New suspect in Bible John murders named for the first time after being linked through DNA

Helen Puttock was murdered in October 1969
-Credit: (Image: Sunday Mail)

A new suspect has been identified in connection with the Bible John murders after being linked to the case through DNA.

Former printer John Templeton has been named as the alleged killer of Helen Puttock, one of three woman murdered in Glasgow in the 1960s.

Templeton, who died in 2015 aged 70, is at the centre of the investigation after it was found he shared a DNA profile and family connection to a former prime suspect, John Irvine McInnes.

The Sunday Mail reports that the author of a book investigating the 55-year-old case has uncovered other evidence that Templeton, quizzed by the original murder squad detectives, could be the killer.

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John Templeton
John Templeton -Credit:Sunday Mail

Australian author Jill Bavin-Mizzi said: “I’m 100 per cent convinced John Templeton is Bible John. The circumstantial evidence is so weighty it would be a mathematical impossibility for it not to be Templeton.”

It would also mean the killer gave his real name and details to the only witness in the case, Jean Langford, Helen’s sister. Jill traced Templeton after looking at the ancestry of McInnes, identified as a suspect in 1996 after a cold case review.

The former soldier, from ­Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, who took his own life in 1980, had been interviewed about the murder of Helen, 29, in 1969 then was ruled out as a suspect.

But DNA later obtained from Helen’s clothes bore ­comparisons to samples provided by his siblings Jane and Hector. However, when McInnes’ body was exhumed from Stonehouse Cemetery in 1996 there was no conclusive match.

Artist impression of Bible John May 1980
Artist impression of Bible John May 1980 -Credit:Sunday Mail

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Australian experts confirmed DNA can pass through generations and an examination of the McInnes family tree led Jill to John Templeton, born in 1945.

Jill said: “The name John Templeton exists among the ancestors of Hector and Janet McInnes, siblings whose DNA samples share patterns with the DNA profile from the semen stain on Helen’s stockings.

“I was fortunate to find well-documented genealogical records for the McInnes family. I realised the killer had likely used his real name when he ­introduced himself to Helen and Jeannie that night in the Barrowland Ballroom.

“Templeton’s age, height and hair colouring fits the description of the suspect. He was also definitely a foster child, as police suspected the killer was.

“To me Bible John was not a regular at the Barrowland. He went to murder women. These were not impulse killings.”

Helen’s body was found on October 31, 1969, at the back of a tenement in Earl Street in Scotstoun, where she lived with her two children and husband. She had been last seen by Jean when the sisters shared a taxi with a man Helen had met in the city’s Barrowland.

The body of Jemima MacDonald, 31, had been found in a derelict flat in MacKeith Street, Bridgeton, near where she lived, three months earlier.

Patricia Docker, 25, had been found in a lane near her Langside Place home in Glasgow’s south side in February 1968. All three were mums of young children and menstruating at the time. Police would link all three.

Jill, 62, has published the allegations in her book Bible John A New Suspect after tracking down his ex-wife. She gave Jill a picture that bears an incredible likeness to the artist’s impression created by George Lennox Paterson, from information provided by Jean.

She said: “It is clear Templeton’s jawline, the length of his chin, the distance between his mouth and tip of his nose and length of his nose are all comparable to Paterson’s portrait of Bible John.

She revealed that Templeton was ­interviewed by police six months after Helen’s murder but never reinterviewed or put in an ­identity parade.

Jean, who died in 2010, told police the suspect had called himself John and given the surname Templeton or Sempleson. The man told Helen and her sister he worked in a lab. Templeton was a printer who after an apprenticeship became a ­compositor or typesetter.

Templeton was also tall, with sandy-coloured hair, and matched the age profile given by Jean.

Dental analysis of a photo has led Jill to believe Templeton had the killer’s overlapping tooth and another missing. He had been fostered as a child to a family in Dumbarton Road in Yoker, Glasgow.

In the taxi, Bible John had even identified the site of the former children’s home.

Helen’s sister Jean told police that in the taxi back to Scotstoun, the killer had used biblical phrases which led to him later being dubbed Bible John.

Jill discovered Templeton had married in August 1969, before the second murder and moved to the north Kelvinside area.

She tracked down his ex-wife and travelled to Scotland to meet her in 2022. The woman gave Jill a photo of her husband from 1967, the year before the murders began. Templeton’s ex, now 82, who met him in the city’s Majestic ­Ballroom, was married to him until 1974.

The pair had no children. She confirmed he had been questioned by detectives in 1969 but added: “I had no suspicions whatsoever. I lived with the man for five years, I slept with the man, you know everything about him.”

Templeton’s death was registered by his ex-partner Margaret Murphy, who lived in Baillieston, Glasgow. Her 51-year-old engineer son Robert Murphy said he was “very shocked” by the claims.

Jill believes police should investigate Templeton, even though he was cremated, by getting DNA from possessions he left.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The murders of Helen Puttock, Jemima McDonald and Patricia Docker remain unresolved. However, as with all unresolved cases, they are subject to review and any new information about their deaths will be investigated.”

Former detective superintendent David Swindle, who carried out two reviews of the inquiry, said: “I don’t believe, in my professional opinion and the evidence that is available, that the same person is involved in all three murders.”

Bible John A New Suspect by Jill Bavin-Mizzi is published by Europe Books and can be purchased online.

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