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John Francis DUFFY






A.K.A.: "The Railway Killer" - "The Railway Rapist"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Serial rapist (4)
Number of victims: 2 - 3
Date of murders: 1985 - 1986
Date of arrest: November 23, 1986
Date of birth: 1956
Victims profile: Alison Day, 19 / Maartje Tamboezer, 15 / Anne Lock, 29
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: North London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Convicted of two murders and four rapes. Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 30 years) in February 1988
photo gallery

John Duffy and David Mulcahy (born 1959) are two British rapists and serial killers who together attacked numerous women at railway stations in the south of England through the 1980s. They are known as the Railway Rapists and the Railway Killers.

The first attacks

In 1982 a woman (KJ) was raped by two men near Hampstead station and subsequently eighteen more were attacked over the next year. More occurred through 1984 and then three were raped on the same night in 1985 in Hendon. Police set up an urgent workshop to try to find the perpetrators, called Operation Hart.

The name of Duffy, a martial arts instructor, was touted as a suspect among thousands of other names as he was on the sex offenders register following conviction for the rape of his wife. Rope found in his parents house linked him to the second murder victim. Mulcahy was also questioned due to his close friendship with Duffy but victims were still traumatised and unable to pick him out of an identity parade. Mulcahy was released for lack of evidence.

The switch to murder

On 29 December 1985, Alison Day, 19, was dragged off a train at Hackney Wick station by Duffy and Mulcahy and repeatedly raped. She was then strangled with a piece of string.

Police further stepped up their search for the attacker who had been coined by the press as the Railway Rapist. The death of Alison Day changed this moniker to the Railway Killer, a tag reinforced by the rape and murder of 15-year-old Maartje Tamboezer in West Horsley on 17 April 1986. As well as rape and strangulation, Maartje's body was set on fire. A month later on 18 May 1985, local TV presenter Anne Locke, 29, was abducted and murdered as she dismounted a train in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.

New methods

Police brought in a psychologist from the University of Surrey, Dr. David Canter, to help their inquiries. There had been no previous use of "psychological offender profiling" as it was known, but something fresh was required as three women had been murdered and numerous more raped, with little progress being made. Canter examined the details of each crime and built up a profile of the attacker's personality, habits and traits. While this continued, another attack took place as a 14-year-old girl was raped in a park (David Canter was a psychologist working in the field of geographical psychology at the time). This enquiry led him to set up Investigative Psychology in which he has become an acknowledged expert in the field.

The breakthrough

As well as working together Duffy had started to rape alone and he was arrested while following a woman in a secluded park, he was questioned also about the spate of rapes and murders, and the next day charged on all counts. Police knew he had not committed the offences alone, but Duffy was not forthcoming about his accomplice.


Duffy went on trial in February 1988 and was convicted of two murders and four rapes, although he was acquitted of raping and killing Anne Locke. He was given a minimum tariff of 30 years by the judge, later extended to a whole life tariff by the Home Secretary. A European Court of Human Rights ruling later removed the right of politicians to reset sentence tariffs, and so Duffy's stay in prison was reverted to the original 30 years. He will be in prison until at least 2018 and the age of 69.

Much was made of the psychological profile constructed by Canter after the trial, as Duffy fitted 13 of the 17 observations made about the attacker's lifestyle and habits. Such profiling became immediately commonplace in policing thereafter.

The accomplice is found

Following his conviction, Duffy revealed to a forensic psychologist what the police knew already - that he had not attacked the women alone. However, he chose to reveal no more until 1997 when he implicated Mulcahy, a lifelong friend with whom Duffy had been inseparable since their days together at school in Haverstock, North London. Duffy also admitted his involvement in the attack on Anne Locke, although couldn't be re-tried for this under the double jeopardy rule.

However, Mulcahy - a married father of four - could still be implicated and following Duffy's claims, he was tracked for several months by police prior to his arrest and DNA-tests (which were not yet in use during the original investigation) also proved his involvement conclusively. In 2000, Duffy appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness against Mulcahy and gave detailed evidence over 14 days. It was the first time a highest-category prisoner had ever given evidence against an accomplice.

Mulcahy emerged through the trial from prosecution evidence as the chief perpetrator and the first to decide that sexual stimulation wasn't enough of a thrill any more, so turning to murder.

Mulcahy was convicted of three murders and seven rapes and handed 3 life sentences, with a 30-year recommendation. He was not later given a whole life tariff, as the ruling barring politically-set tariffs had been made by the time his case was due for review.

Duffy was convicted of 17 more rapes and received a further 12 years. Neither man is expected to ever be released from prison alive. Police suspect them of countless other sex attacks, some dating back to the mid-1970s, while Mulcahy is also suspected of attacks which took place after Duffy was jailed.

There has been occasional publicity for the pairing since Mulcahy's imprisonment, including newspaper claims that Duffy was paid 20,000 pounds in return for information about his accomplice; and that Mulcahy has become a feared loan shark from his prison cell.

In 2001, a television movie Witness of Truth: The Railway Murders was released, starring Huw Higginson and Nicholas Marchie as Duffy and Mulcahy, respectively.

Further reading

  • Adler, Joanna R. Forensic Psychology: Concepts, Debates, and Practice. Willan Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84392-009-3

  • Harrower, Julie. Crime: Psychology in Practice. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0340844973

  • Wilson, Colin and Damon Wilson Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-7867-1266-X


John Duffy & David Mulcahy (3)

On February 5, 2001, British serial sex killer David Mulcahy was given three life sentences for murdering three women. He also received 24-year jail terms on each of seven counts of rape and 18 years each for five conspiracies to rape, to run concurrently. In short, Mulcahy, 41, was convicted after his childhood friend, John Duffy, spent 14 days in the witness box cataloguing their rape and murder scheme. According to Duffy during the 1980s the pair went on "hunting parties" searching for women. Duffy, who was known as the Railway Rapist because he used his knowledge of the rail network to target his victims, was caught and jailed for life in 1988. In custody he named his former friend -- who police suspected all along -- as his accomplice.

