Killer Who Targeted Gays in London Gets Life Term

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A serial killer, dubbed the "gay slayer" by the British tabloid press, pleaded guilty Monday to the murder of five men, including an American, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The confessed killer, Colin Ireland, 39, showed no emotion as he was told by the High Court judge: "To take one human life is an outrage; to take five is carnage. In my view, it is absolutely clear you should never be released."

Ireland's crimes, committed from March to June of this year, had terrorized London's gay community. The killer picked up his victims at a gay pub in a fashionable area near the apartment building where Princess Diana lived before her marriage to Prince Charles.

Ireland's former wife, Virginia Zammit, said that her husband, a tall, burly former soldier, hated gay men.

And Ireland told investigators he had planned early in the year to become a "serial killer," scheming to murder at least four victims.

The victims were West End choreography director Peter Walker, 45, found bound and naked under a duvet at his South London home; American businessman Perry Bradley III, 35, who was strangled in bed in West Kensington; librarian Christopher Dunn, 37, strangled in his North London home; nursing home attendant Andrew Collier, 33, murdered in his apartment in northeast London; and Maltese chef Emanuel Spiteri, 41, found dead in his apartment in southeast London.

Ireland used common cord to tie up his victims and handcuffs to immobilize them, prosecutor John Nutting said.

"These murders were premeditated and meticulously planned," Nutting said. "He chose a vulnerable group as his intended victims--homosexual men who indulged in sadomasochistic sex, thus enabling him to tie them up with no resistance from them before killing them."

After each killing, Nutting said, Ireland painstakingly cleaned up, spending hours at the scene removing all traces of his presence. He also forced his victims to reveal their cash card numbers and withdrew cash "to reimburse himself for the cost of the last murder and to re-equip himself for the next."

But he left fingerprints on a windowsill at the home of victim Collier.

Ireland phoned police stations, anonymously claiming responsibility for the murders and giving details of each killing.

In July, Ireland turned himself in after police released a videotape from a security camera in a subway station, showing him in the company of Spiteri shortly before the chef's murder. He admitted being the man on the video but claimed to be innocent of the murders.

In August, Ireland confessed to all five killings. His lawyer, Andrew Trollope, said that he "offered no kind of excuse or justification for what he did."

Trollope said Ireland lost his job early this year, "his last attempt to lead an ordinary, stable, law-abiding life."

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