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Ep 17 – The Body in the bags killer

When a farmer found what he thought was a football in a bag on his field, he had the shock of his life when he picked it up and plunged his hand inside, only to discover a dismembered head.

The police were now hunting for the “Body in the bags killer.”  Little did they know that the investigation would straddle cases from the early 70s and late 80s.

When a farmer found what he thought was a football in a bag on his field, he had the shock of his life when he picked it up and plunged his hand inside, only to discover a dismembered head.

The police were now hunting for the “Body in the bags killer.”  Little did they know that the investigation would straddle cases from the early 70s and late 80s.

Listen to the episode “The body in the bags killer” below:

The Body in the Bags Killer - A Sublime True Crime podcast episode.
The Body in the Bags Killer – A Sublime True Crime podcast episode.

40-year-old Glenys Johnson, from Grangetown, was a well-known sex worker who worked Cardiff’s dock areas in the early 1970s. 

In the early hours of the morning of 21st June 1971 she was approached by a man and went with him to an area of waste ground in Wharf Street.

It was to be the last thing she ever did.  Once they got there, Glenys was viciously attacked, as her punter used a broken bottle to slash her throat.

As she fell to the floor, the assault continued as the attacker violently slashed away at her body, leaving her body laying face down with over 20 slash wounds across her neck and chest.

The attack was so ferocious that Glenys was nearly decapitated.

The attacker fled into the daybreak.

Phone call to the police

Just hours after the murder, a phone call was made to police.  This was four years before Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, began his campaign of terror.  The call that was received was short.

“Have you found the body yet?  There will be four more.  This is The Ripper”

Anonymous call to the police after the murder.

Police found the mutilated body of Glenys Johnson later that morning.  By then they had also traced the call.  It had come from a nearby steel factory: the British Steel Corporation East Moors works in Tremorfa.

Detectives quickly arrested 24-year-old Malcolm Green who was at the factory working his early morning shift as a crane operator.  Colleagues described how he had turned up for work that morning shaking and sweating.  When police checked the times, he had arrived at the factory shortly before they had received the phone call.

What they didn’t realise at the time is that Green had arrived at work in bloodstained clothes and had washed them clean in the showers at the work.

Aged just 18 Malcolm Green witnessed the horrific scene of a train running over his brother, Roger, and decapitating him under the wheels as he was on his way to a football match in Reading.

He then had to identify the body in a mortuary.

Roger was the 4th of 12 children and Malcolm was the 5th. His workmates had described him as a weird loner.  What they didn’t say was just how dim he appeared to be.

Malcolm Green’s ex-wife Marilyn Stephenson

Even Green’s ex-wife, Marilyn Stephenson, went on to say many years later that she was not surprised when police told her what her husband had done:

“I remember him saying ‘I wonder what it’s like to murder’. It stuck in my mind and I sometimes think I was lucky it wasn’t me.”

Marilyn Stephenson

At the time of Glenys Johnson’s murder, Green’s soon-to-be-ex-wife was in hospital recovering from a miscarriage.

Upon first being arrested, Green admitted to the murder and gave a statement to police:

“I started walking home by myself. I had had a lot to drink and wanted to sober up. At the bottom of Bute Street I was approached by this woman. She asked me if I was interested in business.

She started screaming and pulling my clothes. I lost my temper and exploded. The next thing I remember was walking home.”

Malcolm Green

Evidence

Despite his initial admission, Green went on to deny any involvement in the murder, despite his earlier confession as well as the circumstantial evidence that was already piled up against him.

He had several cuts across his hands – cuts that he told police were the result of falling over as he was on his way to work.  The reality was that the cuts were caused by the bottle he used to kill Glenys.

Not only that, but forensic evidence started to come in too.   Glenys had a rare blood type, traces of which was found on Green’s boots.  To make things worse for the factory worker, he also had a rare blood type himself, and his blood was found on Glenys’s body.

