Best friend of Railway Killers victim remembers 'difficult' trial

Best friend of Railway Killers victim remembers 'difficult' trial

August 17, 2021

Detective who investigated the killing of third Railway Murder victim Anne Lock admits he was ‘devastated’ when prime suspect John Duffy was acquitted due to lack of evidence – 11 years before he eventually confessed

  • Anne Lock, 29, was murdered near Brookmans Park railway station May 18 1986
  • Took police nine weeks to find body, meaning no evidence could be collected
  • Judge said not enough evidence to charge suspect John Duffy with murder
  • Anne’s best-friend Lesley Campion said the news was ‘difficult to hear’ in 1988 
  • Duffy’s accomplice David Mulcahy was later convicted of Anne’s murder in 2001 

A detective who investigated the murder of newlywed Anne Lock admits he was devastated when their prime suspect – Railway Killer John Duffy – was acquitted due to a lack of evidence after police took nine weeks to find her body. 

Ms Lock, 29, a secretary at London Weekend Television, was abducted and brutally murdered by Brookmans Park railway station in Hertfordshire on May 18, 1986. Due to a miscommunication during the search, police didn’t find her body until it was badly decomposed, which severely hindered the investigation as DNA evidence could not be found on her body.

The fact she had been strangled and that her body was found near a train station indicated she might have been killed by the same man who murdered 19-year-old Alison Day on December 29 the previous year in Hackney Wick, and Dutch teen Maartje Tamboezer, 15, found dead in Surry in April 1986. 

This suspect was identified as John Duffy, who was eventually convicted of those murders, as well as four rapes, in 1988 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. However, mid-proceedings, the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to try Duffy in the case of Ms Lock, and asked the jury to acquit him of her murder. 

Duffy later admitted to being involved in the crime, after implicating accomplice David Mulcahy in 1997, who was convicted of three murders and seven rapes and handed three life sentences. However Duffy could not be re-tried due to double jeopardy, which prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same or similar charges following an acquittal in the same jurisdiction.

In the second episode of the docu-series The Railway Killers, airing tonight on Channel 5, Detective Paul Dockley, who worked on the case, says he deeply regrets how long it took to find Anne’s body. 

Anne Lock, 29, was murdered on 18 May 1986 by Brookmans Park railway station, Hertfordshire, a week after returning from her honeymoon. Pictured on her wedding day with her best friend and bridesmaid Lesley Campion. Speaking in the docu-series The Railway Killers, Lesley said the news of Anne’s death had been ‘shattering’ 

Pictured: The Railway Killers John Duffy, left and David Mulcahy, right. Duffy was trialled in 1988, while Mulcahy was trialled and sentenced 12 years later in 2000

Meanwhile Anne’s best friend Lesley Campion tells how hearing Anne would never get justice was ‘difficult’. 

Detective Dockley says: ‘I was pretty devastated. I understood how the judicial system worked, I knew that because of double jeopardy, we couldn’t ever charge John Duffy with the murder of Anne Lock ever again.’   

Crime correspondent Jeff Edwards says the nine-week delay in finding Anne’s body had ‘huge consequences’ in the outcome of the investigation.

‘Due to a major error in planning the search, there was a breakdown in communication between the Hertfordshire police and the Metropolitan police,’ he explains. ‘Both thought each other was going to cover this 200m section of embankment and it didn’t get searched.’ 

Police detective Paul Dockley says he was ‘devastated’ when he heard that the judge ordered the jury to acquit John Duffy

Detective Dockley says his heart dropped when they found her body, because he couldn’t help but think why didn’t they find her earlier.  

‘Imagine how far forward we would have been if we had found Anne’s body within a week,’ he reflects. ‘The body [had] deteriorated significantly, any chance of recovery of any sample was reduced to nil.’

Forensic pathologist Professor Peter Vanezis was invited to Anne’s post mortem examination. He says if she’d been found sooner, they would have had ‘every chance’ of getting ‘traces evidence’ which they needed. 

‘Anne Lock’s body was in a very decomposed state, she’d been dead for some time. Her clothing was falling off her because underneath, she was mostly skeletonised,’ he explains.