Their three confirmed victims were: Alison Day, 19, who was attacked close to Hackney Wick station in east London in December 1985; Maartje Tamboezer, 15, whose body was found near a station at Horsley, Surrey in April 1986; and Anne Lock, a 29-year-old secretary with a television company who was murdered near Brookmans Park railway station Hertfordshire in May 1986.

Mulcahy and Duffy were first interrogated by police in July 1985 about a series of rapes in North London. They were both released on bail and five months later they raped and murdered Alison Day in Hackney Wick, East London. In the spring of 1986 they raped and murdered two more women -- Maartje Tamboezer, 15, and Anne Lock, 29. The pair was rearrested in November of that year. Police charged Duffy with the three murders and six rapes, but had to release Mulcahy for lack of evidence.

In 1998 Duffy broke his silence and started talking about the murders and other rapes he had committed and implicated Mulcahy as his accomplice in many of the crimes. Mulcahy was finally arrested on February 3, 1999.

In court Duffy described how he and his best friend from childhood would hunt for victims throughout London. "We would have balaclavas and knives," John Duffy, 41, said. "We used to call it hunting. We did it as a bit of a joke. A bit of a game." Duffy, who was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 1988 for murdering Alison Day, 19, and Maartje Tamboezer, 15, testified at the trial of Mulcahy that between 1982 and 1986 they hunted down and raped 15 women, killing three of them.

Police, believing the two are probably responsible for many more deaths, are re-investigating the 1980 murder of 19-year-old Jenny Ronaldson, who was sexually assaulted, strangled and thrown in the Thames. Detectives plan to examine a national file of over 180 unsolved murders of women to search for any links to Duffy and Mulcahy.


John Duffy

Nickname: The Railway Murderer

Reign of terror: 1982 - 1986

Motive: Sex









Railway stations


Alison Day




Maartje Tamboezer


East Horsley


Anne Lock


Brookman's Park

Method: Rape, then strangulation or suffocation.

Sentence: Two murders, four rapes - 30 years.


NAME: John Francis Duffy

A.K.A.: Railway Killer

During the late 1980s, the police mounted one of the biggest manhunts in British criminal history in search of 'the Railway Rapist'. It was later discovered that the rapist was working with an accomplice, and after the first murder, the pair became known as 'the Railway Killers.'


John Duffy was a brutal rapist and killer who struck lone women at railway stations throughout the South East and mainly North and West London.

"We would have balaclavas and knives. We used to call it hunting. We did it as a bit of a joke. A bit of a game." - John Francis Duffy

He was at first thought to have carried out his heinous crimes alone and was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders. But police were sure that he had an accomplice.

Only after 15 years did the advance of forensic science allow them to arrest David Mulcahy, a childhood friend of Duffy, who was eventually convicted. This case saw the first use in Britain of "Psychological Offender Profiling."

However, Mulcahy still protests his innocence after stating that Duffy implicated him in the murders.

John Duffy and David Mulcahy had been lifelong friends since their days together at school in Haverstock, north London.

They both shared an early sadistic streak for tormenting and torturing animals starting with a hedgehog, which Mulcahy beat to death with a plank when he was aged just thirteen.

As they got older the boys began to transfer their sadistic and misogynistic tendencies to women, fuelling each other's dark sexual fantasies.

The pair, both building workers from Hampstead, most likely got the idea to attack lone women when they realized how quiet areas were around railway stations at night.

It is baffling to understand how a young friendship could have degenerated into a secret life of violence, rape and murder. One theory is that bullying, which both Mulcahy and Duffy endured as schoolboys, may have been a key factor in driving them to rape and kill.

Whatever the trigger, the two boys had developed a severely psychotic side to their personalities at an early age. As he grew older, Duffy married and became a martial arts fanatic.

As they got older the boys began to transfer their sadistic and misogynistic tendencies to women, fuelling each other's dark sexual fantasies.Their brutal crimes began on July 1, 1982, when the pair attacked and violently raped a twenty three year old woman in Hampstead, North London. Over the next four years a further 18 women were to be attacked.

Despite John Duffy being known to the police as a violent man - after assaulting his wife and being found carrying a knife - he was still able to carry out a string of sexual assaults and commit two murders over a fifteen month period.


On July 1, 1982, Duffy and Mulcahy attacked and raped a woman close to Hampstead Station in London's Hampstead village.

The assault gave the two psychopaths a taste for terrorizing women in similar scenarios and for the next twelve months women were assaulted across London and the outer counties.

In all, eighteen women were raped near various train stations as well as in an area close to Duffy's Kilburn house.

The police set up an urgent workshop to try to find the perpetrators, called 'Operation Hart' which was the largest investigation to take place in the UK since the Yorkshire Ripper enquiry a few years before.

In Autumn 1983 the attacks suddenly stopped. Police later found out that this coincided with Duffy's separation from his wife.

Early in 1984 the attacks began again, this time in West London and North London. The police had no evidence to link the crimes and were unsure as to whether they were committed by the same man, or two different individuals.

Then, in July 1985, three women were raped on the same night, all in the Hendon and Hampstead area. Duffy and Mulcahy were pulled in for interrogation, but were eventually released. However, in August 1985, due to a bout of domestic violence at his home when he attacked his wife, Duffy was arrested.

He was interviewed and eventually added to the 'Hart' computer system as one of many thousands of men being investigated. Unfortunately Duffy was far down the list of suspects. Mulcahy, who was Duffy's accomplice in the rape attacks, was also questioned and eventually released.

At this time a new concept in crime investigations evolved with the innovative 'Psychological Offender Profiling'.

Professor David Canter from Surrey University was called in to aid the police investigation and it was his 'profiling' system which made its debut during this particular case.

Canter drew up a list of seventeen personality and characteristic traits, including environmental clues that the offender may display. When Duffy was finally caught it transpired Canter was proved correct with at least twelve of these traits.

In September 1985, a woman was attacked in Barnet. The description of the attacker fitted Duffy and the police pulled him in for questioning and placed him in an identity parade. However, the victim, still traumatized from the assault, failed to pick him out.

Mulcahy was also questioned but eventually released. It was to be a grave mistake, costing the lives of several women.

