The Sex-Mad Black Widow: The Kathleen McCluskey Story


(Top picture: Kathleen McCluskey. From bottom left: James McCluskey, Marvin Brodie, Ray Diaz. Mohammed Assadi was also a victim but his picture is not posted here due to lack of any proper photographs available online. Picture credit: pictures taken from BBC News and collage was created by myself)

There's been quite a few female killers in the history of crime that have been given the nickname ''The Black Widow'' and the lady above joins that list. Her name is Kathleen McCluskey and with her jet black hair and red lips, she was very much the temptress who liked to prey on vulnerable men for her own selfish needs. 

This case is one of those that has had a brief mention in the press and then just totally disappeared from people's minds which is very unfortunate but is quite common. That is one of the positives of being a true crime blogger, you can refresh the story to help raise awareness so other writers can cover the case and it informs more people about what actually happened. 

I stumbled across this case recently and I'd never heard about it before. There's only a small amount of information online and forgive me for the pictures above but those were limited too. I had to leave the only available picture of one of her alleged victims out because it was completely blurry. 

Luckily I have a number of true crime books which had some details about the case which helped with my research. 

[Please note before I begin that I will be mentioning things to do with substance misuse, alcoholism and suicide]

So let's get into the case....

Kathleen McCluskey was born Kathleen Baxter in South Yorkshire in 1960, not much is known about her early childhood other than that she was the daughter of a hospital porter and had left home at the age of 16 to live in Brighton, England. 

She was involved in prostitution and became dependant on various substances and alcohol and would use her looks to get what she wanted from men. People who knew her would later tell investigators that Kathleen had a high sex drive as well as an overactive imagination. She would tell people that she was a witch and talked about Satan and witchcraft, she even insisted that every time a visitor visited her flat they had to stroke a brass statue that she kept in her living room. She also had a penchant for opening her front door naked to anyone who dare knock such as postmen, milkmen etc. 

Her life was a constant upheaval of drugs, alcohol, sex and various men. In the 1980s she continued to move around and at one point stayed in Cambridge before going to London. 

Fast forward to 1994 and Kathleen is now in a relationship and about to marry a man by the name of James Wormold (also known as James Baxter. He changed his surname to McCluskey when he married Kathleen - the confusion is real with the surnames). James actually came from a highly respected family and he even attended Eton but soon dropped out and became a bit of a rebel. Instead of focusing on a career and carrying on the family traditions, James decided to travel, take drugs, party and become a hippie. He and Kathleen got married in the December of 1994 and both were addicts and this caused issues for their sex life. James had such a problem with the drugs that he had difficulty maintaining an erection but the pair came up with a solution to the problem. 

As I mentioned earlier, Kathleen had a high sex drive and was very adventurous, James didn't seem to mind this and the pair decided that she would have sex with other men whilst her husband watched. Watching his wife with other men enabled James to ejaculate and this arrangement seemed to suit them both fine until disaster struck and one of the men she was having sex with, Mohammed Assadi, died. 

Apparently in the August of 1999, Kathleen and James were up to their usual tricks and Mohammed Assadi was their willing guest for the evening. James watched his wife and Mohammed have sex and at some point he left the flat to get a bottle of Methadone (a heroin substitute) whilst they carried on. Neighbours later reported that they heard Kathleen shouting ''I CAN F!CK ANYBODY'' during intercourse with Mohammed. Some time later, James returned with the methadone and all three of them (who'd been drinking and taking drugs all night) fell asleep. 

When Kathleen and James finally woke up they found Mohammed nude, unresponsive with the almost empty bottle of methadone by his side. Neighbours heard Kathleen shouting for Mohammed to wake up. An ambulance was called and when paramedics arrived at the scene they found Kathleen hysterical and shouting that she had poisoned him. James was a mess, he was high as a kite and told the paramedics ''SHE'S MY WIFE & HIS WHORE''

Mohammed was dead at the scene, the coroner recorded an open verdict and whether it was the problems with the drugs or guilt over what had happened, James decided that 16 months later he would take his own life by vehicular suicide (inhaling carbon monoxide in his car). 

Not long after the incident with Mohammed, two other men had died in suspicious circumstances involving Kathleen. Both of these men had been vulnerable addicts too who fell under her spell. 

Another two men that she was involved with by the names of Peter Bakulinsky and Charles Horsepool  claimed that she had tried to give them some kind of poison, luckily they survived. Another bizarre fact about this case is that Kathleen kept photographs of herself having sex with Mohammed just before he died. These photographs were on the wall in her bedroom along with the sex toys and handcuffs that she always had around. 

