October 2007

Life term for cellar killer

A CONVICTED paedophile has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years after being found guilty of stabbing his girlfriend to death and burying her in a cellar where she lay undetected for eight years.

Crimewatch first featured Fred Lawlor in April 2006.

An anonymous tip-off to police revealed Fred Lawlor had been involving a 13-year-old girl in public sex around beaches in North Wales.

North Wales Police raided Lawlor’s flat. They found hundreds of pornographic videos and DVDs. They also found covert cameras and recording equipment. One video showed that Lawlor had allowed 17 men to have sex with the young girl, while he controlled, directed and recorded what was going on. In half the cases, he actually joined in the sexual abuse of the girl himself.

Police could clearly identify the men from Lawlor’s recordings, and started to make arrests. They came to Crimewatch to track down the final six. Following that appeal, four were arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

The investigation revealed that the abuse of the 13-year-old girl had been going on for two years. Police fear in that time she may have been abused by up to 50 men, all with Lawlor’s knowledge and cooperation.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court decided by a majority of 10 to two that Frederick Lawlor, 54, formerly of Abergele Conwy murdered Dorothy Carre, 56, in 1999 by repeatedly stabbing her before burying her in a shallow grave in the cellar of their house in Equitable Street, Rochdale.

Lawlor is already serving an indeterminate sentence for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl and offering her for sex with other men while he watched and filmed them.

One of Mrs Carre’s four children, daughter Lynn Edwards, 42, shouted: ‘Yes!’ and rushed out of the public gallery as the verdict was delivered. Lawlor, dressed in a white T-shirt and grey cardigan, sat impassive in the dock while one of Mrs Carre’s sons, David Carre, 38, began crying.

Jurors – who had not been told of Lawlor’s paedophile past – gasped as they learned he was jailed in Strangeways Prison in April last year after admitting 18 sex offences involving the girl on beaches in North Wales.

Two female jurors burst into tears and others shook their heads at the news. The judge in that case said Lawlor had abused the girl on at least 75 occasions and described the acts as among the ‘most evil and unpleasant’ the court had come across.

Lawlor was arrested in March this year after police investigating the disappearance of mother-of-four Mrs Carre, who previously lived in Bold Street, Bacup, found the remains of a body under the cellar floor at the address in Equitable Street.

During the trial, the court heard that a post-mortem examination showed the bones had at least 10 stab wounds to the vertebrae, which a pathologist said would have required ‘extreme’ force to inflict. DNA testing provided ‘extremely strong’ evidence that the remains were those of Mrs Carre, who had last been seen alive by her GP on 11 March 1999.

Lawlor denied ever having lived at the address and claimed Mrs Carre left him in 1999 to go to live in Ireland. He never gave evidence at the trial. The judge, Mr Justice Holland, thanked the jury and said: ‘This had particularly distressing features and you must have found it a burden that you must have had to shoulder over the past few weeks.’

In a witness impact statement released by Greater Manchester Police, the victim’s daughter Mrs Edwards said: ‘Frederick Lawlor has taken my mother’s life and as a result of this the four of us have lost our mother; 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren have lost their grandma. 

As a family we always hoped mum would see Fred for what he really is: a cruel, manipulative bully, and return to us.

That is never going to happen. ‘I will never see my mum again and our lives are changed forever; this is something that will affect and change us as people for the worse and something we will have to learn to live with when we finally come to terms with it.

‘Since 1995 Frederick Lawlor has taken our mother from us, initially by manipulating her into staying away from us and finally by committing the worst crime by taking her life in such a cruel, callous, heartless and premeditated way, ensuring she would never return to her family.

  • 1996 – Dorothy Carre and Fred Lawlor begin to live together.

  • March 1999 -Dorothy complains to her doctor of physical abuse. Soon after this Dorothy goes missing.

  • 2001 -Dorothy’s family, worried about her disappearance, contact Lawlor’s family who tell them that Dorothy left him for another man.

  • 2004 – Lawlor moves to Wales were he sexually abuses a young girl. He also allows her to be abused by up to fifty men both at his house and in public. Lawlor filmed much of the abuse, sometimes secretly and sometimes with the consent of the other men.

  • 26 May 2005 – North Wales police arrest Lawlor in connection to child abuse offences.

  • 25 January 2006 – Dorothy Carre’s family report her missing to the police. Initial investigations show no trace of Dorothy. Lawlor claims she moved to Ireland.

  • 5 April 2006 – Crimewatch appeals for information on the six men featured Lawlor’s recordings of child abuse.

  • 6 April 2006 – Lawlor admits four specimen counts of sexual activity with a child, seven of taking indecent photographs and seven counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity with another person. He is sentenced to an indefinite term in prison.

  • Dec 2007 – In Manchester Det Supt John Dineen takes over the enquiry into Dorothy Carre’s whereabouts.

  • 28 Feb 2007 – Officers search Dorothy’s last known address at Equitable Street in Rochdale. Police discover that the flag stones in the cellar are uneven and cracked, indicating they may have been lifted.

  • 12 March 2007 – Human remains are discovered in Equitable Street cellar. Wrapped in a duvet cover, and tied up with rope. Forensic analysis identifies the body as that of Dorothy Carre. She had died of multiple stab wounds.

  • 19 March 2007 – Lawlor is arrested while in prison in connection to Dorothy’s murder. He is later charged.

  • 30 October 2007 – Lawlor is convicted of the murder of Dorothy Carre. He is jailed for life and must serve a minimum of 17 years. The life sentence is to run concurrently with an indeterminate sentence he is already serving for child abuse.