John Wayne Glover: The Granny Killer

A Solid Clue

A week after the Olive Cleveland murder, the police got their first break as the agonisingly slow cross-checking paid off and a pattern emerged. In several of the attacks the victims recalled seeing a grey-haired, well-dressed, middle-aged man.

Now the very first victim, Mrs Margaret Todhunter, recalled a man of that description passing her just before she was attacked from behind and robbed of her purse. And Mrs Effie Carnie, who was bashed and robbed of her groceries in August, also described her assailant as a well-built, mature man with grey hair. Both victims described their attacker as an average type of person.

At last police realised that they may have been looking for the wrong man and that their killer could well slip in and out of places unnoticed because he was simply not the noticeable type. Armed with this sense of what the Granny Killer looked like, the police still had to find their "average" man.

Muriel Falconer
Muriel Falconer

On 23 November another body turned up, the third for the month. While purchasing whisky in Mosman, Glover spotted 92-year-old Muriel Falconer struggling down the street with a load of shopping. He returned to his car, collected his hammer and gloves and followed her to her front door.

As Mrs Falconer was partially deaf and blind, she did not notice Glover slip through the door behind her with his gloves on and his hammer raised. He silenced her by holding his hand over her mouth as he hit her repeatedly about the head and neck. As she fell to the floor, he started to remove Mrs Falconer's pantyhose, but she regained consciousness and cried out. Glover struck her again and again with the hammer and only when he was satisfied that she was unconscious, did he remove the undergarments and throttle her with them.

He closed the front door for privacy. Then he searched her purse and the rest of the house before he left quietly with $100 and his hammer and gloves in a carry bag.

It wasn't until the following afternoon, when a neighbour dropped by, that the body was discovered. Although the murder scene was chaotic, this was the first real chance the police had to obtain clues. This crime had been committed indoors and nothing had been disturbed since.

They found a perfect footprint in blood on the carpet — their first solid clue since the investigation had begun. However, Hagan still needed to get lucky to apprehend this person who seemed to be able to come and go as he pleased without appearing in any way out of place.

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