Discovery+ - available from Sat 30 Jul
Michael Sams abducted and murdered Leeds teenager Julie Dart in 1991, before kidnapping young estate agent Stephanie Slater near Birmingham six months later. The terrifying case is recalled by those closest to the horrific crimes in a chilling new documentary.
Police played cat-and-mouse with the one-legged killer, who communicated with them via letters demanding ransom drops and taunting them from afar. He was finally arrested following a Crimewatch appeal that broadcast his voice on prime-time TV.
It was a period that former West Yorkshire police officer, Tim Grogan – who retired after 30 years’ service in 2003 and revisits his experiences in the programme – will never forget.
‘I was on the investigation for two years and two months, and it was such a groundbreaking case, so it often comes to mind even now,’ he says, adding that it also took an emotional toll.
‘I’m a hard-bitten cop, but I do vividly recall being awake at four in the morning and thinking of Julie, alone, frightened, abandoned, desperate, tormented, knowing she could be killed at any time. I thought, “We’ve got to get this guy.”’
Officers knew they were in a race against time to save Stephanie before history repeated itself, and feared the worst when Sams made off with the £175,000 in cash he had demanded as a ransom. However, despite keeping her shackled in a wooden box inside a wheelie bin for a week, he had forged a bond with her and released her.
Sams received four life sentences in 1993, and although he denied snatching and killing Julie Dart during the trial, he later summoned detectives to the prison where he confessed.