A Killing Spree in Northern England, 1982 – David Cook

‘The first time it happened, I didn’t mean to do it. He was just the last straw – a friend of a friend of a friend, we knew each other’s name and that was about it. We ended up by ourselves at the back of the club somehow, then that song started playing. And he did what everyone’s done since the damn thing came out. I’d had enough. I snapped. I smashed my bottle over his head and down he went. I legged it. No-one stopped me. No-one even saw. I ran off to the ladies, then I came back a few minutes later and everyone was gathered round him and I said “What happened?”, like I didn’t already know. I don’t think anyone suspected me. After all, I don’t look the type.’

Detective Jackson, sitting opposite her in the sterile police interview room, nodded. She was small. Brown fringe scraped over her forehead. Worrying at her fingernails. She didn’t at all look the type, at least not until you peered into her eyes and saw the madness staring straight back at you.

‘It was on the news that night,’ she continued ‘He died in hospital. I felt bad, but also… excited. Powerful. I didn’t have to take it any more. I could stop all these people from shrieking in my face, thinking they were so damn funny. I could have just quit going to nightclubs, but why the hell should I have done that? I like dancing as much as the next girl. I love the Human League. And Joan Jett. I wasn’t going to stop because of one bloody song.

‘But I couldn’t expect to get away with bottling people over the head in public again. So I had to be more subtle. Second time, a guy followed me to the bar and asked me my name. I could have lied. But I didn’t. I wanted to see what sort of man he was. If he was going to be different. Of course, he was exactly like everyone else. He hollered the chorus right in my face – he smelled like he’d been eating mackerel; in my head I called him Trawlerbreath – and when he was finished he grinned like a smug monkey, as if I should have been applauding his original wit. So I played along. I giggled. And I flirted. I should be given awards for my acting, not fucking jail time. I hooked my arm in his and we left. We only made it as far as the alley round the back. I couldn’t wait any longer, but him, he thought his luck was in. In a filthy alley behind the Trog Bar! Dirty frigging perv. I had him close his eyes. Told him I was going to give him a surprise. He sure looked surprised when I stabbed him in the guts.

‘I got away with that one too, so I just carried on doing it. I thought that when the song stopped being popular I’d stop killing people, but it didn’t – and it’s been months! – so I just kept on. And I saw them on the news, those men that I’d done in, and the police would be talking and using words like “serial killer” and I liked it. Still, sometimes I’d think I was overreacting. It’s only a bloody song, I’d think, and then I’d hear it on the radio and feel this burning inside me and I’d fantasise about what I’d do to the guy singing if I ever met him and I’ll tell you what, he’s just lucky he doesn’t live anywhere near fucking Hull.

‘But then you caught me. Stupid bouncer on his fag break round the back of the Waterfront. I didn’t see him. How could I not have seen him? He definitely saw me, with that guy with the jug ears – god, he was a sight, that one – and he must have spotted me pull the knife and then he was on me before I knew what was happening. He held me down while Juggies sprinted back to the club screaming like a little girl. Then a few minutes later half a dozen coppers turned up. 

‘I’ve done six or seven blokes in altogether. You can ask me if I feel guilty, but I don’t. They were dickheads. They deserved it. That bloody song brings out the worst in people. Including me, I suppose. 

‘So what happens now? Is someone going to take these handcuffs off me?’

Detective Jackson stopped his tape recorder and said, ‘We’ll leave you cuffed for now I think. Let’s get you back to the cells.’ He stood and made for the interview room door, then glanced back towards his prisoner and added, ‘Come on, Eileen.’ 

Her snarl made him chuckle. ‘We coppers have to find our fun where we can,’ he said, grinning beneath his moustache. He reached for the door handle, but the venomous screech stopped him. He didn’t have time to turn around. Eileen was on him, arms clamped around his neck and legs fast around his waist, cuffs crushing his throat, throttling the air from his body. He flailed and thrashed, but was unable to dislodge her, the insanity giving her a strength belying her slight frame. He tried to shout, but could only gasp. His eyes began to glaze and he became limp and fell to the floor.

In his final moments, Detective Jackson just had time to register the noise of the radio from the officers’ staff room on the other side of the corridor. ‘Too ra loo ra,’ he heard as he sank into the darkness, ‘too ra loo rye ayyyyyy.’

Eileen untangled herself from the corpse of the detective and rooted through his pockets. She found the key and unlocked her handcuffs, then wrapped them around her fist in case she needed a weapon. She opened the door a fraction, saw no-one was waiting in the corridor, and ran for it.


David Cook enjoys Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the Human League and Joan Jett, as well as a good serial killer yarn, but has never actually been to Hull. Further autobiographical details are available on request on Twitter @davidcook100, but don’t get too personal.


Image via Pixabay


cabinet of heed contents issue 16

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