Peter Woodcock

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David Michael Krueger
Peterwoodcock.jpg
Krueger (then Woodcock) in 1957.
Born Peter Woodcock
(1939-03-05)March 5, 1939
Peterborough, Ontario
Died March 5, 2010(2010-03-05) (aged 71)
Penetanguishene, Ontario
Killings
Victims 4
Span of killings
1956–1957, 1991
Country Canada
Date apprehended
January 21, 1957

David Michael Krueger (March 5, 1939 – March 5, 2010),[1] best known by his birth name, Peter Woodcock, was a Canadian serial killer and child rapist who gained notoriety for the murders of three young children in Toronto in the late 1950s, as well as for a murder on his first day of unsupervised release from the psychiatric institution he was incarcerated in for his earlier crimes.

An adopted child, Krueger was shuttled around numerous foster homes as an infant, and showed signs of severe emotional damage when he found a permanent foster home at the age of three. Unable to adjust to most social situations, he would be bullied by and isolated from his peers. He would often wander from his home by foot, bicycle or train to parts of Toronto where he would molest dozens, and ultimately murder three young children. Found not guilty by reason of insanity for these crimes, he was placed in a psychiatric facility where he was deemed to be psychopathic.[2] Experimental treatment programs for psychopathy tried with Woodcock proved ineffective when he murdered a fellow psychiatric patient in 1991; and, after his death in 2010, he was described in the Toronto Star as "the serial killer they couldn't cure".[1]

Early life[edit]

Peter Woodcock was born in Peterborough, Canada to a 17-year-old factory worker, Waita Woodcock, who gave him up for adoption after breastfeeding him for a month. Adoption agency records report that the newborn, Peter, showed feeding problems and cried constantly.[3] As an infant, he stayed in various foster homes; unable to bond with any of his foster parents.[4] After his first birthday, he became terrified of anybody approaching him, and, despite learning to talk on-time, his speech was incoherent - described as strange whining animal noises.[5] He was also physically abused by at least one of his early foster parents, with a 2-year-old Woodcock having to be given medical treatment for an injured neck after receiving a beating.[5] At the age of three, he was finally placed into a stable home, to foster parents Frank and Susan Maynard – an upper-middle-class couple with another son. Susan Maynard, who was described as a "forceful woman with an exaggerated sense of propriety",[5] became strongly attached to the maladjusted child who would still scream when someone approached him. By the age of five, Woodcock would no longer scream when approached, but he remained a strange child and became the target of neighbourhood bullies. He often wandered far away from his neighbourhood, once being found cowering in some bushes, in an attempt to hide from other children.[5]

Worried about the child's fragile emotional state, Frank and Susan Maynard would regularly bring him to the Hospital for Sick Children, where Woodcock received extensive treatment. Woodcock was sent to a private school, but again failed to make friends or interact successfully with his peers and remained isolated.[6] By the age of eleven, he was described as an 'angry little boy', with a Children's Aid Society report on him from that time reading:

Slight in build, neat in appearance, eyes bright, and wide open, worried facial expression, sometimes screwing up of eyes, walks briskly and erect, moves rapidly, darts ahead, interested and questioning constantly in conversation ... He attributes his wandering to feeling so nervous that he just has to get away. In some ways, Peter has little capacity for self-control. He appears to act out almost everything he thinks and demonstrates excessive affection for his foster mother. Although he verbalizes his resentment for other children, he has never been known to physically attack another child ... Peter apparently has no friends. He plays occasionally with younger children, managing the play. When with children his own age, he is boastful and expresses determinedly ideas which are unacceptable and misunderstood.[6]

Signs of Woodcock's violent fantasies were present at this time also, seen when a social worker was walking with him at the Canadian National Exhibition and Woodcock muttered, "I wish a bomb would fall on the Exhibition and kill all the children".[6][7] The troubled Woodcock was sent to a school for emotionally disturbed children in Kingston, Ontario, and began acting on his strong sexual urges with other children – with Woodcock stating that here he had consensual intercourse with a twelve-year-old girl when he was thirteen.[6] When he turned fifteen, he was discharged from this school and returned to live with his foster parents, but was soon re-enrolled at his original private school, where he again failed to connect with his peers.[6] At the age of sixteen, he left the private school again and was sent to a public high school, where children from the neighborhood instantly recognized him and resumed the bullying; he transferred to a private high school six weeks later.[6] While his peers again shunned him, his teachers there remembered him as a very bright student who excelled in science, history, and English, and who frequently scored 100 percent on his tests.[8]

Early crimes[edit]

Peter Woodcock’s prized possession was a red and white Schwinn bicycle on which he satisfied his continuing compulsion to wander. He rode the bike to the far reaches of the city — even during the Toronto deep cold winters — and evolved a fantasy in which he led a gang of five hundred invisible boys on bikes called the 'Winchester Heights Gang'.[8] His foster parents were aware of this fantasy and his compulsion to wander, but they, as well as everyone else, were unaware that he had begun to travel around Toronto on his bike and sexually assaulting children.[1]

Murder of Wayne Mallette[edit]

On September 15, 1956, Woodcock was riding his bike around the grounds of the Exhibition Place when he met seven-year-old Wayne Mallette. He lured the boy out of sight and then proceeded to strangle him to death.[1] Mallette's body was found in the early hours of September 16. He was dressed in a British schoolboy blazer, shirt and plaid pants. It appeared that his clothing had been removed and he had then been re-dressed. His face was pushed into the dirt and two bite marks were found on the body — one on the boy’s calf and the other on his buttock, however, there was no evidence of rape. Pennies were found ritualistically scattered near the body and someone had defecated next to the victim as well.[8]

