In the Footsteps of Killers viewers claim they've spotted clueFebruary 3, 2023
In the Footsteps of Killers viewers claim they’ve spotted a crucial clue investigators ‘missed’ in the cold case murder of a father who vanished 10 years ago
- Robert Duff reported missing in January 2013 in ‘out of character’ disappearance
- Channel 4 investigated the murder in documentary In the Footsteps of Killers
- READ MORE: Could YOU help crack a cold case?
In the Footsteps of Killers viewers spotted a clue during n investigation of the death of Robert Duff who was reported missing in January 2013.
The father-of-two, 37, failed to attend his daughter’s 18th birthday party in London, with his family describing his disappearance 10 years ago as ‘completely out of character’.
However people have taken to Twitter to say the Channel 4 investigators missed a crucial clue that could lead police to the person that Robert spent his last day with.
When Professor David Wilson interviewed Robert’s eldest daughter Stephanie she recalled how she received a pocket dial call from her father the evening he disappeared, which left a lengthy voicemail.
She mentioned hearing the name ‘Gal’, which viewers pointed out could be a nickname for Gary.
She could hear him saying ‘Sorry Gal’ in the background, while a woman appeared to be telling a dog to ‘sit.’
However Twitter users have pointing out that ‘Gal’ is a slang name for Gary in London.
One person wrote: ‘Wondering why @ProfDavidWilson didn’t mention or realise that Gal is a London nickname for Gary in the disappearance of Robert Duffy? #inthefootstepsofkillers’
Another wrote: ‘#InTheFootstepsOfKillers #RobertDuff just a quick note, ‘Gal’ is also an abbreviation of ‘Gary’.
While another said: ‘100% if we were calling my cousin from a distance we’d shout Gawl.’
And a fourth wrote: ‘Yes I have heard this said in many TV programs to do with London. It’s a London saying as far as I know.’
Later on in the episode the documentary claimed that Robert, who went missing 10 years ago, was ‘killed after rejecting the sexual advances of a man before his body was dismembered and deposited at a pig farm.
Police believe Robert was involved in a fight with two men on the day he disappeared, and was killed that night
In the Footsteps of Killers viewers spotted a clue during the investigation of the death of Robert Duff when Professor David Wilson interviewed Roberts eldest daughter Stephanie (pictured) she mentioned the name ‘Gal’ who viewers think is a nickname for Garry
However social media users have pointing out that ‘Gal’ is a slang name for Gary in London
His case was treated as a missing persons inquiry until 2018, when a new witness came forward following an appeal on ITV London Tonight. Officers began a murder inquiry and have been searching bodies of water near to where he was last seen.
In the new film Professor David Wilson and Emilia Fox spoke to a contact who has been told by a homeless man what happened to Robert.
Robert, who was also known as Duffy, was last seen on January 12 2013 when he was pictured on CCTV withdrawing cash.
His family grew concerned when days later, he failed to arrive at a celebration for his daughter’s 18th birthday.
There was going to be a party to celebrate that fact at his mothers’ house, but Robert never turned up.
Stephanie recalled how the evening her father had disappeared, she received a pocket dial call from him which left a lengthy voicemail in an interview with Professor David Wilson (pictured)
In the new film, In the Footsteps of Killers, it was claimed Robert Duff was ‘killed after rejecting the sexual advances of a man before his body was dismembered and deposited at a pig farm’. PIctured: Robert with his two children
Professor David Wilson explained it was extremely out of character for the man, saying he was ‘involved in his daughter’s lives.’
Police believe Robert was involved in a fight with two men on the day he disappeared, and was killed that night.
He had been to a flat in Bredgar Road, Archway, north London, on the night and several people were there.
Timeline of Robert’s disappearance
Saturday January 12 2013 – Robert is seen on CCTV for the last time, getting money out of a cash point in Archway.
He is in a flat on Bredgar Road with a number of other people.
Days later, he fails to turn up to his daughter’s 18th birthday party.
His mother reports him missing to police but his body is never found.
January 2018 – There was an appeal for new information, and the case became a murder investigation
Police are also seen searching ponds in the area
May 14 2018 – Two men aged 70 and 51 were arrested on suspicion of murder in Archway and questioned before being released under investigation.
2020 – Police search for a body in Highgate No 1 Pond on Hampstead Heath, which is next to the famous Men’s Bathing Pond.
2023 – The case is featured on In The Footsteps of Killers
In 2018, on what was the fifth anniversary of his disappearance, there was an appeal for new information.
Professor David said: ‘As a result, the case was turned into a murder inquiry.’
On May 14 2018, two men aged 70 and 51 were arrested on suspicion of murder in Archway and questioned before being released under investigation.
Divers searched two local ponds but there has been little progress in the case since.
Professor David and Emilia started their investigation by speaking with Robert’s mother Helen, who was the person who reported him missing back in 2013.
She said: ‘He was really, really funny. He was always keen to make sure his kids have birthday presents, Christmas presents.
‘His family were everything to him. This was one of the difficulties we had when he went missing.
‘He had – in a sense – two lives. he had his family life and he had the drug taking. It was devastating.
‘It was totally out of character that he didn’t show up.
‘We kept phoning and phoning throughout the day, and there was no answer – it kept going to voicemail.
‘As the days wore on, we thought, ‘Has he fallen asleep? Has he lost his phone?”
She said: ‘My fear was, maybe he’d had an overdose or something. I phoned the police and I said, ‘I’m concerned about him, he’s high risk.
