Edward Paisnel

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Edward Paisnel
Edward Paisnel.jpg
Edward Paisnel's mugshot
Edward John Louis Paisnel

Died1994 (aged 68–69)
Other namesBeast of Jersey
OccupationConstruction worker
Spouse(s)Joan Paisnel
Conviction(s)13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy
Criminal chargeAssault, rape, sodomy
Penalty30 years imprisonment

Edward John Louis Paisnel[1] (1925 – 1994), dubbed the Beast of Jersey, was a notorious sex offender who terrorised the Channel Island of Jersey between 1960 and 1971. He entered homes at night dressed in a rubber mask and nail-studded wristlets, attacking women and children. His wife, Joan Paisnel, was the founder of a community home in Jersey where, at her request, he once played Santa Claus.[2]

Wrong suspect[edit]

Suspicion for the attacks initially fell on an eccentric agricultural worker and fisherman, Alphonse Le Gastelois, who was arrested but released through lack of evidence. Public suspicion remained so strong, however, that Le Gastelois' cottage was burnt down in an act of arson.[3] Le Gastelois, fearing for his life, fled to Les Écréhous where he spent 14 years in self-imposed exile on La Marmotière as the second self-styled king of the Écréhous[4] despite being cleared of suspicion when the attacks of the Beast of Jersey continued unabated.

Capture and conviction[edit]

On 17 July 1971 Edward Paisnel was stopped by the police after running a red traffic light and then attempting to evade police pursuit. In the car, which he had stolen earlier that evening, were discovered several pointed sticks and elements of his "Beast" costume. In December 1971 he was convicted of 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy and sentenced to 30 years in prison.


In 1972 his wife Joan Paisnel wrote the book The Beast of Jersey (published by NEL Paperbacks, ISBN 0-450017-17-6).

After the trial, freelance journalist Alan Shadrake became Joan Paisnel's literary agent, and ghost-wrote a first person article with John Lisners which was published in the Sunday Mirror under the title "The Beauty & the Beast" with a photograph of Mrs. Paisnel, in a ballet dance pose in white, and a police photo of her husband wearing the horrific mask which he wore when he kidnapped and assaulted his victims. One source, however, reports that at the trial it was stated that Paisnel never wore the mask during his attacks.[5]

Later life[edit]

Edward Paisnel returned to Jersey briefly following his release from prison but moved away due to the strength of local feeling against him. He died on the Isle of Wight in 1994.


  1. ^ "Headlines in History". Channel Television. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "Beast of Jersey paedophile Edward Paisnel was known to visit children's home". Simon de Bruxelles and David Brown. London: The Times. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-03-01.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Histoire des Minquiers et des Ecréhou, Robert Sinsoilliez, St Malo 1995, ISBN 2-905970-97-9
  4. ^ Jersey Witches, Ghosts & Traditions, Hillsdon, Norwich 1987, ISBN 0-7117-0371-X
  5. ^ Ward Rutherford: The Untimely Silence, Hamish Hamilton, London 1973

External links[edit]