Kenneth Erskine: The Stockwell Strangler

Kenneth Erskine, also named the 'Stockwell Strangler', murdered between seven and eleven people between April and July 1986.

Erskine was a well known burglar. He was thought to be a bit of a drifter and a solvent abuser.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 40 years. Erskine was sent to Broadmoor Hospital after he was found to be suffering from a mental disorder.

In July 2009, following an appeal, Erskine's murder convictions were reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

In 2016 Erskine's risk status was downgraded and he was moved to a medium secure hospital unit. It is understood he was moved to Thornford Park Hospital in Thatcham, Berkshire.

it is thought that medics could approve Erskine's release in just a few years.

Erskine's known victims are:

Nancy Emms

Nancy Emms was from Wandsworth in London. She was murdered on 9th April 1986. Initially Nancy Emms' death was considered to be of natural causes. An alert visitor to her home noticed the television set was missing. A subsequent post mortem highlighted that she had been raped and strangled. Nancy was 78 years old when she was murdered.

Janet Cockett

Only two months passed before Kenneth Erskine struck again. His second victim was janet Cockett. On 9th June 1986 she was strangled in her Wandsworth flat. Janet Cockett was the chairwoman of the local tenants' association. Again, initial thoughts were that Janet had died of natural causes. A post mortem showed she had been strangled.

In a breakthrough for police Kenneth Erskine's palm print was found on a window.

Valentine Gleim, and Zbigniew Strabawa,

A few weeks later, on 28th June 1986, Erskine struck again in a residential home in Stockwell. His victims this time were both male.

Zbigniew Stabrawa was born in Poland and had lived there until the outbreak of World War II when he had fled from the Nazis. Mr Stabrawa was sexually assaulted and strangled.

Valentine Gleim was a retired British Army officer. He was also sexually assaulted and strangled.

It is believed the police were called after Erskine was spotted in the home - but he had disappeared before the police and murders were discovered.

William Carmen

William Carmen was murdered on 8th July 2016. William Carmen was molested and strangled. Money was also stolen from William's home.

William Downes

The 21st July 2016 revealed Erskine's penultimate victim, William Downes. 74 Year old William was murdered in his Stockwell bedsit.

Florence Tisdall

Two days after William Downes was found Erskine murdered his final victim. Florence Tidsall was an 83 year old widow who lived in Ranelagh Gardens Mansions in Fulham. She was raped and strangled.

Erskine was finally arrested on 28th July 1986 at a Social Security Office. It is believed that his palm print matched the one taken at Janet Cockett's home. Erskine was also picked out from an identity parade by Fred Prentice who had survived an attack from Erskine.

Suspected victims:

Police suspected Erskine of at least four other murders.

These include Wilfred Parkes and Trevor Thomas.


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