Another one from the file of
unrequited lovers with a grudge. In 1987, 24-year-old Kevin Weaver
clubbed his mother and sister to death in Bristol.
Then, armed with
three shotguns, he went hunting for his former fiancee killing two of
her colleagues when she escaped. He was arrested and sent to Broadmoor
for his lethally jealous tirade.
Multiple murder by psychopath Kevin Weaver - Bristol 1988
ON March 28, 1988 at
Bristol Crown Court, Mr Justice Webster ordered 24-year-old loner Kevin
Weaver to be locked away for the rest of his days after his obsession
with one woman had launched him on a senseless orgy of killing.
Labelled an appalling
danger to the public at large, he was taken away to Broadmoor. The jury
had sat horrified as the court was told how - in a killing spree that
closely echoed Michael Ryan's Hungerford massacre - the former accounts
clerk had slaughtered four people, including his mother and sister, as
he set out to get even with the woman who had jilted him.
The psychopath had
apparently kept TV coverage of the Hungerford killings, in which 16
people died, on video tape and had even planned a 'pilgrimage' to the
town. Just like Ryan, he was a firearms enthusiast who kept a deadly
armoury - including body armour - in his home.
Weaver's trail of blood-letting across Bristol began in the calm silence
of his sleeping sister's bedroom. After spending two whole years
brooding over a break-up with his former fiancee, 21 year old Alison
Woodman, he finally decided that the time had come for him to act.
But in his twisted
mind, he thought that his 27-year-old sister Linda - with whom he was on
friendly terms - stood in his way. Knowing that she would not lend him
her car, because he had been banned from driving, to get to Patchway
where Alison worked, he entered her bedroom and hit her about the head
30 times with a heavy hammer which he kept in a tool box under the
stairs. Such was the force used by 16-stone Weaver that the wooden shaft
Weaver then decided
that his mother Margaret, who was out shopping when he murdered his
sister, should never know what he had done. As Mrs Weaver, a box office
attendant at the Hippodrome, returned to the small, terraced family home
in Roseberry Park, Redfield with pies for lunch, her son was hiding
inside the door. She too was bludgeoned to death.
The killer then put
both bodies in the bath and covered them with water. Spattered with
blood, he washed his clothes and tumble-dried them before laying a trap
for the police by turning on all the gas taps in the house. He also
planted a detonator mine - the sort used by gamekeepers to scare
poachers, a shotgun cartridge triggered by a tripwire - under a coffee
table. Weaver then put three guns - including a pump-action and hundreds
of rounds of ammunition - in a golf bag and set off to Alison's
workplace - Alexandra.Workwear in Patchway.
He now intended to
kill the girl he had once desperately wanted to marry It transpired
later that he had bought the shotgun by mail order in 1984 while he was
a member of a clay pigeon shooting club at East Dundry Two years later
he purchased, also by post, Armalite body armour. By a miracle, his
intended victim managed to escape death - but two innocent workers were
to lose their lives in the carnage that followed. Weaver knew exactly
where his ex-fiancee worked. Once inside the computer room, he found her
working at her screen, surrounded by work colleagues.
Pulling out his
single-barrelled, pump-action shotgun, fully loaded with five rounds, he
walked over and, as he grabbed her, said: 'Come on Alison, we're going.'
She screamed and, pulling away, ran to the far end of the room.
Weaver then brought
terror to the computer room as he fired nine shots. Two men died -
former policeman turned data manager David Pursall, aged 29, a father of
new born twins, and accountant John Peterson, aged 48. Pursall, shot in
the shoulder as he went out to investigate, was blasted again as he lay
screaming in agony.
The gunman later told police: 'I felt threatened by him. I thought that
he was going to overpower me, so I shot him. I shot him a second time to
stop him suffering'. Peterson, shot in the back through an office
partition as Weaver sprayed the room with bullets, died before reaching
Alison and the other
girls, by now totally terrified, were hiding under their desks. As she
saw Weaver reloading the ' gun and then his feet coming towards her, she
realised that her time had come. She would surely die. Then as he raised
the gun to fire, Weaver suddenly changed his mind. He looked down to
where she was hiding and said: 'This is your lucky day.' He simply
couldn't go through with it, later telling police it was because he
realised he still loved her.
As pandemonium raged
throughout the factory Weaver walked back to his sister's car. As the 20
employees who had witnessed the shootings fled, one member of staff,
polio victim Linda Evans, could not get away quite as quickly as the
rest. She stumbled as far as a line of cars, and by a quirk of fate
picked the gunman's to shelter behind. Two lorry drivers from a nearby
depot rushed to help her away, but as they approached, Weaver came out
of the factory As he raised his shotgun one of them bravely shouted out:
'Don't be silly - put it down.' He replied: 'I've done what I came to
do', got in his car and drove off. He was later arrested by police on
the A37 between Whitchurch and Pensford.
