BEST TRUE-CRIME PODCAST at British Podcast Awards, The Telegraph's Top Five True-Crime Podcasts, The Guardian and TalkRadio's Podcast of the Week, Podcast Magazine's Hot 50 and iTunes Top 25. Subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, Acast, Stitcher and all podcast platforms.
Welcome to the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast and audio guided walk of London's most infamous and often forgotten murder cases, all set within and beyond the West End.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE:
On Saturday 5th December 1992, 33-year-old travel agent Gillian Bennett entered Marn Garage at 370 Uxbridge Road, W12. With her life and career going well, she purchased a nearly-new bright-red K-reg Fiat Uno. Given a sense of freedom with her own car, this should have been an exciting chapter in her reassuringly safe little life.
And yet, finding a series of odd mechanical issues which required the dealership’s attention, it wasn’t only the car which caused her problems, as two weeks later, this purchase would lead to her murder.
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations, to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The location is marked with a black raindrop in Shepherd's Bush. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, access them by clicking here.
SOURCES: This case was researched using some of the sources below.
UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE:
Welcome to Murder Mile.
Today I’m standing on Uxbridge Road, W12; four roads up from The Beast of Shepherd’s Bush, a few doors down from the devil’s child and his little snack, over the road of where Reg Christie destroyed his dog, and a short walk from Bernie, the paedophile that the press hid - coming soon to Murder Mile.
At 370 Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush, on the corner of Blaufontaine Road stands The New Coach House, an alcohol advisory service. But back in the 1990s, at The Old Coach House, within a Victorian three-storey flat-fronted building once stood a car dealership called Marn. Typical of most garages, all the shiny cars sparkled on the forecourt, as outback old bangers had holes patched and panels bashed.
With space for ten cars – like many dealerships – an oily spiv slicked on the charm as he attempted to bamboozle a customer with the bluster that a nearly-knackered freshly-waxed death-trap was a dream brum-brum; with its rust rebranded as ‘vintage patina’, the unique blue hue spewing from the exhaust (as an OAP only drove it in first gear) described as an ‘optional extra’, and the obligatory pine-freshener dangling from the mirror to disguise the whiff of botty burp and bum foist which lingered in the seat.
Of course, not all car dealerships are like that. Right?
On Saturday 5th December 1992, 33-year-old travel agent Gillian Bennett entered Marn Garage. With her life and career going well, she purchased a nearly-new bright-red K-reg Fiat Uno. Given a sense of freedom with her own car, this should have been an exciting chapter in her reassuringly safe little life.
And yet, finding a series of odd mechanical issues which required the dealership’s attention, it wasn’t only the car which caused her problems, as two weeks later, this purchase would lead to her murder.
My name is Michael, I am your tour guide, and this is Murder Mile.
Episode 185: Driven to Obsession.
Shopping; it’s an everyday part of life which we do most days, we don’t think about it, we just do it. It’s designed to be as simple and painless as possible; a quick exchange of cash and pleasantries lasting a minute at best, and once the customer departs and the server moves on, both parties are forgotten.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be…
…and that’s what Gillian expected.
Gillian Margaret Bennett was born on the 21st October 1959 in Carlisle, a Cumbrian city just shy of the English and Scottish border. Raised in a loving family to hard-working parents as one of six children, it was unsurprising that she would live a good life and would blossom into such a warm and loving girl.
Too often when a loved-one dies, part of the family’s coping mechanism is to trot out a series of vague platitudes of only the dead’s most positive attributes; how they were ‘lovely’, ‘kind’ and ‘caring, with a bright future ahead of them’. Only no exaggeration was needed to describe Gillian and her life.
According to those who knew her, Gillian was popular and pleasant, a bright warm light in a dull grey sky who radiated but never outshone. She was as gentle and as good-natured as an adorable puppy who only wanted to please. And being a fun-loving girl who had the drive to achieve, she softly drifted through life like a fragrant petal on the breeze, quietly making her way without rustling any leaves.
Blessed with a slim frame and a pretty face, she was always popular with the boys, and yet, it was her big heart which assured she was surrounded by a constant companion of girls who were good friends.
With enough smarts to graduate from university with a degree in tourism, and being fluent in French, Spanish and Italian, Gillian pursued a career as a travel agent. With the 1980s and 1990s seeing a boom in package deals for the wider population and on a more affordable budget, she travelled far and wide.
