A leading Spanish crime writer believes it is “plausible” that notorious Scots serial killer Bible John could be alive and well and living in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao.
Award-winning author Dolores Redondo made the claim while promoting her latest novel, ‘Waiting For The Flood’, which sees Scottish detective Noah Scott Sherrington pursue Bible John to Bilbao on a hunch that the serial killer fled there to escape authorities in his native Glasgow.
The unidentified killer has loomed large down through the decades in Scotland.
He is believed to have murdered three young women, Patricia Docker, 25, Jemima MacDonald, 32, and Helen Puttock, 29, over a period of 18 months between 1968 and 1969 in Glasgow.
The murders took place after he met the women at the Barrowland Ballroom in the city’s east end.
The shadow of his name still hangs heavy over Glasgow, over half a century on from the unsolved murders that bear his name.
Speaking about the novel to El Español, Ms Redondo said she believed that Bible John could be alive and well today and living as a “respectable old man” in the Spanish port city.
She said: “As far as we know this person may still be alive. It would be something similar to the case of Jack the Ripper, although we can be assured that he is dead because a long time has passed.
"Uncaught killers become legends, there's always a story around them that they were very smart, smart enough to be able to run from the police, but I think other factors can play a part as well.
“Today he could be a respectable old man of those who walks through Bilbao or Glasgow”.
Set between Glasgow and Bilbao in the days prior to a huge flood that devastated the Basque Country in 1983 and killed 34 people, ‘Waiting for the Flood’ has shot to the top of the Spanish book charts.
It’s the latest success for the Donostia-born author, whose Baztán Trilogy has seen her become the most celebrated Spanish literary phenomenon in recent years.
In October last year, NBCUniversal acquired the rights to her previous novel, The North Face of the Heart, to adapt it into a TV series made by the company behind the Harry Potter franchise. To date, her works have also been published in 39 languages.
In an interview with Radio Intereconomia Valencia, the author elaborated on Bible John and her belief that he may have escaped overseas to Bilbao or another “large port where in the 80s all kinds of materials were exported from Scotland”.
She said: “It is a crime novel that is based on a policeman chasing a murderer, a novel which required very intense documentation work because everything except the policeman is real. Bible John was the most wanted man in Scotland after killing three women, a real murderer that I have had to investigate.
“Experts say that these murderers do not stop killing until they are in jail, dead or have moved to another country. He could be in Bilbao or in any of the large ports where in the eighties all kinds of materials were exported from Scotland. A city that is super polluted, dirty and with a lot of noise”.
Ms Redondo, speaking to Diario de Sevilla, also pointed to the similarities that existed between Bilbao and Glasgow in the 1980s, a city she dubbed “Glasgow with more money and jobs” but also one “plagued by the shadow of the naval restructuring that had spread to other ports in Spain and, of course, by heroin”, as further evidence that the killer may have fled to the city.
"[It] is an absolutely feasible option, since there were many British people who lived in the city, in fact Scottish companies have continued to operate in the port since that time”, she noted.
The author said she sought the opinions of experts in both psychology and psychiatry to help her draw a profile of Bible John for the novel, which she said “made it clear how I should approach the character I was facing, a victim of childhood abuse”.
Speculation at the time that the killer that he may have fled Glasgow prompted investigators to circulate copies of a composite drawing of Bible John - the first time the Crown Office authorised a composite sketch of a suspect - at British Army, Navy and Air Force bases across the globe.
In the past year, the murders were explored in acclaimed BBC documentary series The Hunt for Bible John and a ten-part podcast series titled Bible John: Creation of a Serial Killer, which delved further into the victims’ lives.
At one point, the movements and behaviours of convicted serial killer and rapist Peter Tobin, who died last month, gave rise to speculation that he might be Bible John, after his conviction for three murders in the late 2000s, but police later eliminated him.