Barry Peter Prudom
(18 October 1944 – 4 July 1982) was an English electrician and multiple
murderer who became the subject of a police manhunt and what was at the
time the largest armed police operation Great Britain had ever seen,
involving 12 police forces.
Prudom became a fugitive after killing
Police Constable David Haigh on 17 June 1982. Before being captured he
killed twice more, shooting civilian George Luckett on 23 June 1982 and
Police Sergeant David Winter on 28 June 1982.
Described as an "avid outdoorsman and firearms
enthusiast" Prudom's knowledge of military survival skills learned while
training with the Special Air Service (S.A.S.) helped him evade capture
for 18 days as he hid out in rural areas in the north of England. When
eventually found, having been tracked by "Jungle" Eddie McGee, a former
S.A.S. instructor, Prudom committed suicide by firing a single shot to
his head. It later transpired that Prudom had previously attended
survival courses run by McGee, and had made extensive study of a manual
on survival techniques written by the S.A.S. veteran, entitled No Need
Prudom was the illegitimate son of Kathleen Edwards,
a Leeds dressmaker, and Peter Kurylo, a soldier serving with the British
Army. Kurylo played no part in Prudom's upbringing and the two never
met. The family home was at 39 Grosvenor Place, Leeds, and Prudom
attended Blenheim Primary school and Meanwood Secondary School.
Although born Barry Edwards, his name was changed to
Barry Prudom in 1949 when his mother married Alex Prudom. He was briefly
sent to an approved school in Aycliffe Village, County Durham for
housebreaking. After leaving school, Prudom commenced an apprenticeship
and trained as an electrician. In October 1965 he married Gillian
Wilson, who was then aged 19 years. There were two children from the
marriage, a daughter born in 1966, and a son in 1970. Prudom's mother
died in a drowning accident while on holiday in 1973.
Service with special forces
In 1969 Prudom enlisted with Leeds-based B Squadron,
23 Special Air Service (V), part of the Army's part-time volunteer
Territorial force. The unit specialised in covert surveillance,
reconnaissance and "stay-behind" operations. Prudom was eventually
rejected by the unit as he was considered temperamentally unsuitable and
disliked discipline. It is unknown which stage he had reached in the
selection phase, which for the Territorials is spread over a longer
period, although he did participate in training maneouvres with the unit.
An official statement revealed only that he had "failed the final
Prudom subsequently established himself as a grocer,
and purchased a shop for his wife on Quarry Street, Leeds, but by 1977
he was working for the petroleum industry in Saudi Arabia in order to
earn more money. While he was there his wife left him for another man.
Police later disclosed that "While he was [in Saudi Arabia] his wife
formed a liason with another man and he got a 'Dear John' letter, which
must have had a traumatic effect on him. From being a very stable hard
working man, he became morose and irritable, and he was even more
annoyed when he returned to England and found his wife had taken £8000
from the bank account."
Between 1977 and 1982 Prudom dated Carol Francis and
the two travelled extensively as he took work on oil rigs in Canada and
the USA. In January 1982 while Prudom was in Wakefield, West Yorkshire,
he was arrested for a violent assault on a motorist with an iron bar,
and used his alias of Barry Edwards. After failing to attend Leeds Crown
Court to answer bail, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Francis had
by now left Prudom and moved out of the house in Leeds that they had
been living in.
Illegal possession of firearms
Prudom did not hold a license to possess firearms,
but carried a .22 LR calibre Beretta Model 71 "Jaguar" pistol, which he
had purchased in the US and smuggled back into Britain. The Model 71 was
a virtually recoilless, lightweight and easily concealed pistol,
described as "the signature terminator pistol of Mossad... a compact,
accurate and flawlessly reliable performer that could easily be used to
quickly and accurately deliver multiple rounds into vital parts of a
17 June – Murder of PC David
After commencing duty at 06.00 on 17
June 1982, PC David Haigh, aged 29, was attempting to serve a summons on
a poacher in the Washburn Valley near Harrogate, North Yorkshire. When
Haigh failed to respond to a radio call from his station at Harrogate,
PC Mick Clipston was sent to check on his whereabouts, and discovered
his patrol car at a picnic site at Norwood Edge near Beckwithshaw.
