When mum-of-4 Anne White married a musclebound murderer who was on day release from prison, she could have had no idea what a bad decision it would turn out to be.
He’d murdered once in cold blood and was now regularly taking steroids and cocaine. It was a recipe for disaster.
Listen to the episode “The Musclebound Murderer” below:
Carl Edon was born on December 29th 1972 in Middlesbrough to James and Valerie Edon. In 1995, Carl had everything to live for. Happily dating the mother of his two-year-old child, the pair were recently celebrating the news that they were expecting another baby.
Aged just 22, he was working at the Loadhaul Grangetown rail depot as a relief train repairer.
Douglas Vinter / Gary Vinter
Wednesday 2nd August 1995 was just another normal work day for Carl. Sat in a cabin by the railtrack he was interrupted by a colleague, Gary Vinter (actually called Douglas, but went by Gary).
Vinter was 26 years old and working in a nearby signal box, responsible for ensuring that oncoming trains were going down the right sets of tracks. He’d broken away from the signal box and made his way to Carl’s cabin to pass some time.
What happened next is down to the testimony of Gary Vinter alone.
The 6’ 7” Vinter was known as a local hardman with a history of violence, when he stepped into Carl’s cabin, an argument started which culminated in Carl shouting at Vinter – Something he’d never seen before as he had never watched him lose his temper.
When the giant laughed at being shouted out, Carl grabbed a knife from the sink and threatened to kill him. In the subsequent struggle that followed, Vinter overpowered his colleague, wrestled the knife from him and stabbed him.
The first knife broke, causing Vinter to simply put it on the floor and fetch another knife to continue his onslaught.
In total, Carl Edon was stabbed 13 times over a wide area of his body (some accounts have this as 37 times with every one of his internal organs being punctured).
Following the killing, Vinter – having left the second knife sticking in the body – calmly returned to his signal box, ensured that everything was set correctly and that the next few trains would all be able to pass safely.
He then drove to the nearby police station in South Bank and admitted to the assault.
Vinter was as helpful as he could be. He was quick to tell police that they needed to call his employer to tell them about the now-unmanned signal box, citing the possible danger to trains.
He even drew a map for police which would take police to the cabin where they would find Carl’s body.
His helpfulness stopped short of admitting to murder, though. Instead he claimed it fell under manslaughter due to provocation.
The trial of Gary Vinter
When the trial got to Teesside Crown Court the following May, the court heard from Guy Whitburn QC for the prosecution who made the point that stabbing somebody in such a way that the blade breaks and then fetching a second weapon to continue the attack is not the actions of manslaughter.
On 21st May 1996, Vinter was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life, later being given a 12 year sentence.
Amazingly, as the sentence was handed down several weeks after the verdict, Carl’s girlfriend, Michelle Robertson, didn’t find out what the sentence was until she received a letter in the post from the Prison Service.
The mum-of-two, whose daughter, Carla, was born after Carl’s death and named in his memory, went on record to say:
I’m also scared that he’ll be out sooner than 12 years with good behaviour. I couldn’t cope with it being so soon. I won’t stand for it. I’m writing to the parole board, my MP and the Home Office about this.Michelle Edon, nee Robertson
Sadly, Michelle was proved to be correct in her fear, as Vinter was released just nine years later, in August 2005.
The Parole Board had seen favourable reports of Vinter’s good behaviour in jail and felt that he was not a danger to others, leading to their decision to release him early.
And it’s true to say that Vinter HAD changed in jail. He’d always been intimidating given his size, but in prison he had become an obsessive bodybuilder, made worse by somehow having access to steroids on the inside.
Not only had he changed physically, but Vinter had also been preparing for life on the outside for some time.
Thanks to a series of home visits from prison in the two years leading to his release, Vinter had started dating a mum-of-four called Anne White, from Middlesbrough.
The pair moved in together in Eston upon his release and married in July the following year, in July 2006. But, as we so often hear, not everyone was pleased. Several friends and family members voiced their concerns about the couple.
Fast forward six months after the wedding. New Year’s Eve 2006. At some point during the evening, at the Miners Arms pub in Eston, Vinter got hit with a glass across the back of his head. A fight broke out between Vinter and Thomas Hoe, who was 22, against Geoffrey Ewart aged 40 and Carl Ewart aged 19.
CCTV footage showed the four men leaving the pub and Vinter punching Geoffrey Ewart to the ground and ending the fight.
In July 2007, back at Teesside Crown Court, Vinter was sent back to jail, this time for six months.
Once again, though, he was a model prisoner and was free again before Christmas.
By April the following year, though, Vinter was back at Teesside Crown Court yet again. This time for another murder that he’d carried out on 11th Feb 2008.
The musclebound murderer
From the end of January onwards, Vinter’s wife, Anne, had become more vocal to her friends about her unhappy marriage. Citing Vinter’s violent behaviour, she confided that she was wanted to leave him, but was scared, fearing that he would come after her.
On 6th Feb the couple had an almighty row, ending with Vinter going mad, smashing up a TV set and storming out, taking Anne’s passport with him in what can only be seen as a way of stifling her freedom.
This was the last that she saw of her husband until the fateful night of 11th when she was out drinking with friends.
Vinter had consumed alcohol and cocaine on top of his normal steroid cocktail – a paranoia-inducing mix.
Phillip James and Andrew Drury
Driving from pub to pub with two of his friends Phillip James and Andrew Drury – both much younger than Vinter at just 22 and both were said to be in awe of the seasoned criminal.
Stalking his wife around various pubs in Eston and Normanby, the couple eventually found themselves – separately – at the Miners Arm pub. The same pub where Vinter had the New Years Eve fight which led to his imprisonment.
The evening had been too much for Vinter and before long he was arguing with Anne and her 16-year-old daughter, Paige.
