''My New Year's Resolution Is To Become A Serial killer'' - Colin Ireland | Serial Killers of The 70s, 80s & 90s | GRAPHIC DETAILS

 (Colin Ireland. Picture credit: documentaryheaven)

*Please be aware that disturbing details are shared in this post. I have tried to be as sensitive as possible without shying away from the facts of this case. The contents of this blog are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18*

After a life of nothing but disappointment, abandonment and hassle, loner Colin Ireland took it upon himself to come to a really dark and disturbing decision....to become a Serial Killer. Born to teenage parents in 1954 in Dartford, Kent (England), his mother was just 17 years old and found herself in a difficult situation especially as his father ran off leaving the young girl to struggle with a baby on her own. Colin never met his father. It was a tough start with no money and no decent living conditions and throughout his life it wasn't to get any better.

His mother struggled to cope with him and he spent some time in care before he was returned to her. It wasn't long before his mother met someone else and got married leaving Colin pretty much out in the cold. She had decided that she wanted to have her own life and at just 16 years old, Colin found himself homeless and on a train to London. Whilst in London he would hang around a well known amusement arcade which was reported to have been frequented by sex offenders. It is believed that Colin had been sexually abused on one of the occasions that he was there and this was what sent him on this path of hatred for homosexual men. He was in and out of detention centers due to committing petty crimes. At one point he was noted as having over 50 court appearances.

His criminal career of petty crimes and various stints behind bars had continued up until the early 1980s. In 1982 he had began a relationship with a woman named Virginia and the pair were soon married and they raised a little girl together, things were good for a while but Colin soon fell into trouble again and was soon back behind bars. The pair ended up getting divorced in 1987 after his wife had discovered that he'd been having an affair with another woman. When it came to relationships, Colin didn't seem to have any trouble meeting women even though he didn't exactly have an engaging personality. He was quite awkward and many people later commented that they found him to be uncomfortable to be around due to his sullen demeanor. He wasn't exactly the life and soul of the party. 

After the marriage with Virginia had ended, he met and apparently fell in love with a woman named Janet. By this time it was 1989 and to say that he treated Janet horrendously, is an understatement. The poor woman was put through hell. She was shocked at the sudden change in him because when they first met, he seemed to be the perfect gentleman. She knew there was always something quite off about him but put it down to him just being shy. Janet already had children from a previous relationship and the kids were really starting to bond with Colin so it was a shock when he completely abandoned her and the children out of the blue. Janet had always been good to Colin and gave him the family life that he never had but instead of being thankful he decided to steal all of her belongings and empty out her bank account of 10k before vanishing into thin air. Janet and her children were left with nothing and had to rely on her parents for support as well as staying in temporary accommodation. 

With this sudden and harsh change of events, Janet was left in so much shock that she reported Colin missing to the police, she tried to tell herself excuses about what really happened but in the end she had to admit that he had used her and stolen from her. The whole ordeal traumatized Janet and her children and it was even worse for them in years to come when they discovered who Colin really was and what he would become. 

After a harsh early start in life, rejected by both parents and always ending up on the wrong side of the law whilst also hurting the very women who he had been in relationships with, Colin seemed to have had a moment of kindness but it was short lived. He decided that he was done with always being in trouble and wanted to do something positive. He became interested in volunteering and had taken a role at a homeless shelter. Again, it seemed that all was well in the beginning but Colin's real personality began to make itself known. His colleagues became more and more uncomfortable with his rude behaviour and comments. When Colin was overheard saying that he wanted to force some snooker balls down a man's throat as a form of torture, it was decided that a meeting had to take place about his future at the shelter. It was decided that it would be best for Colin to move on and he was furious about this decision and felt that he had been unfairly let go. 

Some people believe that this was Colin's last chance to have put his demons to rest and really try to make a positive go of his life in his voluntary role and with that now being over, there was nothing left for him. He saw it as another rejection. 

For reasons only known to himself, he returned to his hatred of homosexual men. There's some debate over whether he himself was gay but according to psychiatrists, Colin claimed that he was heterosexual and that there was no indication that he was gay. Some criminologists have argued that he could have been gay and sought out to kill homosexual men because he couldn't come to terms with his own sexuality. In my opinion, with the way that he treated the women in his life and the horrendous actions he was to carry out in his future crimes towards innocent gay men, I believe that he was gay himself and for some reason just could not accept it. 

After a life of petty crime and disappointment, Colin decided that he couldn't face another year of more misery so his twisted aspiration was to become a serial killer and target gay men. This was his New Year's resolution because he wanted to be famous and he felt that this was the way to do it. He planned the whole thing out and used what knowledge he had of the gay scene to find his victims and carry out his sickening acts. Colin knew what places to target and what terminology to use because he had worked for a brief period of time in the past as a doorman at a gay night club (so for someone who was apparently so against homosexuality, he had no issues working at a gay club in the past). 