Police decided to search Green’s flat, looking for more evidence.  What they found was a rolled-up carpet when had been manipulated into a buttoned-up shirt and suit jacket to make a crude dummy. 

A knife had been stabbed through the left pocket of the jacket.

Despite all of this, at his trial which took place at Glamorgan Assizes in Cardiff, Green pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder. 

The jury disagreed, and after 7 days he was jailed for life.  His sentence started in November 1971.

Release from jail

18 years later, in 1989, psychiatrists deemed that Green was no longer a threat to society.  He’d spent his last few years in Leyhill Open Prison near Bristol.

Still only 42 years of age, Green still had a life to live.  Knowing that it would be hard for an ex-con to find work, Green had applied himself whilst inside, taking several different academic courses before his release.

He’d been allowed to leave the prison to attend college classes at the nearby Filton Technical College, apparently excelling in A-Level Biology.

There, he met Helen Barnes, who went on to become his girlfriend.

In October 1989 he walked free from Leyhill Open Prison for the last time.

He quickly found somewhere to live, renting a room at 11 Luxton Street in Bristol and quickly struck up a friendship with Clive Tully who also rented a room there.

Clive Tully

Clive was just 24 years old and had been born and raised in New Zealand. 

Green took the youngster under his wing and they soon became best friends, to the point where Clive spent Christmas with Green and Helen.

Clive had been working for a building company based in Bristol to help fund his self-proclaimed “world tour”. 

His site foreman, Michael Higgins, also lived at 11 Luxton Street and although the two were said to be friends, Higgins said that they had fallen out after the Tully didn’t get paid a Christmas bonus.

So upset, was Clive, that he walked off site halfway through a job and was subsequently fired.

A few weeks later, at the start of the following year, Clive announced that he was going to Spain for a few weeks to catch some winter sun.  Catching a lift from Green, Clive got the ferry from Plymouth and headed off.

He was away for a few weeks before returning, unexpectedly, in the middle of March. 

Clive headed back to his friend’s house, knocking on Green’s door and revealing that he was penniless with nowhere to stay.  Asking if he could stay for a few days, Green readily agreed that Clive could sleep on his sofa and he would stay at his girlfriend’s house in the nearby Fishponds area. 

Clive was never seen alive again.

Clive Tully - Image taken from Wales Online
Clive Tully – Who turned out to be the body in the bags. Image taken from Wales Online.

Two days later on 22nd March, in a lay-by off the A467 Bypass near Rogerstone, Newport, two sports holdalls were spotted by Linda Vines, a school teacher from Caerphilly, who reported them to police believing it was unusual to see.

When police checked them, they found that one contained two arms and two legs.  The other, a torso.  There was no sign of the hands or the head.

The Body in the Bags killer

The press soon got wind of the discovery and, as police hadn’t been able to identify the body, the case was quickly dubbed that of “The Body in the Bags killer”.

Four days further on and Andrew Newbury, a lambing assistant who worked at Newbury Fair Orchard Farm, stumbled across something in one of his fields.  Thinking it was a red and white football, as he got closer, he bent down and put his hand inside it. 

He soon realised the gruesome truth.  He felt something that “appeared to be a nose”

It was a head and two hands, wrapped in a bloody sheet.

The remains of Clive Tully were only identified when a graphic artist working for a newspaper mocked up a computer-enhanced photograph of the victim.

Police wasted no time in connecting him to Malcolm Green.  After all, he was a close friend and had lived in the same house as recently-released murderer, Green.

Malcolm Green at the time of his arrest in 1990 - Source - Wales Online
Malcolm Green at the time of his arrest in 1990 – Source – Wales Online

Green was arrested at his girlfriend’s house on 30th March at 11.25pm.

When questioned about the case, Green simply said:

“I know nothing about Clive Tully’s murder, although I do know Clive Tully.”

