The Eight-Part, Binge Release Explores the Real-Life Cases of Police Detective Colin Sutton, the Inspiration for the Hit Acorn TV Drama Manhunt
New York, NY – May 11, 2021 – True crime docu-series The Real Manhunter premieres as a full series binge on Acorn TV on Monday, June 14. Recently portrayed by Martin Clunes in the hit Acorn TV Original drama Manhunt, former Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton spent 30 years in the police force, a career that saw him lead many of the most high-profile and successful murder investigations of his generation. Though he will forever be associated with the arrest and conviction of serial killer Levi Bellfield and ‘night stalker’ Delroy Grant, his career was so much more, as his conviction record shows. Of the 37 murder cases he investigated, he solved 35 with convictions.
In this eight-part Acorn TV Exclusive Series, Sutton revisits cases he led and explores everything from the crime itself to the breakthrough moment when the suspect was identified and arrested. He will take the viewer on a journey from the moment the police were called to the scene, visit key locations, and explain 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 will offer a gripping insight into exactly what happens after the most violent of crimes have been committed.
All episodes are available to view now on Screeners.com.
The Real Manhunter is a Revelation Films Production in association with Sky and Goldfinch Entertainment. The series is written by Colin Sutton (Manhunt), Chris Matthews (The Krays: Kill Order) and Trevor Drane (The Feared: Irish Gangsters), with the latter two also serving as directors. Abacus Media Rights (AMR) handles international distribution.
Additionally, the Acorn TV Original and ITV drama series Manhunt starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as Colin Sutton returns this fall with four new episodes following The Night Stalker case.
THE REAL MANHUNTER EPISODE DESCRIPTIONS – ALL EPISODES AVAILABLE AS BINGE PREMIERE ON MONDAY, JUNE 14
Episode One – ‘The Night Stalker’ Delroy Grant
Delroy Grant is considered to be one of the UK’s worst rapists with a reign of terror that spanned almost 20 years. Nicknamed ‘The Night Stalker,’ he would sneak into the homes of the elderly, disconnect the electricity and assault 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 Grant. In 2011, he went on trial charged with 29 offences and was convicted of all of them. Police believe he is responsible for hundreds more.
Episode Two – ‘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 would be 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 murder hunt and eventually brought ‘the bus stop killer’ to justice.
Episode Three – 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 when they brutally beat her to death in a gratuitously savage attack in December 2002, in a bid to get their hands on her fortune. Her body was found in a shed to the rear of the building a few days later, having been bundled into a cardboard box and concealed. When the pair were arrested, they blamed each other for the crime but were both eventually convicted of murdering Bridie and given life sentences.
Episode Four – 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. In a surprising twist, there were CCTV cameras placed above the door to discourage and monitor the feud which Thomas Hughes either ignored or knew nothing of which would help to secure a conviction during the trial. But first, the police had to track Hughes down.
Episode Five – 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, an attack that would end in Christopher’s death. The gang kicked and punched Christopher, knocking him to the ground. His 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.
Episode Six – 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 a sustained campaign of stalking against 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. On September 15th, 2005, Pech was out on bail awaiting sentencing for harassment when he walked into Harvey Nicholls and shot the 22-year-old once in the back of the head then three times in the face. She died instantly and he then turned the gun on himself.
Episode Seven – The Dream City Cinema Fire
The Dream City Cinema Club was an adult cinema in Clerkenwell that was operating illegally due to the pornographic nature of the films it screened. On February 26, 1994, David Lauwers fought with a doorman at the cinema in a dispute over admission, after which he was ejected. He returned to exact his revenge 30 minutes later with a can of gasoline which he poured into the entrance and set 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. 11 men were killed in the fire and a further 15 were seriously injured. A few days later, Lauwers walked into Walthamstow police station and admitted to the crime.
Episode Eight – The Disappearance of Maureen Hale
In June 1999, Maureen Hale vanished without a trace, leaving her husband and children behind. Police had long suspected her millionaire husband Martin of killing her after she had demanded a divorce and with damning evidence against him, he was arrested and charged with her murder. That damning evidence? He had offered a friend who ran a pet cemetery £20k to hire an incinerator and detectives also found a note in his briefcase listing ways to dispose of a body. Martin Hale was found not guilty following the trial and Maureen’s whereabouts has never been discovered.
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About Acorn TV
Called a “glorious streaming service… an essential must-have” (The Hollywood Reporter) and “Netflix for the Anglophile” (NPR), AMC Networks’ Acorn TV is North America’s largest streaming service specializing in British and international television. Acorn TV adds exclusive new programs every week with a deep library of mysteries, dramas, and comedies with no commercials. In 2021, Acorn TV will feature several commissioned original series including the second season of Miss Fisher spinoff Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, British crime drama Whitstable Pearl, Kiwi romantic comedy Under the Vines and British detective drama Dalgleish starring Bertie Carvel, as well as Irish crime thriller Bloodlands starring James Nesbitt and co-executive produced by Jed Mercurio, the return of New Zealand detective series My Life Is Murder starring Lucy Lawless, popular Canadian period drama Murdoch Mysteries, and a growing catalog of popular bingeable dramas that include A Place to Call Home, Detectorists, Jack Irish and Foyle’s War. Recent Acorn TV Original series include Deadwater Fell starring David Tennant, highly-rated BBC One drama The Nest; and groundbreaking BBC One period drama A Suitable Boy from Mira Nair. Acorn TV offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $5.99/month or $59.99/year.
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