'Devil's Disciple' serial killer, 70, is denied parole

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Devil’s Disciple’ serial killer, 70, who was jailed for killing three people and admitting to eight murders before retracting his ‘confessions’ is denied parole after taking drugs in open prison

  • Patrick Mackay, now called David Groves, was locked up for three killings
  • He has spent 47 years behind bars and will spend at least another two locked up 

The notorious serial killer Patrick Mackay – dubbed the Devil’s Disciple – has been refused parole after it was revealed he had used drugs in an open prison and is still too dangerous to be released.

Mackay, 70, has spent 47 years in prison for three killings, but previously admitted to eight more before retracting his confessions.

The Parole Board said today that Mackay would not be released and will spend at least another two-years in prison.

The killer, who has now changed his name to David Groves, is currently held in an open prison.

The decision was taken amidst concern about some of Mackay’s behaviour in jail, which included a brief time when ‘drugs became a concern.’

Patrick Mackay, dubbed the Devil’s Disciple, has spent 47 years behind bars for killing three people 

Mackay had been sectioned when he was 16 years old before being released four years later, after which he killed three people

In a written summary of their decision, the Parole Board wrote: ‘His behaviour in prison had been generally good, apart from a short period when drugs became a concern.’

The report did not elaborate on the drugs’ issue but went on to say that Mackay had been moved to an open prison in 2017 after a first transfer failed and had been granted temporary release into the community.

It stated: ‘He has undertaken temporary releases from custody and has undertaken a training course which prepares participants for life in the community.’

It continued: ‘The panel heard how well Mr Mackay had demonstrated application of relevant skills and learning while in custody.’

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The summary also states: ‘The panel examined the release plan provided by Mr Mackay’s probation officer and weighed its proposals against assessed risks.

‘The plan included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation as well as strict limitations on Mr Mackay’s contacts, movements and activities.

‘His probation officer described these proposals as robust but advised that some details of support and progression needed further development.

‘The panel concluded this plan was not yet ready to safely manage Mr Mackay in the community at this stage.’

The summary concludes: ‘After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the other evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Mackay was suitable for release.

‘Further progress was needed as part of what witnesses described as a slow, supported process towards release.

‘The panel considered that further testing in open conditions would provide a fundamental contribution to this long-term planning.’

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Patrick MacKay following an oral hearing.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.’

The next parole hearing is likely to be in 2025, which will bring Mackay to almost half a century in jail, making him the third longest serving prisoner in the UK.

Mackay split Catholic priest Anthony Crean’s head in half with an axe at his home in Shorne, Kent, in March 1975

Mackay’s first identified victim was 87-year-old frail widow Isabella Griffith (left). He befriended the pensioner before strangling and stabbing at her home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea in 1974. Thirteen months later, he killed Adele Price (right) at her home in Lowndes Square, Kensington

The criminal sparked lurid headlines when he was jailed in November 1975 for three killings, which included splitting Catholic priest Anthony Crean’s head in half with an axe at his home in Shorne, Kent, in March 1975.

At his parole hearing over the 12th and 13th of April he was questioned about his murder convictions and was also asked about his ‘confession’ to eight more killings.

He denied the eight murders – which remain unsolved – and told the panel he had been mentally ill at the time.

In a detailed interrogation over two-days – one more than usually granted to murderers seeking parole – Mackay repeatedly said he felt remorse and was no longer a danger to society.

The unsolved murders he was interrogated about included the axe murder of café owner Ivy Davies, 48, in Southend Essex, in February 1975.

Mackay was a patient at a nearby psychiatric facility at the time.

Ivy was dragged down the stairs by a ligature around her neck and beaten to death.

Her son Victor Davies is convinced his mum died at Mackay’s hands, and recently said the fiend still needs to face justice for a string of unsolved killings.

The 66-year-old told the Sunday Mirror: ‘He needs to stay locked up. I can only hope that they come to the right decision and he never sees the light of day again.’

But Victor said: ‘I can’t see him admitting the other murders.

‘He’s not going to come clean. You have to remember, those eight murders he admitted and then retracted, not one has been solved in the meantime. He needs to face justice for what he did.’

Mackay was born in 1952 and raised in an abusive household where he was regularly beaten by his alcoholic father.

At a young age he started committing criminal acts including arson, animal cruelty, and theft of garden gnomes.

Mackay was interrogated about the axe murder of café owner Ivy Davies (pictured), 48, in Southend Essex, in February 1975

The serial killer admitted to killing Stephanie Britton (left) and her four-year-old grandson Christopher Martin (right), but later retracted his ‘confession’

Medical professionals identified that Mackay had psychopathic tendencies and he was sectioned at the age of 16. He was then released four years later.

After his release, Mackay developed a fascination with Nazism and started calling himself ‘Franklin Bollvolt the First’. He filled his flat with Nazi memorabilia.

Mackay’s first identified victim was 87-year-old frail widow Isabella Griffith. He befriended the pensioner before strangling and stabbing at her home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea in 1974.

Thirteen months later, he killed Adele Price at her home in Lowndes Square, Kensington. Having entered the property after asking Ms Price for a glass of water, Mackay then passed her granddaughter on the way out without knowing.

Mackay then killed Father Anthony Crean in a frenzied attack using his fists, a knife and an axe in the village of Shorne, Kent, near the home of his own mother. The 63-year-old priest’s mutilated body was left floating in a bath full of bloody water.

The serial killer was arrested two days later after a police officer remembered a previous incident that occurred some months earlier in which Mackay was arrested for stealing a £30 cheque from the priest. As with Ms Griffith, he befriended Father Anthony before breaking into his home.

Mackay was jailed for three killings but admitted to eight more before retracting his confessions. Pictured: The killer devours chicken in a photobooth

Mackay’s fingerprints were taken upon his arrest and they were found to match the scene at Ms Price’s murder.

The serial killer initially confessed to the three killings, but then told police he had killed eight more dating back to 1973 – many of them unsolved murders

Mackay said his first murder was 17-year-old German au pair Heidi Mnilk in 1973, who he stabbed on a train and then threw out the door of a tram in South London.

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Mackay also admitted to killing an unidentified homeless man by pushing him into the Thames a year later. The body was never found.

He said he killed Stephanie Britton, 57, and her 4-year-old grandson Christopher Martin in January 1974. The serial killer then claimed he killed Frank Goodman later that year, saying he kicked him to death. Mackay also claimed he killed Sarah Rodmell, 92, in Hackney in December 1974; cafe owner Ivy Davies, 48, in Southend in 1975; and Mary Hynes in Kentish Town in 1974.

Mackay withdrew the eight confessions before facing trial.

In 1975, he was convicted of the manslaughter of Adele Price, Isabella Griffith and Father Anthony Crean.

Although he was charged with five counts of murder, Mackay’s convictions were only for three counts of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

The other two cases – the killing of Frank Goodman and Mary Hynes – were allowed to lie on file as there was insufficient evidence.

Mackay is believed to be the third longest serving prisoner in the UK behind two other infamous criminals.

Robert Maudsley – known as Hannibal the Cannibal – killed four men and is considered one of the most dangerous inmates in Britain today. He has been detained since 1973.

Charles Bronson, 70, who has changed his name to Charles Salvador, was jailed for armed robbery in 1974 and, but for a couple of brief episodes of freedom, has been in jail ever since.

Bronson was denied parole after a public hearing last month. He has spent 48-years in custody.

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