'Beast of Wombwell' Peter Pickering found dead

Peter PickeringImage copyright
West Yorkshire Police

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Pickering had been detained under a hospital order since he admitted killing Shirley Boldy

A convicted child killer dubbed the “Beast of Wombwell” has died in a psychiatric hospital.

Peter Pickering, 80, stabbed and strangled 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Wombwell, near Barnsley, in 1972 and was suspected of murdering Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost in 1965.

On Tuesday he was convicted of raping a woman just weeks before he killed Shirley and was awaiting sentencing.

He had been detained under a hospital order since admitting killing Shirley.

‘Unexpected death’

West Yorkshire Police said Pickering died on Saturday night after falling ill in a secure psychiatric accommodation in Berkshire, where he was being held, and his death was not being treated as suspicious.

Det Sup Nick Wallen said: “We can now formally confirm that Peter Pickering was the man we arrested and interviewed over the last two years as part of the renewed investigation into the murder of 14-year-old schoolgirl Elsie Frost in Wakefield in 1965.

“We strongly suspected that Peter Pickering was responsible for her murder. We had been liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service and it was our expectation that Pickering would be charged in due course.

“His unexpected death clearly means that will no longer happen.”

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