The Young Loner: Peter Woodcock

Peter Woodcock was born on March 5th, 1939, in Peterborough, Ontario to Waita Woodcock who at the time was just 17-years-old. She would soon find it too difficult to raise little Peter and gave him up for adoption. As a child, Peter was reported to be quite a fussy child, crying constantly. This problem led to Peter having trouble forming bonds within his many foster homes. He would be relocated a number of times to different foster homes, and was abused by one of his foster parents when he was treated for a neck injury after a punishment. Peter’s behavioral problems only got worse. He continued to cry more and more, would get scared if anyone tried to approach him and would often times be heard making animal like sounds.

 The smile of Peter Woodcock.

The smile of Peter Woodcock.

At the age of 3, young Peter finally had some good luck. He was taken in by Frank and Susan Maynard, a foster family who provided a more stable environment for the young man. It took some time but eventually the screaming began to subside and Peter would be able to contain himself around others. This was just a small victory for Peter as he was still seen as an outcast by others, he would be seen wandering in the woods alone. His behavior made him a target for bullies and he was forced to fight or run away from potential fights, hiding from kids in bushes when the opportunity presented itself.

He continued to worry his parents as he grew older. He seemed incapable of escaping the strangeness that engulfed his childhood. He was a loner and when he would speak with others, he had trouble interacting with them. He was entered into private school with the hopes of Peter making nicer friends, but the results were still the same. Peter would seemingly always have trouble fitting in. An excerpt from a report based on Peter’s behavior gives a few examples of his awkward mannerisms: “Although he verbalizes his resentment for other children, he has never been known to physically attack another child ... Peter apparently has no friends. He plays occasionally with younger children, managing the play. When with children his own age, he is boastful and expresses determinedly ideas which are unacceptable and misunderstood.” The words within the report were more telling then the medical professional could imagine. A prophetic warning of sorts that no one was able to grasp or comprehend until sadly it was too late. During a separate occasion a social worker mentioned that Peter had wished for a bomb to hit and kill the other children in the area.

Due to Peter’s continuous deranged behavior he was sent to another schooling facility for emotionally troubled kids in Kingston, Ontario. It is here where Peter’s behavior took another large step forward into the perverted and sadistic. It is at this new school where Peter begins to experiment sexually, at least experimenting that people would become aware of. At 13, Peter claimed to have consensual sex with a 12-year-old. He remained in the school for another 2 years and further sexual behavior is not known. He went back to his parents house and started a trend that would continue for the next few months. Peter would enroll in a school. Become isolated and or bullied. Force his departure and repeat all steps once again. This is not necessarily Peter’s fault. After all he himself was still a child and may not have been fully aware of how to control his awkwardness and social interactions. But nothing was done to fix the situation, whether it be therapy to curb some of his odd behavior sooner to placing him in a school that could better interpret Peter’s problems and help him mature socially. While attending the several institutions, Peter was reported to have excelled at his studies, scoring highly on many tests, across multiple subjects.

Peter began to withdraw even further. He received a red and white bicycle which became his one true friend. He spent everyday with the bike, so much so that he conjured imaginary friends to form a bicycle gang with him which Peter called the “Winchester Heights Gang”. This is a 17-year-old boy mind you. The concept of real and make-believe did not appear to exist fully within Peter’s young mind and one would only hope that this was the worst of it. On September 15th, 1956, Peter Woodcock would become a killer. He would claim his first victim, 7-year-old Wayne Mallette, while riding his bike. Peter coerced the child away from prying eyes, where he went on to strangle the child. The boy’s body would be found the following day. He was clothed, but it appeared the child was somewhat disheveled, as if someone had re-dressed him. 2 bite marks were found on the body and pennies appeared to be strewn along the scene of the crime by the killer. The last disturbing detail being the killer appeared to have defecated near the body as well. Since there were no witnesses to the boys abduction and there was very little scientific evidence or even procedure at this point, the police had extremely little to go on. Despite the hardships, police thought they had a lucky break. They investigated a young man who went by Ronald Mowatt and charged him with the murder initially.

 Another glimpse of a young Peter Woodcock.

Another glimpse of a young Peter Woodcock.

In a little under a month since the discovery of the young Mallette boy’s body, Peter decided wreak terror once again. On October 6th, 1956, Peter picked up 9-year-old Gary Morris. The two travlled to Cherry Beach. It is not entirely certain whether or not Gary initially went with Peter of his own free will or if he was forced to the beach by the young fanatic. Once they arrived, Peter pounced on Gary immediately beating and strangling the poor child. The boy had died from the beating he sustained, the cause of death being a ruptured liver. Again the body had noticeable bite marks, and paper clips appeared to have been scattered throughout the crime scene. The victim also appeared to have been re-dressed by his killer, just like Peter’s previous victim.

A little over 3 months go by before Peter would claim his next victim. On January 19th, 1957 Peter was seen giving young Carole Voyce a ride on his bike. She was just four-years-old at the time. They would go to the Bloor Viaduct, an arch bridge in Toronto. Carole was choked and found in a state of undress. She was also sexually molested. If there is any hope to be had from this particular crime it is that authorities caught a break. Peter was becoming more brazen in his approach and witnesses saw the young man fleeing the crime scene on his bike. Due to the help of a composite sketch, Peter would be apprehended in just 2 days on January 21st, 1957. It didn't take much for Peter to come clean to police and admitted to all 3 murders. He showed little remorse, his only concern was whether or not his mother would find out. Peter would go on trial and be found not guilty by reason of insanity. He would be sent to Penetanguishene Mental Health Center for an indeterminate amount of time.

While incarcerated, doctors tried various means of treatment: LSD, sodium amytal, and dyadic treatment to name just a few. None of the treatments seemed to affect Woodcock as he continued exploit those who were young or did not have full control over their faculties. He would sometimes coerce other patients into sexual behavior with the promise of membership into his exclusive gang, a sign that Woodcock's strange and unusual behavior was still present and may be worsening. After some time, Woodcock would be transferred to another psychiatric hospital where he was given more freedoms for some reason. He kept a hobby of trains and would occasionally go out on supervised day outings.

 A wild-eyed Bruce Hamill.

A wild-eyed Bruce Hamill.

While at the second hospital Woodcock would change his name from Peter Woodcock to David Michael Kruger. He began speaking with a former patient, Bruce Hamill, who was now working in the hospital as security. Woodcock... or Krueger was able to convince the security guard to help him with a plan. On July 31st, 1991, Bruce purchased all of the necessary equipment: wrench, hatchet, knives and sleeping bag. Bruce signed Krueger out of the hospital and had arranged to meet with Dennis Kerr under the promise of a $500 loan. It took less then an hour for Krueger to unleash his plan of murder. Once Kerr arrived, Krueger immediately started attacking him, beating Kerr with the wrench then stabbing him until he died. He continued to mutilate the corpse with the tools Bruce purchased, then sexually assaulted the corpse afterwards. Krueger went into a police station immediately afterwards and confessed to the crime.

After committing this last brutal act, Krueger was sent back to his first psychiatric hospital. He would remain there until his death of natural causes on his 71st birthday, March 5th, 2010.