Working for Riva Travel on New Bond Street, across her career, she visited many exciting countries, she embraced a multitude of cultures and became friendly with thousands of strangers, some of whom became friends. But always knowing the dangers, she acted appropriately and she didn’t take risks.
By the turn of the 1990s, so focussed was Gillian on her career, that – like a natty little cabriolet sports car in the winter - she had parked her love life in the garage and threw a tarpaulin over her romance until she felt it was time to blow-off the cobwebs of singledom and give relationships one more spin.
Enjoying life and being free, she lived in a pleasant ground-floor maisonette on a quiet leafy street on Oakdale Road in Streatham, South London. As a three-storey semi-detached house converted into flats – being safety and money conscious - Gillian lived with Ann Evans, a colleague from Riva Travel.
It is said, the sum of a person is the sum of their actions, and Gillian was kindness personified. It seems almost remiss to describe her as just a nice lady who was doing her job and living a good life without being a bother to anyone… but that’s who she was. Like all of us, she deserved to live a good life…
…and yet, a simple purchase would change everything.
The morning of Saturday 5th December 1992 was an ordinary day, albeit wet and tinged with a frisson of excitement as Gillian was buying herself a car. It was the perfect day to go car-shopping, as with the sky all gloomy and grey, the freshly waxed motors in the showroom wouldn’t distract from their faults.
Having done her research, set her budget and chosen a reliable run-around which was both practical and suitable, Gillian entered Marn Garage on the Uxbridge Road and purchased a bright red Fiat Uno.
Served by one of the sales-staff, the transaction was swift; she gave her details, signed the agreement and – with the car due to be serviced and MOT’d – it would be delivered to her home next Thursday.
It was that simple; she went in, paid money and left, unaware of what had begun.
The man who would murder her was an employee of Marn Garage called Winston Goulbourne. In an odd twist - as a mechanic - he didn’t serve her that day and she didn’t see him. But like all pricks who only think with their dicks; the second he saw her, he liked her and having whispered to a colleague “cor, she’s really nice”. he looked up her details in the file and formed a plan to get to know her better.
With sex on his mind, Winston wanted to wheedle his way into her pants by posing as the man of her dreams; with smooth music on loop, a slew of cheesy chat-up lines and a stifling of a perpetual boner…
…but in truth – for any woman - he was a walking nightmare.
Born on the 18th August 1968 in Lambeth, South London, 24-year-old Winston Anthony Goulbourne saw himself as a lady’s man. Guided by his raging manhood rather than his beating heart, he believed he was a red-hot Romeo with the looks to sweep a woman off her feet, the chat to charm a girl into bed, and - as a lothario - he talked of ever-lasting love, as a easy ploy to get a chick onto her back.
With his words written like the lyrics to too many crappy R&B songs, the bulk of his spiel spoke of love, hearts and being one, but all too often it ended with the line - “yeah baby, take your pants off”.
Described as coming from a broken home, little is known of his upbringing, but something hidden in his past – maybe a lack of love from a parent, a sense that he was worth less, or an early rejection by a girl – had left him damaged. But unwilling to deal with his issues, others would pay for his weakness.
To those who knew him, Winston was lovable but harmless rogue with no prior convictions. Born from Jamaican roots, he had the cool calm demeanour of a Caribbean cocktail; regularly working out, he was short but powerfully built; and always well-groomed, Winston’s head sported a neat little flat-top and – as was fashionable back then – on his top lip sat an Eddie Murphy tash from Beverly Hills Cop.
By day, Winston worked as a salesman and a mechanic at Marn Garage on the Uxbridge Road. It was a steady job and it paid a decent wage, which afforded him a flat in Ingatestone Road, South Norwood where he lived with his partner Paulette Lucas. But a big chunk of his wage was often spent on clothes.
Fashion was his thing; he liked style, expense and he always bragged about the label and the price.
But by night – once he had ditched his dirty overalls and oily spanners - Winston would head home to make sweet love to his girlfriend. On the sly, he was shagging his secret lover called Jane Larter, with neither woman knowing about the other’s existence, as he kept his dirty dalliances on the down-low.
And as if he was so sad that he had to prove his manliness even further – being the kind of loathsome soul who saw women as conquests, acts of intimacy to be bragged about, and (possibly) the type of truly tragic turd who kept a scorecard of his latest shags and marked-up whether a woman was a right goer or a bad blower – dressed to the nines, he often had one eye always open for his next sexscapade.
