British police are facing the possibility that five murder-suicides of elderly couples might really be double homicides—perpetrated by a killer who's still on the loose, the Guardian reports. Stephanie Davies, the top coroner for Cheshire police, compiled a 197-page report linking two apparent murder-suicides in the 1990s to at least three similar tragedies in northwest England. Similarities abound, like victims who were beaten and stabbed, and husbands who unexpectedly killed their partners before committing suicide, per the Mirror. It dates back to 1996, when 78-year-old Bea Ainsworth was found in the upscale town of Wilmslow with a knife in her forehead. She had been beaten with a pillow left partly over her head.
Police said her husband, 79-year-old Howard, had taken her life and his own. Three years later, another older couple was found in the same town; the wife had been beaten, stabbed, and suffocated with a pillow left partly over her head. Her husband had a knife stuck in his heart. Davies made freedom-of-information requests and uncovered 39 cases of elderly couples who died in similar ways between 2000 and 2019. She read police files on three of them and spotted similarities. Now she's calling for the National Crime Agency and Interpol to get involved. "The concerns raised in this report need to be taken very seriously," an English prosecutor tells the Sunday Times, which broke the story. "We could potentially have a serial killer in our midst." (Read more murder-suicide stories.)