True crime: How the Granny Killer terrorized an Australian state
There are some truly sick individuals in the world of true crime. But the worst of the worst tend to be those that target the most vulnerable members of society, such as children or the elderly. At the top of that list is John Wayne Glover, known to the true crime world by his moniker: The Granny Killer. Over the course of 14 months in 1989-1990, Glover killed six elderly women, whose ages ranged from 60 to 93.
Why did John Wayne Glover kill his victims? How did this Australian serial killer get caught? Here’s everything that you need to know.
A bit of background
Before becoming a serial killer, the UK-born Glover had a litany of offenses to his name, starting with petty offenses such as shoplifting before escalating into assault later in life. It was the petty offenses that had him kicked out of the British Army in 1947. He immigrated to Australia in the late 1950s, but his crimes did not stop with the change of location.
They, as with many cases of true crime, escalated over time. Glover’s record in Australia, where he would take up naturalized citizenship, only grew over the time. His convictions included larcy, assault, indecent assault, and assault with the intent of causing bodily harm. He was given a three-year good behavior bond, got married, and had two daughters.
Given the age profile of the victims, all elderly women, the theory for the case is that Glover killed them as surrogates for his mother, Freda with whom he had a troubled relationship, and his mother-in-law. Glover’s mother would’ve died from breast cancer in 1989 and, that same year, Glover would be diagnosed with male breast cancer. He would subsequently divorce his wife, who moved to New Zealand with her daughters.
Why did he do it?
Glover is a bit of a weird one when looking at serial killers throughout true crime history. He didn’t start killing until he was 56, and was married for 20 years with children. He even volunteered with senior citizens, who thought he was a nice guy. Of course, things on the surface are different from real life. People thought Bundy was nice enough as well, after all.
Either way, there’s no evidence of Glover killing prior to 1989. He admitted to the six murders that could be linked to him when presented with the evidence. Many, however, do believe that he was involved in the 1977 murder of Florence Broadhurst, but he said he didn’t do it. Whether or not that’s true, we can’t really say, but given how he confessed to the others? Maybe, he’s telling the truth.
Glover has six known victims: Gwendoline Mitchelhill, Lady Winfreda Isabel Ashton (Hoggard), Margaret Pahud, Olive Cleveland, Muriel Falconer, and Joan Sinclair. In between the murders, Glover would also assault seven other elderly women, either physically or sexually. It was a sexual assault prior to the death of his final murder vicitim, Joan Sinclair, that put him on the police’s radar.
Police were working double time in order to catch the Granny Killer with a task force that would skyrocket to 70 members. After Glover was caught assaulting the elderly patient, he tried to commit suicide. In the note, he said “Essie (his mother-in-law) started it” and “no more grannies . . . grannies”. Glover’s nursing home assaults were connected, but the evidence was pretty thin.
Unfortunately, Glover was let go and killed his final victim: Joan Sinclair. Sinclair and Glover had a platonic relationship with each other. She was found, dead, and Glover was found in her home, unconscious in the bathtub. While Glover did admit to his murders, he tried to plead diminished responsibility at trial. He put the blame on his mother & mother-in-law.
With the death of his mother, his lawyers argued, Glover took out his anger on surrogates instead. It didn’t work and he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Glover would kill himself in 2005 by hanging himself in his cell.
We mentioned Florence Broadhurst, but people believe there are six other potential victims that Glover killed. People believe that he killed more due to a sketch given to his last visitor days before his death. It was a sketch of a park with two pine trees that he pointed out. In one of them, you can see the number “9”. Is this how many victims that Glover killed? Or how many victims whose deaths remain unsolved?
People still think there are more murders to be attributed to John Wayne Glover, even after his death. Hopefully, one day, we can get some answers.