It’s deeply sad that anyone should be so vapid and vacuous as to believe that they are a silver-tongued stud who all the ladies adore. Stand in any cheesy nightspot, and you’ll always see a preening peacock who wreaks of a desperation to be loved and a belief that one man could be cat-nip to any sex kitten.
Winston believed it, and he lived to be loved…
…but what he couldn’t accept was rejection.
Whether by fate, a stroke of fortuitous luck, or having persistently pestered the boss into letting him be her knight in oily overalls who would deliver this little car to this little lady – given the fact that “I live nearby, I could drop it off on my way home” – this didn’t seem out of the ordinary, and it wasn’t.
Keen to make an impression; he straightened his best ‘girl bait’ tie, adjusted the sharp lines of his suit, splashed on some totty lotion, and (possibly) admiring his face in the mirror – he thought he was as dishy as Denzel Washington, but looked more akin to a Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
On the evening of Thursday 10th December 1992, as agreed, Winston drove the reg K-reg Fiat Uno to Gillian’s flat at Oakdale Road in Streatham. He parked up, he rang the door-bell, he smiled and said “hi”, and having handed over the keys and the paperwork, the transaction was completed in minutes.
Everything was as Gillian had expected; a nearly new car, serviced, MOT’d and delivered to her home.
For Gillian, this marked the end of a simple interaction…
…but for Winston, this was just the beginning.
The next day held a little more excitement than usual for Gillian, as she had her own car. She could go anywhere, she could do anything; whether mini-breaks in the UK, travelling to see friends in other cities or her family up in Cumbria. With the car barely one year old, the likelihood was it would be a decent little run-around for a good few years, and she wouldn’t have to worry about it breaking down.
It was a smart choice for a single woman with no children; it was cheap to run, it was easy to repair and it was good to drive, but it didn’t look flashy enough that a little scrote would nick it or trash it.
From day one, the Fiat Uno was ready to go…
…but that night – being a real home-body - as Gillian sat eating tea and watching TV with her flatmate, Ann, the door-bell rang. Being late and dark, while Ann was on the phone, Gillian approached the door with caution. Quickly she was relieved, as it was just the guy from the garage who had delivered her car.
Being nice, she smiled, as this was her way. They made small talk, but only briefly, as she was nothing if not polite. She didn’t invite him in, as he was a stranger and this was her home. And she listened to his believable apology that someone had forgotten to fit her car with foot mats; a set of cheap but durable rugs that sit below the peddles which can be purchased for a few pounds in any car-part shop.
In his words, “it’s not a problem, I was passing by”, so this could have been an honest mistake?
For Winston, the missing rugs were an easy-excuse to try and slime his way into her life, her home and her knickers, but what he hadn’t counted on was that she had a flat-mate. Being on the phone to a friend, Ann Evans was in eyeline and earshot of Winston and Gillian’s interaction that night.
This was his chance to try his luck with a pretty lady, but with another woman near, he lost his bottle. The moment was gone, his chat-up lines had dried up and his smoothness had suffered a few wrinkles.
But it was then that fate gave him a break. Inside the flat, he overheard Ann’s phone call, in which she stated to her friend: “no, I can’t do the 19th or 20th December, I’ll be at my parents’ house in Wales”. It was a few words conveyed to a pal which was as innocuous as saying “hello”, but as a gift to an eavesdropper with open ears, it let Winston know when Ann would be gone and when Gillian would be home alone.
Having been handed the car-mats, Gillian closed the door and thought nothing more of it.
Only Winston was already planning how he would engineer another reason to return.
Back at the garage and buoyed by his brief interaction with this sexy lady that he was determined to bag - unable to contain his crass self-delusion that ladies were drawn to his raw sexual magnetism - Winston bragged to his colleagues that he had already bedded her. So supposedly sharp was his charm that he had wooed, bedded and banged her, and that she was all over him like a rash. It was the typical bluff and bluster of a bullshitter with (statistically) a huge ego and a pointlessly tiny little pecker.
It was a lie, and we know it was, as (when questioned) he would later admit this to the police. But how far did he believe his own lies that – one day – she would be his, and how far would he go to get her?
Even if he was a handsome heart-throb who could pluck the heart-strings of a panting lady at twenty paces – which he wasn’t - Gillian was not interested; he wasn’t looking for a man, she was focussed on her career and - call her crazy –she didn’t find a walking hard-on with a line for every lady attractive.