On December 29, 1985, Alison Day, aged 19, was dragged off a train at Hackney station by Duffy and Mulcahy and repeatedly raped. She was then strangled with a piece of string.

This was the first time the victim had been killed. Police further stepped up their search for the attacker. The death of Day changed the attacker's moniker from the Railway Rapist to the Railway Killer. There was still no evidence at this time to suggest that two men were carrying out the attacks.

The death of Day changed the attacker's moniker from the 'Railway Rapist' to the 'Railway Killer'.

In the Spring of next year the two men attacked another helpless young victim. Fifteen year old Maartje Tambozer was abducted from Horsley station in East Surrey on April 17, 1986. After being raped and strangled, the teenager's body was set on fire, most likely as a grisly attempt to destroy any evidence.

Less than a month later, on May 12, 1986, Duffy was arrested near North Weald station after been found carrying a knife. However, there was not enough evidence to charge him and he was released - only to kill again six days later.

On May 18, the victim was local TV presenter Anne Locke (29) who was abducted as she alighted from her train in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.


Duffy went on trial in February 1988 and was convicted of two murders and four rapes, although he was acquitted of raping and killing Anne Locke.

He was given a minimum tariff of 30 years by the judge, later extended to a whole life tariff by the Home Secretary. This however was to be rescinded by a European Court of Human Rights ruling, that later removed the right of politicians to reset sentence tariffs.

Duffy kept silent about having an accomplice until he decided he wanted to clear his conscience while undertaking a counseling session.

He chose not to reveal any more information about his partner in crime until nearly fifteen years later in 1997 when he implicated Mulcahy. The police had suspected Mulcahy for years but had no evidence on which to convict him until Duffy's confession.

Duffy also admitted his involvement in the attack on Anne Locke, although he couldn't be re-tried under the double jeopardy rule.

However, Mulcahy - a married father of four — had been tracked for several months by police prior to his arrest. DNA-tests, which were not yet in use during the original investigation, finally proved his involvement conclusively.


In 2000, Duffy appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness against Mulcahy and gave detailed and graphic evidence over 14 days. It was the first time a highest-category prisoner had ever given evidence against an accomplice.

Mulcahy emerged as the chief perpetrator of the crimes and the first to decide that sexual stimulation was no longer enough of a thrill, so turning to murder. He was said by a former employee at a cab firm he worked at to despise women.

"He liked women to be at the kitchen sink where they should be, or in bed," said Lola Barry, a controller at the cab firm.

She said Mulcahy had once crept up behind her in the office:

"He actually got me round the neck, saying 'How does that feel - are you scared?'"

Mr. Mark Dennis, prosecuting, told Mulcahy's trial: "As they fed their new-found predilections they treated their victims as objects rather than persons." It was "only a comparatively small step" between the violence of the rapes and the murders - and Mulcahy was the first to take it.

"He was the instigator and prime mover in the murders, and the one for whom the sexual abuse had become insufficient to satisfy," said Mr. Dennis.

Duffy, in the witness box catalogued their heinous campaign of rape and murder describing how the two friends would go out on "hunting parties" in the 80's searching for women. Duffy, used his knowledge of the rail network to target his victims and drag them into concealed areas where they could be attacked.

"We would have balaclavas and knives," Duffy, claimed. "We used to call it hunting. We did it as a bit of a joke. A bit of a game."

Mulcahy protested his innocence but on February 5, 2001, was given three life sentences for murdering three women. He also received 24-year jail terms on each of seven counts of rape and 18 years each for five conspiracies to rape, to run concurrently.

The police believed that the two men were probably responsible for more deaths and sexual attacks and reinvestigated the 1980 murder of Jenny Ronaldson (19) who was sexually assaulted, strangled and thrown in the Thames.

Apart from the level of ferocity associated with this case, the Duffy/Mulcahy casebook is one of the most significant criminal cases for its first use in Britain of "Psychological Offender Profiling."


June 1, 1982: Duffy and Mulcahy first rape of woman in Hampstead.

Autumn 1983: Attacks stop while Duffy is separated from his wife.

July 1985: Three women raped on same night in Hampstead and Hendon.

August 1985: Duffy first arrested after assault on his wife.

September 1985: Woman attacked in Barnet.

December 29, 1985: Alison Day, aged 19, raped and strangled with string.

April 17, 1986: Maartje Tambozer, aged 15, raped and killed. Body is set on fire.

May 12, 1986: Duffy arrested for carrying knife near North Weald station.

May 18, 1986: Anne Locke: TV presenter aged 29, raped and killed.

November 7, 1986: Duffy arrested stalking woman in park.

November 8, 1986: Duffy charged with three murders, and seven counts of rape.

February 1988 Duffy trial. Convicted of 2 murders and 4 rapes.

February 5, 2001: Mulcahy receives 24-year jail term.



By Guy Toyn

David Mulchay was the dominant half of the 'Thriller Killers' - an evil sadist who felt 'Godlike' when he killed to demonstrate his power over women.

But he slipped through the net which snared John Duffy, even though detectives were sure he was the accomplice of the diminutive sex monster.

Duffy had been nailed by the size four footprints he left at the scenes of the horrific crimes and the distinctive twine he kept which had been used to bind murder victim Maartje Tamboezer's thumbs.

Despite six days of questioning and meticulous searches of his home, the Operation Hart team set up to track down the killers failed to find similar evidence to put Mulcahy in the dock with him.

Mulcahy had even arrogantly mocked officers when Duffy was jailed, threatening to sue the force for wrongful arrest. It was not until a third rapist began stalking Mulcahy and Duffy's favoured hunting grounds at Hampstead Heath, north London, that an extraordinary coincidence would lead to the solution of a case which had haunted those involved in the original inquiry.

And yet throughout an investigation spanning two decades the answer to the riddle was lying in a dusty British transport police store room at Euston station.

When suspicion began to centre on Duffy, the only realistic candidate as his partner in crime was Mulcahy, who was his only friend.


The rape victims had told of an uncanny, almost psychic understanding between the two men who must have known each other for years.

One said: 'They didn't tell eachother anything. It was two bodies but one brain.'

Another added: 'The two men seemed to be able to communicate without words - by nodding their heads.'