Murder of Gary Morris[edit]

On October 6, 1956, Woodcock was riding his bike around Cabbagetown when he picked up nine-year-old Gary Morris. He then drove the boy to Cherry Beach, where he strangled and beat him to death - with a coroner later determining that Morris had died from a ruptured liver.[1] Morris' body was found with a bite mark on his throat and this time paper clips seemed to have been ritualistically sprinkled near the corpse. Again, the clothing had been removed from the victim and then he had been re-dressed.[9]

Murder of Carole Voyce[edit]

On January 19, 1957, Woodcock was riding his bike when he approached four-year-old Carole Voyce (b. April 24, 1952)[10] and offered her a ride. He then drove her under the Bloor Viaduct and murdered her.[1] When she was found, her clothes had been pulled off. It appeared that she had been choked into unconsciousness, had fingers stuck into her eyes and vagina, and that her death was caused by a tree branch being forcibly inserted into her vagina.[9]

Apprehension and trial[edit]

Witnesses saw a teenager cycling away from Carole Voyce's crime scene, and an accurate composite sketch was created based on those witnesses' descriptions. This sketch ran on the front page of the Toronto Star and would lead to Woodcock's arrest on January 21, 1957, and his subsequent confession to all three murders.[1] He recalled upon his arrest: "My fear was that Mother would find out. Mother was my biggest fear. I didn’t know if the police would let her at me."[11]

Woodcock was tried only for the murder of Carole Voyce.[7] On April 11, 1957, after a four-day trial, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to the Oak Ridge division of the maximum-security Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene, Ontario.[1][2]

Imprisonment[edit]

While imprisoned, Woodcock underwent various forms of psychiatric therapy, including LSD treatments when they were popular in the 1960s. He was also given other personality-breaking drugs: scopolamine, sodium amytal, methedrine and dexamyl.[12] He was subjected to "dyads" — a personality-breaking therapy in which inmates challenged each other’s belief systems — which inmates referred to as "The Hundred-Day Hate-In".[1] Dyads were developed in the late 1950s to early 1960s by a Harvard psychologist and former CIA interrogation and psychological warfare expert, Henry A. Murray. In the 1960s, one of Murray’s volunteer personality-destruction subjects had been a young Harvard student—Ted Kaczynski, the future Unabomber.[12] Woodcock did not respond well to these treatments, and was not an ideal prisoner. He engaged in homosexual acts and exploited his fellow inmates, who were often less intelligent or less sane than he was. He formed an imaginary gang, the Brotherhood. He convinced inmates that he had contact with the mythical group on the outside, and that in order to be initiated, inmates had to perform oral sex on him and bring him gifts of cigarettes.[12]

Woodcock was eventually transferred to less restrictive institutions, and ultimately arrived at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital. Here, staff indulged his passion for trains by taking him to the Smiths Falls Railway Museum, and even took him to see Silence of the Lambs. During this time, he legally changed his name to David Michael Krueger and rekindled a relationship with Bruce Hamill, an Ottawa killer who had been released from Oak Ridge and was working as a security guard at the Ottawa courthouse.[1] Krueger convinced Hamill an alien brotherhood would solve his problems if he helped kill another Brockville inmate, Dennis Kerr.[1]

Murder of Dennis Kerr[edit]

On July 13, 1991, Bruce Hamill went to a hardware store, bought a plumber's wrench, hatchet, knives and a sleeping bag, then went to the Brockville hospital and signed out Krueger on his first publicly escorted day pass. During the first hour of his first weekend pass (unsupervised release) in 34 years,[7] Krueger arranged to meet Dennis Kerr in the woods near Brockville where Krueger would loan Kerr five hundred dollars.[13] When Dennis Kerr arrived as instructed, Krueger struck him in the head with the pipe wrench and continued to beat him into unconsciousness. Krueger and Hamill then seized the hatchet and knife they had hidden in the bushes while waiting for Kerr's arrival and hacked and stabbed Kerr, mutilating his body, cutting it open, and nearly severing his head. Drenched in Kerr’s blood, they then stripped themselves naked and sodomized the corpse.[14] Krueger then left the scene, walked to a police station about two miles away, and turned himself in.[14]

Death[edit]

For the murder of Dennis Kerr, Krueger was transferred back to the Oak Ridge division of the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, where he had spent the majority of his 34 preceding years in custody. In the years after Kerr's murder, he was the focus of a biography and several documentary films and sometimes tried to explain why he killed, but he never came up with rational reasons. He said in a 1993 interview: "I'm accused of having no morality, which is a fair assessment, because my morality is whatever the system allows."[1] On March 5, 2010, his 71st birthday, Krueger died of natural causes.[1][7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The serial killer they couldn't cure dies behind bars". Toronto Star. March 9, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Mind of a Murderer: Mask of Sanity" (PDF). BBC. 2002. (38 minutes in) In 1957, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was sent to a secure mental hospital. He has since been diagnosed as a psychopath. 
  3. ^ Mark Bourrie. By reason of insanity: the David Michael Krueger story. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-88882-196-6. 
  4. ^ Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 249. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  5. ^ a b c d Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 250. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 251. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Psycho Peter Woodcock murdered three children in late 1950s, underwent cutting-edge LSD therapy at mental hospital and killed again in 1991 when given day of freedom". nydailynews.com. 
  8. ^ a b c Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 252. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  9. ^ a b Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 253. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  10. ^ "Carole Voyce obituary". findagrave.com. 
  11. ^ Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 254. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  12. ^ a b c Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 255. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  13. ^ Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 256. ISBN 0-425-19640-2. 
  14. ^ a b Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. p. 257. ISBN 0-425-19640-2.