It seemed that Kathleen's taste for kinky sex went beyond just a bit of rough pleasure. The act of having sex with the men and then taking their lives seemed to be something that she enjoyed. It was a tricky situation because she lured the men to the flat, the men were only happy to go, they had this attractive woman who wanted to have sex with them and party with them, it must have been just too good an offer to refuse. 

With the men being highly intoxicated and high, she would persuade them to swallow whatever substance she gave them, making these men have an involuntarily hand in their own deaths. It was very cold and sadistic. 

The police launched a full investigation into Kathleen and then suddenly the party was over, she tried to deny everything but her manipulative ways and fluttering her eyelashes at investigators didn't work for her and she was found guilty but only convicted of the murders of Mohammed Assadi and Marvin Brodie. She was cleared of the other charges relating to the other men. It was a difficult case to prove especially as all the victims had a long history themselves of alcohol and substance abuse. At the trial some witnesses said that they had previously overheard Kathleen say ''I DON'T WANT TO GO TO PRISON, I'LL KILL YOU LIKE ALL OF THE REST''. A Pharmacists book was also found in her flat, a book which enabled her to learn about different types of drugs and their affects on the human body. 

Kathleen, who claimed to be innocent, screamed obscenities in the courtroom as she was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003. 

It's now been 18 years since Kathleen McCluskey was sentenced to 10 years in prison which is a ridiculous sentence for the lives of two men and not to mention her other victims. Even the prosecutors doubted that her husband James had committed suicide himself, they felt she could have possibly had a hand in that too. 18 years and I can't find anything to suggest that she has been released so I can only assume that she is still behind bars, she was involved with psychiatric care and deemed mentally unfit so maybe that is the situation right now that she is to remain locked up. 

If there is any more updates on this case I will let you know but thank you as always for checking out my latest case and be sure to find more of my content etc here

Further Reading & Sources:

Talking With Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee

Kathleen McCluskey | BBC News Article

Kathleen McCluskey Artcle | The Guardian

Kathleen McCluskey Article | The Free Library

Kathleen McCluskey Article | Irish Examiner

Hopefully I will see you in the next post. Stay safe x 


  1. Wow! What a complete and total psychopath! "Black Widow" stories are really crazy and creepy as there are such frightening depths of depravity involved with them.
    It's an odd correlation that the practice of witchcraft is often twisted into satanism and something dark and sick with people of this nature.
    Substance abuse and alcoholism mixed with an already dark twisted mind seems to be another leading cause for such horrific people to act out on.
    A truly gripping yet disturbingly creepy and brilliantly written true crime story. 🙏🏼❤🔥

    1. Thank you so much for the comments and taking the time to read the post (as well as checking out my other content too, I really appreciate it). I should really do a compilation post or book about all of these killers with the label ''Black Widow''. Much love x

  2. I heard the name « Black Widow » before but I wasn’t aware of the details of that gruesome case. Kathleen McCluskey is NUTS. She is a narcissistic crazy woman. A manipulative dangerous woman ! Mohammed Assadi was the first of many victims. The spiral start after James commits suicide but I guess that she probably killed him. My God, drug, kinkiness and craziness, I can’t believe how crazy and insane she is !!!

    I hope she’s still behind bars !!! If you get any update, let us know. Thank you so much Jo. Absolutely brilliant article.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my latest case, I really appreciate it and for commenting. It's highly likely that she is still behind bars but if I do find any new updates on this case I will share it on this post and let you know. Thanks again x

  3. first time ive heard about this woman really interested in what happened to her keep me updated loving this website

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment and I will update as soon as any new news becomes available x

  4. I was in highpoint with Kath Mclusky in 2002. It wasn't till she was on trial and I saw pictures on the front page of paper...n realised she'd married n killed an old acquaintance of mine...Jimmy McCLusky. I was in a room close to her n a banged on her door for answers!! Thing is with Jimmy....he was a heavy drinker and user. She was adamant he died by over indulging. Which was possible.Kath was off the wall for sure, didn't tolerate fools gladly...sumthin we had in common

    1. wow, thank you for taking the time to read and comment x

    2. There's so much I could say...I'm goin to see if I can find where she is....I remember it all..I'm sure I heard she died...but I've no idea if I'm honest x

  5. I met this woman while designing her new kitchen, she opened the door and had a foreign girl who seemed to be a dort of slave, house was very satanic with lots of witchcraft bits and bobs everywhere, she offered me a cup of tea which I refused, it was the quickest design visit I ever performed and vouldnt wait to get out of there as quickly as possible, very scary lady, I only found out when I left the house and returned to my colleagues, about the crimes she was guilty of.