'Beast of Wombwell' child killer died of natural causes

A convicted child killer dubbed the Beast of Wombwell died of natural causes days after he was found guilty of rape and before he could be charged with the murder of another teenager, an inquest has heard.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 08:04
Peter Pickering.

Peter Pickering, aged 80, had been locked up for more than 45 years after killing 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Barnsley in 1972.

Her brother Colin said the family felt they had been "cheated" out of getting justice because of his death.

The sex attacker was also awaiting sentence for raping an 18-year-old woman, who is now in her sixties, a few weeks prior to Shirley's abduction.

An inquest at Reading Town Hall on Monday heard Pickering died at Thornford Park Hospital in Berkshire on March 25.

Coroner Peter Bedford recorded a conclusion that he died of natural causes after hearing that he was suffering from heart disease and previously suffered a heart attack in 1996.

Mental health nurse Joshua Muga said he knew Pickering well, having worked at the hospital for two years, and that had been anxious about the court trail.

He started complaining of pain to his back, stomach and legs on the evening of March 24.

They gave him CPR, but he was pronounced dead at 12.52am and a police investigation found nothing suspicious about the death.

Pickering had been held under a hospital order made by a judge in 1972 after he admitted Shirley's manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

She was bundled into Pickering's van as she was returning to Wombwell High School. Pickering drove her to a secluded location where he tied her up and raped her. He tried to strangle her before stabbing her to death.

He killed Shirley just three or four weeks after he abducted and violently raped an 18-year-old woman in Barnsley.

As part of the inquiry, detectives looked back through Pickering's conversations with psychiatrists and also found a storage garage he rented in Owlerton, Sheffield, containing possessions including handcuffs and exercise books filled with his rantings.