The pair had been almost joined at the hip since they met at in their first days at Haverstock Hill secondary school in North London. Mulcahy would later tell police his friend became 'almost part of the family.'

As they grew up together Mulcahy began to tower over Duffy physically and mentally, who never exceeded his schoolboy height of 5ft 4 inches and was referred to by Mulcahy as 'the midget.'

Both youngsters lived near Hampstead Heath and enjoyed 'spooking' the courting couples and homosexuals who gathered there.

They developed a love of the martial arts, spurred by the Kung Fu craze of the early 70's. Together they would relentlessly practice the powerlocks and holds which would later be so effective in trapping their victims.


They also began to share an obsession with the excitement they found in cruelty and crime.

Duffy's wife Margaret Mustafa told the Old Bailey how he would rape her during bondage sex sessions and terrorise their German Shepherd dog Toby.

Mulcahy would cheerfully tell the jury how he had bound a 12-year-old cousin hand and foot and tossed him into a bathful of ice cubes because the lad had difficulty getting out of bed. Mulcahy bellowed with laughter as he snapped photographs of the boy floundering in the melting ice.

In 1976 the pair were convicted of causing actual bodily harm when they shot four victims with an air rifle for fun. Shortly afterwards Mulcahy suggested they should rape a woman together.
Their 'wicked bond' was cemented by deep feelings of sexual inadequacy - Duffy's irrational hatred of women sprang from a low sperm count which prevented him from fathering children. Throughout his life Mulcahy had been troubled by difficulties in maintaining an erection which would drive him to escalating sexual depravity and violence in an attempt to arouse himself.


'Duffy was the serial rapist. It was his partner who had that aggressive streak and the one who had the desire to dominate and exercise power and control over life and death,' said prosecutor Mark Dennis.

'Mulcahy was getting more out of this. He wanted something more than just rape.  It was the taller man who enjoyed exercising power over their victims, tormenting them, humiliating them on occasions.

'Mulcahy was an arrogant and cruel character playing with his victims as if the whole thing was a game, getting satisfaction and enjoyment from bullying and picking on the vulnerable.'

According to Duffy, they plotted their first rape because Mulcahy hated the owner of a house in Hendon, north London, and wanted to sexually assault her to 'teach her a lesson.'

They broke in but the woman failed to come home. Another planned rape at a house in Notting Hill, west London failed when the woman returned home with a male friend.

In 1981 they escaped with suspended sentences at Alton Magistrates Court when they stole wines and spirits from a store room.  Just over a year later the pair would carry out their first rape attack in a series of crimes which horrified Britain.


The pair armed themselves with a 'rapist's kit' of balaclavas, knives and tape to gag and blindfold their victims.

Soon the Michael Jackson tape 'Thriller' would become another essential part of the kit.

'It seemed to motivate them as they drove, singing along, looking for victims,' Mr Dennis said. 'A substantial part of the thrill came from the anticipation of the hunt.'

Several of the rape victims remembered Mulcahy blaming them when he could not maintain his erection in attacks of increasing sadism. He would stroke the women's hair tenderly, kiss their neck and ask: 'Are you a virgin?' as he removed her clothes.

Running his knife across his victim's lips he whispering threats to gouge their eyes out or slice off their nipples and revelled in their pure terror.

'He was no longer satisfied by the sexual aspect, but by power, control, violence and torment,' Mr Dennis said. It was the desire for the ultimate thrill, the power over life or death that would cost three women their lives.


A 21-year-old who was walking home from a party in Kilburn in north west London clutching a teddy bear, was to become their first rape victim in October 1982.

Using sticking plaster to stifle her screams, they dragged her into a garden where she was stripped, blindfolded and raped. The victim recalled: 'I put my hands up and the taller man said: 'Don't worry, it is a knife.'

In March of the following year they targeted a 29-year-old restaurant manager who was walking near Finchley Road railway station. But the woman bit Mulcahy's hand and despite being kicked and punched she put up such a struggle they let her go.

An American social worker aged 32 was attacked on Barnes Common almost a year later on January 20, 1984. Mulcahy and Duffy, who were in the area decorating Duffy's parent's home, stripped and raped her.

Their fourth victim was a 23-year-old grabbed at West Hampstead railway station and dragged across the tracks on June 3 of that year. She told the court: 'They had a knife and said they would cut me if I didn't do as I was told. All I could say was: ''Please don't hurt me.” They laughed as they passed the distraught woman afterwards in their getaway car, joking that they should offer her a lift.


A girl of 22 was gagged with tape after she was seized on Highgate West Hill a month later on July 8. Fortunately the rapists fled when a neighbour called the police. When the girl was comforted she still had pieces of tape on her wrists, one of which would provide crucial evidence against Mulcahy.

A week later on July 15 two 18-year-old Danish au pairs were attacked on Hampstead Heath as they walked arm in arm laughing together. One said: 'He told me to take off all my clothes and lie down. Then he pulled his trousers down to his knees and lay on top of me.'

Three months later the pair were arrested when they were stopped in Mulcahy's Talbot Horizon with stolen building materials. A black balaclava was found in the car but the pair escaped with fines after Mulcahy told police he used the mask when he was working as a plasterer on dusty ceilings.

On January 26, 1985 they attacked a 20-year-old German au-pair under a canal bridge at Brent Cross. Her scarf was used as a gag and blindfold as she was bundled towards the nearby bridge.


'The man without the knife sat down and undressed me. He was not rough but he stripped me naked,' she said. Once fluent in English, the woman has refused to ever speak or read the language again or tell her husband of the ordeal.

By January 30 the pair were back trawling Hampstead Heath where they selected a 16-year-old virgin. Duffy told the court Mulcahy was becoming so violent he broke off the attack fearing his friend would kill the girl.

On February 2 they tried again with a French au-pair who was also grabbed near the Heath but the attack was aborted when she screamed and struggled.

Duffy claimed he stopped another attack on a 23-year-old the following month because he was again worried about Mulcahy's behaviour when the victim was dragged to a flats near the Heath.

