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Islington journalist and historian uncovers London’s grisly history of murders

PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 November 2012 | UPDATED: 16:34 23 November 2012

Peter Stubley

Peter Stubley

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Journalist and historian Peter Stubley has been in the murder game for ten years.

His day job has seen him report on some of the most notorious cases in the city for a news agency based at the Old Bailey, but now he is taking a step back in time to explore the grimy underbelly of Victorian London.

His new book, 1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper, examines the forgotten murders of the era, delving into horrific crimes committed by ordinary people.

Drawing from his own research, Mr Stubley’s document is a chilling reminder of what life was really like in the shadows of the British Empire.

The 35-year-old, of Islington High Street, Islington, said: “London claimed to be the capital of the world, but underneath the splendour lurked poverty, prostitution and marauding gangs.

“Jack the Ripper is a sensational story, but what he really did was expose the problems manifest in society at that time.”

Peter’s digging brought him back to Islington, where he discovered an elderly lady had died of a heart attack after robbers burst into her house.

He said: “What’s fascinating about that case is that her neighbours gave chase to the gang, but they managed to get away.”

Peter has no issue with reporting the grizzly side of murders, graphically demonstrated on his popular website Murder Maps.

Co-founded with solicitor Nick Cullen in 2010, the site meticulously documents every known murder in London, providing a history of homicide which has proved to be an invaluable tool for journalists and widely used by the public.

Peter seems unconcerned that the website had initially sparked controversy with charity Victim Support, who labelled it as grossly insensitive.

“For me, it’s important that this side of crime is explored and it’s our duty that we report the facts,” he said.

“There are some very weird, disturbing stories out there that sometimes don’t get the media coverage they should.

“Personally, I find it encouraging that people are using the internet to learn about these crimes, rather than clicking on dancing cats.”

While his work may not be for the faint-hearted, his next book, Murder & Crime in Islington, is due for publication in December and will see him unearthing the gruesome facts on his own doorstep. So why does he keep going back?

“It’s not so much a fascination with the macabre, but with the lengths some people will go to.

“But I also studied History at Leeds University and I think that’s where my real passion lies.

“In the end, it’s about opening the city up and exposing the real London.”

1888: London Murders in the Year of the Ripper (£9.99) is published by The History Press and is available now.


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