Colin was an avid reader of true crime books and was obsessed with serial killers. He focused on some of the techniques that some of the infamous killers in history had used and thought that he could do the same. He also had a high interest in forensics and thought that he had what it took to outsmart the police if he began killing. 

Colin began to frequent a well known gay pub in Earl's Court, London called 'The Coleherne Arms'. The pub itself is now closed and the building has new owners but in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, it was the place to be and very much an important landmark in the gay community. The downside of this popular establishment was that it did attract the wrong sort of people such as serial killers, for example, Dennis Nielsen and Michael Lupo along with Colin were notable regulars who encountered their victims at the pub. 

Colin (who claimed that he wasn't homosexual himself but seemed to know everything in great detail about the gay community) would take along certain coloured handkerchiefs to the bar and this would be a secret code to other men that he was interested in sadomasochism. He would also look for any men who happened to be carrying these handkerchiefs. Colin would either approach them (as he later claimed, pretending that he was a gay man) or they would approach him and the pair would have a few drinks before going back to the victim's apartment. 

Colin claimed that he only pretended to be gay so that he could lure the victim into his trap. He'd go home with them and murder them before leaving a sickening display for the cops to find. 

His first known victim was a man named Peter Walker, a popular West End theater director. Peter was a regular of the Coleherne and was very open and proud of being gay and he made no secret that he liked to spice things up in the bedroom department with some sadomasochism. Peter much preferred to have a more submissive role (known as a 'bottom' in gay terminology) rather than dominant when it came to sex. On the night of the 8th of March 1993, Peter had the unfortunate luck of running into Colin Ireland who he assumed to be gay and into similar interests as him. The pair chatted for a while and had a few drinks before going back to Peter's apartment. Peter had two dogs which were kept in another room. 

(The former pub known as The Coleherne Arms was later branded The Pembroke. Picture credit: wikipedia)

Whilst both men were in Peter's home what happened next was utterly horrendous. Colin had tied Peter up and obviously Peter went along with it at first thinking it was all part of the role play. What was supposed to be two men engaging in some fun turned out to be a horrific nightmare with Colin savagely beating Peter as he laid there tied up with condoms in an undignified fashion. He also put a lighter close to Peter's testicles in order to torture Peter into telling him his pin number. Colin placed a plastic bag over the poor man's head and suffocated him to death before proceeding to burn Peter's pubic hair because he ''wanted to know what it would smell like''. After this disgusting act he decided to have a look around Peter's apartment to see if there was anything of any value that he could steal, whilst going through Peter's personal letters he discovered that he was HIV positive. Colin was enraged and decided to place some condoms up Peter's nostrils and in his mouth. He then placed two teddy bears in a 69 position on top of the bed. He would later use Peter's bank card to draw out cash from a ATM machine. 

In a common theme through Colin's horrible crimes was that he wouldn't flee the crime scene straight away after the killings. He would wait until the morning before leaving to not arouse suspicion from the neighbours. Colin would sit and watch TV or make sandwiches whilst his deceased victim would be laying lifeless in a horrible display that he had left. Colin later told investigators that he hated having to stay with the bodies after the murders because he would see the skin start to change colour and purple blotches would appear. He said he had to stay to ensure that he wouldn't be seen. 

Colin carried his own murder kit which contained handcuffs, rope and clothes which he would change into after he'd committed the murders. 

After Peter's murder, Colin was annoyed to see that nothing had been reported on the news or in the paper so he contacted a journalist and told him that there were two dogs being kept in a room in Peter's apartment and that he had murdered Peter. When  asked by the journalist why he had carried out the murder Colin responded that he wanted to be famous and that it was his New Year's resolution to become a serial killer. 

A few months after Peter's murder, Colin returned to the Coleherne bar and selected his next victim. Christopher Dunn was just 37 years old and had worked as a librarian. He was a quiet man and well liked and like a lot of people he had a fetish which involved BDSM. Sadly for Christopher, he trusted Colin and the pair went back to his home where he was cruelly murdered by Colin. Christopher's body was found two days after his murder, he had been in a harness and pieces of cloth had been forced down his throat. He also appeared to have been strangled. The police believed it to have been a sex act gone wrong and didn't take the situation as seriously as they should have done at the time. 