Spilling outside, witnesses saw him screaming at his wife and ordering her into the back seat of his friend’s car.
As Anne cowered, Vinter’s two friends were visibly growing nervous. Dropping the pair at Vinter’s mum’s house on Webster Road, Normanby, just over a mile away,Anne said to Phillip and Andrew:
You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, being with him.Anne White
By now, police were looking for the couple, having been called by Anne’s worried friends. Calling her on her mobile, they actually managed to speak to Anne who told them that she was still out drinking and having fun. It seems that this was just an effort to keep her husband’s temper in check.
Not long after, Vinter attacked Anne in the kitchen at his mother’s house in Webster Road, Normanby, while his mother slept upstairs.
He initially tried to strangle her, before stabbing her four times, three times into her lung, once into her heart, he killed her quickly. She died from internal bleeding.
His first reaction was to call Phillip and Andrew again, telling them in a breathless phone call to come and get him from where they’d dropped him off.
When they got there, Vinter jumped into the back seat, yelled “Go! Go!” and urged them to leave the scene.
Despite seeing him with his shirt and hands covered in blood, they did as they were told.
Using Anne’s phone, Vinter rang the police, admitting to the murder: -Quote
Right, my name’s Gary Vinter. I’m solely responsible for the death of my wife.
There’s nobody else involved, just me. I killed my wife. That’s all I’m prepared to say.Gary Vinter
It was Vinter’s mother who stumbled across the body of her daughter-in-law on the kitchen floor.
In echoes of the murder of Carl Edon, two knives had been used – one of which was broken in half.
And despite his admission by phone, when police caught up with Vinter at 2am, they had to use batons to get him subdued.
Upon being handcuffed, Vinter said:
I’m a convicted murderer. Nobody’s going to take a blind bit of notice of what I’ve got to say.
I’ll be pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity. I will not be running a trial.Gary Vinter
Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang was put in charge of the investigation into Anne White’s death, though in truth there wasn’t much investigating to do.
True to his word, Vinter told his lawyer, Brian Russell, to offer no mitigation on his part.
In sentencing, Judge Peter Fox said:
Regrettably you are incapable of self-control. Your extreme violence to others cannot be viewed as other than continuing for as far as can be seen.
You therefore fall into that relatively small category of people who should be deprived permanently of their liberty in a civilised society.
It is a whole life sentence.Judge Peter Fox
Anne’s father, Jim White, who was 71 at the time, said:
When a man’s got life and gets parole after 10 years, surely if he breaks that parole, he goes back and finishes the life sentence?
All we want to know is why didn’t finish his sentence when he went in. He was only out two months when he murdered her.
It’s unbelievable. It’s broke us all, the whole family. She was our only girl and she’s gone.Anne White’s father, Jim White
Val Edon, mum of the first murder victim, Carl, said that it was “marvellous news” that Vinter would die in prison. She told reporters:
He is not going to get out again. I feel so sorry for the other family that have had to go through what we have been through, we know exactly how they are feeling at this present time.
It takes an awful long time to recover. Your life is never the same again; you never get over it. My son had two small children.Carl Edon’s mum, Val Edon
And the case should end there, but naturally, it doesn’t.
Roy Whiting and Lee Newell
In July 2011 Vinter attacked the killer of eight-year-old schoolgirl Sarah Payne, Roy Whiting, at Wakefield Jail in West Yorkshire.
Then in November 2014, he attacked Lee Newell – himself a double killer also serving a whole of life term – in the special segregation wing at Milton Keynes.
CCTV footage showed Vinter punching Newell to the floor and then kicking him in the head several times as he was on the ground. He was heard to say:
That’s what happens when you mess me about!Gary Vinter
The attack was so violent that it caused head and brain injuries to Newell, who was also left blinded in one eye.
Senior prison officer Mark Kupczyk, said that Newell’s injuries were:
The worst injuries I have seen in a prison in 21 years of service.Mark Kupczyk
During the court case it was revealed that two months before the assault, Vinter had requested a transfer to a prison with better gym facilities.
He had decided that waiting two months was too long and so took his frustration out on Newell.
When brought up for sentencing, Judge Richard Foster told Vinter:
You must be one of the most dangerous individuals within the prison system today. Your record is truly shocking.Judge Richard Foster
He set a minimum term of 18 years, calling it an “academic exercise” as he explained:
You will in any event spend the rest of your life in prison. However it is important – not least for Lee Newell and his family – that due process has taken its course.Judge Richard Foster
Vinter later went on to challenge his whole life tariff, arguing that is was incompatible with his human rights.
Lawyers argued with David Lidington, the then Secretary of Justice, that he hadn’t put proper procedures in place for reviewing the sentences of lifers – despite European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling, which expressed that there should be a clear review mechanism in the UK.
Lord Justice Jackson dismissed the case, citing that the ECHR had recently backed the way that the UK had dealt with the case of another lifer prisoner, going on to claim that it was “too soon” for another legal challenge.
Carl Edon and Heinrich Richter
An odd footnote to this story is the bizarre claim that Carl Edon, the first murder victim, had been convinced he was reincarnated from a World War 2 German bomber.
Two years after he died, a plane and body were found near to where he had grown up – and there are some remarkable similarities between Carl Edon and Heinrich Richter, the pilot who had died in the plane crash.
We cover this off in more detail in our Sublime Extra Time episode over on Patreon.
And that is the case of Gary Vinter.
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Credits for The Musclebound Murderer:
The book that Elaine mentioned was Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley.
Life Means Life, Jailed Forever: True Stories of Britain’s Most Evil Killers by Nick Appleyard – Available from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2zK3CC4 (Affiliate link)
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/)
Previous case: The Colourblind Killer.