The PsychopathThe Devil's Disciple
Span of killings
February 1974–March 1975
Dennis Nilsen, Colin Ireland, John Straffen
Patrick David Mackay (born 25 September 1952) is a British serial killer who confessed to murdering 11 people in London and Kent in England, from 1974-1975.
Mackay was born to Harold Mackay and his wife, Marion, a creole he had met in Guyana. As a child, Mackay was a frequent victim of physical abuse at the hands of his violent alcoholic father, Harold. When Mackay was 10, Harold died from a heart attack on his way to work – the result of complications of alcoholism and a weak heart. His final words to his son were 'remember to be good'. Patrick was said to be unable to come to terms with the loss, telling people Harold was still alive and keeping a photograph of his father on his person. He refused to attend the funeral in Scotland and instantly assumed the role of 'father figure' of the household, regularly beating his mother and two sisters. His mother Marian eventually moved the family from Dartford to Gravesend, but family life did not improve and the police were called to the home as frequently as four times a week. Between the ages of 12 and 22, Mackay was removed from his family home on 18 occasions and put into various specialist schools, institutions and prisons. Both a female police officer and a teacher predicted that Patrick would go on to kill.
Later in his youth, Mackay was prone to extreme tantrums and fits of anger, indulged in animal cruelty and arson (at one point setting his pet tortoise on fire), bullied younger children, stole from elderly women's homes and from people in the street, and even attempted to kill his mother and aunt. He also attempted to kill a younger boy, and later said he would have succeeded had he not been restrained, and attempted to set fire to a Catholic church. Because of such incidents, he spent his teenage years in and out of mental homes and institutions. At 15, he was diagnosed as a psychopath by a psychiatrist, Dr. Leonard Carr, who predicted Mackay would grow up to be a "cold, psychopathic killer." In October 1968, he was committed to Moss Side Hospital, Liverpool as a diagnosed psychopath. He was released in 1972.
Adulthood and murders
As he entered adulthood, Mackay developed a fascination with Nazism, calling himself "Franklin Bollvolt the First" and filling his flat with Nazi memorabilia. He lived in London and was frequently drunk or on drugs. In 1973, near his mother's home in Kent, he met and was befriended by a priest, Father Anthony Crean. Regardless, Mackay broke into Crean's home and stole a cheque for £30. Although Crean tried to persuade the police otherwise, they arrested and prosecuted Mackay, and he was ordered to pay compensation, but never did. The incident caused a rift between the two and Mackay returned to London. It was around this time, Mackay later claimed, that he had drowned a tramp in the River Thames.
On 21 March 1975, then aged 22, Mackay used an axe to kill Father Crean at the priest's home in the village of Shorne, hacking through the victim's skull and watching him bleed to death. He was swiftly arrested after a police officer recalled the incident between Father Crean and Mackay 18 months earlier. Mackay was soon considered by police to be a suspect in at least a dozen other killings over the previous two years, most victims being elderly women who had been stabbed or strangled during robberies. Mackay bragged that he had murdered 11 people.
Mackay was charged with five murders, but two charges were dropped through lack of evidence. In November 1975 he was convicted of manslaughter (due to diminished responsibility) and sentenced to life imprisonment. Still imprisoned more than 40 years later, he is reported to be among the 50 or so prisoners in the United Kingdom incarcerated under a whole life tariff and unlikely ever to be released.