With Colin's first known murder of Peter Walker, there was a little bit of time where he appeared to have been quiet as if waiting to see what attention the murder would stir up. Not being satisfied, he struck again and this time he murdered Christopher Dunn and just four days after his murder he killed 35 year old Perry Bradley so the murders were getting more closer together. The situation with Perry had been a little bit different to the other two known victims, he wasn't into BDSM and was pretty nervous about it, Colin persuaded him that it was nothing to worry about and that he would be fine. Colin tied the poor man up and threatened him, demanding that he give him his bank details. Perry did so and Colin manipulated him into thinking that it was just a robbery and told him to go to sleep. Perry eventually fell asleep whilst Colin sat and watched him, at some point he decided that he didn't want to risk Perry being able to give the cops a description of him so he strangled him and placed a doll on top of his body. 

Despite having murdered three men Colin was still angry that there didn't seem to be any news or media attention. He struck again and his next victim was 33 year old Andrew Collier. Once the pair were back at Andrew's apartment, they were just about to get a drink when they hear a loud noise outside of the house. They both went over to the window to have a look, There was a steel bar that ran across the window and without thinking, Colin placed his hand on it, leaving behind his finger prints. For a man who was a huge fan of cop shows and thought that he knew how to cover his tracks when it came to forensics, this was a big mistake on his part. 

Like the other innocent victims, Andrew was tied up believing that he was taking part in a role play only to find that Colin had other plans. He threatened Andrew and demanded his bank details like he did with Perry Bradley. Andrew refused to give them to him and in a horrific and sickening act, he strangled Andrew's cat before murdering Andrew the same way. Just like what happened with the first murder of Peter Walker, Colin found out that Andrew was HIV positive after going through his belongings. Furious to find that this had happened a second time, he further humiliated Andrew by burning parts of his body and placing a condom on the tail of his cat which he forced into Andrew's mouth. He also placed the cat's mouth over Andrew's penis which also had a condom on. It was a very disturbing scene. 

When the police finally found the horrific murder scene at Andrew's apartment they finally started to piece some of the missing puzzle together by connecting both Peter and Andrew's murders. Colin continued to grow impatient and wanted the police to know that he wasn't just responsible for just the two murders, he wanted them to know that he had killed 4 men so that he could achieve that label he so desperately desired which was to be a serial killer. Colin contacted the police and told them that he was angry that they were not making a bid deal about the murders and threatened to take someone else's life. 

His final known victim was 41 year old Emanuel Spiteri who was a chef. Colin also met Emanuel at the Coleherne bar and the pair went back to his apartment on the train. Having took this journey police were able to gain footage and pictures of Colin with Emanuel. The pair ended up at Emanuel's home and again, Emanuel was tied up and forced to reveal his bank details. The brave man refused to give Colin his personal details, Colin strangled him and set fire to the apartment before leaving the scene. Colin contacted the police again but this time he said that he didn't want to carry out any more murders, in his eyes he had achieved what he had set out to do. 

With the footage from the train station that had been captured on the night of Emanuel's death, the police believed they had their killer and made the footage public. Colin panicked when he saw himself and contacted a lawyer claiming that he was the man that was on the footage with Emanuel that night but that he simply went back to Emanuel's home to find that another guy was waiting on the doorstep. Colin told his lawyer that he didn't fancy a threesome so he left Emanuel alone with this unidentified guy. 

The cops were soon knocking at Colin's door and the story didn't wash, investigators knew it was him on the train station footage and the fingerprints found on the window bar from Andrew's apartment had matched his. The police charged him with the murders of Andrew Collier and Emanuel Spiteri but Colin wasn't giving them any more information at first but his ego was taking a bruising because he wanted so bad to be known as a serial killer that he ended up caving in and confessing to all 5 murders. 

(Newspaper article about the case featuring pictures of the 5 known victims. Picture credit: mirror)

During interrogation Colin spoke of his crimes like he was reading out a shopping list, he had no remorse and agreed that he believed he should be locked up and kept away from the public. He said that he targeted gay men because they were easy victims. A lot of people would argue with that because as awful as it sounds, he could have chosen a number of vulnerable people to choose from such as female sex workers or homeless people but he was 100% focused on murdering gay men. Was Colin Ireland a homosexual man who could not accept his sexuality? or was he just a messed up, evil individual who wanted to punish innocent men for the abuse that he suffered as a child and teenager? What are your thoughts, comment below or email me at jocaledoniankitty@gmail.com 

In the 1980s and 1990s, crimes against people in the LGBTQA+ community were not taken seriously as they should have been. There was a lot of hostility from the community towards the police and you could understand why. During the AIDS crisis, the police would often show up at gay establishments and would search the premises and handle innocent members of the public by wearing rubber gloves after someone would make false accusations. There was a lot of trouble and violence from the police against people who campaigned for the rights to HIV medications and other important issues effecting the community. 

On a positive note, things have moved on significantly in the police's attitude to hate crimes and incidences that occur in the gay community are taken more seriously now than they were back them. Obviously everything can't be perfect and I'm sure there are a lot of faults still there and more improvements that could be made but it's a bit better than it was. 