During the court case
Paul Chadd QC, the prosecuting counsel, said: 'His detachment from
reality was certainly chilling.' And Superintendent Ray Sarginson, the
officer who headed the investigation, said: 'He is a cold, ruthless
killer who inflicted some of the worst injuries I have ever seen in 25
years' experience. He has not shown one iota of remorse,'
Hero David Pursall -
who risked, and lost, his life while trying to protect his colleagues
from Weaver - received a posthumous award for his actions, the Queen's
A Second Mass Killing in Britain Raises Call for Tighter Gun Laws
By Howell Raines - The New York Times
October 16, 1987
Britain's second multiple killing in
two months has increased pressure on the Thatcher Government to
strengthen controls on gun ownership and television violence.
Four people were killed Wednesday in Bristol, when a
man carrying three shotguns and 500 shells shot two people to death
after bludgeoning his mother and sister to death. The incident came 56
days after the killing of 16 people by a man firing a semiautomatic
rifle in Hungerford.
There were immediate demands for Douglas Hurd, the
Home Secretary, to speed up the changes he has announced in gun control
and the policing of broadcasting in response to what is called the ''Hungerford
Mr. Hurd said today that he was moving as rapidly as
possible to tighten gun laws by putting legislation before Parliament
next month. But he said there was no ''guarantee against the citizen who
fills in every form, satisfies every requirement, obeys every law until
the moment comes when he commits a terrible crime.''
Stronger Action Urged
But both the Police Federation, representing 120,000
law enforcement officers, and the Labor Party leadership called for
faster and stronger action. Mr. Hurd has already banned machine guns and
military-style automatic rifles like that used by Michael Ryan, the
Hungerford killer. He has also proposed making shotguns subject to the
more stringent licensing requirements that apply to semiautomatic
sporting rifles and pistols.
But Leslie Curtis, chairman of the Police Federation,
said these steps ''do not go far enough'' to control the 840,000
shotguns already licensed in Britain. Labor leaders added they want to
make it harder for anyone to secure a gun permit for any reason. The
British Shooting Sports Council announced a $160,000 publicity campaign
to fight any change in gun laws based on the behavior of what the
organization's leaders call ''nut cases.''
The fact that Kevin Weaver, the 24-year-old man
accused in the Bristol killings, had his gun license revoked last year
fueled the argument over licenses, which under Mr. Hurd's plan would
still be available at the discretion of police. Mr. Weaver's license and
weapons were restored after his mother, a friend and a physician told
the authorities he was fit to own guns.
Ann Taylor, the Labor spokesman on Home Affairs,
called for new licensing procedures that would remove the onus of such
decisions from the police and require individuals to show a ''genuine
need for a shotgun.''
Remarks on Gun Lobby
''I think that the Home Secretary is under a lot of
pressure from the gun lobby and what I'm afraid of is that the gun lobby
in this country may start to gather force and gain strength just as it
has done in the United States,'' Ms. Taylor said today.
Her remark underscored the degree to which the image
of America as a violent, gun-owning society colors the debate on guns
and violence. That is where the link to American films and television
comes in. Mr. Ryan, who killed himself after terrorizing a Berkshire
town, was depicted as a would-be ''Rambo,'' and today Mr. Weaver was
being depicted as being influenced by violent American videotapes.
Mary Whitehouse, leader of the 100,000-member
National Viewers and Listeners Association, said the killings would lend
force to her group's anti-violence campaign, and recent developments
seem to bear her out.
As a direct result of Hungerford, the Independent
Broadcasting Authority, which oversees the main commercial channels, has
reduced the amount of American programming from five and a half to four
hours. It also increased its staff of monitors, who review programs for
violent content, from 80 to 135. The British Broadcasting Corporation is
restricting its use of American programs and canceling or delaying some
of its own action programs.
Since Hungerford, Mr. Hurd has also been under
pressure to introduce legislation to limit violence on television, a
step that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has favored in the past.
Fearful of such laws, broadcasters have reluctantly supported Mr. Hurd's
decision to form a watchdog group called the Broadcasting Standards
It would lack statutory powers to control the content
of broadcasts and Mr. Hurd describes it as an attempt to avoid ''heavy-handed
authoritarianism.'' But Home Office and broadcast officials candidly
call it a pressure group that broadcasters have to accept as an
alternative to censorship.
Mrs. Whitehouse said her group would take a wait-and-see
attitude. She and others have pressed to have broadcasting brought under
the Obscene Publications Act, a seldom-enforced but tough law that
covers films and books.