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"Beast of Wombwell" dies in Thornford Park Hospital

Peter Pickering had been detained at facility near Thatcham

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

"Beast of Wombwell" dies in Thornford Park Hospital

Convicted rapist and child killer Peter Pickering has died at Thornford Park Hospital. 

West Yorkshire Police said that Pickering, aged 80, died on Saturday after being taken ill in secure psychiatric accommodation in Berkshire where he was being held.

Pickering was arrested in West Berkshire last year on suspicion of murdering schoolgirl Elsie Frost in 1965. 

He had been detained at Thornford Park Hospital in Crookham at the time of his arrest. 

Elysium Healthcare told NewburyToday: "We are unable to comment on the medical status of any patient."

Pickering was dubbed the "Beast of Wombwell" after stabbing and strangling 14 year-old Shirley Boldy in 1972. 

He was convicted last week of the rape and false imprisonment of a woman in South Yorkshire in 1972 and was suspected of killing Miss Frost in 1965.

His recent convictions for the South Yorkshire rape came about as a result of a renewed investigation by West Yorkshire Police into the murder of Wakefield schoolgirl Elsie Frost who was killed in 1965.

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We can now formally confirm that Peter Pickering was the man we arrested and interviewed over the last two years as part of the renewed investigation into the murder of 14-year-old schoolgirl Elsie Frost in Wakefield in 1965.

“We strongly suspected that Peter Pickering was responsible for her murder. We had been liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service and it was our expectation that Pickering would be charged in due course.

“His unexpected death clearly means that will no longer happen.

"We have informed all those involved in the case of this development and we will be liaising with the West Yorkshire Coroner as to what proceedings are now necessary in relation to Elsie Frost’s death.”

Pickering's death is not being treated as suspicious.

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