Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Peter Tobin's wife: 'I was raped and left for dead'

By Vanessa Barford
BBC News


Tobin's first wife tells of abuse at his hands

Peter Tobin's first wife, who the convicted killer raped and on one occasion left for dead, says her former husband is a Jekyll and Hyde character and always had the capacity to kill.

Margaret was only 17 when she met Peter Tobin, the man found guilty of the murder of 18-year-old Dinah McNicol.

She said she was struck by Tobin's charm on their first meeting.

"He was very gentlemanly, he was dressed in a nice suit, he was very polite and he offered us drinks - soft drinks - at the dance, and he just had very good conversation."

Margaret thought Tobin was the love of her life. But within weeks his dark side started to show.

"After a good few weekends out with him in the car, going to nice places like cinemas, one day he asked me if I wanted to go back for coffee in his flat.

If it hadn't been for a gentleman who lived below seeing the blood dripping through his ceiling, I would probably be dead now

"When I went to leave, he just slammed the door shut. He said 'no, you're not leaving'.

I tried again to open the door, he pulled me by the arm, pushed me over onto the floor. That was when it all started."

Margaret says Tobin never let her leave the flat in Shettleston, Glasgow, until they moved to Brighton.

It was here, in August 1969, that Margaret said Tobin forced her to marry him, soliciting the help of two friends to impersonate her parents and witness the marriage.

She said she was little more than a prisoner.

"When he went out, he would lock the door and lock me in the room, either in the kitchen or the bedroom, which meant for the whole day I couldn't get to the bathroom.

"If I tried to get out or call for help he would shut me up, gag me with his hand and throw me on a chair or against a wall. He always hit me where it wouldn't be seen, on my legs, on my back or my arm, so that if we went out together no-one would see the bruises."

Peter Tobin
Tobin's life has been full of violence and sexual offences

Margaret said Tobin always kept a knife on him, and he was not afraid to use it.

"I have a few scars, when he wanted to rape me he would go for me."

On one occasion, she was subjected to a vicious knife attack that left her unable to have children.

"I think you could almost say it was a near-death experience.

"If it hadn't been for a gentleman who lived below seeing the blood dripping through his ceiling, I would probably be dead now."

The violence continued, with Tobin decapitating their dog Brute because he "couldn't stand the noise and the peeing".

Margaret said she was too terrified to try to escape the man who controlled her every move.

"In one respect, I had to depend on him for getting food and clothes, on the other I was too frightened to do anything because he always had this knife. I just had to look at him and expressions of anger just emanated out of his face all the time.

He is very plausible - very Jekyll and Hyde - he can portray either side very, very readily

"But he had no money either, he stole from shops," she added.

Although her family suspected something was wrong, they had no idea where Tobin had taken her and could do little to help.

She said her one chance of being saved - when they visited her cousin on their way to Brighton - ended in disaster.

"Inside my head I thought they might be able to get me away from him, but when my cousin told Tobin to go away, he knocked my cousin and her friend to the floor several times."

It was only when Tobin was arrested for other crimes in Brighton that Margaret eventually escaped.

'Very plausible'

Vicky Hamilton
Peter Tobin was convicted of killing schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton

She said she could "very easily" have been killed if the police had not arrived when they did and she felt "lucky" to be alive.

Tobin is already serving a life sentence for raping and murdering Polish student Angelika Kluk and hiding her body in a Glasgow church in 2006.

The 63-year-old was also convicted of abducting, raping and killing 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton in 2007 after the teenager's dismembered remains were discovered in his garden. The schoolgirl went missing in 1991.

He has also been convicted of sexually assaulting two other women.

Margaret said the similarities between the cases and her own experience were stark.

"The cases of Dinah and Vicky are very similar. They all started off with meeting a nice, polite gentleman and finished off - as I nearly did, twice - dead, because they believed he was a nice person until their time came to be his prisoner.

"He is very plausible - very easily Jekyll and Hyde- he can portray either side very, very readily."

The 58-year-old said she feared Tobin, who is said to have boasted in prison to having killed 48 women, may be responsible for many more murders.

There is already speculation about whether he could be the man dubbed "Bible John", thought to be responsible for the deaths of three women in Glasgow in the late 1960s.

"Nobody knows what went on in the middle 20 years between myself and him marrying again, unfortunately the system didn't have a way of keeping trace of him.

"A lot of missing people have not been accounted for, I think maybe people had given up.

"Now they've opened up the last 40 years of Tobin I think a lot more will come to light."

But she said she hoped she would be proved wrong.

"I feel so, so sorry for the parents of all the ones that didn't make it. I just hope there are none still to come."

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