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From sex-crazed fiends to cold-eyed professional assassins, only those convicted of the most terrible murders are told they will die behind bars.This book tells the stories of those most depraved killers whose crimes outraged society and demanded the harshest penalty available to a British court. Among a UK prison population of close to 100,000, fewer than 40 men and women have been told they will end their days in a prison cell. They range from men who crossed continents to slay youngsters, to contract killers who relished their grisly calling. Some planned their killings in a sick and sadistic manner, others killed in an unanticipated explosion of rage, lust, greed or jealously. But whatever their crime, whatever their motive, each of these beasts has one thing in common: they are the most evil people in our prison system. A graphic and harrowing read, this book is the first ever to bring together the case histories of every full-term lifer in Britain's jails. It offers never-before-published information about these extraordinary offenders. Police, lawyers and the relatives of the victims and killers all describe how the truth behind these awful crimes was pieced together and those responsible were brought to justice to face the harshest punishment. These are the 36 monsters deemed beyond redemption, who by their own hands forfeited the right to live among us, forever. These are the killers whose crimes were such that society demanded that ...LIFE MEANS LIFE!
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Life Means Life
Jailed Forever: True Stories of Britain's Most Evil Killers
By Nick Appleyard
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2009 Nick Appleyard
All rights reserved.
'THE LITTLE DOCTOR'
'I know where you live. I murdered a young girl in Iffley Road four years ago.'
Andrezej Kunowski (to a stranger in the street)
Name: Andrezej Kunowski Crime: Multiple rape and murder Date of Conviction: 31 March 2004 Age at Conviction: 47
Like many thousands of Poles before him, Andrezej Kunowski arrived on a coach at London's Victoria Station in October 1996. He'd endured a bus journey of more than 30 hours from Warsaw and carried with him a tourist visa. But he intended to work in the UK illegally.
Kunowski had £500 in his pocket – a fortune in his homeland but a pittance in one of Europe's most expensive cities. A tiny man at a diminutive 5ft 3in tall, the former cosmetics salesman would have been rather smarter than his fellow down-at-heel passengers. He tried to dress well and smell sweet, with a fondness for cheap cologne. When his neatly combed brown hair began to thin, he took to wearing a hairpiece. In his homeland, this dapper, shiny-shoed man was dubbed the 'Little Doctor'.
But there was another difference between Kunowski and the other Poles who arrived at Victoria that unusually-warm morning: he was a psychopathic sexual predator, later described by one senior Metropolitan Police detective as: 'The most dangerous, and certainly most prolific sex offender I've ever met.'
On Thursday, 22 May 1997, foreign student Trajce Konev was delayed while sitting an English exam at college. For the first time ever, he had left his 12-year-old daughter Katerina home alone. 'I raced home fast on my bicycle,' recalled Trajce, who two years earlier had moved to the UK with his family from the war-torn Balkans. He was already worried because his daughter hadn't answered the phone when he called to check she was OK before setting off. He arrived at his first-floor flat in Iffley Road, Hammersmith, West London, at 4.30pm to find the front door open and the living room door jammed shut.
Trajce continued: 'I knocked on the door in case Katerina was changing and said, "It's Daddy, open up!" There was no answer. I thought she was playing games with me. I shouted through the door, "Katerina, Katerina, open the door!" Nobody answered.'
And so he knocked again, harder this time, but still no answer. Trajce knew his daughter was in there and he panicked more. 'I could hear noises from inside the sitting room,' he recalled. He tried shoulder-barging the door but it was barricaded from the inside. Then he looked through the keyhole and saw his daughter's schoolbag on the floor. He knelt down and peered under the door, only to find Katerina was not alone. 'I saw two men's black shoes,' he said. 'I just froze. I knew something was wrong; I was so scared. I thought that maybe if someone is inside and she cannot get to the door, he must get to the window and jump.'
The frantic father ran out of the flat, where he saw a strange man climbing out of his living room window, clutching a bag. 'We came face to face,' he said. 'I noticed one small drop of blood on the left of his face. He was staring at me. I asked him, "What are you doing in my house?" He was just so calm; he didn't say anything: he just looked at me. He had a knife and I thought he was going to kill me. I turned a little and he managed to escape. He ran off down the street and I followed him.'
