The suspected seaside serial killer with a ‘hatred’ of old people
The first two murders took place in 1998 when Eric and Joan Boardman were found dead in their home in Seafield Road by their daughter Marilyn on October 30.
The murder weapon appeared to be a makeshift cosh consisting of six torch batteries held together with white masking tape.
Mr Boardman, a 76-year-old retired seaman, suffered a wound to his head.
He was found trapped underneath a wardrobe in the hallway of their end terrace home.
Police found the cosh on the floor when they moved his body.
Mrs Boardman, 74, was found lying on her back in a rear living room with no apparent injuries.
Post-mortem examination examinations found Mr Boardman had head, neck and facial injuries and Mrs Boardman had suffered neck injuries.
Det Supt Bob Denmark said: “This was a savage attack on two defenceless elderly people and we are keen to establish why it might have happened.”
A community in shock
Mr Boardman used to take holidaymakers for pleasure boat trips off the Fylde coast during the 1960s and was well known among Blackpool’s seafaring community.
Mrs Boardman especially was well known on the street, and would often lend a helping hand to neighbours.
One close neighbour described her as a “diamond”. Others said she was always a friendly face who would stop to say hello in the morning.
One neighbour said: “I am just really shocked. I can't believe it. It’s so sad. It’s a quiet street and we all know each other.
“Joan was an extremely nice lady. I used to bump into her sometimes in Morrisons or Marks and Spencer’s with her daughter. She would always inquire about my mum.
“She was just a very nice lady. Joan used to feed my dog with bones, and even posted them through the letterbox.
“She was the sort of person you would always say hello to.”
Stephen Akinmurele’s arrest
Stephen Akinmurele, 20, of Cheltenham Road, was arrested on suspicion of Eric and Joan Boardman’s murder on November 1, 1998.
By December 11, Akinmurele was charged with three other murders.
Akinmurele was accused of murdering his former landlady Jemima Cargill, 75, who died in a house fire at her home in Caunce Street on October 2.
The former civil servant was also accused of killing 72-year-old Marjorie Ashton in May 1995 and partially blind and deaf Dorothy Harris, 68, in February 1996.
Both women were found dead at their homes in Ballasalla on the Isle of Man, but the charges were later formally withdrawn on a legal technicality.
Ted Hallsall, the brother of Dorothy Harris, said he had no doubt Akinmurele was responsible for his sister's death.
While in custody, Akinmurele confessed to three further murders, including that of a rambler on the Isle of Man.
He claimed that he had killed the man and buried his body on a cliff overlooking the sea.
Manx police found a gun with his fingerprint on it but found no body despite extensive excavation.
Nigerian-born Akinmurele “cheated justice” after he was found hanged in a prison cell at Manchester Prison in August 1999, just weeks before his trial.
He had made two previous suicide attempts, and his girlfriend had warned prison authorities that he was a danger to himself.
He died at the age of 21.
An inquest heard Akinmurele left a note to his mother saying: “I couldn’t take any more of feeling like how I do now, always wanting to kill.”
Det Supt Bob Denmark, who headed the investigation into the murders, described Akinmurele as “one of the most dangerous men” he had ever met.
He revealed he was confident that no matter what pleas he would have entered at his trial, there would have been more than sufficient evidence to convict him.
The murder of Eddie Forrester
Edward Forrester, 55, was last seen in Seafield Road at 1.30pm on September 1, 2023 and was reported missing the following day.
William Wilkinson, of Seafield Road, Blackpool, was later arrested on suspicion of murder on September 5 as the search for Mr Forrester continued.
The 65-year-old was subsequently charged with murder following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.
Human remains found
Specialist search teams, uniformed officers, detectives, search dogs and officers from Cumbria Police were involved in the search for Mr Forrester.
Lancashire Police were later informed human remains had been found on land off Ashes Lane, Staveley, Kendal on the morning of September 13.
Those remains were later confirmed to be Eddie’s. Subsequent searches found further human remains.
A guilty plea
Wilkinson admitted to murdering Mr Forrester after appearing in the dock at Preston Crown Court on November 17, 2023.
He also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
He was remanded into custody to be sentenced at the same court on January 19, 2024.
Det Chief Insp Mark Haworth-Oates, from our Force Major Investigation, said: “William Wilkinson’s plea today is in the face of overwhelming evidence against him.
“Thankfully, his plea will spare Edward Forrester’s family and friends the ordeal of sitting through a trial and listening to the graphic details of how Edward was murdered, and in particular the way in which his body was then dismembered and deposited throughout the Blackpool and Kendal area.
“I hope the guilty plea brings them some small comfort and they will look forward to the case being concluded at sentencing.”