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A.K.A.: "The Stockwell Strangler"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Sodomy
Number of victims: 7 +
Date of murders: April-July 1987
Date of arrest: July 28, 1987
Date of birth: 1962
Victims profile: Eileem Emms, 78 / Janet Cockett, 67 / Valentine Gleim,84, and Zbigniew Strabawa, 94 / William Carmen, 84 / William Downes, 74 / Florence Tisdall, 83
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Stockwell, London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison 1988. In July 2009 murder convictions were reduced to manslaughter on the grounds on diminished responsibility following an appeal

Known victims

During 1986, Erskine murdered elderly people, both men and women, breaking into their homes and strangling them to death. Most were sexually assaulted. The crimes took place in the Stockwell area of London. He was convicted of 7 murders and one Attempted murder, although police believe he was responsible for at least 4 other murders he was never charged with.


Name: Nancy Eileen Emms
Age: 78 years-old
Murdered: 9 April 1986
Location: Wandsworth, South London

Nancy Eileen Emms a retired schoolteacher, lived on her own in a basement flat in West Hill Road in the suburb of Wandsworth in South West London. When she was discovered by her home help it was at first thought that she had died of natural causes and there were no sign of violence or indeed anything to suggest suspicious circumstances. She was in bed with the bedclothes pulled up to her chin. When the doctor first examined her he thought she had been dead for about three days and as he had no reason to suspect otherwise he was happy to sign the death certificate to say she had died of natural causes.

It was only when the home help noticed that some things were missing from the flat that she began to suspect things were not what they seemed. The police were called and the scene was re-examined. It was found that she had been strangled with bare hands and that she had some bruising on her chest as if the killer had knelt on her which he had in fact done.

She had been murdered by Kenneth Erskine (the Stockwell Strangler) on 9 April 1986. The only clue the police were able to find was a single Afro-Caribbean head hair on the sheet. Nancy was in fact the first of a very long line of victims that would meet with devastating results Kenneth Erskine.



Name: Janet Cockett
Age: 67 years-old
Murdered: 9 June 1986
Location: Stockwell, South London

Mrs. Janet Cockett, who had led an active life as chairwomen of her local tenants association, was found with two fractured ribs, the result of Erskine having knelt on her, and a lock of hair that could have been Erskine's was found in her bedroom. Her nightdress had been torn off and neatly folded. Erskine's palm print was found on the bathroom window, and his thumb print on a plant pot.



Name: Frederick Prentice
Age: 73 years-old
Attempted murder: 27 June 1986

In the early hours of 27th June 73-year-old Frederick Prentice was awoken by sounds of someone entering his bedroom. He switched on the light and told the intruder to get out. He was then attacked and was being strangled when he freed one hand and pressed the alarm at the side of his bed. His assailant ran off.



Name: Valentine Gleim
Age: 84 years-old
Murdered: 28 June 1986
Location: Stockwell, South London

Mr Gleim was a retired British Army officer who was 84 years old. He lived in the same old peoples home as Zbigniew Stabrawa who was also murdered by Kenneth Erskine on 28 June 1986. Erskine had once again used an open window to access the building. He was actually spotted in the corridor of the home but by the time the police arrived he had gone. When Mr. Valentine Gleims body was found he had been strangled with bare hands and sexually assaulted.



Name: Zbigniew Stabrawa
Age: 94 years-old
Murdered: 28 June 1986
Location: Stockwell, South London

Zbigniew Stabrawa was the oldest victim of the strangler at the age of 94. He had been born in Poland and had lived there until the outbreak of World War Two when he had fled from the Nazis. He was living in an old peoples home when he was murdered by Kenneth Erskine (the Stockwell Strangler) on 28 June 1986. He had been strangled with bare hands and sexually assaulted. His murder was one of two murders that occured in the home that day.



Name: William Carmen
Age: 82 years-old (some publications claim that he was 84)
Murdered: 8 July 1986
Location: Islington, North London

Mr. William Carmen was found by his daughter on the Marquess estate, in Islington. He had been sexually assaulted, and photographs in his flat had been turned to the wall. 300 had also been stolen.



Name: William Downes
Age: 74 years-old
Murdered: 20 July 1986
Location: Stockwell, South London

Mr Downes was murdered on 20 july 1986, he was found by his son the next morning in his bedsit. His body was naked and the sheets pulled up to his chin (a common feature with most of Erskine's victims, who were tucked up in bed to make it look like they had died in their sleep). Mr Downs had been raped and strangled, semen stains were found on his sheets. His son had days earlier warned him to keep all windows firmly locked at night. The pathologist described his death as asphyxia due to manual strangulation. Police found an palm print on the garden gate and on the wall.



Name: Florence Tisdall
Age: 80 years-old (some publications claim she was 83)
Murdered: 23 July 1986
Location: Fulham, West London

Florence Tisdall was an 80 year-old widow who was partly deaf and blind, and who could move around only with the help of a walking frame. She lived in an almost empty block of flats. She had lived in the same block for over sixty years. It was a hot night and she had left a window open which was how the killer got in. She was murdered on 23 July 1986. She had been strangled with bare hands and sexually assaulted. she also had broken ribs caused by Erskine kneeling on her chest.


More victims?

Following Kenneth Erskine's Conviction, the police closed their files on four more deaths thought to have been caused by the strangler.

Name: John Jordan
Age: 57 years-old
Murdered: 4 february 1986
Location: Brixton

Found dead strangled, beside his bed in his flat in Josephine Avenue, Brixton


Name: Charles Quarell
Age: 73 years-old
Murdered: 6 may 1986
Location: Southwark

Found suffocated on his bed at his home in King James Street, Southwark.


Name: Wilfred Parkes
Age: 70 years-old
Murdered: 28 may 1986
Location: Stockwell, South London

Mr Parkes was found strangled in bed. The police had very strong suspicions that deranged half-caste Kenneth Erskine was involved. But they never managed to get a conviction.


Name: Trevor Thomas
Age: 75 years-old
Murdered: 12 July 1986
Location: Lambeth, South London

Trevor Thomas was a 75 year old man who was found dead and sexually assaulted in his bath. He was found four days after William Carmen. The bathwater had made the gathering of forensic evidence difficult and his death was never proved conclusively to be one of the stranglers. He was thought that he had been murdered by Kenneth Erskine (the Stockwell Strangler) on 12 July 1986.



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