Trajce sprinted after the intruder through a few streets and across a building site but just as he caught up with him, the stranger yelled for help, claiming he was about to be assaulted. Two workmen intervened and told Trajce to leave the man alone and so he escaped his grasp.
The assailant ran into the road and tried to hijack the car of a 42-year-old woman whose son, aged four, was sat in the passenger seat. 'I saw two men, one on either side of my car,' she said. 'One had blood on the side of his face as if he had been punched. He tried to get into the car through the open window. I wound it up and sped away; I was terrified for my son. One of the men was shouting, "Call the police!"'
The stranger then tried to commandeer a lorry in Hammersmith Grove but was forced out by the driver. Next, he jumped in front of a Fiat Uno. The driver, Christina Kearney, later said that he shouted, 'Help me, help me – call the police!' But his act was short-lived and, once the car was stationary, he brandished a knife and ordered her out. He sped off in the car to Hammersmith Bus Station, where he disappeared aboard the number 220 bus to Hammersmith Broadway.
Meanwhile, Trajce decided against explaining himself in broken English to the duped workmen and sprinted back home. He was back inside the house at 4.50pm and managed to kick open the living room door that had been propped shut from the inside with a chair. Lying on the floor was his daughter, barefoot and unconscious, wearing a cardigan, white T-shirt and elasticated tracksuit bottoms. She had been garrotted with a piece of cord cut from a Virgin Atlantic flight bag that she used to carry her schoolbooks. The garrotte, which had been tightened round her neck with a pen, was so taut he couldn't release it with his hands and so he used a knife to cut it off. He said: 'I started to cry and shout her name – Katerina! Katerina!'
Moments later, the police burst in. 'I was bending over her, crying, when they arrived. I remember one of the officers telling me to help him to resuscitate her,' he said. 'He showed me where to push her chest, but I just couldn't do it – I was just so shocked. I felt weak and hopeless. I didn't want to touch her in case I hurt her.' Katerina was dead.
In the absence of an assailant, Katerina's father became the initial suspect in her murder. Police doubted his story of finding a stranger at the flat and he was taken to a nearby police station. Trajce recalled: 'My wife and son were brought to the station to see me. I was wearing a white forensic suit. My wife Zakalina just started shouting, "What have you done?" She was kicking me and screaming at me. All I wanted to do was hug my wife and cry with my family. I had lost my little girl, but my wife was attacking me and my six-year-old son was looking up at me with hate in his eyes. I remember just banging my head from wall to wall in my cell; they must have thought I was a madman. They thought I had killed my Katerina.' However, within hours Trajce was released when eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage backed up his story. Police also found fingerprints throughout the flat that did not match those of any member of the family.
At a press conference held days later, Trajce said: 'I put Katerina on a bus to school on the morning of her murder. It was just a usual morning; she just smiled. When you saw her face, you didn't need to listen to words from an angel. She was the best. At everything, she was the best – maths, music, sport, she was perfect. She worked so hard. All her friends loved her. For her, the world was there to love.' Of her killer, he said: 'This is not a man; it's a monster without feelings. Animals don't kill like that, without reason. At the first chance, tell the police. We don't know how many more children he could kill.'
Katerina's murder was linked to two earlier incidents in Hammersmith involving a man fitting the suspect's description. The previous February, a balding man of Mediterranean or Arabic appearance followed a girl home from school, tried the door and rang the bell before running off. And just 30 minutes before Katerina was killed, a similar-looking man had tailed another 12-year-old to her home near Iffley Road and watched the property for several minutes before leaving.
'Although he did not attempt sex, we believe that Katerina's murder was sexually motivated,' said Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell as he appealed for information about the crime. 'We suspect that strangling her gave him a kick. He is a sexual predator who stalks young girls because they are less likely to put up a struggle. It is very rare, thankfully, that a stranger kills a girl in her own home, but he obviously spent some time targeting Katerina.'