Desperate for another victim, the pair selected a 25-year-old solicitor's clerk on March 1 and raped her on a bench on the Heath. By now the sexual excitement on the hunt was not enough for Mulcahy, who was having more and more difficulty becoming aroused.


Four days after Christmas 1985 they targeted Alison Day, who had been due to meet her fiance at his printing firm in Hackney Wick.
The 19-year-old near was snatched at Hackney Wick railway station and dragged to snow covered playing fields nearby.

After both men had raped Alison, she tried to escape and fell or was pushed by Mulcahy into the freezing water of a feeder canal. Duffy claimed he pulled her out, and Mulcahy was so excited by the incident he raped her again, then tore off a piece of her blouse to throttle her.

He recalled: 'She was saying things like ''It is only his moustache I have seen, I won't tell anyone, please don't hurt me.'' I was watching David and the girl. The next thing I noticed was he was putting some material round her neck and starting to twist it.'

Mulcahy later told his accomplice he had killed Alison because she might recognise them. But Duffy said: 'David actually enjoyed it, saying it gave him power - the decision over life and death. I remember him going on: ''It is God-like - having the decision over life and death.'''


Alison's sheepskin coat was weighed down with stones and she was hurled back into the water. She was found 17 days later, bound and gagged with her hands tied behind her back.

On April 17, 1986, 15-year-old Dutch schoolgirl Maartje Tamboezer was knocked off her bicycle with a length of fishing line stretched across the path - a technique Duffy had learnt from one of his favourite books, The Anarchist's Cookbook.

The teenager was marched across the fields between Effingham and East Horsley in Surrey and raped by Duffy, who claimed Mulcahy suddenly lost his temper.

'He was becoming very aggressive - hyper, shouting at the girl,' Duffy recalled. 'He then raised his fists and hit the girl. She crumpled to the floor. She was struck on the head, at the side. It was a swinging blow. I noticed he had a rock in his hand, or a stone. She just crumpled up and fell on the floor. I believe she was unconscious.'


Former altar boy Duffy said Mulcahy then ripped off Maartje's belt and looped it around her throat, telling him: 'I did the last one, you'll do this one. He passed me the belt. It had a piece of stick through it which was twisted and he gave it to me in my hand,' Duffy told the jury.

'I actually started twisting it while David turned away. I think I just got caught up in it. It is very difficult to explain. I just continued twisting until she was dead.'

Duffy said they both left the scene but Mulcahy returned and set Maartje's body alight, stuffing burning tissues into her vagina hoping to destroy forensic evidence.

Newly wed TV secretary Anne Lock, 29, still had the suntan from a dream honeymoon scuba diving off the Seychelles when she was ambushed getting off a train at Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire on May 18, 1986. When the pair spotted her bicycle in the station's shed they hid in the bushes and waited until she returned.

Duffy said he raped Anne, then Mulcahy threw him the a bunch a keys and he went to collect the car. He told the court: 'David said he had taken care of it. He was very evasive, like he was playing mind games. He was saying: ''She won't identify us now''. He was very excitable, buzzing. He was even saying: ''Keep your eyes open for another one.'''


Anne's decomposed body was found two months after she was murdered in undergrowth just a mile from her home. She had been suffocated with her own sock.

Ten years after the murder of Anne Lock, with Duffy safely behind bars Mulcahy must have believed he would never be caught. But on August 6 of 1996 another rapist sprang from the undergrowth in near Hampstead Heath, sparking a chain of events which would lead to Mulcahy joining his friend behind bars.

Ted Biggs, then 34, was a salesman at a bedding shop in Hitchin, Herts, leading the double life of a rapist by night.  He attacked 66-year-old woman on the Heath that summer's night and struck again in Hampstead in September 1998.

Police launched Operation Loudwater to track down Biggs, who would prey on six victims before he was jailed for life. By sheer chance one of the officers on Operation Loudwater, DC Caroline Murphy met DC John Haye in a pub. DC Haye had been the exhibits officer in the Duffy inquiry.

They quickly realised the two cases had striking similarities in location, and the knife and the balaclavas that were used.


DC Murphy called Whitehouse prison in Cambridge to make sure Duffy had not been let out on day release and could not be responsible for the offences. She learned Duffy was in fact being interviewed by psychologist Jenny Cutler, who told her Duffy had given the name of his accomplice as David Mulcahy.

All the surviving exhibits from the original case were re-examined and tested using DNA techniques which were not available in the 1980s.  Samples taken from the clothes of one of the au-pairs Mulcahy raped on Hampstead Heath showed there was only a one in a billion chance he was not the attacker.

Senior officers then found than in an astonishing blunder a piece of tape used to bind the woman attacked on Highgate Hill West had not been tested for fingerprints before it was consigned to the storeroom at Euston station. Their worst fears were realised when four experts confirmed the fingerprint they found on the tape belonged to David Mulcahy.

Tragically, Mulcahy and Duffy could have been stopped after just three rapes.

Mulcahy was convicted of three murders, seven rapes and five charges of conspiracy to rape after a trial lasting more than five months. The jury of six men and six women had deliberated for 19 hours and 42 minutes over four days.


Duffy was convicted of two murders, five rapes, and another sexual assault but cleared of Anne's murder at his trial. He later confessed to another nine rapes - including that of Anne Lock - six conspiracies to rape and two burglaries with intent to rape.

Described by the judge who sentenced him in 1988 as 'a predatory animal' Duffy is now thought to be one of Britain's most prolific rapists with up to 50 victims.

At the end of Mulcahy's trial in February 2001 The late Recorder of London Judge Michael Hyam told him: 'These were acts of desolating wickedness in which you descended to the depths of depravity in carrying the them out.' Duffy and Mulcahy will never be released.


"We would have balaclavas and knives. We used to call it hunting. We did it as a bit of a joke. A bit of a game."

by Paul Sutherland

The use of a profiler in modern police investigations is now quite a common practice, but for years the Police were fiercely opposed to what they considered to be “science fiction”. Television programmes such as “Cracker” and “Wire in the Blood” tend to glamorise and over exaggerate the use of Profilers, but it must be remembered that these are only television dramas. A psychological profile is only an investigative tool to be used, one must be careful that they do not focus solely on the profile and be influenced by this when they may have conclusive evidence to the contrary of the profile.

