Thomas McDowell

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Thomas Hamilton McDowell (born 1977) is a British man who was convicted in September 2004 of killing German trainee rabbi Andreas Hinz in July 2002.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

McDowell was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.[3]


Hinz, a thirty-seven-year-old homosexual trainee rabbi, gifted linguist and German national had spent the night of 3 July 2002 drinking alone in the Black Cap, a gay bar in Camden, North London. After striking up a conversation with McDowell, he left the bar with him in the early hours and returned to McDowell’s flat in Baynes Street, Camden.[4] Hinz had arrived in Britain two years prior in 2000, to begin his training to become a rabbi at the Leo Baeck College.[5]

After knocking Hinz to the floor with a martial arts kick, McDowell proceeded to strangle Hinz before dismembering his body with a rip saw.[6][7] The body parts were wrapped in bin liners and put out onto one street near St Pancras Way for the rubbish collectors.[8][9] Their subsequent decomposition exacerbated by summer heat led to a terrible smell and a cloud of flies that eventually led to their gruesome discovery.[10]

Barbara Hinz, his mother, returned home to Ulm, Germany after flying to London the following week to appeal for help finding her son.[11][12] His cousin Claudia Bobermin also flew with his mother to London in their appeal to find Hinz.[13]


McDowell briefly appeared in the Old Bailey on 2 December 2002 in relation to killing Hinz, and was remanded in custody until 14 February 2003.[14]

At the trial of McDowell two years later in September 2004, it was revealed that as a child he had been abused by a relative and grew up with a sense of hatred towards homosexuals, as well as suffering from a personality disorder.[15] McDowell was a medical student at the time of the murder and had also been working as a male prostitute.[16] McDowell admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on 30 September 2004.[17]

The trial judge spoke of his doubt as to whether it would ever be thought safe to release McDowell back into the community, and recommended that he should never be released.[18] He began his life sentence at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.[19]


  1. ^ "Student charged with rabbi's murder". The Telegraph. 14 July 2002. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  2. ^ "The twisted British killers who'll never be freed from prison". 31 March 2019. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  3. ^ Association, Press (30 September 2004). "Psychopath faces life for killing trainee rabbi". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  4. ^ "BBC News, Sunday 14 July 2002, Man charged over trainee rabbi's death". BBC News. 14 July 2002. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Three held after dismembered body of missing trainee rabbi is found". 13 July 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  6. ^ "BBC News, Thursday 30 September 2004, Killer of trainee rabbi gets life". BBC News. 30 September 2004. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  7. ^ "News in Brief". The Times. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Fears for missing trainee rabbi". 5 July 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Police rule out link between 'black bin liner' murders". 2 January 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  10. ^ "The Guardian, Wednesday 15 September 2004, Rabbi 'dismembered by rent boy'". The Guardian. London. 14 September 2004. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Murder inquiry over trainee rabbi". 12 July 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Student charged with Andy's murder". 17 July 2002. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Hate motive suspected in murder of trainee rabbi". 13 July 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Man in court over Hinz murder". 4 December 2002. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  15. ^ Clough, Sue (1 October 2004). "Life for psychopath who killed gay rabbi". Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  16. ^ "The notorious mass murderers". 4 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Trainee rabbi's killer admits manslaughter". 16 September 2004. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Man guilty of murdering 'rabbi'". BBC News. 29 September 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  19. ^ Association, Press (30 September 2004). "Psychopath faces life for killing trainee rabbi". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2012.