For Gillian, she was just getting on with her life, doing her job and enjoying her freedom. So, it’s odd that just 4 days after delivery - maybe by coincidence - she experienced a problem with her new car.
Phoning from home, Gillian called the garage to state “my car won’t start”. With her call handed to a mechanic – strangely and as if by coincidence, to Winston – he promised to drop by on his way home that evening. That night, clutching his tool-kit and tinkering under the hood, he diagnosed the problem as a flooded engine, he rectified the fault and he gave her his phone number should it happen again.
Gillian thought nothing more of it, as with the car fixed, she hoped that it was the last of its issues.
Only the next day, while giving her flatmate Ann a lift home from Riva Travel, as they drove down the Brixton Road, they noticed an odd thumping noise coming from the driver’s side of the Fiat. Pulling over to investigate, they spotted that a wheel nut had been removed and another had been loosened.
Once again, telephoning the garage, Winston showed concern and assured Gillian he would swing by on his way home that night; with a tyre iron, a wheel nut and a spare key he had forgotten to give her.
Each time he visited, he trotted out a line and did his best to flirt, only his words bounced right off her.
Feeling frustrated with this run of bad luck she’d had with her car; some may have wondered whether this was a coincidence or deliberate? Were the issues a malicious act by someone she had a beef with? It was unlikely. Was it a bored kid who had progressed from nicking hub caps? That seemed unlikely as how many kids carry tyre irons? So, who would benefit from her wheels being damaged?
Again, believing that the car was fixed and the problem resolved, Gillian thought nothing more of it.
Only the next day, as she approached her car, her face fell as she saw that her tyre was flat. Again, she called the garage. Rightly, she complained that “someone” had let her tyres down, and although (as if from the kindness of his heart and his crotch) Winston offered to fix it, but Gillian flatly declined.
Upon inspection, Gillian found a broken matchstick stuck in the valve which deflated the tyre; this was too odd to be an accident and too specific to have been done by a kid. Wanting nothing more to do with garage or the mechanic – frustrated by the problems, his hopeless attempts at flirting, and with each excuse as pathetic as the last – she believed if he didn’t return, then neither would the problems.
That little Fiat Uno would never experience another mechanical problem…
…as by the next day, its owner would be dead.
Saturday 19th December 1992; two weeks after the purchase and less than one week before Christmas.
With her flatmate away in Wales, and no social plans of her own, Gillian had an easy night in; dinner, telly and bed by 9:30pm. Always cautious, she locked the doors and windows of this small maisonette.
Over in Norwood, a 30-minute drive south of Streatham, unable to keep his dick zipped up, Winston – the slimy creep with the wandering eyes – lied to his girlfriend (Paulette Lucas) “I’m going to a party, girl”. Except the only invitees was himself and his mistress (Jane Larter), and the party was in his pants. Back at hers, they had sex twice, and by 1am - having shot his load and a few cheesy lines - he left.
In court, Jane stated “I had sex with him every day”, as his life was ruled by his pointless little plonker.
Having left Clapham, Winston’s route home was via the A205 and the B221, a road which went through Streatham. Pulling onto Oakdale Road and parking up beside the red Fiat, he didn’t care that she was asleep and didn’t fancy him, as what he wanted was all that mattered – and that was sex with her.
Having dressed in a tailored sports-jacket from a Covent Garden boutique, splashed on his totty lotion and slicked down his tash so he looked like a chunky Martin Lawrence, what woman wouldn’t say no?
As far as we know, that was his thought, as he approached her door for one last time.
With no eye-witnesses, only the evidence can tell us what happened that night:
Although a house split into six flats, no-one had heard a bell being rung or a door being knocked, but – for whatever reason, with no signs of a break-in – Gillian had opened the door to Winston. No-one heard any words, but it’s likely – as she stood, dressed in a long t-shirt and a white dressing gown – that the leech tried his luck, as – keeping her voice down - she politely tried to convince him to leave.
Whether rejection had enraged the fragile ego of a loser in the guise of a lothario, at 1:20am, a scream was heard by a neighbour – possibly as he forced his way into her flat – but being half-sleep and living too near the high street where Saturday night screams are common, they dismissed it as nothing.
No-one awoke or raised an alarm, and - with Gillian having been knocked out – no sounds were heard.
Dragged into her flatmate’s bedroom, Winston half-stripped her of her night attire, baring her breasts and tying her hands behind her back with the cord of her bathrobe. With no sounds, no struggle and no evidence of sexual assault, what happened next is unknown. And yet, having gained full control over the woman he wanted (and with no-one to help her) Winston remained with her for a full hour.
