[*] Edward Paisnel is known as ‘The Beast of Jersey’. He gave this name to himself in a letter he sent to police during an 11 year period in which he dressed in a costume that included a wig, a rubber mask, and homemade cloth bracelets with nails sticking out of them and entered homes at night where he would rape his target. In case you’re having a hard time picturing his cloth/nail bracelets, here’s what they looked like:
Paisnel was eventually convicted of 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy (though more than 100 claim some kind of assault at his hands) and received a sentence of 30 years in prison. He served only 19 years and was released after being a “model prisoner”. He had to move off the island of Jersey because the community didn’t want him there and he died on a nearby island in 1994.
[*] His hunting ground was small and isolated. He terrorized Jersey Island, part of an archipelago called the Channel Islands between France and England in the English Channel. The island is less than 45 square miles total with about 100,000 inhabitants living in and around a single town, Saint Heller.
[*] He was previously imprisoned while the Germans occupied Jersey Island during WW II for stealing food and giving it to starving families in his community.
[*] His first attacks were on four young women a few months apart. Each woman was waiting for the bus at a bus stop, or walking home from the bus stop when Paisnel attacked them, put a rope around their neck, and forced them by the neck into a nearby field where he could beat and rape them. He then began to branch out and victimized older women and young boys as well.
[*] On Valentine’s Day in 1960 a 12-year-old boy woke up in his bedroom to find the beast of Jersey watching him sleep. Paisnel put a rope around the boys neck and led him out the window to a nearby field where he raped him.
[*] Soon after, a mother and daughter were terrorized in the night. According to the True Crime Enthusiast site:
“In March 1960, a 43 year old mother and 14 year old daughter in a fairly isolated cottage in the St Martin parish underwent a horrific experience. The mother was awoken at about 12:30am by the telephone ringing downstairs. She went down to answer it, but when she lifted the receiver heard nothing but a click and then the dialling tone. She went back to bed but was awakened about an hour later by a sound downstairs. She started downstairs to investigate, but as she reached the bottom of the staircase the lights abruptly went out and she heard someone in the living room moving about. In the dark, she made for the telephone to call for the police – but the phone lines had been wrenched out. Then, she was confronted by the figure of a man who grabbed her and demanded money. He was very rough with her and threatened to kill her, but left the woman immediately when he heard the daughter coming down to investigate the commotion. The woman took the chance to flee and raise the alarm at a nearby farmhouse, and upon returning to the cottage found her daughter – she was still alive but had been horrifically raped in the now familiar signature.”
[*] Another 14-year-old girl was luckier, she woke up in her bed to find the man in the mask starring at her, but he ran away when she screamed.
[*] Soon after, he raped two small boys (separately) in his signature fashion: entering their home at night, and leading them away with a rope around their neck.
[*] One way police knew they were dealing with a serial attacker (and not separate attacks performed by different attackers) was that in addition to the rope around the neck, each victim described the attacker as having a distinctive “musty” smell.
[*] Paisnel volunteered at community homes enough that the children knew him as “Uncle Ted” but feared and despised him. It was known that “Uncle Ted” would sneak into the home to watch them sleep, crawl around in the crawl spaces, and sexually and physically abuse the children as well as the staff.
[*] Paisnel’s wife, Joan, said that he had once dressed up as Santa Claus to visit a community home and spread holiday cheer.
[*] The couple took in orphaned children from the community.
[*] When the island community became concerned enough to call Scotland Yard to come help investigate the crimes, the beast of Jersey took 2 years off from stalking his victims. He returned and attacked 4 children in the next 2 years, and then went underground again for 2 years.
[*] During his “downtime” Paisnel wrote a taunting letter to police in which he gave himself his own nickname. The letter read:
My Dear Sir,
I think that it is just the time to tell you that you are just wasting your time, as every time I have done wat I always intended to do and remember it will not stop at this, but I will be fair to you and give you a chance. I have never had much out of this life but I intend to get everything I can now…..I have always wanted to do the perfect crime. I have done this, but this time let the moon shine very britte in September because this time it must be perfect, not one but two. I am not a maniac by a long shot but I like to play with you people. You will hear from me before September and I will give you all the clues. Just to see if you can catch me.
Yours very sincerely
Wait and See
[*] The letter was followed by new attacks, and now his victims had mysterious punctures in their skin which were oddly parallel and spaced in an ordered fashion. (Later, police would realize these came from the nails in Paisnel’s “uniform”).
[*] The beast of Jersey was finally caught in 1971, by accident. There was a traffic stop set up as a result of an unrelated murder. Paisnel approached the stop and assumed police were on to him so he started a car chase that ended with police catching him in a car he had stolen for the night to commit one of his crimes. They found in the vehicle tape, a black wig, cords, “pointed sticks”, and a rubber mask. In addition, Paisnel was wearing his murder uniform of an old raincoat with nails through the shoulders and his nail cuffs as well. He was carrying a flashlight with black tape covering most of the bulb, so that it gave off a thin, controlled stream of light only.
[*] When police questioned him, Paisnel told them that night he was on his way to an orgy. He wore nails spiked through his clothing in case someone at the orgy was a martial artist.
[*] Police also found a secret room in his home with more items for his murder uniform, photos of homes in the area, occult paraphernalia, and a sword.
[*] People think he’s responsible for many, many more crimes than he was accused and found guilty of. Children who grew up in the homes he “volunteered” at claim that he regularly used chloroform to remove children from the home in their sleep.