Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Gatwick Station Murder

This case goes back to 1965 and the senseless murder of 28 year old divorced woman Pat Woolard by 32 year old factory worker Michael Gills.  Miss Woolard was on her way to London from Bognor, where she attended college, studying art.  The fateful day for her was 3rd September, when the 4.06 train arrived at Gatwick Airport train station.  The trainee teacher from Whitstable in Kent, was found dead in one of the compartments, with knife wounds to her heart and throat.  Her underwear had been pulled down, indicating sexual assault.  Police immediately launched a major enquiry, and the following day, a good  suspect emerged; Michael Gills.  A woman had been indecently assaulted in Bognor Park.  She had been savagely punched in the face and had her panties torn.  Gills lived in Crawley at the time, and was taken to Horley Police station to be interviewed over this offence and to be questioned over the death of Miss Woolard.  

    His alibi for the murder was that he was at work.  Gills had a plaster on a finger which was removed, showing an almost healed cut.  Gills explained that he did it working and he was seen to by the factory nurse.  They let him go.  Miss Woolard`s attache case, basket and handbag were discovered by Three Bridges station at Crawley.  Police questioned Gills again three weeks later.  Now he admitted he had not told them the truth.  He went to Brighton, and just walked around for hours , then returned home.  When asked why he lied, he did not reply.  When asked why he lied to his own family as to where he was, he replied that his wife did not like him going anywhere alone, particularly with the charges he was already facing.  He was given a two year prison sentence for the assault in Bognor Park at West Sussex Quarter Sessions.  The case was still open by June of the following year when Gills was visited in Chelmsford Prison by DCI Harvey & DCI Stothard, after Gills was said to have made remarks about the case.  The two detectives made it clear they wanted to talk to him about the murder and that he knew something.  He admitted that he hated women who rejected him, or looked down their noses at him.  Then he admitted killing Miss Woolard.

    Now he tried to pin the blame on the victim, claiming that she was looking at him suggestively, so he asked her sex, and then she snubbed him, so he lashed out.  He also claimed she kept showing off her legs to him.  He cut her hand with a knife, then stabbed her twice, after struggling to stop her pulling the emergency cord.  "She was just like the rest" he said, meaning all the women in the world who had rejected him.  He broke up the knife and discarded it, but despite taking Police to where he dumped the pieces, none was found.  He also admitted taking her possessions.  He could remember what he said, she did and did not do, but strangely, suffered amnesia on what she supposedly said to him.  He was held at Wandsworth Prison, awaiting trial, and his past was unearthed.  And it was not pretty.  He had served a number of sentences for small crimes, from Borstal to prison, but he had problems with instability, immaturity and a very impulsive nature.  He also had a problem with sex;  he could not control himself.  In jail, he forced another prisoner to have sex with him.  In Borstal, he tried to force his way out with a knife.  He was so violent, it took five officers to subdue him.  Convicted of the murder at Surrey Assizes on 28th October 1966, he was sentenced to 15 years prison.  He was released in 1976.  Shows how much Miss Woolard`s life meant to a parole board.

    You do not need to be a genius to work this out.  His rampant libido meant he tried it on with Pat Woolard, she rejected him, so he saw this as another knockback by women, so he decided to kill.  He made no mention of pulling down her panties, which clearly showed it was a sex attack.  Then the woman he attacked in Bognor Park.  He knocked her down and ripped her panties.  Another sex attack.  Then there is the homosexual attack in prison, again another sexual assault.  All this proved that Gills was a sexual predator.  You viciously kill a woman because she refuses to drop her knickers for you, and serve just ten years, despite the other attacks you carry out, well, let`s raise a glass for the caring justice system we had back then.