The Panty Thief Killer: Russell Williams

(Russell Williams: Picture credit: thesun)

Some people would probably disagree with my choice of opening picture and title for this post but what else was I supposed to call this monster? He did steal women's (and children's) underwear as well as subjecting his victims to torture, sexual assault, violence and murder, so I'm not here to play sympathy for him or respect him. 

I'm always on the side of the victims who deserve to have their stories told and people need to be reminded of what monsters like Russell Williams have done. 

I talked about this case briefly on my old Instagram account and I remember how shocked people were then, I decided to go into the case in this post. It's one of those stories that is almost too hard to believe. Before I go further into the details, I will be sharing some disturbing facts about the case so you may want to skip over this one but keep that in mind. 

So where do I begin? Well, let's look at Russell's background. He was actually born in Bromsgrove, England on the 7th of March 1963. He had quite a comfortable childhood, both of his parents had well paid jobs and they emigrated over to Canada before divorcing when Russell was six years old. The odd thing about the divorce is that his mother quickly hooked up with one of his father's friends but apart from this, everything remained on good terms. 

Russell was a bright child, he seemed to be able to pick things up very quickly and was way ahead academically for his age. He was not shy of hard work and had a part-time job as a paperboy delivering newspapers around the neighbourhood as well as taking regular piano lessons. There was no trauma in his childhood but there was some upheaval when his mother and stepfather moved to South Korea for work commitments, by this time he had been doing so well in high school and had to switch to studying over there which for Russell wasn't an issue as he seemed to be able to adapt to different situations and was a quick learner.

Russell seemed to be popular and well liked wherever he went, his school teachers and later on, University professors were very impressed with him. The other students would often vote for him to be the leader of a group or a task. He just seemed to know the answers to everything and was a natural born leader. At boarding school and University he would often take charge over his other roommates and organise who was doing certain chores but he made sure that it was fair and that everyone did their part so nobody had an issue with that. 

He was sociable too and was often the life and soul of the party. He loved to play pranks on his friends and would do things such as, sneak into their rooms by picking the locks and hiding in their closets for long periods of time before jumping out at a random moment. At the time this was seen as all fun and games but obviously now when his former friends look back it gives them the chills just to think about it and who could blame them. 

Russell studied Economics and Political Science at University and of course like predicted, he passed with flying colours like he seemed to do with everything. His friends did notice that he didn't seem to have much going on in his love life, he did have a girlfriend at one point but the relationship ended very badly and Russell was distraught. His friends tried to avoid the subject of girlfriends as they didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable. Russell didn't talk much about his family either and was a very private person. 

Not long after his graduation he surprised one of his closest friends by declaring that he wanted to go into the military. His friend was puzzled by this because of all of the hard work and studying that Russell had just recently done and now he wanted to go into a completely different career but that was Russell, always looking for the next challenge. 

Again, Russell flourished in his new chosen career. He joined the Canadian Forces in 1987 and worked his way up the ranks and was described as a ''shining bright star''. He even excelled as a pilot and was trusted to fly important world figures such as the Queen of England and the Prime Minister of Canada on his planes. In his personal life he was now married to a devoted wife and his friends described the couple as well suited and soulmates. Life couldn't be better for Russell Williams, he seemed to be going from strength to strength and it seemed that everything he turned his hand to just turned to gold. It wasn't long before he was made Colonel of the Canadian Armed Forces. He had enjoyed a very successful 23 year career in the military with various awards and medals. 

(Russell Williams: Picture credit: nbcnews)

So what went wrong? Well, underneath the military uniform and friendly gentleman routine which everyone was used to seeing, Russell was hiding some very dark secrets. He had a fetish for women's lingerie and having that side of him that was always looking for a risk and a challenge, he had developed a very sick hobby of breaking into women's homes, taking their underwear and in some cases, sex toys. Sometimes he would masturbate onto the actual drawer containing the lingerie. Sometimes he would leave messages taunting his victims. 

For someone who was as intelligent as Russell was, running around from house to house (the police later reported that he had broken into at least 82 houses) not far from where he lived and leaving his DNA was pretty careless but for a narcissist such as himself who had such confidence he probably thought he could get away with anything. 

He would steal women's lingerie and take them home where he would photograph himself in the items before carefully storing them like some sort of sick collection. Soon enough Russell was getting tired of just stealing the underwear and wanted to go further. He broke into a woman's house in the middle of the night, tied her up, took photographs and sexually assaulted her. The terrified woman who's baby was in the next room asked him ''Are you going to kill me?'' to which he replied ''No need for that''.  Russell quickly fled the scene. 

