Acorn TV announced today the US premiere date for The Real Manhunter, the true-crime docuseries about the investigations of real-life Manhunt detective Colin Sutton.
Portrayed by Martin Clunes in the hit true-crime drama Manhunt, former Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton spent 30 years on the police force — a career that saw him lead many of the most high-profile and successful murder investigations of his generation. Although he will forever be associated with the arrest and conviction of serial killer Levi Bellfield and “Night Stalker” Delroy Grant, Sutton’s career involved so much more: Of the 37 murder cases he investigated, he solved 35 with convictions.
Soon viewers on this side of the pond will get to hear from Sutton himself about his work on the Bellfield and Grant cases, as well as six other investigations, in the eight-part true-crime docuseries The Real Manhunter — which will premiere in the US in its bingeable entirety on Monday, June 14, exclusively on Acorn TV.
In the series, Sutton revisits cases that he led and explores everything from the crime itself to the breakthrough moment when the suspect was identified and arrested. For each investigation, he takes viewers on a journey — from the moment the police were called to the scene, to visiting key locations, and then to explaining how he and his team managed to gather enough evidence to secure a conviction.
The Real Manhunter features contributions from fellow police officers and journalists who covered the cases, and offers a gripping insight into exactly what happens after the most violent of crimes have been committed.
The eight cases covered in the series include:
“The Night Stalker” Delroy Grant — Considered on of the UK’s worst rapists, Delroy Grant carried out a reign of terror that spanned almost 20 years. Nicknamed “The Night Stalker,” he sneaked into the homes of the elderly, disconnected the electricity, and assaulted them before disappearing into the night. He went undetected for many years, due in part to mistakes made by the police, but was finally arrested in 2009 due to a restructuring of the investigative process used to pursue him. In 2011, Grant went on trial and was convicted on all 29 offenses he was charged with. Police believe he is responsible for hundreds more attacks.
“The Bus-Stop Killer” Levi Bellfield — Levi Bellfield is one of the most notorious serial killers in modern British history, most famously committing the brutal murders of Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell, and Amelie Delagrange. In 2002, Milly Dowler was abducted and murdered, but it was months before her body was found. In the years that followed, two more women were also killed in brutal attacks. Seeing a link between the murders, Colin Sutton launched a manhunt that eventually brought “the Bus Stop Killer” to justice.
The Murder of Bridie Skehan — Nimpha Ong and Ahmed Al-Haddad were tenants of 92-year-old Bridget “Bridie” Skehan, a wealthy former socialite, at her Bayswater apartment. In December 2002, they brutally beat her to death in a bid to get their hands on her fortune. Skehan’s body was found in a shed behind the building a few days later, having been bundled into a cardboard box and concealed. When the Ong and Al-Haddad were arrested, they blamed each other for the crime, but were both eventually convicted of murdering Bridie and given life sentences.
The Murder of Krystal Hart — Thomas Hughes murdered pregnant 22-year-old Krystal Hart with two gunshots to the head on the doorstep of her home in a ruthless, execution-style murder. Following a long-running dispute between Hart and “neighbor from hell” Angie Brewer, Hughes took it upon himself to carry out the revenge attack after becoming besotted with Brewer. He either ignored or knew nothing of the CCTV cameras that had been placed above the door to discourage and to monitor the feud, and the footage helped to secure a conviction during the trial. But first, the police had to track Hughes down.
The Murder of Christopher Donovan — Christopher Donovan, his brother Philip, and friend Richard were in high spirits walking home in the early hours one Saturday morning when they were attacked by a gang of thugs. The hooligans kicked and punched Christopher, knocking him to the ground, where his already lifeless body was then hit by a passing car in a final blow. After a painstaking investigation, which included reconstructions using tailor’s dummies, a series of witnesses came forward to identify the three killers, who were later sentenced to life in prison.
The Murder of Clare Bernal — Harvey Nicholls beauty consultant Clare Bernal and security guard Michael Pech had only been on three dates when he began stalking her. Eventually, she reported his behavior to the police — he had been following her, texting her up to 50 times a day, threatening her — and he was arrested. But on September 15, 2005, while out on bail awaiting sentencing for harassment, Pech walked into Harvey Nicholls and shot 22-year-old Clare once in the back of the head and three times in the face. She died instantly, and he then turned the gun on himself.
The Dream City Cinema Fire — The Dream City Cinema Club was adult cinema in Clerkenwell that operated illegally due to the pornographic nature of the films it screened. On February 26, 1994, David Lauwers fought with a doorman over admission, after which he was ejected from the cinema. Lauwers returned 30 minutes later to exact his revenge, pouring a can of gasoline into the entrance and setting it alight. The fire took hold quickly, and due to the lack of fire inspections on the illegal operation, most of the staff and patrons were trapped. Eleven men were killed in the fire and 15 more were seriously injured. A few days later, Lauwers walked into Walthamstow police station and confessed to the crime.
The Disappearance of Maureen Hale — In June 1999, Maureen Hale, a wife and mother, vanished without a trace. Police had long suspected her millionaire husband, Martin, of killing her after she had demanded a divorce. Martin was arrested and charged with Maureen’s murder based on damning evidence: He had offered a friend who ran a pet cemetery £20K to rent an incinerator, and detectives also found a note in his briefcase that listed ways to dispose of a body. Martin Hale was found not guilty following the trial, and Maureen’s whereabouts have never been discovered.
A production of Revelation Films Production in association with Sky and Goldfinch Entertainment, The Real Manhunter is written by Colin Sutton (Manhunt) and series directors Chris Matthews (The Krays: Kill Order) and Trevor Drane (The Feared: Irish Gangsters).
By the way, the Night Stalker case gets the true-crime drama treatment in the four-episode second season of Manhunt, in which Martin Clunes once again portrays DCI Colin Sutton. Look for it on Acorn TV in the US and on ITV in the UK this fall.
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