The door of the car was still open and PC Haigh's
body was next to it, having been killed by a single .22 Long Rifle
calibre pistol shot to the head. Haigh's clipboard was found, on which
he had written "Clive Jones, born 18/10/44, Leeds NFA [no fixed address]"
followed by a vehicle registration number, KYF 326P. Having cleared the
poacher and a Leeds man called Clive Jones of involvement, police
launched a murder investigation, headed by North Yorkshire Police's
Assistant Chief Constable, David Burke.
The registration number recorded by Haigh belonged to
a metallic green Citroën car, which police ascertained had been the
subject of a cash sale to an unknown man at Kingsbury, London in January
1982, and a witness came forward to say that he had seen the car parked
at the murder location at approximately 06.35 on the 17 June.
19 June –Car discovered
Prudom's Citroën was discovered burned out in a
cornfield near Ledsham, West Yorkshire, around 25 miles from the scene
of Haigh's murder.
20 June – Robbery of Freda
After abandoning the Citroën, Prudom
had hitchhiked and walked to Torksey, Lincolnshire, where on 20 June he
broke into a house and tied up the elderly occupant, 75-year old Freda
Jackson. He stole £4.50 from her then left, saying later that he had
been unconcerned about her welfare as he knew "the bread man would find
her in the morning". The robbery was not connected with Prudom until 23
23 June – Murder of George Luckett
Just before dawn on 23 June he broke into another
home approximately 20 miles away in Girton, Nottinghamshire. The
occupants, George Luckett,52, an electrician, and his wife Sylvia, 50,
were tied together at the elbows and both were shot once in the head.
George Luckett's wound was fatal but Sylvia Luckett survived, although
she was left with permanent brain damage and no clear recollection of
After Prudom left the scene, Mrs. Luckett managed to
crawl to a nearby house and raise the alarm with neighbours. Prudom took
the Lucketts' brown-coloured Rover car, registration VAU 875S and then
drove to Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire. At some point he stole
registration plates from another car, CYG 344T, and attached them to the
When North Yorkshire Police received details of the
Girton murder and of the Torksey robbery they concluded that the same
man was responsible and the incident rooms at Nottingshamshire Police
and Lincolnshire Police were connected to the North Yorkshire computer
to allow the three forces to share and compare information relating to
24 June – Attempted murder
of PC Oliver
Prudom was stopped during a routine
check in the Bickley area of Dalby Forest, approximately 8 miles from
Scarborough, North Yorkshire, on 24 June by police dog handler PC Ken
Oliver. When Oliver asked him to step out of the vehicle, Prudom opened
fire with his .22 pistol, the first round hitting the officer's face. As
Prudom got out of the car to fire again, the police dog reacted by
attacking Prudom, giving Oliver a chance to run for cover in a nearby
house, and of the seven bullets that hit him none were fatal. The dog
was also shot twice and wounded.
Prudom then smashed the radio transceiver in Oliver's
van and drove it a short distance into the forest before returning and
setting fire to the Rover. He then headed into the forest and went to
ground once more. Within hours a huge manhunt had commenced in the
forest, involving police marksmen, helicopters and 1,000 police officers
on foot. As darkness fell the search was halted, although police
maintained a cordon around the forest throughout the night.
25 & 26 June – Police search Dalby Forest
The search of the forest commenced again at daybreak
on 25 June and again on the 26 June but despite maintaining a cordon
throughout police were unable to find any sign of Prudom.