(Russell Williams and his now ex-wife. Picture credit: macleans)

Everyone around the area where the break-ins were happening were in a panic wondering who was doing these things and who was going to be next. The police went from door to door questioning people and shockingly a neighbour of Russell's was falsely looked at as a possible suspect as a victim had mistakenly identified this man's voice as the perpetrator. For a number of weeks this man's life was turned upside down as people around him thought that he was this pervert running around stealing underwear and attacking women. Russell was aware that this poor man was wrongly under suspicion and didn't care as long as the heat was off of him. 

On the 28th of January 2010 a woman by the name of Jessica Lloyd had been reported missing. It was unusual for the beautiful and friendly 27 year old to just vanish without being in touch with family and friends, it was so out of character for her. People began to worry that something sinister had happened and wondered if there was any connection between Jessica's disappearance and this horrible perverted stalker who was on the loose. 

Fortunately 2 men had been driving by Jessica's house around about the time before she was reported missing and noticed a vehicle (Pathfinder) parked there. The men thought nothing of it at the time but reported their sighting to the police when they later learned of Jessica's disappearance. The police didn't waste any time searching the area around Jessica's home and stopping near by traffic for questioning and inspection. The vehicle that the two men had spotted that night had left unusual tyre tracks in the mud just outside of Jessica's house and luckily, Russell Williams just happened to be driving on the same road that the police were doing their investigations and pulled him over.

The cocky, arrogant and over-confident Russell (or Russ as he preferred to be called) was driving the same vehicle that was spotted outside of Jessica's home. His usual mode of transport was his BMW but for some reason he just decided to use his Pathfinder instead. The police stopped him and asked a few questions before taking pictures of his tyres. What the police were just about to learn was that Russell Williams had been at Jessica Lloyd's house and he was responsible for her disappearance. 

Russell must have thought that he'd gotten away with it until the phone rang. He was in the newly built dream home that he and his wife had been working on and when he answered the phone it was the police asking him to come down to the station just to answer a few more questions. 

What Russell didn't know was that the police already had him in their sights, the results came back from the pictures and the inspection of his car and it matched the tracks at Jessica's house as well as some DNA that was found inside the house. In magnificent footage that you can find online (I'll include the link at the end of the post), Detective Jim Smyth manages to lure the over-confident Russell into a false sense of security, Jim tries to plead ignorant at the beginning of the interrogation and manages to put Russell at ease. Russell sits on his chair trying to look unbothered but as time goes by, Jim let's the truth slip and tells Russell that the cops have evidence from Jessica's home that traces back to him. Jim also tells him that investigators are searching his properties and are talking to his wife. Realising that there's nowhere to run, Russell drops the cool as a cucumber act and actually expresses a moment of panic at the thought of what his wife is going to say and think. He also expresses concern about the military and the media. 

(Russell Williams during his interrogation by Jim Smyth. Picture credit: ctvnews)

Strangely he also seems very concerned about the mess that the cops are going to make during their search and doesn't want his wife to be upset. During the whole interrogation and even during the confession he expressed no remorse, no emotion, no tears for his victims. Jim was able to have Russell backed up into a corner to the point where he started confessing in detail, the whole interview took 10 hours. 

Russell confessed that he had been going past Jessica's house one day and saw her working out on her treadmill, he decided to go back later and find out if she lived alone. He then broke into her house and woke her up. He spent the next few hours filming himself sexually assaulting the poor woman and forcing her to perform sex acts on him. He then took Jessica away from her home and held her captive at another property. He said that the whole nightmare lasted close to 24 hours. During this time at the other property he continued to sexually assault Jessica, he made her dress up in lingerie and continued to film and take photographs of himself and her. At one point Jessica pretended to have a fit, she did this as an attempt to gain some sympathy from Russell but all he did was told her to rest for a bit. He then forced her to lay down with him whilst he had a nap whilst she was tied up. 

In the interview he had the absolute nerve to say that he thought that Jessica was a nice girl and that she did as he asked. The fact that he could just sit there without a shred of remorse and say that when he murdered this lovely young woman for no reason. 

Without any emotion he continued to tell Jim that he woke Jessica up and told her they were going for a walk. He said that Jessica was under the impression that he was letting her go, as she walked in front of him he violently hit her over the head with a torch. As if what he had said so far wasn't enough to sicken anyone listening, he said that he was surprised at how easy it was to kill her and that her skull had come apart very easily. He said he wasn't expecting that. 

Jim asked him what he had done with Jessica's body and he explained that he had wrapped her head in some towels and asked for a map to show him the exact location. 