Despite CCTV footage and forensic evidence placing a stranger at the scene of Katerina's death, it was to be six years before her killer was finally caught.
In September 2002, Kunowski tied up and repeatedly raped a foreign student after tricking her into viewing his bedsit. He approached the girl at London's Ealing Broadway tube station while she waited for a friend. Noticing that she was looking at adverts for rooms to rent, he claimed there was a vacant bedsit at his nearby flat.
He led her into his grubby ground-floor bedroom and locked the door behind him. The girl, who had only weeks earlier arrived from her native Korea, said she wanted to go back to meet her friend, but he ignored her pleas and pushed her onto the bed. She tried to fight him with a ballpoint pen, but he overpowered her and then tied her hands together with rope and repeatedly raped her for three hours. She was only allowed to leave the flat after promising to phone him the next day.
When he was tried at the Old Bailey the following May, Kunowski claimed the young woman had consented to sex, that it was a 'thank you' for helping her find somewhere to stay. But the jury didn't believe him and he was jailed for nine years.
While he was in prison, detectives checked his DNA and found it was a match with a hair on Katerina Konev's cardigan. His fingerprints also matched those found on a window at her home. Kunowski denied the murder and in March 2004, once again he underwent trial at the Old Bailey. The overwhelming evidence against him, coupled with his weak defence of mistaken identity, meant the jury took just two-and-a-half hours to find him guilty of murder. Kunowski showed no emotion as Judge Peter Beaumont told him: 'I would be failing in my duty if I did not ensure you spend the rest of your life in prison. You took the life of a child who was just beginning to enjoy what this country had to offer her and her family as refugees from hardship abroad. It was a life of great promise. You ended it in circumstances of great violence and terror.' As he was led to the cells, Kunowski applauded himself.
Afterwards, Katerina's mother wept: 'I hope her evil killer burns in hell. I hope he suffers every minute of the rest of his life.'
Following his trial it emerged that Kunowski fled to Britain as prosecutors in his native country prepared to charge him for the latest in a string of sex attacks that stretched back three decades. Born Andrezej Kembert into a working-class family in 1957 he was sent to an orphanage at the age of two because his mother, father and grandmother had been jailed for theft. His grandfather was locked up in a state psychiatric hospital for unspecified sex offences. When his mother Elzbieta was released, she reclaimed her son and married a bricklayer called Stephan Kunowski and her son took his stepfather's name. They moved to Mlava, a bleak rural town 80 miles from Warsaw. The young Andrezej was not an easy child and he was prone to violent fits which he rarely remembered afterwards. He also had a habit of staring at pretty girls in a trance-like way that scared his mother.
By the age of 13 he was drinking heavily. He rarely attended school and when he did so, he was troublesome, often groping and trying to kiss his fellow pupils, regardless of their gender. After one particularly violent assault outside class, the police were called and he was packed away to a facility for delinquent juveniles where his aggressive sexual urges were allowed to fester.
Three years later he tried to rape his 16-year-old neighbour and was jailed for three years. He was released in the summer of 1976, but the following year he was jailed for two years for the attempted rape and murder of another young woman as she walked home. However, he was back on the streets of Warsaw in April 1978 whereupon he immediately set about sexually assaulting women and girls. In the remaining months of 1978 alone, he carried out 15 rapes. Often his method was to hide in quiet lanes where he would ambush women and children as they walked home, choking them with rope or threatening them with knives. At other times, disguised in a wig, he would stop his car, wind down the window and call his victims over. As they leant in to hear what he was saying, he quickly wound up the window, trapping them by the neck. Then he would jump out of the car and haul them into woods, often subduing them by hitting them over the head with a spade.
In 1980 he was nicknamed 'The Beast' by Polish newspapers and was jailed for 15 years. He had served 11 years when he was freed as part of an amnesty to prisoners after the collapse of communism. But after a few years of stability, during which he had a daughter, his attacks resumed.
In 1995 Kunowski preyed on a 10-year-old as she returned home alone from school in Warsaw. He said he was a friend of her father's and asked if he could wait in the house until her parents returned from work. Once through the door he pounced on the girl, repeatedly raping her while throttling her with a telephone cord.