Famous British profilers include Professor David Canter, Dr Paul Brittain, Dr Julian Boon and Dr Richard Badcock. All have worked on high profile cases and have been responsible for bringing profiling out into the open for it to be understood and followed.

Britain’s first widely reported use of a profile was in the 1980’s case of the Railway murders. London, Surrey and the Home Counties police were alarmed by a series of rapes happening within their areas. Most of the attacks were carried out by two masked men, and police noticed that nearly all of the attacks happened near or leading directly from a Southern link Rail route, which showed that the offenders had a detailed knowledge of the Southern Railway network.

The attacks had started in 1982 and over the next 12 months the sinister duo raped another 18 women. In each case the attackers had taken the front door key from each victim as a ghastly “souvenir”. In several of the cases one of the attackers seemed almost ashamed of himself, several times apologising to the victims as the two men were fleeing the scene.

However, in 1983 the attacks mysteriously ceased, until 1984, when a solitary attacker began to attack women in West and North West London. The attacks carried on until July 1985, when the same man raped 3 women in one night. This outrageous crime led to the formation of Operation Hart, and detectives had managed to link 30 different attacks, all investigated under the above operation.

The only clue that officers had to go on was that the majority of the victims described the rapist’s eyes as being, "cold blue, staring, almost like lasers". The rapist was extremely violent and was a pervert. As if detectives did not have a serious enough investigation, the rapist was about to take a step further in his criminal career and kill for the first time.

19-year-old Alison Day left her home in Hornchurch, Essex, late in the afternoon of 29 December 1985 to meet her boyfriend, who worked at a local print works. She boarded a coach and made it to Hackney Wick railway station, where she planned to walk the short distance to the print works. The route she would have had to take led her down a darkened towpath alongside a canal, and it was whilst Alison was walking down this towpath that she met her killer.

Alison was forced at knifepoint to a block of rat-infested garages, and had her hands tied behind her with some coarse string in a "praying position". She was then savagely raped and strangled with a technique known as a “Spanish Windlass”. This involved a piece of the victims clothing being torn away and looped around her throat, then slowly tightened using a piece of wood to twist it.

Once she was dead, her killer weighted the body down using stones in her pockets, and threw the body into the nearby River Lea. It was not found until 15 January 1986, and, due to the amount of time the body had spent in the water, forensic evidence had all been washed away. However, fibres were found on the victims clothing, especially on a sheepskin jacket that could have come from the killer’s clothing.

Police shared their findings with the Operation Hart team, but apart from the obvious connection with the railways, there was nothing to connect the two cases. Police working on Operation Hart had already theorised that the rapist they hunted knew every alleyway, path and snicket around the London Rail network However, four months later, the killer struck again.

15 yr old Maartje Tamboezer was one of 3 sisters, the children of a Dutch businessman living in West Horsley, Surrey. On the afternoon of Thu 17 April 1986 Maartje was due to go on holiday the next day, and set off in the late afternoon to cycle to the nearby village of East Horsley, to buy sweets for the journey. When Maartje had not returned by early evening, her worried parents called Surrey Police.

Between Guildford and Leatherhead just adjacent to the A246 between the two, there is a dark spinney that runs alongside the railway line. Two men out ferreting here early on the morning of 18 April found Maartje’s body, which had been so vigorously mutilated that at first they did not recognise the remains as that of a human corpse. Maartje had been bound by the wrists with coarse string, savagely raped, and strangled with a tourniquet. There had also been an attempt by the killer to remove forensic evidence by setting fire to Maartje’s corpse. Her bicycle was found propped against a tree, and nearby, police made an unusual discovery.

There was a length of bright orange nylon wire stretched across the footpath at chest height. This obviously had been purposely set by the killer to force Maartje to dismount. Detectives surmised that she had been dragged into nearby woods at knifepoint, raped, beaten, and finally garrotted. As well as the nylon wire, the killer had also left an unusually small footprint. When the post-mortem report on Maartje came back, police noted with interest that one of her neck bones was broken, possibly caused from a karate blow in the opinion of the pathologist.

Surrey police launched their biggest ever manhunt, and their most promising lead came from the passengers on the 6:07 pm train from Horsley to London. The guard recalled a smallish man wearing a blue parka jacket rushing onto the platform as the train was departing, causing the guard to have to reopen the self-closing doors.

A young woman passenger recalled how the man had chilling, laser like staring eyes, and how he had gazed at her several times before she got off the train at Bookham. Police checked thousands of abandoned train tickets, in an attempt to recover the man’s fingerprints, but it was to no avail.

Police however, did have some good luck. They had managed to determine from semen left at the scene of the Tamboezer murder that the killer belonged to blood group A. They had also managed to nail the make of the string used to bind the victims. It was called Somyarn, and was not made of the usual cord or thread but was made of paper. It was traced to a batch made by a factory in 1982, but police could not trace it any further than this. They were still working on this lead a month after the murder of Maartje Tamboezer when news came in of another Railway attack.

29 yr old Anne Lock worked for London Weekend Television as a secretary, and worked late on the night of Sun 18 May 1986. Anne had only been married for a month, and had just returned from her honeymoon in the Seychelles. Anne usually took a train home from the South Bank studios where she worked, to Brookman’s Park near Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire. It was dark when she arrived at Brookman’s Park at 10pm, and she quickly walked to the bicycle shed where she had left her cycle. When she got there, she found her way blocked with a bench dragged across the pathway. The trap was sprung.

The disappearance of Mrs Lock was massively publicised, and connecting her disappearance to the murders of Alison Day and Maartje Tamboezer, Surrey and Hertfordshire police set up a joint operation codenamed Trinity. This manhunt, which led on to Operation Hart, was to become the biggest undertaken in Britain since the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry of the 1970’s. Detectives had managed to narrow their initial list of 5000 suspects down to 1,999 men who fitted the description and other details of the Railway rapes and murders. Number 1,594 on the list was a slightly built Irishman, John Duffy, a British Rail carpenter.

