March 21, 1975
Shorne, Kent, England
Serial killer Patrick MacKay kills his final victim, Father Anthony Crean

On March 21, MacKay, who had violent tendencies since childhood and had been hospitalized for mental instability often, killed his final victim, a priest who had befriended him years before. Father Crean was forced into his bathtub where he was stabbed with a knife and hacked to death with an axe. MacKay later described the killing: “I just got the urge to use it [the axe] and take his head off. The blood made me excited. It made me worse.” MacKay was known to associate with Father Crean and was arrested on March 23. He promptly confessed to the murder.

Along with the murder of Father Crean, MacKay claimed to have killed ten other victims and robbed dozens more. Police investigated his claims and compared them to unsolved crimes, though most were eliminated as perpetrated by MacKay.

In total, five murder charges were brought against MacKay, with victims ranging in age from 63 to 89. Two of the charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence, but MacKay submitted a guilty plea to manslaughter for the other three. The court accepted the manslaughter pleas on the grounds of diminished responsibility, noting his long history of mental instability. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1975.

The victims were:

  • Mary Hynes (74), battered to death on July 20, 1973
  • Isabella Griffiths (84), stabbed February, 1974
  • Frank Goodman (63), killed June 13, 1974
  • Adele Price (89), killed March 10, 1975
  • Father Anthony Crean (63), stabbed and bludgeoned on March 21, 1975

(The charges of the murders of Hynes and Goodman were dropped.)

Nash, Jay Robert. Crime Chronology: A Worldwide Record 1900-1983. 1984
“Bully, gang leader, and psychopath.” The Guardian [London, England]. November 22, 1975
“Triple killer gaoled for life.” The Guardian. November 22, 1975
“Fifth death charge.” The Guardian. July 4, 1975

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