Documentary on One

Anatomy of an Irish Serial Killer

Kieran Patrick Kelly from Rathdowney in Co. Laois is purported to have murdered up to 31 individuals between 1953 and 1983 in the UK. Could this be true? Robert Mulhern unravels a curious tale of murders, confessions, contradictions and a book deal (2016)

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3.8/5 (111 ratings)

Documentary Maker: Robert Mulhern

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Documentary-maker: Ronan Kelly

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Anatomy of an Irish Serial Killer

For three decades, between 1953 and 1983, Kieran Patrick Kelly, an Irishman from Rathdowney, Co. Laois, preyed on vagrants on the London Commons and across the Underground Tube Network in London. In fact, he didn't just prey, he murdered. 

Kelly was a homosexual, vagrant alcoholic and years later, his actions earned him the moniker of 'The London Underground Serial Killer.'    Kelly's murders were marked by mutilation, poisoning, strangulation - and one retired detective who investigated these gruesome crimes rates Kelly's murder spree only behind that of Harold Shipman, Britain’s most notorious serial killer.

After a number of trial acquittals, Kieran Patrick Kelly was finally convicted of two murders in 1984, and sentenced to life in prison where he subsequently died in 2001. And that, it seemed, was the end of the story of Kieran Patrick Kelly.

However, in the summer of 2015, a retired police officer turned author, Geoff Platt, published a book in which he claimed that Kelly may have killed up to 31 people - and that these murders were covered up by the British Home Office at the time.    Platt's book, and his assertions around Kieran Patrick Kelly, shot him into the press limelight.  Articles appeared in a myriad of tabloid and broadsheet newspapers throughout Britain and Ireland, and Platt was interviewed by many media outlets, including RTÉ and BBC. 

But is all what it seems in the case of Kieran Patrick Kelly?  

In 'Anatomy of an Irish Serial Killer', Robert Mulhern tracks down those who were closely involved in the case of Kieran Patrick Kelly, including an original police investigator and Kelly's defence solicitor - both of whom speaking to the media, on the case, for the first time.   Mulhern also visits the graveyards and Tube tunnels in London where Kelly stalked his victims, and travels to his home town of Rathdowney, Co. Laois where he meets locals perplexed by this story. 

Confusion, contradiction, book deals and murder surround Kieran Patrick Kelly. In searching for answers around this curious case, the Documentary On One finds out a lot, lot more than it could ever have bargained for... 

Narrator:  Sharon Ní Bheoláin. 

Readers:  Neil Doherty, Chris Brown and Alan Murphy.


Produced by Robert Mulhern and Ronan Kelly.

First Broadcast Saturday November 19th @2pm on RTÉ Radio 1

Repeated Sunday November 20th @7pm on RTÉ Radio 1

Available online Friday November 18th

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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