|Mark Andrew ROWNTREE
|1975 – 1976
|Stabbed to death 4 random strangers including a mother & her 3-year-old child.
|7 Jan 1976
|Pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Detained at Rampton Secure hospital for indefinite period.
Mark Rowntree was just 19-years-old when he stabbed his first victim in Bingley, Yorkshire. He was the adopted son of a wealthy couple from Guisely, Yorkshire.
Rowntree’s spree lasted a period of just a week. Apparently he was trying to emulate his hero, serial Killer Donald Neilson, and wanted to equal or pass Neilson’s five killings. He told police he daydreamed of being in the same cell as Neilson, nicknamed the “Black Panther” and being able to boast to him that he had killed more.
Rowntree’s first victim was 85-year-old Grace Adamson. Rowntree knocked on the door of her house saying he was from the police. He stabbed her four times then hid the knife in a cemetery before going to the local pub for a pint.
His second victim, 16-year-old Stephen Wilson, was standing at a bus stop when Rowntree stabbed him three times. They both died later in hospital but was able to provide a description of his attacker.
On January 7th Rowntree went to the home of 24-year-old, Barbara Booth, whom he had previously met. He stabbed her 18 times and then, fearing her son would identify him, he stabbed the 3-year-old 15 times.
Rowntree was arrested after an anonymous phone call to police. After initial denials he admitted the first two murders. Eventually he confessed to all four.
Chief Superintendent Jack Dibb, who led the inquiry and interviewed Rowntree said, “I have never interviewed a man who revelled so much in the fact that he had killed people, but who at the same time remained so very detached from the reality of his situation.” He firmly believed Rowntree would continue to kill had he not been caught.
In June 1976, Rowntree was tried at Leeds Crown Court.He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. His plea was accepted by the court and he was ordered to be detained at Rampton Secure Hospital indefinitely. He remains one of the longest held patients in a secure psychiatric facility.