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Peter Tobin Have you ever wondered why serial killers are able to live with their dreadful crimes? Could it is be something inherent within their being perhaps? Before being nurtured by society and heed. Moreover, and this is the case, is the excitable professor of criminology, David Wilson, able to find out the root of this conundrum in this 60-minute documentary made in 2012? Let's hope so, huh?

Lost British Serial Killer

Just like the last instalment of this series (click here for the review), criminal physiologist, David Wilson, wants to find out if a murderer has committed murder before. This time though, his attention falls upon Scottish serial-killer, Peter Tobin, to see who else he has killed in the past.

Now to aide David on this quest, he travels to Glasgow, London, Portsmouth, Kent, Bathgate, Margate, and Essex, and interviews a select number of people who have some prior knowledge of this case. Such as: Forensic Officer, Carol Weston; Detective's, Tim Willis, Alan Murray and Steven Dennis; Journalist, Annie-Marie Field; two of the victims fathers, Ian McNicol and Michael Hamilton; plus Peter's ex-wife, Kathy Wilson, and his ex-neighbour, David Martin.       

What now follows is a basic overly of this show.

Who is Peter Tobin?   Born in Scotland on the 27th of August, 1946, Peter was the youngest of seven children who had a rather strained childhood. He's been married three times over the period of twenty years, plus has had two sons and one daughter.

What crimes did Peter Tobin commit?
  • Tobin was sent to prison for ten years in 1994 for raping and attempting to kill two 14 year old girls who were visiting his neighbour in Coventry.
  • In 2006 Tolbin was given a life sentence for killing 23 year old Polish student, Angelika Kluk, who was beaten, stabbed, and hidden beneath a church in Glasgow. She died of her injuries. 
  • Two dead bodies where found in a premises previously owned by Tolbin in 2007. The first body belonged to a 15 year old Scottish girl called Vicky Hamilton, who disappeared whilst waiting at a bus-stop in Falkirk, in 1991. The second body was an 18 year old Essex girl called Dinah McNicol, who likewise disappeared whilst hitching from a festival during this same period

What is Peter's Modus Operandi?   (1) He is attracted to skinny young girls. (2) He buries his victims beneath the ground. (3) He likes to give himself a new alias whenever he moves from one place to another. (4) Once he has committed a crime he quickly leaves from wherever he is staying. (5) His appears quite charming on the surface. (6) He kills in one place and moves the bodies to somewhere else close to him. (7) His preferred method of killing is to rape his victims and then stab them to death.

Can David pin-point another crime that Peter Tobin has committed in the past?   Yes. Jessie Earl is this poor girl's name, and she was found stabbed to death under a tree in Beachy Head in 1980. Peter Tolbin worked in a church in Brighton at the time, which was approximately 21 miles away from this site. He moved not so long after this murder. 

Results? Ninety percent sure by the class. Close enough for me.

After watching this episode of 'Killers Behind Bars - Peter Tolbin', I couldn't help but wonder why this particular instalment was able to convince me about the killer's guilt much more than the previous chapter did. However, as I started to contemplate this matter for a moment or five, I came up with a plausible solution to my own bewilderment.

You see, being a bit of a self-confessed film-buff myself, over time I have become quite proficient at understanding the fundamental principals behind 'true-life dramatisations'. Of course you know the type of movie I am referring to. 'The Buddy Holly Story' - 'Milk' - 'Ip Man' and - 'GoodFellas', to name but a few (click on the links for the reviews). Though for me, for these 'true life tales' to be convincing as a story in its own right, each and every one of them need to convey an 'associative narrative' whilst holding onto some 'foundational truth' at the same time.

Kathy Wilson

Now that's what made me believe in this program - an associative narrative and a foundational truth - because it did a great job of making me understand who the killer was and connect me to his motives.

Listen, when I say 'connect', I do not mean that I gave any value as to why Peter Tobin killed these poor girls. Oh no! What I am trying to saying is that this documentary spelt out in very real term what the 'stepping stones' to his crimes really were, plus any interrelated behavior too.

To elaborate: (1) There was a section within this show that explained in great detail Peter Tobins 'Modus Operandi' - which is basically a 'conceptual blue-print' to his crimes. This was the clincher for me - a guide to the mind of a murderer. (2) Just like in the last program, I find that David Wilson has a very pleasant and humanistic approach of showing us both the crimes and those instances associated with the crimes. Well, this does make all of the difference in telling a tale on a compelling level. (3) Unlike the last program, within this one we were given an even greater insight behind the murderer's life through the eyes of his ex-wife and his ex-neighbours, Kathy Wilson and David Martin respectively. To me, this additional perspective cemented the 'foundational aspect' I mentioned previously in this review - because it gave it that very straight-forward 'personal touch'. (4) I know that this may sound like a sentimental thing to say, but whenever someone in this show expresses grief or sorrow whilst being interviewed, I found it very comforting that David expressed his compassion to this person with a warming shoulder rub.

Peter Tobin's Victims

All in all 'Killers Behind Bars - Peter Tolbin' is a smashing documentary for all you crime buffs out there. It's informative. It's compassionate. And it has a nice approach of getting people to realize that not everything is as it seems. Check this television clip out for an update of what I mean...


KILLERS BEHIND BARS - PETER TOBIN KILLERS BEHIND BARS - PETER TOBIN Reviewed by David Andrews on June 28, 2012 Rating: 5
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