Gordon Cummins: The Story of a Sexual Psychopath
I am not a trained researcher or writer. I research these topics in my spare time so I can share what I am passionate about with others. I like to add my own thoughts throughout each piece and I like to keep things "light and fun", even when discussing dark subjects like true crime. I do not claim any of these writings as "official articles" and instead call them "stories". They should not be used for official purposes. And Yes - sometimes I use Wikipedia as a resource but never by itself.
Thanks for reading!
Let’s dig into this true crime murder from World War II.
Gordon Cummins. An incredibly disturbed mother fucker that had an obvious hatred for women. What did that hatred stem from? Well - we don’t really know.
Unfortunately, Cummins early life is a foggy mystery. It is believed that he was born in late 1913 or early 1914. in East Earswick. It was rumored that he was the illegitimate son of an unnamed person of nobility. From this rumor came his nicknames, “The Count” and “The Duke”. Did he give himself those nicknames or was just being patronized by people around him?
Cummins had a very typical life for the time. He married a theater producer’s daughter in 1936. It seemed he was at least somewhat happy with her though he had an insatiable sexual appetite for prostitutes. It’s probably a godsend that they never had children.
In 1939, he found it his duty to enlist in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) at the start of WWII. During this intense time, London was kept in blackout as a precaution against air raids at night. Absolutely no light was allowed. No street lamps and windows were to be painted over or covered with blackout curtains. If even a sliver of light was seen from the street then a person could be heavily fined. When people found themselves outside their homes during these raids they could be found in cellars, underground train stations, and public air raid shelters.
During his training and time in the RAF he was still known to frequent prostitutes. After getting his rocks off he would often steal from the ladies.
In 1942, he progressed from sex and stealing to sex, murder, and mutilation. So, what triggered this murder spree? He obviously had mental illness but it was never known what exactly. And why did he hate women so much?! They way he would go on to mutilate these women after he strangled them shows that he had A SHIT TON of anger built up inside him.
SO - at this time Cummins is 28-years-old. He is going to brutally murder four women and attempt to do the same to two more in just six days. SIX DAYS! That’s like 0-100 in a few seconds! I want to know what made this man snap.
February 8, 1942 - Chaos
Cummins left the base while off duty and visited his wife. Maybe a nice quiet night in - NOPE! He took some money from her and went out to strut his stuff. The exact timeline of that night is unknown but the next morning the first body is found. Evelyn Hamilton was discovered gagged with her scarf and strangled to death in an air raid shelter near Mable Arch. It was initially believed to be robbery because her handbag was missing and she was not sexually assaulted. A random thing the investigators were able to determine from this crime scene was that the murderer was left-handed.
Evelyn was a chemist (amazing accomplishment for women at the time! Way to go girl!) who was only staying one night in London before moving on to start a new job in a nearby town. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This next victim was mutilated in such a way that it making me cringe just to think about it - be warned.
February 9, 1942 - Not a typical Sunday dinner
Cummins upped his game overnight. He hired sex worker Evelyn Oatley and went back to her flat. He strangled her and proceeded to viciously slice her body with a can opener. A fucking CAN OPENER! Please tell me that I am not the only one that finds that so cringe worthy?! The two deepest slices on her body were on her abdomen and her throat.
Her nude body was found the next day. Once again, Cummins slipped away into the blackout of the London night.
It’s unclear if investigators suspected if these murders were related or not. My guess would be that they hadn’t linked them yet.
February 13, 1942 - Two birds with one stone
He doesn’t have much, practically zero, of a cooling off period. Just a few days after his last murder Cummins went on the hunt again. Sex-worker Margaret Lowe invited Cummins to “party” at her Gosfield Street flat. Once in the door he strangled her with a silk stocking, stabbed her all over and sliced her up down with a knife and a razor. BUT while her crime scene was being investigated the next morning ANOTHER body was reported.
This one being Doris Jouannet, an sex-worker who offered her services to Cummins. Once again, he followed her back to her flat where he strangled her and mutilated her body with a razor. The next morning, when her husband returned from his night shift as a hotel manager to their shared flat he couldn’t enter the bedroom because “something” had barricaded the door. There are other reports that the door was locked, not barricaded. Believe what you will. Jouannet’s husband, and a handful of neighbors, summoned the police, who broke down the door and discovered the body. They immediately recognized the signs of the The Blackout Ripper.