”Go and break the door down, I’ll pay for it.’
‘They did do that and they said he wasn’t there. Even when I went to the police, they initially didn’t take it seriously.
‘I was told, ‘Oh we’ve got 20 other people missing.”
‘They went to five shops to get CCTV footage, but they were shut. They never went back. I think they felt because of his lifestyle, he’s gone off on a bender or he’s done something.’
She added: ‘They didn’t take it seriously. Had they conducted a proper investigation from the start…we felt a lot of information ahs been lost over the years, evidence has been lost.’
Later, he met up with Stephanie, Robert’s daughter. She said: ‘We’d always been close, almost more like friends, joking around. He was very proud of us and boasting to everyone that he had two daughters. It was the first thing he told anyone.’
‘He was a joker, he liked to wind me up. It was all just a load of fun.’
In the new film, In the Footsteps of Killers, which airs on Thursday, Professor David Wilson and Emilia Fox speak to a contact who has been told by a homeless man what happened to Robert
Speaking about the week he disappeared, she recalled: ‘It was really out of character when he didn’t turn up, it was a special dinner we had planned.’
As she grew older, Stephanie was prompted to begin her own investigations, and went door-to-door in her local area to ask for information.
She said the name which kept coming up was Helen McGuire, and she tried to meet up with her on a number of occasions – but she would always fail to appear.
And when Professor David began doing some research, he found Helen McGuire died of drug related causes in 2020.
Robert’s daughter Charlotte also spoke to the programme, and said she was also investigating her father’s death.
She said she had been putting up posters in Archway when she kept seeing one homeless man, who approached her and said it ‘broke his heart’ to see her.
Professor David started his investigation by speaking with Robert’s mother Helen, who was the person who reported him missing back in 2013
She said he told her: ‘I do know what happened to your dad.’
The man claimed Helen McGuire had told him Robert had got into an argument with two men in Bredgar Road.
He reported she said they had then ‘killed him, before chopping him up and putting him into a suitcase.’
Charlotte said she was convinced of the man’s comments, saying: ‘I believe the main things he said. He got down on his knees, he had tears in his eyes and everything. He just felt real.
‘I do feel he was telling the truth. He wanted to remain anonymous. I spoke to him and said, ‘Can you call the hotline?’ and he said he’d be happy to do that.’
Two months later, an unnamed contact of Professor David’s was able to track down the homeless man who spoke to Charlotte.
Elsewhere in the programme, investigators looked to find any links between Robert’s death, and the death of Lana Purcell, who died two years earlier in the same area
He said: ‘It took a few weeks, I tracked him down last week. He said he was friends with Robert Duff, the story he’d heard when Helen was dying – the story seems to fit what Charlotte knows.
‘Two men invited him back to Bredgare road. One of the men had made sexual advances towards Robert and a fight ensued. Robert was eventually murdered, and one of the men dismembered him.
‘He apparently used to be a butcher, he dismembered him in a flat, they transported him in two suitcases.
‘They transported him to a pig farm in Epping Forest, which is where Robert’s remains were deposited.
‘The motive is something we hadn’t heard before – a sexual motive which lead to Robert’s murder.’
Elsewhere in the programme, the team began to see similarities between Robert’s case and that of another woman who had disappeared in the area.
Lana Purcell was 26 when she vanished from Camden, north London, in January 2011.
A single mother to a six-year-old girl, she had fallen into a life of drug use and sex work before she went missing and her family believe her chaotic lifestyle meant her case was initially overlooked by police.
Emilia said police had also investigated whether there were any links between the two victims (pictured)
Emilia said police had also investigated whether there were any links between the two victims.
Both went missing, presumed murdered, and their bodies were never found. They were addicted to the same substance, and therefore they were presumably in the same drug dealing network.
The team went on to meet Lana’s family, her sister Davina and father John.
John described her as a ‘wonderful, beautiful daughter’, adding: ‘She was mischievous when she was younger. Bless her, she didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone.’
Davina said: ‘I think she was taken, worked somewhere and disposed of. I have heard she got minced in a butchers at the bottom of Kentish town.
‘Nothing phases me anymore, I’ve been told the most horrible stuff.’
She said when she was putting up missing posters for her sister, people would approach her to say that they knew her.
John, Lana’s father, said he believes Robert contacted him about the dangers Lana was in before she disappeared
She added: ‘They wouldn’t go to the police. They see it as a form of snitching, and you’re from around there, that is the wrong thing to be called.
‘Lana and Robert knew each other, without doubt – I don’t know whether they were friends but they’re both from the same area. Same addictions.’
Meanwhile John, Lana’s father, said he believes Robert contacted him about the dangers Lana was in.
John said: ‘When I was asleep one night, I had a phone call from someone. The person said she was mixing with the phone people.
‘They said she was in a lot of trouble and mixing with the wrong people who were not very nice. He said, ‘I’m watching her back, but I won’t be there all the time, I can’t be there all the time so you want to try to keep her in.’
‘That was a man. That was before she went missing. I have an idea who it is – but I don’t want to say any names because I think he’s no longer here either.
‘I think it was Robert Duff, but I can’t prove it.’
However, despite the similarities between the two cases, criminologist Dr Graham Hill said he ‘doesn’t believe the two are connected’.
He said: ‘If you look at Lana’s lifestyle, she lived a very chaotic lifestyle. She was known to the police for shoplifting, lots of local drug dealers, it was rumored she was allowing her flat to be used by drug dealers and that she owed them a lot of money.’
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