28 June – Identification of
Prudom, murder of PS David Winter
Although Prudom had given a false name
and no address, he had given his true date of birth, and an officer, PC
Martin Hatton, who was cross checking outstanding arrest warrants made
the connection between PC Haigh's written note and the birth date of "Barry
Edwards". The police searched the address given by "Edwards" and
established he was actually Barry Prudom, "a keep-fit fanatic, obsessed
with weapons and the military." During the search they also found Eddie
McGee's No Need To Die manual detailing special forces survival
PC Oliver was able to identify his assailant as
Prudom from photographs and latent fingerprints on the burned out
vehicle found near Leeds were found to be those of Prudom. Ballistic
tests proved that the same gun had been used in the killings of Haigh
and Luckett, and the police released Prudom's name to the media as their
prime suspect and the most wanted man in Britain.
At 14.00, Police Sergeant David Winter, 31, and PC
Mick Wood received information about a suspicious man seen in the
village of Old Malton, North Yorkshire, 200 yards from the village
police station. Winter challenged Prudom, who produced his pistol and
opened fire. Although Winter tried to take cover behind a low wall, he
was pursued by Prudom and shot three times, the final shot fired from
After then firing at a Guardian journalist and a BBC
news crew, Prudom escaped from the scene through a nearby alley. Heavy
rain hampered the search efforts for the next two days, and despite the
presence of 600 officers, including 100 armed officers, the use of dogs
and the RAF's Search & Rescue Westland Wessex helicopters, Prudom eluded
30 June – Eddie McGee joins
Eddie McGee (c.1938-2002), nicknamed "Jungle
Eddie" by colleagues, was a former Physical Training Instructor from the
Parachute Regiment and had served as an NCO in 22 Special Air Service
Regiment. Having completed 22 years of service, McGee had retired from
the Army and now operated the National School of Survival, a survival
training school near Harrogate.
He had authored five books on the subject, and No
Need To Die was considered a "bible" for enthusiasts of personal
survival studies. His tracking skills had been learned while living
among Australia's indigenous aboriginal people and pygmy groups in
Africa. He was married with two sons, both of whom were serving police
officers in Yorkshire. Chief Constable Henshaw said of the development "Now
we have somebody looking for him with even more skill in the art of
evasion and survival than Barry Edwards has. I am confident we are going
to find him."
McGee and a colleague, Eric Longden, joined the
manhunt at Dalby Forest, and then moved on to Malton, where they
followed tracks from PS Winter's body through the town's Old Manor Moor,
Huttons Ambo and Low Hutton areas, escorted by an armed police bodyguard
from the Central Firearms Unit. After several hours, he search moved
suddenly back to Dalby Forest when police were informed that a
camouflaged bivouac shelter had been uncovered in a Forestry Commission
1 July – Siege of Malton
Chief Constable Kenneth Henshaw ordered "the largest
arsenal of weapons ever issued to a British police force" and placed a
cordon around Malton, sealing off the town. Although certain that Prudom
was still hiding somewhere in the town, police gave regular briefings to
the media saying that they were searching for him in Dalby Forest.
Inspector Peter Walker later explained: "We wanted him to believe we
were seeking him elsewhere. The safety of the public was uppermost in
our minds. The media reports were invaluable because they led Prudom to
believe that the hunt was concentrated outside the town in Dalby Forest."
3 July – Prudom resurfaces
For several days Prudom hid in the countryside around
the town; on 3 July, he entered the home of pensioner Maurice Johnson in
East Mount, Old Malton, and took him, his wife Bessie and their son
Brian as hostages. He ate a meal in the Johnson's home, which he
described as the "last supper", and hid out at the house for 11 hours.