The horrifying details of Jessica's death was difficult as it was but here he was again, confessing to another murder and this time it was someone he briefly met in his military life as the victim was a military traffic technician. He'd broken into the house of 37 year old Marie-France Comeau in November of 2009. Russell went into detail that he had managed to get into her basement/cellar and waited. Marie was looking for her cat who was down there and understandably she was horrified to see Russell standing there, he came after her and a struggle ensued, Marie even shouted at him ''YOU B*STARD'' and the brave woman did all that she could to fight back. Investigations were still going on as to who murdered Marie and people wondered if it could have been her boyfriend, not for a second did anyone think that the upstanding, pillar of the community Russell Williams could ever be involved in something like that. After he murdered Marie he returned back to his duties as normal and as word got around after Marie's body was found, he had the nerve to actually write a letter of condolence to her family. 

Russell Williams sat in that little room for 10 hours with Jim Smyth and confessed to the murders of Jessica Lloyd, Marie-France Comeau as well as the other attacks, break-ins and thefts. 

(Jessica Lloyd and Marie France Comeau. Picture credit: dailymail)

During the search of his properties the police found a huge stash of stolen lingerie and other items from victims. He was reported to have targeted at least 82 homes. The lingerie was carefully recorded and folded like some sort of creepy exhibit. He also had tons of pictures of himself wearing the items as well as video footage of himself and his victims. He tried to erase everything that was on his computer and camera but investigators were able to retrieve everything. 

(Russell Williams photographing himself in his victims stolen lingerie. Picture credit: thesun)

Everyone who knew Russell was horrified and couldn't believe it when the news broke. Some people were devastated because they thought the world of him. The Canadian Forces were horrified and embarrassed, they stripped him of all of his medals and awards, wiped his biography from their website and even burned his uniform. They were completely done with him. 

(Some of the collection of stolen lingerie found at Russell William's house. Picture credit: theglobeandmail)

His wife who claimed to have no knowledge of his crimes or sexual deviancy soon applied for a divorce. 

Suddenly the man who had it all, had nothing and he had nobody to blame but himself.

He was charged and remanded into custody and placed on suicide watch after an attempt to force a cardboard toilet roll down his throat. 

During his trial he pleaded guilty to everything (well with the huge amount of evidence against him how could he not?) and it was also found that some of the stolen underwear had belonged to children as young as 9 years old and he frequently masturbated on victim's beds whilst filming himself. 

On the 22nd of October 2010 he was sentenced to two life terms with no consideration for parole in 25 years and further charges were added for the 82 known break-ins and thefts. 

Russell Williams has continued his sentence behind bars and is said to be comfortable with his situation at present. His now ex-wife managed to get allot of their shared assets after the divorce but he was always focused on making sure she was taken care of.

Last year (2020) marked 10 years since Jessica's death and even to this day the friends, families and colleagues of Jessica and Marie still struggle to come to terms with what happened. The neighbour who was falsely suspected at the beginning of the investigation is still effected and those that knew Russell are still in a state of confusion and shock about this man that they thought they knew all those years. 

Not failing to mention the two other women who were attacked and the women who's houses were broken into and property stolen, they still have the trauma and nightmares to know that this monster had been in their house and they could have been murdered too. 

Russell Williams managed to single-handedly destroy so many lives with what he did and even though he is behind bars people are still suffering from the trauma of what he put them through.

This case was tough to get through and I thank you for getting through to the end with me. Please check out the fascinating interrogation below as well as the documentary and articles.

Further Reading & Sources: 

Russell Williams Interrogation By Jim Smyth - GRAPHIC

Russell Williams | The Fifth Estate (Documentary)

Talking With Psychopaths & Savages - Book by Christopher Berry-Dee

Russell Williams Wikipedia

Russell Williams Murderpedia

Russell Williams | CBC News Article

Jessica Lloyd | Global News Article

RIP Jessica & Marie. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest case and hopefully you will join me again next week for my next case. You can find me on social media here


  1. This was an absolute creep and an absolute monster. 🙊

    First any man that finds comfort wearing women's panties needs to get their head checked! That's not a fetish it's an illness, and this monster's actions prove it. 👀

    I can't imagine the anguish and fear his victims suffered during their ordeal. Even reading this was bone chilling and disturbing to get through, however you have (as you always do) written it with such brilliance and devotion to the victims that I was riveted from start to finish. 👀😯🙊

    Absolutely incredible post from a truly talented and amazing writer! Thank you! ❤🙏🏼❤

    1. It is very disturbing right enough. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, much appreciated as always x

  2. That guy is the perfect example of sickness.

    His case was all over the place in Canada at the time of his arrest. I’ve seen a brief documentary on him but I wasn’t aware of how sick he truly was. I’m sick to my stomach. What he did was horrendous. Everybody had a lot of trust in him and he was using his position of authority to live his double secret life.

    He destroyed so many families and lives. He viciously killed two innocent victims. He has no remorse at all and he even comfortable with his life. He made me want to vomit.

    You did such a fantastic work covering everything about that sick individual. It must have been so tough to work on this case.

    RIP to the victims and my thoughts are with all the families and relatives.

    Thank you Jo for your masterful coverage of the case.