What sparked his fury will never be known, but claiming he went berserk, from the kitchen he stole an eight-inch knife and plunged it twice into the chest. So vengeful was his wrath that – having stabbed near her heart – he maliciously withdrew the blade and thrust it in again, where it would remain.
With Gillian silent, bleeding but still alive, it was then that Winston left the flat…
…only heading to his car, he wasn’t making his escape, he was making sure that she wouldn’t live to tell the tale and that no-one would know that her murder was committed by him. At roughly 2:30am, for one final time, Gillian screamed a scream with her last breath which lasted several seconds.
Heard by an uncertain neighbour, once the scream had stopped, they thought the incident was over.
But it wasn’t. Having covered his trussed-up victim in a pink blanket, from his car, Winston had doused her with several litres of highly-flammable petrol from a fuel can, and as he lit it, she had screamed.
With Gillian slowly being burned alive, with the evidence destroyed and the petrol can in his hand, he calmly walked from the inferno and headed home to shag his girlfriend, as if nothing had happened.
At 3:15am, 50 minutes later, with smoke pouring from Ann’s bedroom, the blaze had triggered a smoke alarm in a neighbour’s flat and the fire brigade were called. Having extinguished the flames, Gillian’s body was found; it was burned, tied up and with a knife embedded in her chest. A post-mortem confirmed that – mercifully – she had died of shock and that her death was quick. But a big question remained: the Police knew they had a murder on their hands. But who was the culprit? (End)
With no witnesses, finding her killer would be difficult. Keen to trace her movements, that morning, Detective Inspector Bob Randall discovered that the only thing she did that was strange in the days before her death was to buy a Fiat Uno. At the garage, he interviewed a boastful but slightly distressed mechanic who – for reasons which weren’t clear - had visited her home four times in the last ten days.
Having found a few unique fibres - a grey wool and black viscose mix - on the bedsheet in Gillian’s flat, police examined a tailored sports-jacket from a Covent Garden boutique in his wardrobe and the fibres were a match. As a lover of fine fashion and being too vain to destroy such a pricey jacket of which only 125 were sold in Britain - finding her blood on his sleeve, on his tie, and with her skin found under his fingernails – on Sunday 20th December, a few hours after the murder, Winston was charged.
Tried at the Old Bailey on 4th August 1993, before Mr Justice Richard Lawry QC – having pled not guilty - that same day, a jury of six men and six women took five hours to reach a unanimous verdict. Found guilty, he was sentenced to life in prison, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of twenty years.
Praising Gillian as “a lovely girl whose death was a tragedy", DI Randall would state "I can only describe Winston Goulbourne as a Walter Mitty character, an evil and dangerous psychopath". In 1996, with his appeal rejected, the Home Secretary reduced his sentence to 18 years. In 2011, he was released on licence and he moved to Mitcham, South London, where – as far we know – he currently lives.
The Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast has been researched using the original declassified police investigation files, court records, press reports and as many authentic sources as possible, which are freely available in the public domain, including eye-witness testimony, confessions, autopsy reports, first-hand accounts and independent investigation, where possible. But these documents are only as accurate as those recounting them and recording them, and are always incomplete or full of opinion rather than fact, therefore mistakes and misrepresentations can be made. As stated at the beginning of each episode (and as is clear by the way it is presented) Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast is a 'dramatisation' of the events and not a documentary, therefore a certain amount of dramatic licence, selective characterisation and story-telling (within logical reason and based on extensive research) has been taken to create a fuller picture. It is not a full and complete representation of the case, the people or the investigation, and therefore should not be taken as such. It is also often (for the sake of clarity, speed and the drama) presented from a single person's perspective, usually (but not exclusively) the victim's, and therefore it will contain a certain level of bias and opinion to get across this single perspective, which may not be the overall opinion of those involved or associated. Murder Mile is just one possible retelling of each case. Murder Mile does not set out to cause any harm or distress to those involved, and those who listen to the podcast or read the transcripts provided should be aware that by accessing anything created by Murder Mile (or any source related to any each) that they may discover some details about a person, an incident or the police investigation itself, that they were unaware of.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London” and nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards".
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
Subscribe to the Murder Mile true-crime podcast
Note: This blog contains only licence-free images or photos shot by myself in compliance with UK & EU copyright laws. If any image breaches these laws, blame Google Images.