He was charged with that rape and with the rape of another schoolgirl but, instead of keeping him behind bars as he awaited trial, the judge made the inexplicable decision to grant him bail to have a hip operation. As police built up a strong case linking him to other rapes in the city, he escaped. It is believed he simply got out of his hospital bed and walked away.
Kunowski sold his house in Mlava, bought a fake Portuguese passport and made his way to Acton, West London, pretending to be a tourist. Using skills he acquired in prison in Poland, he got a job working as a tailor at a dry-cleaning company and soon blended in among millions of anonymous faces.
When the Polish authorities realised that he had fled the country, they issued an international warrant through Interpol. His fingerprints and photograph were available via Interpol's crime database to its 125 members, the UK included, but he was not fingerprinted when he arrived in the UK so he had a clean slate to find new victims in a new country.
The day after murdering Katerina Konev, Kunowski took a job at a strawberry farm in Ledbury, west of London. Unable to control his genetic propensity to steal, he was sacked for thieving from the office. He was held for the crime and handed over to Immigration. Officials discovered he was an illegal 'over-stayer' and he spent two months in a detention camp in Oxfordshire. While there, he applied for citizenship on the grounds of economic hardship in his homeland and, as his application was being considered, he was once again allowed to walk free. His petition was denied in the autumn of 1997 but by then he was back in London, untraceable as neither his fingerprints nor DNA were taken after his arrest.
Astonishingly, even though he was a hunted killer and illegal immigrant, he was given a life-saving NHS heart bypass in 2001 at a hospital around the corner from where he killed Katerina. That year he stopped a woman in West London and told her: 'I know where you live. I murdered a young girl in Iffley Road, four years ago.' In July 2002 he was arrested again for trying to claim benefits using a forged Portuguese passport in the name of Jose Marco Da Dias, but once again the immigration authorities failed to establish his true identity. While under investigation, he disappeared again. A few days later, he was arrested for the rape of the Korean student at his bedsit.
The Home Office said: 'It's a matter of great concern that a criminal with such a serious history managed to get into this country and that his background was not uncovered when he came to our attention. Our system has been completely over-hauled since then. All asylum-seekers are now electronically fingerprinted. The details are fed into an index which alerts us to crime.'
Katerina's father, Trajce, believes his daughter opened the door to Kunowski that day because she thought it was 'Daddy' coming home and she couldn't wait to tell him that she was top of her English class. 'We found about how well she'd done afterwards – she never got to tell us herself,' he said.
After the verdict, Katerina's mother said: 'I find it impossible to understand how he was allowed into the UK to commit this crime. I am aware that he had serious criminal convictions and impending prosecutions in Poland. Something must be done to ensure such a thing does not happen again. I do not feel that justice has been done.'
Excerpted from Life Means Life by Nick Appleyard. Copyright © 2009 Nick Appleyard. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1 'The Little Doctor',
2 'Captain Cash',
3 'Mistaken Identity',
4 'Paperboy Predator',
5 'The Bus Stop Killer',
6 'Death in the Drains',
7 'Rot in Hell!',
8 'The Fox',
9 'The Gay Slayer',
10 'The Shopping Spree',
11 'The Highly-Intelligent Psychopath',
12 'I Was Mad',
13 'Tonight's the Night',
14 'Hannibal the Cannibal',
15 'The Towpath Stalker',
16 'The Moors Murderer',
17 'The Man in Black',
18 'We Had a Little Argument',
19 'Viagra Man',
20 'A Loving and Caring Father',
21 'I Want To Hurt Somebody',
22 'The Beast of Manchester',
23 'Local Hard Man',
24 'An Extremely Dangerous Man',
25 'The Enforcer',
26 'The Frankenstein Killer',
27 'A Madman on the Loose',
28 'The Body-in-the-Bags Killer',
29 'The Railway Rapist',
30 'My China Doll',
31 'The Black Panther',
33 'The House of Horrors',
34 'The Suffolk Strangler',
35 'An Uncontrollable Freak',