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The Granny Killer


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John Wayne Glover, aka The Granny Killer, is an Australian serial killer. Glover was born on November 26, 1932. John’s childhood was colorful, to say the least. He committed quite a few crimes, such as petty theft, but never spent much time in jail. When he was in his 20s, he joined the British Army, but was dishonorably discharged when his theft charges were discovered. After his time in the Army, he decided to move to Australia, in year 1959. After moving he worked as a sales representative for Four ‘n’ Twenty Pies and volunteered at the Senior Citizens Society, it was said that he was kind and trustworthy. During this time, he married his wife, Jacoveline Gail Rolls, and had 2 children with her. 

Though John seemed to have quite a lovely life on the outside, he was hiding a darker side from the world. In the 1960s, he committed many more crimes. He committed 2 counts of larceny and had another theft charge, in 1962 he had 2 counts of assaulting a woman, 2 counts of indecent assault, 1 assault causing actual bodily harm, and 4 more counts of larceny. The assaults were said to be very violent, leaving women bleeding and missing clothing. For all these crimes, he was only given a 3-month sentence in 1965, spending only 6 weeks in prison. 

He stopped this spree of crimes for years, but in 1989, he robbed 84-year-old Margaret Todhunter by punching her in the face and stealing the contents of her purse. This robbery spurred a string of even more violent crimes and murders. On March 1st, 1989, Gwendoline Louise Mitchelhill was walking back to her home when John saw her. He grabbed his hammer and hit her over the head when she was about to open her apartment door. After bludgeoning her all over her body, even breaking her ribs, he stole $100 from her purse and left her to die. Gwendoline was still alive when she was found but sadly died soon after paramedics arrived. There were no leads, eyewitnesses, or forensic evidence for the police to follow up on. Neighbors claimed to have thought that Gwendoline had just fallen as she was walking and cleaned up the crime scene before forensic scientists had a chance to collect the evidence that may have been left. 

On May 9th, 1982, 84-year-old Windfreda Ashton was walking to her home when John saw her. He grabbed both his gloves and his hammer before following her down the street. When he felt the time was right he attacked her with the hammer and threw her to the ground before dragging her to an alleyway and hitting her head on the pavement several times. Once she passed out and was no longer able to fight back, he stripped her of her pantyhose and strangled her with them. After she was dead he laid her shoes and cane at her feet and stole her purse that contained $100. He was reported to go to “Mosman RSL, where he commented to staff that he hoped the sirens outside weren’t for another mugging.” When Windfreda was found with her legs crossed, her arms by her side, and the pantyhose so tight they had cut through her skin.

By this time, the police suspected a serial killer, for all the women were elderly and from the same neighborhood, and the woman’s ring was left, so they suspected the stolen purse was just a coverup. There was a brief period where he didn’t try to murder anyone, instead, he committed less severe crimes. On June 6th, 1989, he molested 77-year-old Marjorie Mosely in a retirement home, but sadly she couldn’t remember what the man (John) looked like. Then on June 24th,  he inappropriately touched two different elderly women in an entirely different nursing home, where he was even questioned before he left. On August 8th, he assaulted Effie Carnie in a back street, then on October 6th, he pretended to be a doctor in order to inappropriately touch Phyllis McNeil, and ran away when she called out for help. On October 18th he followed 86-year-old Doris Cox to her home and smashed her face into the wall in front of her home. Luckily she survived, but she was unable to provide a description of the man who did it to her. By the time forensics got there, the crime scene had already been cleaned by neighbors. 

On November 2nd, John approached 78-year-old Dorothy Benke and asked if she needed help carrying her groceries home. They were making conversation, and he was even invited to join her inside for tea, but he declined when he saw 85-year-old Margaret Pahud. He saw her in a back street and assaulted her from behind with a blunt object, most likely his hammer. When she fell, he struck her on the head once again. As with the other victims, he rearranged her clothing, leaving her shoes and cane lying neatly by her feet, and stole her purse. She was found in minutes by a young girl who at first thought she was just a pile of clothes left in the middle of the street. By the time authorities arrived, John had escaped and the crime scene had been cleaned by neighbors. 

Less than 24 hours later he committed his next murder. 81-year-old Olive Cleveland was sitting on a bench outside of her retirement home when John began to talk to her. They spoke for a while, but Olive began to feel uncomfortable and started to walk away, towards her house. John followed her and pushed her down a ramp, once she fell he began to smash her head into the ground repeatedly before strangling her with her own pantyhose, lying her shoes and cane neatly by her feet, and leaving with $60 he found in her purse. Her death was thought to be a bad fall so caretakers cleaned up the scene before investigators could collect evidence.

November 23rd, 93-year-old, Muriel Falconer was walking home from shopping when John saw her. He went to his car, which ironically was parked across from the police station, and grabbed his gloves and hammer, then followed Muriel home. John crept behind her while she was opening her door and as soon as she went to close the door, he covered her mouth to keep her quiet and smashed her head and neck with the hammer. He began to take off her pantyhose when she began to cry out, causing him to hit her even more times with the hammer until she stopped moving. He then strangled her with her pantyhose and searched both her purse and her house for valuables, leaving her with only $100. Muriel was only found by a neighbor a day later when they came to check on her. This would be the first undisturbed crime scene. 

On January 11th, 1990 he visited a hospital for his job and inappropriately touched 82-year-old Daisy Roberts. When Daisy called for help John ran out, but the nurse was able to notify the police with his license plate and they were able to identify him. Originally the hospital assaults weren’t linked to the murders but this would soon change. When police reached out to John and his wife, they found that he had tried to overdose and was recovering in a hospital. When they tried to interview him there, they were declined, but when they eventually were able to interview him about assaults, he declined all accusations but was still put under police surveillance. 

Finally, on March 19, John committed his last murder while he was visiting his 60-year-old friend, Joan Sinclair. When there was no movement in the house for hours, the police grew suspicious and knocked on the door. When there was no response, they entered the house. John’s hammer was found in a pool of dried blood, and Joan was found with pantyhose tied around her neck with bloody towels wrapped around her head, and her genitals were found damaged. John was found unconscious in a filled bathtub. Later John would say he beat her head with a hammer, strangled her with her pantyhose, wrapped four towels around her head to slow the blood flow, then dragged her across the floor, but he denied ever raping her. John then went upstairs, took a handful of pills, slit his left wrist, and lay in the full tub, waiting to die, but survived. 

John was sentenced to 6 life sentences, one for each of his convicted dead victims, though he was suspected to have up to nine other women whom he murdered. After only a few years in jail, John committed his last suicide attempt and was found dead, hanging in his jail cell on September 9th, 2005.

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About the Contributor
Mitchell Sherman is a sophomore who lives with her grandparents, dogs, and other pets. Her hobbies include but are not limited to, crocheting, sewing, herbology, gardening, and baking.

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