Professor Vanezis adds that it was evident Anne hadn’t died of natural causes, and that whoever had attacked her had used a ligature on her neck, tied her hands and used a sock to gag her.   

Laurence Lock, pictured left, shared desperate pleas during the search for Anne. His father suffered a heart attack in front of the Old Bailey and died on arrival at the hospital during the trial 

The judge’s decision regarding Duffy came after Anne’s husband Laurence Lock testified at the Old Bailey. While he was questioned by the defence, his father, who was waiting outside court, suffered a heart attack and collapsed.

Laurence rushed out of the courtroom and to the hospital, where his father was pronounced dead on arrival – yet another tragic blow for a man who had just lost his wife.

The grieving groom had shared desperate pleas during the search for Anne. The couple had just returned from their honeymoon, and a devastated Laurence was filmed in tears saying: ‘I love you, I want you to come home.’ 

The judge’s decision to acquit Duffy was a devastating blow for her loved ones. 

Close friend Lesley, whose father gave Anne away on her wedding day, says she had to take a moment to ‘let the news sink in’. 

Anne, pictured on her wedding day, was buried three months after her wedding in the same church with the service conducted by the same vicar, her best friend Lesley says

Leslie says she felt Anne, pictured, didn’t get justice when the judge declared there was not sufficient evidence to charge John Duffy with her murder  

‘I heard it on the radio, I had to pull over,’ she recalls. ‘That was difficult to deal with, because our Anne hadn’t got any justice, it felt like. Having to then deal with that as well on top of losing her, and then the fact that it’s just open-ended was very difficult.’ 

Lesley says Anne’s funeral, which took place three months after her wedding, was a surreal experience.  

‘People who had been at her wedding were at her funeral, in the same church, with the same vicar,’ she recalls. 

‘Three months before he had stood there and married her, and now here we are at her funeral and that’s just hard for everyone to deal with.’

Duffy went on trial in February 1988 and was convicted of two murders and four rapes, and was given a minimum tariff of 30 years by the judge, later extended to a whole life tariff by the Home Secretary. 

Anne’s murder was similar to the murders of Alison Day and Maartje Tamboezer, but the judge in charge of the case, Justice Ferguson, said the prosecution’s theory that this meant they must have been committed by the same man was ‘unjustified’.  

Left: Alison Day, 19, was raped and killed by Hackney Wick station in December 1985, her body was found in the canal weeks later. Right; Maartje Tamboezer, 15, was raped and murdered and found dead shortly after in Surrey in April 1986

Following his conviction, Duffy revealed to a forensic psychologist that he had not attacked the women alone, but he didn’t implicate school friend Mulcahy until 1997. 

After a period of police surveillance, father-of-four Mulcahy was arrested and stood trial in 2000. 

Duffy appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness against Mulcahy and gave detailed evidence over two weeks – the first time a highest-category prisoner had given evidence against an accomplice. 

During his chilling testimony, Duffy said the two men planned their attacks meticulously and would go out ‘hunting’ for victims. In 2000, the Telegraph reported Duffy told the court: ‘We used to call it hunting. We considered it a bit of a joke, a bit of a game. It added to the excitement. 

Duffy didn’t reveal the identity of his accomplice David Mulcahy before 1997. After a period of police surveillance, Mulcahy was brought in, charged, tried and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with a minimum of 30 years behind bars 

‘We would feed off each other’s emotions. We never thought we would get caught. We were playing a game with the police and generally making it fun. We would put a tape on and sing along to it. A favourite which we played most times was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.’

Mulcahy was found guilty of the murders of Anne Lock, Alison Day and Maartje Tamboezer as well as for seven rapes charges in 2001, finally bringing justice for Anne’s murder, 15 years after her death. 

Duffy was convicted of 17 more rapes and received a further 12 years. Neither man is expected ever to be released from prison. 

Police suspect them of countless other sex attacks, some dating back to the mid-1970s, while Mulcahy is also suspected of attacks which took place after Duffy was jailed. 

The Railway Killers part two airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5. 

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