A documentary about ‘Cleveland Strangler’ serial killer Anthony Sowell was uploaded to YouTube last month. To date, few people have watched it.
At 1pm London time today, The Devil You Know had been viewed less than fifty times, which is surprising considering the widespread notoriety of Jack the Ripper to this day. The big difference is that Jack the Ripper was never brought to book. Thankfully, the same cannot of course be said of Sowell, who is currently languishing on death row, and will continue to do so until the appeals process is exhausted and he is called to meet his Maker – or more likely the other bloke, downstairs.
This documentary runs to a shade under three quarters of an hour, and focuses on the victims, including those who survived.
The most surprising thing about Sowell as with most other serial killers is that until his descent into utter depravity in 2007 when he claimed his first accredited victim, he had the appearance of being just a regular guy. His long term girlfriend, apparently the only such relationship he ever had, described him as a veritable Prince Charming. To a woman from her background, he may well have seemed so, but the man who became known as The Imperial Avenue Killer and The Cleveland Strangler had already been convicted of a serious sex crime which landed him with a long gaol term. Sentenced to 5-15 years, he served the full 15, which indicates that he was anything but a model prisoner. There is also a strong possibility that he was responsible for a number of unsolved murders prior to his arrest for this earlier crime.
For those who want to see this particular devil in the flesh, there is extensive footage of Sowell’s trial on YouTube.
If there is one thing that stands out about this case apart from his apparent Jekyll and Hyde nature, it is the fact that Sowell could have been brought to book earlier if the police had been on the ball. Vanessa Gay was lured to Sowell’s house where she too might have been murdered, but after raping her, amazingly he let her go. While there, she saw a headless body in another room, but after reporting it to the police by telephone she was told – incredibly – that she should go to a police station and file a report there, something that would never happen in the UK, however dubious such a call may be. Miss Gay didn’t show up. That was in 2008. The following year, Sowell murdered six women.
The final word belongs to Fox8News reporter Kevin Freeman: “If this is not a death penalty case, then there isn’t one out there”.
[The above review was first published April 11, 2013. It was originally linked to the documentary on YouTube, but that has since been removed along with the account that uploaded it. However, there is still plenty of related footage there. This monster died of natural causes in a prison hospital on February 8, 2021. He was 61 years old.]
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