Duffy had been placed on this list due to the fact that he had a history of violence and in August 1985 had been in trouble with police for raping his ex wife. Police took an extra interest in Duffy because on Saturday 17 May he had been arrested for loitering at North Weald Railway station. Detectives searching him found a sharp butterfly knife in his pocket, along with tissues and a box of matches. Duffy claimed he used the knife at his weekly martial arts class, near to his home in Kilburn, North London. Duffy was released, but the Operation Hart computer logged his arrest.

On 17 July, Duffy was called in for questioning by Operation Hart detectives, but arrived with a solicitor and refused to give blood samples. Detectives had a nagging suspicion that Duffy was their man, due to the fact that he fitted the description of the rapist, was short, had pockmarked skin, and had the same laser staring eyes described by so many of the victims. His reference to a martial arts class also struck a chord with detectives, as they remembered the broken bone in the neck of Maartje Tamboezer, and the suggestion that it had been caused by a karate blow. However, with lack of hard evidence, they were unable to detain him and he was released.

Four days later, the body of Anne Lock was discovered by a gang of track maintenance workers on an overgrown embankment near Brookmans Park Railway Station. She had been killed in the now usual fashion, and an attempt had been made to burn her body. The same coarse string was found binding her hands behind her in the “praying” position.

The discovery of her body led detectives to attempt a second interview with Duffy, but to their astonishment they found that he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Friern Barnet, North London. Duffy claimed that he had been assaulted by two men, and had lost his memory as a result. Police were sceptical, but could not disprove his claims. Doctors forbid detectives to question Duffy, and police had to leave him in the security of the hospital. He remained here for a month.

On Tuesday October 21, a 14 yr old schoolgirl was raped on the outskirts of Watford, and during the assault, the girls blindfold slipped and she was able to describe a short, pockmarked man with a dog he called Bruce. This fact was to bear significance later on. Upon learning that he had been released from the psychiatric hospital, Duffy was placed under a tight surveillance. Detectives were now convinced that Duffy was their man, and searched desperately for any evidence that would convict him. Their breakthrough came from an unexpected direction and set a precedent used today.

Professor David Canter was a professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Surrey. He was an expert in Behavioural Science, but had never worked with the police before. At this time, the FBI in the USA had used offender profiling successfully for 10 years, although offender profiling was in its infancy in Britain. FBI Agents John Douglas and Robert K Ressler, of the FBI’s Behavioural Sciences unit, had pioneered it and new developments were occurring frequently due to their research. When he was asked for a profile by police, Professor Canter told them he would need to read every statement, every forensic report made.

He also studied a map of all the attacks in an attempt to find the killer’s “home ground”. Within two weeks Professor Canter had produced a report giving the police 17 pointers towards the character, behaviour and possible location of the killer. What really made this a breakthrough and helped resolve the position profilers hold in today’s society was the fact that 13 of these pointers fitted Duffy exactly. Professor Canter’s pointers are shown below, whilst the matches with Duffy are shown in bold beneath.


  1. The killer lived in the Kilburn or Cricklewood areas of London:
    (Duffy lived in Kilburn)

  2. The killer was married but had no children:
    (Duffy was married but was infertile, and unable to produce children)

  3. The marriage was in serious trouble:
    (Duffy was separated from his wife)

  4. The killer was a loner with few friends:
    (Duffy had only 2 close male friends)

  5. The killer was a physically small man who felt himself to be unattractive:
    (Duffy was 5”4, and had severe acne)

  6. The killer had an interest in Martial Arts or Bodybuilding:
    (Duffy spent much of his time at a Martial Arts club)

  7. The killer felt the need to dominate women:
    (Duffy was a violent bully who had already attacked his wife)

  8. The killer fantasised about rape and bondage:
    (Duffy liked to tie up his ex wife during sex, and had already raped her)

  9. The killer had a fascination for weapons, especially knives and swords:
    (Duffy had many such weapons in his home)

  10. The killer indulged his sex and violence fantasies with videos and magazines:
    (Duffy collected hard-core porn and Martial Arts videos)

  11. The killer kept a souvenir of his crimes:
    (Duffy had 33 door keys, each taken from a victim as a souvenir)

  12. The killer had a semi skilled job as a plumber, carpenter or similar:
    (Duffy worked for British Rail as a carpenter)

  13. The killer was in the age range of 20 to 30 years old:
    (Duffy had been a rapist for 4 years when he was arrested aged 28)

When police fed these details into their computer and programmed it to sift through their suspect database and single out suspects fitting this criteria, the computer came out with one name after detectives had cross checked the profile against their 1,999 suspects. The name was John Duffy. On Sunday 23 November 1986, aware that Duffy realised he was being watched, senior detectives ordered his arrest.

Detective’s who searched Duffy’s home found hard-core pornography, Martial Arts videos and magazines, and several Martial Arts weapons. He was also found to have a dog named Bruce, matching the rape victim’s story. It was during a search of his mother’s house that they found a significant breakthrough. Hidden under the stairs was a ball of Somyarn. Forensic experts were able to match this with one used to bind the murder victim’s. Fibres found on Duffy’s clothes matched those recovered from the body of Alison Day. Duffy, throughout all of his questioning, refused to admit anything, even when faced with undeniable evidence, and remained impassive as he was charged with rape and murder.

Duffy betrayed absolutely no emotion at his trial, 14 months later, at the Old Bailey. 7 of his rape victims refused to give evidence against him, so he was tried for 5 rapes only and the 3 murders. Duffy pleaded not guilty to all counts, but was convicted of all the rapes and the murders of Maartje Tamboezer and Alison Day. The prosecution agreed that there was insufficient evidence in the case of Anne Lock and Duffy was acquitted of this murder. Duffy again displayed no emotion as he was sent to prison to serve 8 life sentences. He went to prison taking the name of his accomplice in 16 of the rapes with him.

That was at least, until 2001, when detectives arrested a known associate of John Duffy named David Mulcahy. A routine DNA test matched the DNA left by Duffy’s accomplice and Mulcahy was charged with 16 counts of rape. He pleaded not guilty, but was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. To many, that was final closure of the dark times when Duffy and Mulcahy stalked the streets.

