Mark Williams Thomas: Peter Tobin murdered two Sussex women

Although he was only convicted of three murders, I have no doubt that he is responsible for at least two more, but certainly not the 48 that he is said to have bragged about in prison.

This number, clearly conjured up to grab headlines, completely ignores the reality of what Tobin was like.

The man never spoke about his crimes. Even when presented with irrefutable evidence, he chooses to be rude and aggressive.

But it is to the credit of the police in Scotland who, knowing that Tobin was on his deathbed and only had days to live, paid him one final visit to persuade him to reveal the truth.

But, as was usual with Tobin, he refused to talk or say anything. He remained defiant until the end.

For my ITV and Netflix Investigator In the series I did with Simon Cowell in 2018, we talked a lot about Tobin. The series’ goal has always been to uncover new evidence while paying respect to the families of its victims.

We have achieved this and found new evidence linking Tobin to the unsolved murders of two women in Sussex; 22 year old Jessie Earl and 18 year old Louise Kay.

Jessie Earl

York Press: Jessie Earl was killed by Tobin, says Mark Williams-ThomasJessie Earl was killed by Tobin, says Mark Williams-Thomas (Image: Newsquest)

Jessie Earl went missing from her Eastbourne home on May 15, 1980. Her naked skeleton was discovered nine years later in the thick undergrowth at Beachy Head, where she regularly took walks.

The only article of clothing left was her bra, which had obviously been used to bind her hands together as restraints. The knot was so tight that the police profiler believed she may have been dragged by the garment into the thick undergrowth while she hid her body.

All the evidence screamed “murder.” But with disastrous consequences, the senior investigating officer leading the investigation specifically instructed that the case should not be recorded as such.

It took until 2000 for police to acknowledge this oversight and internally register the death as a murder.

I say internally because they were still informing the media about something else after that date. It wasn’t until I received the internal report from 2000 that Sussex Police were finally able to public admitted that Jessie had been murdered.

When asked why they were still telling the media that Jessie wasn’t murdered in 2018Sussex Police responded: “Due to an internal administrative error in copying information from one database to another in our press office, the death of Jessie Earl in 2012 was incorrectly described to you as a suspicious death.”

“In fact, we had reclassified the case as a murder in 2000. The error in no way detracts from the seriousness with which the police have always treated this tragic case.”

“The error in no way detracts from the seriousness with which the police have always treated this tragic case.”

The failure to treat the case as a murder when Jessie’s skeleton was found in 1989 resulted in the key piece of evidence, the bra, being destroyed.

I have no doubt that with advances in forensic science, the bra would have led to the identification of the murderer through DNA evidence in the knot tied by the murderer.

I continued to work with Jessie’s family following this inquest in 2018 and, after much hard work, launched a new inquest which overturned the original ‘open’ verdict.

The utter failures and incompetence of the Sussex Police became clear for all to see in 2022. The new inquest returned a verdict of “unlawful killing by murder”, with the coroner adding that Jessie’s family had been victims of “significant injustice”.

Louise Kay

York Press: Louise Kay was also killed by Peter Tobin, claims Mark Williams-Thomas (Family Handout)Louise Kay was also killed by Peter Tobin, claims Mark Williams-Thomas (Family Handout) (Image: family handout)

I believe that eight years after Jessie Earl was murdered in Eastbourne, Tobin struck again and kidnapped and murdered Louise Kay. After a night out in 1988, the 18-year-old dropped off a friend and drove to Beachy Head to sleep in her car, a gold Ford Fiesta with a distinctive hand-painted white door. However, she was never seen again.

Significantly, Beachy Head is the same place where Jessie Earl’s body was found. But what makes Louise’s case even stranger is the fact that whoever kidnapped and killed her would have needed the ability to hide her body And Discard the distinctive Fiesta car.

I believe this piece of evidence definitely links Tobin to her murder.

Around the time of Louise’s disappearance, Tobin was living a few miles away in Brighton. By working with the lead Scottish investigator who investigated Tobin for the murder of Angelika Kluk in 2006, retired detective David Swindle, we were able to establish that Tobin was working as a used car dealer at the time and, more importantly, was attempting to sell a car with one hand painted door.

York Press: Jessie Earl's old Ford FiestaJessie Earl’s old Ford Fiesta (Image: Newsquest)

Also, Tobin’s MO is that all of his victims are young women. All lived within 30 miles of his home. All had been tied up before their bodies were hidden or buried.

Jessie was found by chance and Louise hasn’t been found yet, but what are the chances that a serial killer lives a few miles away from where two very similar victims are murdered, both connected to Beachy Head?

Bible John

York Press: Peter Tobin was not the Bible John, says Mark Williams-ThomasPeter Tobin was not the Bible John, says Mark Williams-Thomas (Image: Police)

Although I believe Tobin is responsible for at least two other murders, I do not believe he is responsible for the murders of three young women in Scotland between 1968 and 1969.

Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald and Helen Puttock had all been to the famous Barrowland Ballroom. Since the murders are similar, it is believed that they were all committed by a serial killer.

This alleged serial killer became known as Bible John because he used quotes from the Bible.

Several crime commentators and criminologists firmly believe that Tobin is this serial killer. But I can tell you from my research that it is not possible for Tobin to be Bible John if the same person killed all three women.

This is because the murder of Jemima McDonald was committed on August 16, 1969, ten days after Tobin married his first wife and during their honeymoon in Brighton. So Tobin cannot be the Bible’s John.

Tobin dies

As Tobin spent his final days in the hospital, gravely ill with cancer and undoubtedly in pain, I felt neither sorrow nor pity for him. He was a despicable man who thought nothing of his victims or their families as he brutally took their lives.

He also did not care about the families of the relatives he killed and for which he was not convicted.

He could have easily relieved her pain. Instead, he chose to remain silent and not reveal where his other victims are buried.

This True Crime UK documentary examines the evidence in unsolved cases surrounding serial killer Peter Tobin following his death.

This article is part of Newsquest’s True Crime UK: a captivating new subscription area with gripping documentaries, compelling podcasts and exclusive content. Immerse yourself in a world of fascinating stories, expertly curated by our team with insights from local journalists who have covered the stories first-hand.


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