Malcolm Green, upon his arrest

As with Glenys, though, Green had left plenty of forensic evidence behind, including leaving two fingerprints on the bag containing the Clive Tully’s arms as well as on the black bag containing his head. 

Police also searched his house and found bloodstains on the ceiling as well as on the door, coffee table, venetian blinds and sofa in the sitting room.

Green HAD made an attempt to cover up the murder, though.  He’d ripped up a square of carpet and cleaned the floor with detergent.  He’d also covered the bloodstain with a rug.

There was also a trail of blood leading upstairs to a spotless bathroom.

The police felt that they certainly had enough evidence to charge him with murder.

Identification

In fact, Green had been identified by Robert Clarke, a florist, who had seen him in the lay-by where two of the bags were found.

Clarke told police that he had been driving down the A467 bypass heading towards Risca on 21st March 1990 and had seen a man standing beside a light-coloured car.  Green’s girlfriend had a light-coloured Mini Metro which Green often borrowed.

Thinking he had broken down, Clarke recalled wondering why he would have such a large holdall to carry his tools.  Either way, he didn’t stop and the next time he saw Green was at an identity parade.  He said:

“When I first went in, I was pretty certain I recognised him, but when I asked him to turn to the left, I was 100 percent sure.  I had a mental picture in my mind of this chap”

Robert Clarke

Green admitted to police that he had been on that same stretch of motorway on that very day.

In October 1991, just two short years after leaving prison having served time for the murder of Glenys Johnson, Malcolm Green stood in front of a jury charged with murder for the second time.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court heard how it was believed that Green had attacked Clive in the sitting room of his ground floor fat at 11 Luxton Square, hitting him around 12 times on the head with something similar to a hammer, sustaining multiple fractures

Green had then taken apart the body, with blood trails being found both up the stairs.

Clothing belonging to Malcolm Green and the bags which contained the body of Clive Tully - Image - Mirrorpix
Clothing belonging to Malcolm Green and the bags which contained the body of Clive Tully – Image – Mirrorpix

The body was then put into two separate bags and transported to the bypass using his girlfriend’s car in the words of prosecution barrister, Paul Chadd QC:

“deposited where they would quickly be found alongside two highways in Wales.”

Paul Chadd QC

If hiding the bags poorly wasn’t enough, one of the holdalls was traced back and found to belong to Green himself.

When it came to describing the method of disposal of the corpse, the court heard from pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbetter who told the court:

“[The head was]… removed neatly by cutting through the soft tissue of the neck and through a part of the voice box.”

Dr Stephen Leadbetter

He went on to reveal that the dissections made were neat, with little damage or tearing to soft tissue.

The jury heard the evidence, including the sighting by Robert Clarke, the admission by Green himself that he had been the one who had seen Clive alive last as well as the fingerprints on the bags.

Final verdict

After a trial lasting 7 days, Green was found unanimously guilty of murder.

The judge, Mr Justice Rose summed up, finishing by saying that Green was a very dangerous man.  Green, for his part, twice interrupted the judge to calmly say “I did not kill Clive Tully.”

The judge passed down a recommended sentence of 25 years, which the Home Office later amended stating that it was too lenient and that Green must spend the rest of his life in jail.

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Credits

References/Further Reading:

Websites:

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/malcolm-green-cardiff-killer-crime-16258156

http://www.murderuk.com/one_off_Malcolm_Green.html

https://murderpedia.org/male.G/g/green-malcolm.htm

1991 Bristol's 'Body in the Bags' Murder

Book: Life Means Life, Jailed Forever: True Stories of Britain’s Most Evil Killers – Nick Appleyard (Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/2VLwjXP)

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Music

Music used in this episode:  All music used is sourced from http://freemusicarchive.org/ or http://www.opsound.org/ and is used under an Attribution Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Playlist Tracks:

PYROMANIAC (ARSONIST EDIT by Pablo Perez.

http://www.opsound.org/artist/pabloperez/

https://infopablo00.blogspot.mx/

infopablo00@yahoo.com

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