John Francis Duffy was born on the 29 November 1958 in Northern Ireland, the second of John and Philomena Duffy’s 3 children. The young Duffy came from a respectable Catholic family, and was a choir and altar boy at the local Catholic Church whilst growing up. He attended St Dominic’s RC School in Kilburn, North London, and, from the age of 12, Haverstock Secondary School. Duffy was a shy child, but enjoyed swimming and judo, and joined the scouts and the Army cadets.

Physical and sporty, his written work was nevertheless poor, and he was advised to seek work learning a trade, “with his hands”. In April 1975, Duffy enrolled as an apprentice carpenter with a firm in Camden, North London. Here Duffy obtained his City and Guilds craft certificate, although he did not make himself popular with his workmates.

He was known as the firm’s top “skiver”, his work was reported as poor, and when he finished his apprentiship in 1978, he was not offered employment by the firm. Duffy spent the next two years working for a London building firm, then in 1980 he joined British Rail.

His work with British Rail taught him an extensive knowledge of the railway system in and around London. It was also around this time that he met his future wife, Margaret Byrne. Both were virgins when they met, and after a short courtship, they were married at Camden register office in June 1980. The couple married in secret because Margaret’s parents disapproved of Duffy, and they did not begin to live together until 3 months after the wedding.

Their marriage was at first happy, until spring 1982, when Duffy learned that he was unable to father a child. Overnight he changed. He resigned from British Rail, attempted suicide, and began to beat Margaret. He personally blamed her for him not being able to father a child, and became convinced that he was ugly and unattractive. In August, she left him. She returned a month later to try and patch up their marriage. Margaret had two jobs to pay the bills, whilst Duffy wasted the days away watching horror and kung fu films.

This sparked an interest in Martial Arts, and Duffy began undertaking a punishing fitness regime. His violent tendencies also came out more as a result, and he now vented his frustrations on Margaret and his pet dog, Bruce. Police theorized that during Duffy’s training sessions he was geographically planning the intricate geometry of his sex attacks and the vital escape routes through London’s railways and Underground network.

It was in August 1985 that Duffy raped his wife. They had been separated for a while by that time. Duffy had also severely beat Margaret’s new boyfriend, and as a result was charged with malicious wounding and assault. These factors only emerged after Duffy’s conviction. Margaret has since remarried and has a son.

Detectives found several urban guerrilla manuals in Duffy’s home after his arrest, all of which listed different ways to incapacitate, silence and kill. The books also stressed the importance of escape routes, a factor that became all important to Duffy. Duffy’s conviction was front-page news in the British tabloids, reflecting the relief that the British public felt at having him behind bars.

Also, the British press opened up the world of Offender Profiling to the British public, and it was largely due to the groundbreaking work produced by Professor Canter in this case that Profiling has become the respected and trusted investigative tool it is today. Professor Canter actually headed a team of experts to research the core of Offender Profiling as a result of its success in the Duffy case, and to adapt it into everyday use.

Little has been written of David Mulcahy, although when Mulcahy was convicted in 2001, this only reinforced the relief that the British public felt. Both men are a natural target in prison, as rapists are despised, and both have been told that they will die in prison. Neither man expects to be released. The names of Duffy and Mulcahy will forever be remembered for their catalogue of horrific crimes, but also as being part of the flagstone that heralded modern Offender Profiling.


Known victims

Name: Alison Day
Aged: 19 years-old
murdered: December 29, 1985
Found: January 15, 1986

Alison Day was on her way to keep her fiancé Paul Tidiman company while he was working overtime at a printers by Hackney Wick station. She was late and he was anxious. As he saw another train arrive, he stopped work and ran on to the platform calling her name.

He didn't know, she was already dead, raped and murdered about 100 yards away.

Police found her body on January 15, 1986 face down in the adjacent river Lee. Her blouse had been cut into three pieces and used to gag and bind her.

The third piece was round her neck, used as a tourniquet to strangle her. On December 29, 1985, Alison was the only person to get off the train. Mulcahy grabbed her and Duffy produced a knife.

Mulcahy, fearing she could identify them - took the knife, cut up her blouse and put a tourniquet round her neck.

Moments later, no doubt fearing Duffy's reticence, Mulcahy told Duffy they were in it together. He told Duffy to take hold of the tourniquet and give it a twist.

Mulcahy said in court, they had no choice. "It was the right thing to do".


Name: Maartje Tamboezer
Aged: 15 years-old
murdered: April 17, 1986
Found: April 18, 1986

15-year-old Surrey schoolgirl Maartje Tamboezer, was killed on April 17, 1986. On the day after she was murdered Maartje had been due to leave on a school holiday. Duffy struck as she cycled to buy sweets for the journey, from a shop near East Horsley station.

Her badly-burned body was later found in nearby woods with the watch halted at 5.35pm. Duffy confest he had agreed go to the area after Mulcahy promised he could "go first" with the victim.

They lay in wait in trees near a path and, after watching her ride past knowing she would return the same way, they tied fishing line across the path to trip the bike up.

After she was raped, Mulcahy turned on her, saying she had been looking at him, and struck her across the head with a stone and she fell to the ground.

Mulcahy tied the girl's belt around her neck and told Duffy: "I did the other one. It's your turn to do this one." Following the killing Mulcahy went back to wipe away fingerprints.

Less than a month later on the 12th May, 1986, Duffy was arrested near North Weald station after been found carrying a knife. However, as there was no specific evidence against him he was later released only to kill again six days later.


Name: Anne Lock
Aged: 29 years-old
murdered: May 18, 1986
Found: July 21, 1986

29-year-old Anne Lock had been married just a month, and had returned from her honeymoon only a week in the Seychelles before she was murdered. Lock worked as a secretary for London Weekend Television.

She had been asked to go in on 18 May 1986. She left her bicycle in the shed at the station in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire.

She left work at 8.30pm but never returned home. Mulcahy and Duffy hid her bike, intending to trap her as she went to find it.

She was seized, led down the railway tracks to a field where she was raped and murdered. Her badly decomposed body was found om July 21, 1986 in undergrowth.

One of her socks was inside her mouth and the other had been tied round her jaw. An attempt was made to burn her.



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