Brian Johnson later related: "As the night went on,
we got talking as though we had known each other for years. He was
calling me Brian and my father he was calling dad." Prudom gave Brian
Johnson a gift of a US paratrooper's ring, and then, believing the area
was relatively safe, tied up the family and left the house at 03.15 on 4
4 July – Police locate Prudom
Having learned from television reports that Eddie
McGee, a former Special Air Service (S.A.S.) member, was assisting the
police, Prudom set a false trail leading away from the Johnson home,
then headed back and hid in a makeshift shelter near Malton's Tennis
Club, only 300 yards from the police station which was also the
temporary headquarters coordinating the manhunt.
Around two hours later the Johnsons had managed to
free themselves and called the police. McGee picked up Prudom's trail at
the Johnson residence, and noticed disturbances of fresh dew on the
grass which led him to where Prudom was hiding. A firearms squad from
Greater Manchester Police, led by Chief Inspector David Clarkson, was
called to the scene and Prudom was told to give himself up. Stun
grenades were thrown by the police and, on hearing a gunshot from
Prudom's location, Clarkson ordered his officers to open fire. When
firing subsided, Prudom was found dead in the hideout.
The inquest into Prudom's death was presided over by
coroner Michael Oakley. The post mortem was conducted by Dr. Siva Sivas,
a lecturer in forensic pathology at Leeds University, who reported that
there were a total of 21 penetrating shotgun wounds to Prudom's body
which had "insufficient velocity to enter the body cavity", a .22 bullet
fired into the right side of his head which was consistent with a self-inflicted
wound, and a further shotgun pellet which had entered through his
forehead. Both of the head wounds would have caused instant loss of
consciousness and possibly instant death.
Oakley summed up the evidence to the jury by saying:
"I would submit to you that there is an abundance of evidence to suggest
that he fired the shot that killed himself", and the jury took just 18
minutes to return a verdict of suicide.
Prudom was buried in an unmarked grave in Harehills
Barry Peter Prudom
Born out of wedlock in October 1944, Briton Barry Prudom was an avid outdoorsman and firearms enthusiast who joined the elite Special Air Service in 1969.
His subsequent travels abroad including a camping tour of the United States - would later be used in an effort to explain his final rampage as inspired by "overseas organizations," but the conspiracy theory will mat stand close examination. Prudom's ex-wife remembers him as violent and possessive, harboring true affection only for his mother and grandparents.
Prudom was already named in one arrest warrant, for wounding, when Constable David Haigh stopped his car for a routine traffic check near Harrowgate, in Yorkshire, on June 17, 1982.
Barry identified himself as "Clive Jones," but gave his true birthdate, and Constable Haigh had time to jot the information down along with Prudom's license number - before Prudom whipped out a pistol, killing his victim with one shot to the head.
The car was found abandoned in a field near Leeds, its license plate and latent fingerprints identifying Prudom as the gunman. Moving swiftly, he turned up in Lancashire, invading an old woman's cottage and leaving her bound but unharmed as he fled with some cash.
At Girton, in Nottinghamshire, he broke into the home of George and Sylvia Lockett, seeking more money. George tried to defend himself and was killed on the spot, his wife crippled by a shot to the head, causing permanent brain damage.
Traveling in the Locketts' car, Prudom made his way to the Dalby Forest region of North Yorkshire. He was resting when Constable Kenneth Oliver surprised him, and Barry squeezed off seven shots, wounding Oliver in the face, arm, and chest.
The officer's life would be saved by emergency surgery, but a massive manhunt was already underway for the notorious "Cop Killer," police sparing no effort in their bid to run him down. Prudom was leaving the post office at Old Malton when Constable Michael Woods approached him to make the arrest.
Unarmed, Woods bolted at the sight of Prudom's gun, but the killer pursued him, dropping Woods with three close-range shots as he tried to scramble over a nearby wall. Witnesses maintain that the final shot was fired while Woods lay helpless on the ground at Prudom's feet.
Living off the land, Prudom fashioned himself a makeshift shelter in the woods near Malton, Yorkshire, emerging from cover on July 3 to hold three members, of the Johnson family hostage in their Malton home.
