Bible John podcast leads to reopening of cold case on Glasgow serial killer

Information from BBC series triggered a new line of inquiry in decades-old case

BBC Radio Scotland’s investigative podcast series on Glasgow serial killer Bible John has reportedly led to police reopening the unsolved case from the 1960s, according to the families of the three victims that were the subjects of the podcast. 

Bible John: Creation of a Serial Killer launched last year as a 10-part series hosted by journalist Audrey Gillan, who investigates the lives of three of John’s murder victims - Patricia Docker, Jemima MacDonald and Helen Puttock - all of whom were killed on the same night. 

Throughout the podcast, Gillan spoke to a number of people involved in the unsolved case, including the families of the victims and former police officers that took part in the investigation. The podcast also implied that the police may have been involved in covering up a potential suspect, who was last seen in a taxi with Puttock before she was murdered, due to him being a cousin of the senior police officer who led the murder inquiry.

“We are assessing the contents of a recent podcast in consultation with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service,” said a spokesperson from Police Scotland. “The murders of Helen Puttock, Jemima MacDonald and Patricia Docker remain unresolved, however, as with all unresolved cases, they are subject to review and any new information about their deaths will be investigated.”

A number of other true crime podcasts and investigative series have led cold cases to reopen, and have sometimes led to real changes, such as the case of true crime podcast Proof on the 1996 murder case of Brian Bowling. The show led to the release of Darrell Lee Clark and Cain Joshua Storey, who spent more than two decades in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. 

Most recently, BBC’s investigative podcast Vishal on the unsolved case of Vishal Mehrotra, an eight-year-old boy who was abducted and murdered in 1981, is now being reopened by the Sussex Police after the podcast’s launch in April led to more witnesses coming forward with new information.