Colin Ireland pleaded guilty to all five murders at his trial in December of 1993 and was given five life sentences. He died behind bars of infamous 'Monster Mansion', Wakefield Prison of pulmonary fibrosis on the 21st of February 2012. He was 57 years old. An end to a life full of nothing but pain, misery and suffering, not just through his own experiences but through what he dished out to innocent people. Colin Ireland didn't just take the lives of 5 innocent men, he left behind heartbroken families, friends and a community that was just celebrating their freedom and self expression. He also left behind scars on his ex partners and their families because of how he treated them and because of what he went on to do. Prisoners who had shared a cell with Colin later said that he boasted of his crimes and apparently claimed that he had murdered far more men than he admitted to. Who knows the truth? All we know is that Colin Ireland was a sick individual who showed no remorse for his crimes. 

I would like to take a moment to remember the innocent men who fell into Colin Ireland's evil clutches, may they rest in peace:

Peter Walker

Christopher Dunn

Perry Bradley III

Andrew Collier

Emanuel Spiteri

Further Reading & Sources:

A History of British Serial Killing | Book by Professor David Wilson

The Big Book of Serial Killers: Volume 2 | Book by Jack Rosewood & Rebecca Lo

The Gay Slayer | Book by Fergus Mason

Colin Ireland: The Gay Slayer | Book by Andrew Alexander

Colin Ireland | Murderpedia

Colin Ireland | Wikipedia

Colin Ireland | Article by Examiner Live

Colin Ireland | Article by The Mirror

Colin Ireland | Article by Daily Mail

Colin Ireland | Born To Kill (Documentary)

Colin Ireland | Article: Sky News

The Coleherne Arms | Wikipedia

The Coleherne Arms | LGBT History UK

I know this was another difficult case to get through and the details were pretty horrific but I thank you again as always for making it through with me. I hope you will join me for next week's case. 

Check out my previous posts in my Serial Killers of the 70s, 80s & 90s Series:

The Dating Game Killer: Rodney Alcala

He Claimed To Have Murdered Over 90 Women: Samuel Little

The Killer Clown (Did He Act Alone?): John Wayne Gacy

400 Victims? | The Monster of The Andes: Pedro Lopez

The Charismatic Serial Killer: Ted Bundy

The Butcher of Rostov: Andrei Chikatilo

BTK: Bind, Torture, Kill: Dennis Rader

The Blackest Heart: Robert Black

The Grim Sleeper: Lonnie Franklin Jr

The Green River Killer: Gary Ridgway

If you would like to help support my work by buying me a coffee, you can do so here, thank you!!

Stay safe and I will see you in my next post & hopefully on my socials x


  1. I read your latest True Crime post Jo.

    Your True Crime Serial Killers series is a masterpiece. I didn’t know Colin Ireland case at all.

    The way he had treated the women that he had in his life was horrendous. I agree with you Jo about the sexual orientation of this maniac. He knew way too much about the gay community and I also do believe myself that he was gay. That is why he commits all his heinous disgusting crimes.

    He planned everything and it was so disturbing to read that his evil killing plan was his New Year’s Resolution. What a sick individual.

    All the details of the murder of Andrew and his cat were so horrific. I can’t believe that a person can do that. What a monster !

    A cold heartless killer with no remorse but thank God, he passed away in prison.

    My thoughts are with all the innocent victims of this sicko & all the families of the victims.

    Thank you Jo for your masterful work Xx

  2. I'm at a loss for words with this case. To start one's life in such a cruel and cold manner, to be abandoned and left to his own devices at such a young age is heartbreaking but to turn out the way he did leaves one speechless. Not only was his life growing up a living hell as you brilliantly wrote, "a life full of nothing but pain, misery and suffering, not just through his own experiences but through what he dished out to innocent people", but what he did was horrific.

    Not only did the gay community have the newly found fear of the AIDS epidemic rearing it's truly terrifying face, they also had a serial killer on the loose killing innocent gay men. It's hard to imagine what must of been going through the minds of those poor men that night as those events unfolded, and for those of them that found the steel will to refuse to give him the information that he wanted in those final moments is astounding.

    I feel horrible for Virginia and their daughter as well as Janet and her children, I can only imagine the shock and horror that hit them when they saw his face in the papers like that.

    I honestly think that he was in denial of his own sexuality and that led him to anger in regards to how that made him feel. It reminds me of a quote by Frank Herbert "How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.", and with that rage, that anger it pushed him to do these disgusting and horrific acts.

    This was a brilliantly written and intense true crime case as all of your cases are, just utterly heartbreaking to think of what those poor victims suffered and the atrocities that befell everyone who's path crossed with this monster. 💔