Sitting down to dinner with the family, Prudom called it "the Last Supper," regaling them with a description of his crimes while he fed himself. Prudom left the Johnsons unharmed, and police were close behind him when he returned to his forest hideout on July 4.
A fierce battle erupted, officers lobbing stun grenades, blasting away with rifles and shotguns before silence fell over the scene. Inside his lean-to, Prudom was found dead from a self-inflicted head wound; he had also stopped a shotgun pellet in the forehead, and the coroner would count 21 other wounds on his body.
A. jury deliberated for eighteen minutes before ruling his death a suicide.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
17/06/82 - 28/06/82
PC David Haigh
PS David Winter
Method: Shot with a .22 calibre bullet.
Prudom committed suicide when the police finally found him on 4th
Despite the police searching hard for Prudom, he continued to
disappear following each murder, for over a week. Finally he was
tracked down with the help of a survival expert, Eddie McGee.
The night prior to his discovery, Prudom had spent
his time in the home of elderly Mr and Mrs Maurice Johnson and their
son. He had tied them up and held them captive for the evening, but
later untied them. Throughout the night, he apparently confessed to
everything he had done in the previous fortnight. At 5am the following
morning, he left their house, and was found later that day in a wood
close to their home.
the early hours of a June morning in 1982, 29-year-old PC David Haigh
was on duty. By 7.30am, he'd been shot dead at a lonely beauty spot,
Warren Point near Harrogate. He was still clutching his clipboard upon
which he'd written the details
Clive Jones, NFA (no fixed address), 18.10.44.
Although he didn't know it then, in taking those details, David in fact
solved his own murder.
Immediately, a major investigation was launched, although a full week
would pass before the scale of the operation became apparent. Meanwhile,
70 miles away, a Lincolnshire pensioner was also shot dead, though at
first police did not link it to the Warren Point incident.
eagle-eyed officer in Wakefield was sorting through his outstanding
warrants - that's when a warrant is issued for an arrest, but the
culprit hasn't been caught. He came across one for electrician Barry
Peter Prudom, wanted for attacking a motorist with an iron bar. The
officer noticed his date of birth: 18.10.44 - the same as the elusive Mr
Clive Jones. He quickly put two and two together.
Although Prudom gave false details when he was unexpectedly disturbed by
PC Haigh, he couldn't instantly come up with a false date of birth, a
fact which trips up many criminals and one which is well known to the
police. Prudom had made a
then, police had compared the bullets which had killed both PC Haigh and
the Lincolnshire pensioner and found they came from the same gun, so
Barry Prudom became the prime suspect and the most wanted man in
Prudom, meanwhile, stole a car in Lincolnshire to return to the North
York Moors where he went on the run, hiding in the expansive and
impenetrable Dalby Forest.
was an expert in outdoor survival, but even so, hunger forced him into
the small market town of Malton where he killed another policeman, Sgt
David Winter. Police set up an incident room there, from where they
handled the huge amount of press, TV and radio enquiries. The story was
was the first time a police PR man spoke to the media directly from the
crime scene and set a precedent for the way police deal with the media
during major investigations.
Police knew they had to keep the media on thier side and the best way
to do that was to give them regular updates. They knew Prudom was still
in Malton; in fact he was holding an elderly couple hostage in their
home, but they wanted him to believe they were seeking him elsewhere.
The safety of the public was uppermost in the police minds. The media
reports were invaluable because they led Prudom to believe that the hunt
was concentrated outside the town in Dalby Forest. There he'd earlier
shot and injured another policeman. If he'd known police were getting
close to him, he could well have harmed his hostages."
Believing the immediate pressure was off him, Prudom fled the house
leaving his hostages unharmed. Minutes later, police cornered him on
Malton tennis courts where, faced with imminent capture, he shot
M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: CE-felony
Fatally shot two policemen and a male robbery victim.
Suicide during shoot-out with police, July 4, 1982.
Barry Peter Prudom