The Disturbing Way 3 Murdered Children Were Found By Their Parents

The following article includes descriptions of the murders of children.

On April 13, 1973, the world was shocked when a man named David McGreavy was arrested after the brutal murders of three children. Known as "The Monster of Worcester," McGreavy was babysitting for his friends Clive and Elsie Ralph at the time of the murders. Known to have a serious alcohol problem, the 21-year-old ended up heavily intoxicated while watching 9-month-old Samantha, 2-year-old Dawn, and 4-year-old Paul, as their parents were out for an hour at a local pub. During that hour, the situation would quickly turn violent (per BBC).

Fitting for the shocking nature of the crime, it was Friday the 13th when Clive asked their friend to watch their children while he went to pick up Elsie from her job as a barmaid. But what Clive didn't know, perhaps, was that McGreavy had paid a visit to the pub earlier and drank beyond his limits. Since Clive knew the kids were with McGreavy, he decided to have a drink with his wife before the two went home. When they finally got home, they were shocked at what they found (via American Upbeat).

Who is David McGreavy?

David McGreavy was born in Southport, England in 1951 and was the second of six children. His father Thomas served as a sergeant in the British Army and thus moved around a lot with his family. In 1967, he followed in his father's footsteps by joining the Royal Navy soon after dropping out of school. His ambition was to develop a career in the Navy, but his plan fell through when he was discharged for starting a fire on military property. After this, he moved back in with his parents who were now living in Worcestershire. But this, too, was short-lived when his parents kicked him out for his alcohol abuse (via Sword and Scale).

His impulsivity manifested during these early years. Before the potential arson in the navy, when he was a teenager he stole his mother's money to visit Liverpool on impulse. Years later after his military discharge, he proposed marriage to a woman he'd known only briefly and with whom he mostly exchanged letters. This impulsivity only worsened when he started drinking, and despite the fact he went through psychological testing, his records were never publicly revealed and to this day the true nature of his pathology remains a mystery (via Crime and Investigation).

The Night of the Murders

David McGreavy moved in with Clive Ralph as a roommate and then later lived with him when he married Elsie Ralph. McGreavy took on childcare responsibilities for the couple while they were away at work. He shared a room with 4-year-old Paul while he paid money toward the rent and even cooked occasionally for the family. But things weren't a bed of roses, since McGreavy's drinking continued and even resulted in him getting taken in by police at times, as per Crime and Investigation. On the night of the 13th, there was a rapid escalation in his drunken impulsivity.

When Samantha began crying for her bottle that night, she woke up her two siblings and agitated an intoxicated McGreavy. Unable to handle the situation calmly, McGreavy lost his temper at the infant and slammed her against the wall, fracturing her skull and killing her. He then cut Dawn's throat and strangled Paul. But he wasn't done. 

He disposed of the bodies in a way that was shocking and disturbing: he impaled them on a neighbor's iron fence railing (via BBC). When questioned by police almost immediately after, he claimed Samantha's crying was his only motive (via The Guardian).

Aftermath and His Ultimate Release

David McGreavy received multiple life sentences after his confession and six months after the murders, a distraught Elsie Ralph took an overdose, but ultimately survived. The couple soon moved away from Worcester in an attempt to move on with their lives, but the two are still haunted by the tragedy to this day. In 2018, it came back to them when McGreavy was put up for parole and released from prison in 2019 with the parole board claiming he was a changed man after over 40 years in prison (via BBC). Although he was denied parole in 2016, a psychiatrist who evaluated him claimed his self-control had improved as well as his ability to manage stress (via The Guardian).

In response to the parole board's decision, Elsie expressed her dismay, wanting them to follow through with their original life sentence. There were strict rules placed on him, however, including a curfew and ban from Worcester and Hampshire –- where a remarried Elsie currently resides. But the strictures didn't satisfy Elsie, who is not satisfied that justice has been served, given the extreme nature of the crime (via BBC).