The true story of The Beast is old news really, so much so that I hesitate even to blog about it. I’ve nothing new to add. However it’s strange that he (for The Beast indeed eventually proved male) has faded from the general consciousness over the years. For most of the island population it’s only a hazy story, half-remembered. And when, towards the end of my guided tours of Mont Orgueil, I ask our visitors to the Island ‘Do you know of the Beast of Jersey?’ there is invariably a collective bemused look and a shaking of heads, whereupon I relate an abbreviated version.
So here follows the story as I know it. As I say, there’s nothing new. What follows is from sources freely accessible which I’ll credit at the end of the story. I only wish I had access to the police records of the time.
- November 1957. The first strike of the Beast, as he was later to become known. A 29-year-old nurse, waiting for a bus at Mont a L’Abbé, was dragged into a field and sexually assaulted. Many stitches required. The attacker’s face was covered and he was said to have an ‘Irish accent.’
- March 1958. A 20-year-old woman walking from a bus stop in Trinity was dragged into a field and raped.
- July 1958. A 31-year-old woman, also walking home from a bus stop was dragged into a field and sexually assaulted.
You see a pattern emerging.
- August 1959. A young girl walking home in Grouville, dragged into a field and sexually assaulted.
- October 1959. A 28-year-old woman indecently assaulted in St Martin, but fought off her assailant.
Two years of attacks, almost certainly by the same person, who was about 5’6”, maybe mid-40s, affecting an Irish-type accent and he smelled ‘musty’. The Jersey police were no nearer to him. There were also recurring themes in the attacker’s modus operandi though now they changed, and not for the better.
- February 1960. A 12-year-old boy, asleep in his bed in the Grands Vaux area, was awoken and a rope placed around his neck. He was led outside and indecently assaulted.
- March 1960. In St Brelade, a woman accepted a lift from a man who said he was a doctor. He drove into a field, dragged the woman out of a car, tied her hands up and raped her. Thrown back into the car, the woman then managed to escape.
- March 1960 again. In St Martin, a 43-year-old mother was awakened by a noise downstairs at about 1.30am. Going down to investigate she heard someone in the living room but, on attempting to telephone the police, she found the wires had been pulled out. She was confronted by a man who grabbed her, demanded money and threatened to kill her. Hearing the woman’s 14-year-old daughter coming downstairs to investigate, the man left and the woman dashed out to a nearby house to raise the alarm. On her return, her daughter had been brutally raped.
Had the Beast finished? Read on.