Lancashire copper's book reveals how he helped catch killers

Ian Hunter with a copy of his book

Ian Hunter with a copy of his book

First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

OVER the course of his 30-year police career, retired murder detective Ian Hunter probably accumulated enough material to fill several books.

But the author of Murder In Lancashire: Notorious Cases and How They Were Solved concentrated on just 10 infamous murder investigations across the county to give an insight into what goes into catching a killer.

Mr Hunter, originally from Aberdeenshire, in Scotland, joined Lancashire Police in 1956, at the age of 25.

Thirty years on he retired as chief superintendent, having been involved in convicting some of the county’s worst murderers.

In his book, Mr Hunter, now 82 and living in Hoghton, describes 10 of the investigations that had the greatest effect on him.

They include the ‘Mad Dog of Pudsey’ case, when killer Neil George Adamson was found in Colne, a ‘handless corpse’ found in a quarry near Chorley and the ‘Black Panther’, who murdered a Baxenden postmaster. Mr Hunter said: “I started at Stan-ley Grange, Wigan, which gave me a shock introduction to life in Lancashire.

“From there, I moved to Huy-ton, Merseyside, as a detective and was involved in my first murder case, which had the most significant effect on me.”

In April 1963, 33-year-old Margaret Kerwin was stabbed to death in the street. Mr Hunter said: “I was told about the case and that everyone had been working on it. I was told to go with another detective and ‘look busy’.

“So I put myself in the place of the killer and thought, ‘what would I do?’” Mr Hunter said he went to the pier, where he saw a man looking suspicious. The man, William Spendlove, had a blood-soaked knife on him, and Mr Hunter had his first arrest.

In February 1970, Neil Adamson shot and killed two people with a shotgun in Pudsey, West York- shire.

Information came to light that he was in the East Lancashire area, and he was eventually traced to an address in Colne.

Mr Hunter, a detective chief inspector at the time, said: “Detective Matthews and I approached the front of the house. We saw Adamson lying on a chair covered with a travel rug.

“It was obvious he was aware of the police activity outside, but he refused to surrender.

“After a brief discussion, and without knowing whether he had his shotgun, we lunged at the door which burst open. He didn’t have time to move before he was arrested.”

Mr Hunter, who is married to Elsie, said he spent two months writing the book.

The book, 2,000 copies of which were printed, is available in WH Smith for £5.99.

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