The Heinous Crimes Of Bible John: The Murders That Shook Glasgow


In the 1960s, a series of brutal murders shocked the people of Glasgow. It is an enduring and tragic mystery that, to this very day, still remains unsolved. CHRISTINE MILLER chronicles the brutal killings

A 1969 artist's impression of Bible John
A 1969 artist’s impression of Bible John

The Bible John murders were a series of unsolved murders that took place in Glasgow, Scotland, in the late 1960s. The killer, who remains unidentified to this day, earned the nickname “Bible John” due to his habit of quoting scripture during his encounters with members of the public. 

The case remains one of Scotland’s most notorious unsolved mysteries, capturing the public’s attention and imagination for decades.

The Victims

The first known victim of Bible John was Patricia Docker, a 25-year-old nurse, who was last seen leaving the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow on February 23, 1968. Her body was discovered the following day in an abandoned building. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

Less than a year later, on August 15, 1969, Jemima McDonald, a 32-year-old mother of three, went missing after leaving the same venue. Her body was found three days later in an empty tenement building. Like Patricia Docker, she had also been strangled and sexually assaulted.

The third and final victim believed to be connected to Bible John was Helen Puttock, a 29-year-old mother of two. On October 30, 1969, she had been out with her sister, Jean, at the Barrowland Ballroom. The two sisters were seen leaving the venue, and Helen was found dead the next morning in the back garden of her own apartment building. She, too, had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

One notable similarity among the victims of the Bible John murders was their demographic profile and the timing of their attacks. All three victims were young women in their 20s and 30s who were out socialising in Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. They were each targeted during the period of the late 1960s, a time characterized by cultural shifts and a growing sense of liberation. 

It is worth noting that another intriguing similarity among the victims of the Bible John murders was that all three women were menstruating at the time of their deaths. This detail, while somewhat unusual to mention, has been brought up in discussions surrounding the case. 

Some theorists have speculated that the killer may have specifically targeted women who were menstruating, either due to a personal fascination or a misguided belief in certain cultural or mythological associations with menstrual cycles. 

However, it is important to approach such speculations with caution, as they remain speculative and unverified. Nonetheless, the shared detail of the victims’ menstrual status adds an eerie dimension to the already disturbing nature of the crimes, leaving some to wonder if it held any significance to the killer or if it was merely a coincidental aspect of the victims’ lives.

The Investigation

The similarities between the three murders led investigators to link them and suspect the work of a serial killer. Witnesses who encountered a man named John during the nights of the murders provided descriptions that were consistent enough to create a composite sketch of the suspect. He was described as a well-dressed man in his mid-30s with fair or reddish hair. 

One of the distinct features of Bible John was his apparent use of religious references and scripture during conversations with the victims. This led to his moniker and added an eerie and unsettling element to the case. Witnesses reported him quoting verses from the Bible, discussing religion, and expressing strong moral views.

A Grim Legacy is Born

Despite extensive investigations and numerous leads, Bible John was never apprehended, and the case remains unsolved. Over the years, the police received numerous tips and leads from the public, but none led to a conclusive identification of the killer. Several suspects were considered, and individuals were questioned, but no charges were ever filed.

The Bible John case has continued to capture public interest and has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and investigations. The mystery surrounding the identity of the killer, along with the chilling nature of the crimes and the use of religious references, has added to the case’s infamy.

Various theories have been proposed regarding the identity of Bible John. Some believe he may have been a local man who escaped capture or died before being connected to the crimes. Others suggest he may have moved away or committed suicide, effectively ending his killing spree.

The Bible John murders remain a haunting chapter in Scotland’s criminal history, and the lack of resolution continues to fascinate both true crime enthusiasts and the general public. The case serves as a reminder of the lingering impact of unsolved crimes and the enduring quest for justice

While the identity of Bible John may never be known, the memory of his heinous acts lives on, leaving a chilling imprint on Glasgow’s history.

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