Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Thomas Hamilton McDOWELL





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 3, 2002
Date of arrest: 10 days after
Date of birth: 1977
Victim profile: Andreas Hinz, 37 (gay man)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Camden, London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on September 30, 2004

photo gallery


Thomas McDowell (born 1977) is a convicted British murderer.

McDowell was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, but later moved to London, England.

He murdered homosexual German-born trainee rabbi Andreas Hinz, 27, in Camden on 3 July 2002, by strangling him before dismembering his body.

At McDowell's trial two years later, it was revealed that he had been abused as a child and grew up with a sense of hatred towards homosexuals, as well as suffering from a personality disorder.

McDowell admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to life imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on 30 September 2004. The trial judge spoke of his doubt as to whether it would ever be thought safe to release McDowell back into the community, and recommended that he should never be released. He began his life sentence at Rampton Hospital in Lincolnshire.

McDowell is one of around 30 prisoners currently in the prison system who have been recommended for lifelong imprisonment. In February 2007, it was reported that the European Court of Justice was reviewing such sentences to determine whether they amounted to a violation of human rights. The review has yet to be completed, but if lifelong imprisonment is outlawed, McDowell and all other prisoners serving such sentences (in the UK and the rest of Europe) will have their cases recalled to court for new minimum terms to be set.


Failures that led to killing

By Richard Osley and Mairi MacDonald - Camden New Journal

Thursday 7th October 2004

Killer Thomas McDowell was told by a judge on Thursday morning that he may never be freed from prison for the slaying of German trainee rabbi Andreas Hinz.

The 37-year-old’s body was found sawn-up, stuffed into black bags and dumped in St Pancras Way, Camden Town, in July 2002.

But, despite the gruesome nature of the case, there will not be a ‘Camden Ripper-style’ inquiry into the care and housing of father-of-two McDowell, 27, a child abuse victim suffering from a dangerous personality disorder described in court as “untreatable”.

The North London Strategic Health Authority and Camden Council, currently running a behind-closed-doors probe into care and treatment received by serial murderer Anthony Hardy, the murderer who lived half-a-mile from McDowell jailed last year for the killing of three vice girls, yesterday (Wednesday) were unable to confirm any involvement with Mr Hinz’s killer.

The New Journal has learned that drug addicts targeted vulnerable residents living in the block of flats where Mr Hinz’s body was sliced into six parts with a razor blade and a saw.

Detectives, meanwhile, have begun trawling missing person databases and checking unsolved cases for people who may have come into contact with McDowell, originally from Ballymena, Northern Ireland. They have not ruled out the possibility that he may have struck on other occasions.

Residents living in flats neighbouring McDowell’s former home at Caulfield Court in Baynes Street, Camden Town – the murder scene – said the block had a past plagued by junkies and crime.

One said an all-hours crack house was operating from the building until it was finally shut down by police six months ago.

Current tenants quizzed by the New Journal this week said the block still had an uneviable reputation.

Former train driver Nigel Newman, 52, said: “People think that if you live here you must be up to something. One of the flats was a crack house. It didn’t bother me but other people in the block got annoyed with everyone coming in. And there were always people trying to get in.”

Another resident, Neil Carroll, 46, added: “People used to come around ringing all the buzzers all day and night. I ended up turning my buzzer off at night. People would come round and say they had forgotten their keys and get let in and end up taking drugs in the stairwell.”

Caulfield Court, managed by the Irish Centre Housing Limited, was built a decade ago and officially opened by then Irish President Mary Robinson.

Camden Council lost nomination rights to rooms after a dispute over interviews for places. Several of the residents are working to get their lives back on track after relationship breakdowns, homelessness or alcohol addiction.

Antonia Watson, Director of Irish Centre Housing Limited, last night (Wednesday) denied there had been a crack house at the building.

She said: “Improvements have been made. Most of the tenants that live there now are new.

“It is permanent accommodation, referred from other agencies. There was nothing that we could have done to prevent this awful case. Thomas McDowell would have been interviewed but there was no history of violence. There were no signs. I do not know whether he was taking any medication. He was only with us for a short time, about four months. It has been upsetting for tenants and staff and our thoughts go out to Andreas Hinz’s family.”

McDowell was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday to a “whole life sentence” for the murder – effectively a ‘life means life’ jail term.

His devastated mother, Linda Hamilton, who lives in Northern Ireland, where McDowell was brought up, immediately told of her horror at the news that her son, may never be released from custody.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: “It is very difficult to know what to say to him. I will just be telling him that he is still my child and that I love him, whatever he has done.”

The trial heard Mr Hinz, a gifted and popular student, had been strangled before his body had been cut up with a razor and a rip-saw, borrowed from a drop-in centre.

Passing sentence, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin, QC, told McDowell: “I do not know whether it will ever be thought safe to release you into the community.”

The defendant admitted killing Mr Hinz, of Windermere Road, Finchley, after the two men had gone back to McDowell’s flat following a fateful meeting in the popular gay pub The Black Cap in Camden High Street, Camden Town.

