Having been born and raised in London Ontario, Murder City by Michael Arntfield was absolutely shocking. A good friend loaned me the book and after reading the back, I shelved my current fiction novel.
“Murder City” is the untold story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capitol from 1959 to 1984. WHAT?? The book also includes information regarding other murders in the London area and in years since 1984. I did not plan to write a book review but Murder City is simply too good to not share with my fellow Londoners!
Thanks to the unending work of Dennis Alsop who started as a Junior Crime Scene detective in 1959. His 1st case was the Lynn Harper murder and he ended his career in 1979 finishing up with the “Bedroom Strangler” case. The cases worked by Dennis were heartbreaking, sick and sad. The level of violence, insanity an unwarranted murders had me losing sleep some nights. The book is written sort of as a timeline and in some cases by linking crimes from other areas to London, Ontario.
As I read the book I caught myself taking notes of some crazy facts that I was not aware of. So instead of sharing the criminal “highlights” of the book, I am going to share the facts that had me saying, “Wow”.
- Canada’s Block Parent Program was created in London Ontario as a result of what was deemed the “London Schoolboys” murders. Although the program no longer exists, it was a large part of many safe neighbourhoods for almost 50 years.
- The 400 series of highways(401, 402, 403) assisted many serial killers to move freely throughout Southwestern Ontario, unnoticed.
- Stanley variety which was a very popular store in Old South, was actually a front for a porn library and bootlegger in the basement. The owner of the store, Joe Clark closed the store and moved away shortly after the murder of part-employee Jacqueline Dunleavy. Jacqueline was last seen alive waiting for her usual bus home to Byron one night after completing her shift at Stanley Variety where Joe Clark employed several young females.
- Lynda Shaw’s murder was solved in 2005. I had no idea. Just like in 1990 when as a 20 year old female I travelled the same stretch on the 401 where Lynda was last seen. Lynda Shaw was raped, beaten, tortured and burned. The murder was a mystery. Lynda Shaw’s murderer, Allan Craig McDonald was finally caught using DNA. The murderer was long dead having taken his own life. Why the conclusion of this sick crime was not made public itself is a mystery!
- NCR which stands for “Not Criminally Responsible” saw many murderers confined to low security facilities and out on day passes not long after committing disgusting crimes. As you read through the book, you will see how broken the system can be. In March of 1988, 2 convicted triple murderers were released on day passes from The St Thomas psychiactric facility just outside London Ontario. This resulted in the rape and death of a 14 year old London girl.
- Lastly, for my family, there is a very close connection made between London serial killers and Turkey Point….you know that lovely little village long Lake Erie. YIKES!!
You seriously do need to read this book. There are so many factual stories that leave you wondering how any of us survived childhood living in and around London Ontario….also known as Murder City.
Please note: I have not included a link to a song in this article due its disturbing nature.