When Anthony Arkwright was a boy, he used to tell his friends that he wanted to emulate Jack The Ripper and Peter Sutcliffe.
In his early 20s, he did his best to achieve this.
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Anthony Arkwright had boasted to friends that one day he would be as famous as Jack the Ripper.
Born in the mining community of Wath-upon-Dearne, in what was then the West Riding of Yorkshire, Anthony was one of five siblings, all of whom were abandoned by their mother at an early age.
With his father working as a miner, Anthony’s childhood was mainly spent in care homes. He didn’t enjoy school and struggled, performing badly, which led to a life of crime and a sentence in a borstal.
Rumours persisted that he was the product of an incestuous relationship and though these seem to be untrue, it was something that certainly tormented Anthony.
During his time locked away, he was said to be often found in the prison libraries reading about serial killers.
He idolised Peter Sutcliffe and Jack The Ripper, boasting that he would one day become as famous – or as infamous – as them.
Already well-known to police as a petty criminal, Anthony had served a 30 month youth custody sentence for burglary and disorder by the time he was 21 which is when this story starts. He was forever at odds with neighbours and had also served a 6 month jail term.
Following his release, Anthony moved to a council flat Denman Road in Wath, South Yorkshire, where he had been born and raised.
Said to have built himself a set of dens around the area, he would spend hours in these hideouts armed with a hunting knife, fantasising about people that he wanted to hurt or kill.
That’s not to say he didn’t work though. By now he had found work at a scrapmerchants in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, though how often he was actually there is up for debate.
Inbetween working (or more often than not when skiving from work) Arkwright turned his hand to crime.
One of his neighbours, Raymond Ford, a severely depressed, ill, heavy drinker who lived in virtual squalor, was a particularly favourite target of Arkwrights.
He would smash his windows just for the sake of it or force dog crap through his letterbox.
Towards the end of August he broke in and stole a microwave oven and a valuable antique clock.
Ford knew that Arkwright was the most likely suspect to have broken in to his home, and he reported his suspicions to the police.
When Arkwright turned up for work a few days later on 27th August 1988, he was called in to the office and sacked due to his poor attendance record and bad attitude.
The first killing by Anthony Arkwright
This dismissal caused something to snap inside of Anthony Arkwright.
Following his sacking, the Jack The Ripper wannabe returned to Wath-upon-Dearne to visit his grandfather at his allotment in Ruskin Drive, Mexborough.
Arkwright believed (incorrectly) that his grandfather, 68-year-old Stasis Pudoikis, was in fact his father, and that his birth was the result of an incestuous relationship between his grandfather and mother.
He attacked his 68 year old Lithuanian born grandfather as he tended to his allotment.
Stabbing him in the neck, Arkwright severed an artery which would have made his grandfather lose consciousness almost immediately. He then attacked him with an axe and crushed his skull with a 14lb (6.4kg) lump hammer before locking the body in a shed.
It’s believed that after this, as he was in the process of taking his grandfather’s savings of £3,000 he killed his second victim – his grandfather’s housekeeper, 73-year-old Elsa Kronadaite.
The bodies of both victims remained undiscovered for six days.
After this, he then went on a pub crawl in Mexborough!
With hindsight, people recall hearing him dropping hints about the murder, saying things such as, “It’s been murder on the allotment today.”
Early the next morning, around 3am, Arkwright decided that he wanted revenge against Raymond Ford for reporting him to the police about the burglary a few days before.
Entering Ford’s flat through the broken window which he had caused a few days beforehand, throwing a dustbin through it before burgling the property, Arkwright found Ford slumped in an armchair, heavily drunk.
Arkwright then unleashed his full sadistic nature on the defenceless man. Completely naked apart from a Prince of Darkness devil mask, Arkwright quickly found his neighbour and stabbed him between 250 and 500 times.
Such was the intensity of the attack, that a knife broke off and was left in the wound. Arkwright simply fetched another knife and continued stabbing him.
Jack the Ripper wannabe
No doubt wanting to emulate his idol, Jack The Ripper, he then gutted and disembowelled the corpse with a surgical precision which criminologists later said echoed the technique used by the Victorian serial killer.
Arkwright then draped Ford’s entrails around the room, even scattering some of the internal organ round the corridor and hallway.
4 hours after breaking in, having been home to shower, police knocked on his door and arrested him for breaking into Ford’s flat.
And yes, that reads correctly.
