Britain‘s longest serving prisoner is set to make a plea for his freedom within a matter of weeks, going before the Parole Board in the hope of being released.
Serial killer Patrick MacKay, who was known as the Beast of Belgravia and the Devil’s Disciple, was convicted of three killings, having split the skull of a priest in half with an axe, and also strangled and stabbed two elderly women.
However, he also confessed to eight further murders – something that would make him one of Britain’s most prolific living serial killers.
He later retracted the confessions, with no one else being convicted of any of the attacks.
his brutal killing spree across London and Kent in the 1970s, MacKay, who is now 67, was jailed in 1975 with a minimum of 25 years. At the time judges said he should not be released unless deemed safe.
But now his bid for freedom could start in November, meaning he could be out on the streets by December.
MacKay, who has changed his name to David Groves, was moved to an open prison in 2017.
His hearing was originally scheduled for last autumn, but has been delayed several times.
MacKay would horde Nazi memorabilia, torture birds for fun and even set his pet tortoise on fire.
Along with the death of Father Crean – whose skull was split open by MacKay with an axe, and who was also stabbed repeatedly before being left to die slowly – two of MacKay’s other victims were 87-year-old Isabella Griffiths and 89-year-old Adele Price.
One of the other eight murders MacKay originally confessed to was that of 48-year-old Ivy Davies, who was axed to death at her home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, in February 1975.
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Her son Victor, 64, has tried to find out who was behind the murder all his adult life, having been told MacKay was thought to have visited his mum’s cafe before her death.
He said: “Everybody knows he’s killed more than three people. Every policeman I’ve spoken to believes that.
“If you haven’t come clean on all of your crimes, you cannot be a reformed character.”
Essex Police, the force investigating Davies’ murder, said it does not have any open investigations relating to MacKay.
However the Parole Board has requested that officers submit a report for their consideration, which would see board members looking at what risk MacKay could pose to the public if released.
The independent body will also study psychological assessments and intelligence from his probation officer and prison offender manager, with reports suggesting he is now a model prisoner who spends his time reading and painting.
Gareth Johnson, the MP for Dartford which was where MacKay lived, said Essex Police and Scotland Yard should complete their investigations into the unsolved murders.
He said: “I will never be convinced that Patrick MacKay is safe to be released. There is no way he should be let out until we are clear he was not responsible for these [additional] murders, the risks are just too high.”
Essex Police said: “We do not currently have any open investigations relating to this individual.”
Scotland Yard said: “All unsolved murder cases remain open investigations and are subject to periodic review.
“Action will be taken in relation to any new information received no matter how much time has passed.”