After the murder and mutilation of Doris, the papers started printing stories about “The Blackout Ripper” and “The Blackout Killer”. Obviously, they were inspired by Jack the Ripper and the current nightly blackouts. These murders were definitely connected at this point and panic was spreading through the city like fire - for the ladies that worked at sex-workers especially. I looked and looked and looked but I couldn’t find any pictures of Lowe or Jouannet. I stumbled across a few that I thought might have been them but I couldn’t be 100% so I’m not going to post them.
Despite the boom in publicity, Cummins continued on his murderous rampage.
February 14, 1942 - A very distressing Valentine’s Day
Greta Heywood was a young woman out for a drink with Cummins (not a sex-worker. Just a nice young lady waiting for her boyfriend). Cummins attempted to proposition Heywood by sliding cash across the table but she “wasn’t that kind of girl”. You tell him girl! Despite refusing his advantages she went with him outside. For what reason, I only wish I knew? Why would you follow a creep out into the street? As they walked away from the pub, he pushed her into a doorway where he forcibly kissed her and tried to stick his hands up her skirt and blouse. When she fought like a demon from hell he began to strangle her. Though she fell unconscious he was not able to complete his murderous act because all of the noise had attracted the attention of a delivery boy. Cummins ran off when he heard the boy approaching.
Being almost caught in the act made Cummins sloppy. He dropped his gas mask - which had his serial number in it (525987). Dumbass.
Since his blood lust had not be satisfied, he patrolled the streets for another victim. He picked up sex-worker Catherine Mulcahy. He accompanied her to her flat where (you guessed it) he watched her undress then attempted to strangle her. BUT Mulcahy had an advantage - she had left her boots on because the room was cold. As Cummins viciously attacked her she kicked and screamed and fought like a cornered animal! All the while, screaming, “Murder! Murder!”. Well, all of this ruckus alerted Mulcahy’s neighbors so Cummins fled but not before throwing money at her. He also left his belt behind this time. Getting more and more sloppy.
His murderous attempts had been thwarted twice in one night - he was enraged!
Once back on base he was thoroughly questioned by investigator Greeno and his team who had tracked the gas mask serial number back to Cummins. It was stated that they found him “evasive and arrogant” during questioning. The mark of a true psychopath, right? Thinking you’re too smart to get caught. The investigators searched Cummins’ belongings and found various items that had belonged to his victims; a pen engraved with Doris Jouannet’s initials, a cigarette case belonging to Margaret Lowe, and another cigarette case belonging to Evelyn Oatley. A shirt was found saturated with blood and his fingerprints were linked to those found on the can opener that was used in the Oatley murder. Yep, his goose is cooked.
Detectives wasted no time in arresting Cummins.
His trial went underway quickly (April 27, 1942) where he was only charged with the murder of Evelyn Oatley (the can opener slashing one - cringe). That same afternoon, after only 35-minutes of deliberation, Gordon Cummins was found guilty and sentenced to death.
Though an appeal was requested by his family, after his insistence that he was innocent and being framed, he was hanged on June 25, 1942.
It was never uncovered what caused Cummins to “snap”. It was suspected that he had murdered before but it couldn’t be confirmed.
This case was never widely publicized because of the war. The country wanted to keep “spirits up” and not bring any unnecessary fear unto people. which is actually understandable.
Well, that’s it guys! This true crime story went by at breakneck speed. I don’t have any art directly inspired by this case - I just couldn’t decide what to do. Way too many options running through my head. So, I am just going to do a callback to some other works.
Here we have:
A Beautiful Mind
The Eye in the Beauty
The Houska Devil
If you liked reading this piece then may I suggest you check out:
Marie Alexandrine Becker - True Crime
The Lemp Mansion: A House Haunted by Great Tragedy - Paranormal
The Brighton Trunk Murders - True Crime
Who was Kaspar Hauser? - History Mystery
Thanks for hanging around with me today to read this gruesome shit - why am I so interested in this stuff? Morbid curiosity I guess?
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