Police arrested Arkwright for the breaking and entering the week before, completely unaware that Raymond Ford was laying dead next door.
After three hours of interviews, Arkwright was released on police bail and scheduled for an appearance in court the following week.
Arkwright couldn’t believe his luck – that a murderer was allowed to walk free from a police station – and celebrated by going out for another drinking session.
The next day, early in the morning, Arkwright entered the specially adapted bungalow which belonged to his other next-door neighbour, Marcus Law.
Law, just 25 at the time, was in a wheelchair following a motorcycling accident.
Arkwright targeting law as punishment for all the cigarettes that Law had scrounged off him in the past. He stabbed Law more than 70 times, before trying to gut him.
Failing to find the skill he had shown when dissecting his previous victim, he instead chose to insert one of Law’s crutches into a gaping wound in his stomach. He then gouged out Law’s eyes before inserting cigarettes into his eye sockets, ears and mouth.
After finishing at the scene and leaving the bungalow he happened by chance to bump into Law’s mother. While smiling he remarked on her son’s suicide.
Naturally worried at this odd comment, she went round to her son’s bungalow and found him dead.
Police were called and they very quickly realised that Arkwright was a suspect. Within a few hours they had found him and arrested on suspicion of the murder of Marcus Law.
However, Arkwright denied the murder during his interview, instead shuffling through a pack of playing cards with him.
When he got to the four of hearts card, he said:
“I can read the future from these cards. This is the master card – it means you have four bodies and a madman on the loose. I can see Marcus Law, but the others are indescribable. They are just too horrible to describe”
Having little evidence against him the police decided to conduct some enquiries and to follow up Arkwright’s claim of four bodies.
Remembering that Raymond Ford had named Arkwright as the man who had burgled him, PC David Winter was sent to Ford’s home to see if he could get any information from Ford that may help with the new murder enquiry.
He quickly discovered the horrific scene and the investigation moved into looking at two murders.
On being told of the discovery of Ford’s body, Arkwright confessed to four murders in total – still two more than the police had bodies for.
Police contacted friends and acquaintances of Arkwright, to try to identify anybody that was missing.
Discovery of the bodies
Six days after they had both been murdered, the bodies of Stasys and Elsa were discovered. Arkwright then invented a fifth victim in what is now believed to be an effort to keep some element of control. Further searches were undertaken of lakes and drainage ditches, with no further bodies found.
Arkwright was place HMP Hull awaiting trial. While there, he smeared the walls of his cell with his own excrement in a protest at not being recognised and revered as he believed he should be.
The sanest person in the building
Convincing prison doctors that he was insane, he was then transferred to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire, only for psychiatrists there to determine that not only was he sane and fit to stand trial, but one doctor even went so far as to call him “the sanest person in the building”.
Arkwright’s trial took place in Sheffield Crown Court in July 1989, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life for 3 murders, with a recommended minimum term of 25 years.
The case for killing Kronadaite was unproven and at the trial, the judge ordered the case to lie on his file.
Arkwright showed no emotion when sentenced, and has still never given any explanation for his actions.
The year after the trial, the then-Home Secretary, reviewed the case and imposed a whole life sentence, meaning that Arkwright would never be released.
In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights decreed that whole-life tariffs without the option for a review or parole amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment which gave Arkwright hope of release.
Whole of life sentence appeal
On 19th February 2014, Arkwright along with killer Arthur Hutchinson appealed against their whole of life tariffs.
Three high court judges rejected the appeal, saying the governments “Whole Life tariff” was completely lawful with the Court of Appeal ruling that the whole-life sentences were “entirely compatible” with the European Convention of Human Rights.
Anthony Arkwright never became synonymous with serial killers the way he once hoped, and chances are that you have probably never heard of him until now.
Unfortunately his lack of infamy hasn’t stemmed the harrowing memories for the family, and 14 years after the horrible murder of his son, Marcus Law’s father Tony committed suicide.
As for the police’s view on Arkwright, Detective Inspector Bob Meek from South Yorkshire Police said:
“From the day we brought him in for the Marcus Law murder to the day he was jailed, Arkwright seemed genuinely proud of what he had done. He expected everyone to revere him, to be fascinated by him.
He was a messed up kid, desperate for attention. In his defected mind he chose murder to get the attention he craved.
He’s the most dangerous person I ever met in 25 years on the job – he should never get out”.Detective Inspector Bob Meek.
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PYROMANIAC (ARSONIST EDIT by Pablo Perez.
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