But although pleading guilty to manslaughter, he denied, on mental health grounds, the more serious charge of murder, leading to a two-week jury trial, which heard how he was badly abused as a boy and had gone through spells of drug abuse, homelessness and mental illness.

The court heard how McDowell talked about sleeping on his mother’s grave, even though she is still alive and still in contact with her son.

Mrs Hamilton said: “Thomas would never even have killed a fly when he was younger. The only way he could have done it is through illness. My son is not a monster.”

But leading psychiatrist Dr Philip French, from St Mary’s Hospital, told the murder trial: “If McDowell is a controlled psychotic who deliberately lured Hinz to his flat and to his death then his responsibility is not diminished. I believe he is that controlled psychotic who did lure Hinz to his death and meant to kill him.”

Known by the nickname ‘Tonto’ as a boy, in recent months he signed off letters from prison by the more sinister moniker, “Tommy The Hacksaw”.

After a jury had taken just three hours to dismiss McDowell’s case, Judge Rivlin, QC, said: “No one could fail to sympathise with the fact that you had an appalling childhood, during which you were badly abused by a man who was subsequently sent to prison for that abuse.”

But he added: “I must also have regard to the appalling consequences of this crime in which you needlessly robbed a young, gifted, kind and gentle man of his life and devastated his family and friends. The jury have had no difficulty in agreeing that you are and were a controlled psychopath and that you present a very great and continuing danger to those who happen to come into contact with you, in particular homosexuals as Mr Hinz was.”

McDowell, emotionless in the dock during sentencing, was taken to Rampton Hospital where he will serve the first part of his sentence.


A gifted, kind and gentle man

ONE of the closest confidants of murder victim Andreas Hinz has appealed for friends and relatives to be left to mourn in peace, writes Richard Osley.

Rabbi Michael Shire, vice-principal of the Leo Baeck College in Finchley, where Mr Hinz was studying, said: “His loss will continue to be felt by fellow students, faculty and congregants alike. The loss to his family is inestimable.”

Rabbi Shire added that the court case had been a harrowing reminder of the events of July 2002.

Andreas Jonathan Hinz spent much of his time with his head buried in a book, studying literature and religious tracts. It was to become a lifetime obsession.

A high achiever at Wuppertal University in Germany during the 1980s, the young Mr Hinz became known for his meticulous approach to theological studies and his investigations into hidden meanings buried in ancient texts, which had rarely been discussed before.

His pain-staking work led him to research his own family tree, during which he learned he had Jewish ancestors. Soon after this discovery, he decided to follow Judaism and became a familiar face in the European branch of the Union of Progressive Jews.

He would regularly organise trips for followers under the ‘Young and Jewish’ project which has strong membership in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and, although often described as a quiet, unassuming man, was known for his passionate, confident lectures at conferences.

Mr Hinz was in his late-20s when in 1993 he helped form two firms in Osnabruck, Germany. One was a marketing group but the more successful, Secolo-Verlag, is a book publishing firm which has won awards for design and presentation. Mr Hinz ensured a share of the books were on Judaism and the firm is still well-respected in Germany’s high-brow theological and literature circles.

But friends and colleagues say Mr Hinz was unable to be wholly satisfied with his work at Secolo because of a burning desire to become more involved in his religion and, in 2000, he came to England to begin his training to become a rabbi at the Leo Baeck College, close to his rented home in Windermere Avenue.

Openly gay, Mr Hinz involved himself in London Jewish Gay and Lesbian groups, members of which later attended his memorial service. His sexuality was known within the college, and at the Belsize Square Synagogue in Belsize Park where Mr Hinz was attached.

His connection with the Synagogue saw him continue his lectures on Wednesday nights, drawing healthy audiences with his lively and warm teaching style.

Mr Hinz was 37 and in his second year of his rabbinical training when he was murdered.


Killer of trainee rabbi gets life

BBC News

Thursday, 30 September, 2004

A psychopath who strangled and cut up a gay trainee rabbi with a ripsaw has been jailed for the rest of his life.

Thomas McDowell, 27, throttled Andreas Hinz, then dumped his head, limbs and torso in bin bags in Camden, north London.

The body parts were found when the uncollected rubbish attracted flies.

McDowell, born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, was told by the judge at Southwark Crown Court he remained a serious danger to the public.

McDowell suffered abuse as a child and grew up hating homosexuals, the court had been told.

Dangerous psychopath

He had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But on Wednesday, the jury found him guilty of murdering Mr Hinz, a 27-year-old German national, on 3 July, 2002.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC told McDowell the only appropriate sentence was one in which he would spend his whole life in prison.

"You are a dangerous psychopath. There are no two ways about it," he said.

Judge Rivlin accepted McDowell had suffered abuse at the hands of a man who was later jailed.

He told McDowell it was not his fault he had developed a serious personality disorder.

But he said McDowell remained a danger, particularly to homosexuals.

"There are features of this case which, in my judgment, make it one of the more serious and which, first and foremost, calls for the protection of the public.

"I do not know whether it will ever be thought safe to release you into the community," said Judge Rivlin, giving a "whole life" order.

McDowell was take from the court to Rampton High Security Hospital, where he will serve the first part of his sentence in the personality disorder unit.



home last updates contact