Many have denied murder, but these men did the opposite...
For five years, women in the north of England lived under a cloud of fear. The murderer who became known as the Yorkshire Ripper was on a killing spree.
Thirteen victims, mostly sex workers, were brutally butchered to death on the streets of Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Halifax from 1975-1980.
In 1981, Peter Sutcliffe was finally charged with the horrific acts. But a prankster had sensationally thrown police off the scent for three years beforehand, claiming he was the infamous Ripper.
In March 1978, three years after the investigation started, West Yorkshire Police received a letter.
The sender claimed to be the Yorkshire Ripper, and warned police about future attacks.
The postmark showed the letter was sent from Sunderland, so police moved their investigation away from Yorkshire and focused their efforts in northeast England.
A year later, the prankster sent two more letters and an audiotape, in which he spoke in a strong Wearside accent.
The tape sent the police down a blind alley. Believing their suspect was from Wearside, they launched a £1million publicity campaign looking for the killer, who they dubbed Wearside Jack.
In the meantime, the real murderer, softly spoken Yorkshireman Sutcliffe, went on to kill three more women.
Wearside Jack’s identity remained unknown for 25 years. But, in 2005, police revisited the case.
Using advanced DNA technology, scientists forensically tested the envelopes that were sent to detectives in 1978 and 1979.
They successfully matched the DNA to John Humble, a man who’d been arrested in 2000 for a minor offence.
In 2006, Humble, then 50, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was jailed for eight years for his sick prank.
Andrew Scott Haley
In February 2009, Andrew Scott Haley posted videos of himself on YouTube, bragging about killing 16 women and hiding their bodies.
Under the name CatchMeKiller, Haley digitally blurred his face and spoke in a deep voice.
In the videos, he described details of the murders, and challenged investigators to find the women before he revealed his identity.
Police in Georgia believed one of the women Haley described was former pageant queen Tara Grinstead, who went missing in October 2005.
Haley also posted a link to the videos on a webpage dedicated to missing Florida woman Jennifer Kesse, who had last been seen in 2006.
Along with the video, Haley uploaded the taunting message, Maybe I can help.
His words led Jennifer’s devastated father Drew Kesse to believe that Haley was involved in his daughter’s disappearance. But, when police arrested Haley after tracking his computer IP addresses, he denied the killings.
He said the videos were a ‘fictional game’, which police said he did to attract online hits.
Haley was charged with making false statements in a police investigation.
Haley, 27, was sentenced to two years in a work-release programme, along with several more years of probation. But nothing could make up for the pain he put Tara’s and Jennifer’s families through.
Drew Kesse travelled from his Florida home to attend Haley’s trial in Georgia.
In an interview, Drew said, ‘What..? Why..? What is it..? What personal satisfaction does a person get out of that? You have to realise the impact again that this type of situation has on a family.’
Until 2008, Sture Bergwall was known as Sweden’s most notorious serial killer. The now 66-year-old had confessed to more than 30 murders, and was convicted of eight.
In 1991, he was sent to the Sater Hospital for the criminally insane.
During therapy sessions, Bergwall confessed that he’d maimed, raped and eaten the remains of his victims.
He claimed his youngest was a 9-year-old girl. Her body has still never been found.
Bergwall called himself Thomas Quick, and, during the 1990s, he confessed to one unsolved murder after another. He claimed responsibility for crimes that were so unthinkable, he became known as the Swedish Hannibal Lecter.
But, in 2008, Hannes Rastam, one of Sweden’s most respected documentary-makers, visited Bergwall and trawled through 50,000 pages of court documents, therapy notes and police interrogations.
He came to the conclusion there was no technical evidence for any of Bergwall’s convictions. There were no traces of DNA, no murder weapons, no eyewitnesses – nothing to support Bergwall’s confessions.
Confronted with Rastam’s discoveries, Bergwall admitted the unbelievable – that he’d made the whole thing up.
Bergwall revealed how he would travel to the local library to read up on the specific details of unsolved murders before confessing to them in chilling detail.
Bergwall’s eight convictions were overturned after his counsel demanded retrials.
He was released from the Sater Hospital after his sentences were quashed.
Most of the crimes that Bergwall ‘admitted’ remain unsolved to this day.