18-day manhunt that gripped the county

Programme relives bid to capture triple killer By Bruce Smith THE MANHUNT for triple Leeds killer Barry Prudom will feature in the first of a series of four TV documentaries on historic murders.

The first Headline Crime, which will be screened by Yorkshire Television at 7.30pm tomorrow, looks back on the nationwide hunt for the 37-year-old survival 'student' who shot and killed three men - two police officers and a middle-aged electrician.

It contrasts how police methods have changed and asks whether things might happen differently today.

Prudom shot PC David Haigh at Warren Point picnic lay-by Norwood Edge, near Otley, on June 17 1982 trying to evade arrest for jumping bail when the officer checked his personal and vehicle details.

Days later he shot electrician George Luckett, 52, in the village of Girton, near Newark, Nottinghamshire, before returning to North Yorkshire and going to ground in the Dalby Forest area.

The following day Prudom's car was checked by police dog handler Ken Oliver in the forest. Prudom fired seven times at PC Oliver, hitting him in the face, but the officer managed to escape and survive.

On June 28 North Yorkshire Police took the unusual step of naming Barry Peter Prudom as the man they needed to find.

But the same day Sgt David Winter became Prudom's final victim after he challenged him in the centre of Old Malton, North Yorkshire, and was shot dead on the grass - 200 yards from the police station.

Cordon

The police threw a cordon around the town as the 1,000 officer manhunt for the killer continued. On July 3 Prudom got into the home of Malton pensioners Mr and Mrs Maurice Johnson and their 43-year-old son William, and held them hostage throughout the Saturday night.

Finally he left their home at 3.30am and limped 50 yards to the Malton Tennis Club where after laying a false trail he hid in undergrowth beneath a plastic bag.

The Johnsons freed their bonds at 5.05am and alerted the police.

Former Parachute Regiment sergeant major and survival and tracker expert Eddie McGee, who had already been called in, immediately went to the scene.

He tracked him and touched his leg before withdrawing.

In a bid to take Prudom alive police used SAS-style stun grenades, but the killer did not surrender.

Prudom fired and police, believing they were under attack, replied with four shots, but an inquest later proved Prudom had already shot himself.

Changed

Show producer Nick Finnis said the point of the series was to look back at "Iconic" crimes to see how they had changed police methods and the media's involvement.

Viewers would see the dramatic Prudom story through the eyes of former YTV Calendar reporter Robert Hall, who covered it at the time and the impact on those involved in the area.

They would see how police throughout Britain hunted Prudom.

"What has changed externally is the way in which armed police are now used, the improvements to police radio communications and how media access to such areas is more controlled," he said.

Later shows will look at the cases of Hull multiple killer and arsonist Bruce Lee; kidnapper and killer Michael Sams and the 13-times murderer Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.

bruce.a.smith@ypn.co.uk