Hammersmith Bridge. She was found with underwear forced down her throat
Irene Lockwood, 26, found on April 8, 1964 on the shore of the Thames, a few hundred yards from where Ms Tailford was discovered
Helen Barthelemy, 22, found on April 24, 1964, in an alleyway in Brentford
Mary Fleming, 30, July 14, 1964, discovered in Chiswick
Frances Brown, 21, found in Kensington in November 25, 1964
Bridget O’Hara, 28, found in Heron Trading Estate in Ealing in January 1965