Kids who kill: Peter Woodcock - a serial killer and child rapist

Kids Who Kill: Peter Woodcock - A Serial Killer and Child Rapist

Peter Woodcock was a Canadian serial killer and child rapist who brutally murdered three young children in the late 1950s. He underwent cutting-edge LSD therapy at a mental hospital but killed again when given a day of freedom. Woodcock was deemed to be psychopathic and dubbed by the media as The Serial Killer They Couldn’t Cure.

Toronto, 1956. The police were trying to identify a mysterious teen who rode a bicycle whom they suspected of killing 7-year-old Wayne Mallette. A few months earlier, the mother of a 10-year-old girl had filed a report against a much older boy named Peter Woodcock (17), who had been around her daughter and was trying to talk her into committing suicide. The police decided to pay a visit to Woodcock’s home in order to advise his parents to keep a close eye on him. Upon seeing the sketch of the suspect in the Malette case, investigators were astonished at how much this ghost bike rider resembled Peter Woodcock.

Peter Woodcock poster
‘Do you know this boy?’ read the posters in Toronto when Woodcock was still unidentified.

Peter Woodcock’s childhood

Peter Woodcock was born to a 17-year-old factory worker who gave him up for adoption. He spent his first three years of life in various foster homes, which was normal at the time, in order to keep the families from getting too attached to the child. He was physically abused in at least one of these foster homes. As an infant Peter was already troubled – he was crying nonstop, sleeping and eating very little and prone to screaming fits. He was seen as unadoptable. However, at the age of 3 he was adopted by a wealthy family who paid for his private school education, therapy and bikes. Little did they know they were raising one of the soon-to-be most notorious serial killers in Canadian history.

Peter Woodcock

At school Peter had no friends. He was constantly being bullied and made fun of. At the age of 10 he developed gruesome fantasies. He revealed to a social worker that he would like to set up a big explosion and kill all the children in Canada’s National Exhibition. Peter’s fantasies became more and more macabre. He saw himself as an all-powerful leader of 500 invisible soldiers he called The Winchester Hide Street Gang. In his mind he had thousands of friends and followers with whom he interacted and was popular with - all the things he wasn’t in real life. In reality he was cruising around Toronto on his bike and sexually assaulting children in Parkdale and Cabbagetown. He choked them until they lost consciousness and he took their clothes off, but at the time his fantasies were limited to looking at their genitals.

Killing Spree

In 1956, Peter was ready to move on to the next stage in his initiation – murder.

  • He picked up a little boy named Wayne Mallette and lured him into the deserted Toronto Exhibition grounds. Wayne was later found dead – suffocated. Originally, another teen identified as Ronald Mowatt was charged with Wayne’s murder. Woodcock confessed to the other two killings and the wrongly convicted boy was freed.
  • Next month, 9-year-old Gary Morris shared the same fate. The police found his corpse 10 days later, brutally beaten.
  • In 1957 Woodcock he was riding around the city with his bicycle again and offered a little girl named Carole Voyce a ride. He took her to a ravine where he choked, sexually assaulted and mutilated her. The murder took place during winter. People thought it was suspicious of him to be riding his bicycle during the winter season and recalled him. Since he had been seen talking with a lot of kids near playgrounds and the police sketches resembled him, he was quickly detained.
Victims of Peter Woodcock
Victims of Peter Woodcock. From the left: Carole Voyce, 4. Wayne Mallette, 7. Garry Morris, 9.

Arrest and Aftermath

Woodcock was apprehended for the murders in 1957 but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was placed in Oak Ridge, an Ontario psychiatric facility, where he legally changed his name to David Michael Krueger in 1982. He sometimes tried to explain why he killed, but never came up with rational reasons and said his morality was whatever the system allowed.

During a BBC interview Peter Woodcock stated:

“I regret that children died, but I felt like God.

It was the power of God over a human being.

I got very little pleasure from anything else in life.

But in the strangling of children I felt a sensation and degree of pleasure and of accomplishment.

Because it was such a good feeling, I wanted to duplicate it.“

Following the completion of a treatment program which included LSD therapy, he was deemed greatly improved and sent to a medium-security hospital. There, Woodcock claimed, he fell in love with fellow psychiatric patient Dennis Kerr, who rejected his sexual advances. During the first hour of his first weekend pass in 34 years, Woodcock stabbed Kerr to death. Woodcock would later explain that the treatment program had served only to make him more adept at manipulating others.

Woodcock was shipped back to maximum security, where he died of natural causes on his birthday in 2010.

Bruce Hamill
Bruce Hamill, who helped Peter Woodcock to kill fellow inmate Dennis Kerr.
Peter Woodcock now today
Peter Woodcock prior his death in 2010.
Peter Woodcock / David Michael Krueger now today
Sketches of Peter Woodcock
Sketches of Peter Woodcock.

A short documentary about Peter Woodcock

Crime, Serial killers
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