The canals of Manchester have been the subject of grim speculation in recent years, especially after a Freedom of Information request in 2014 discovered that around 60 bodies had been fished from the canals in the last seven years.
The Greater Manchester Police maintaining that each death was the tragic result of suicide or unfortunate accident.
These startling statistics were brought to the attention of Birmingham University professor of psychology Craig Jackson who was astonished that none of the reported cases had ever been recorded as a crime by the Greater Manchester Police. Despite the fact that in the 12 months from August 2010, more than a third of deaths in UK waterways were found in the Manchester area. A startlingly high amount.
Jackson who is an expert on spree killings believes that Manchester could very well be dealing with a serial killer. Speaking to the Express at the time he said: “It is extremely unlikely that such an alarming number of bodies found in the canals is the result of accidents or suicides.
"The police say none of the 61 corpses found got there under suspicious circumstances. Not one? I find that very hard to believe."
“Canals are not popular suicide spots, especially for men… they are, however, popular dumping sites. And water can be a sure way to erase DNA evidence.”
The commonalities between the victims themselves have also added further weight to his claims, leading Jackson to speculate that something far more sinister could be underway, owing to the fact that of all the victims, only two have been identified as female. The rest having all been males of a very similar age.
“I think the fact that several of these discoveries were made in Manchester’s Gay Village could be significant. Do we have another ‘gay slayer’ like Colin Ireland [London serial killer who murdered five gay men] on the loose?”
Adding further mystery to the claims is author and psychopath expert Thomas Sheridan who is currently investigating the claims for a book entitled The Pusher.
He said: “Walking along the Rochdale Canal, I was followed by a tall man wearing a hood into a poorly-lit area. The sense of isolation and vulnerability at the location were quite frankly terrifying.
“I’m convinced foul play is a point concerning some of the bodies.
“I concur with the people of Manchester that ‘The Pusher’ is almost certainly the cause of some of these deaths.”
Adding: “I believe the killer is targeting gay men or men the killer is assuming to be gay – following them from a night out, or more worryingly picking them up in bars.
“We may be dealing with a psychopath or extremely disturbed individual. The police need to take this very seriously.”
Sheridan currently attributes around 60 deaths to the homophobic killer. The Greater Manchester Police who reopened investigations into the deaths last year have so far denied the possibility of a serial killer in the area.
Let's hope we get some more clarity on the situation soon, rather than myth and conjecture. And of course let's not forget it's not the only possibly fictional serial killer on the loose.