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Serial killer dubbed 'The Pusher' is killing city's gay men by pushing them into canals

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Thomas Sheridan is convinced some of the 60 plus deaths in Manchester’s canals since 2004 are the work of a psychopath or “extremely disturbed individual”

Thomas SheridanWarning: Author Thomas Sheridan has made fresh claims that there is a serial killer stalking Manchester’s canal network

Thomas-Sheridan

An author specialising in psychopaths is convinced a serial killer is killing gay men in Manchester by pushing them into canals.

Thomas Sheridan visited Manchester to investigate rumours of ‘The Pusher’ – a killer stalking the city’s waterways.

He is convinced some of the 60 plus deaths since 2004 are the work of a psychopath or ‘extremely disturbed individual’ with excellent knowledge of the streets around canals.

And like notorious 1980s London murderer Dennis Nilsen, Mr Sheridan believes the killer could be targeting gay men, or those he believes are gay, in a bid to assuage his own homosexual guilt.

Mr Sheridan, 51, from Northern Ireland, visited Manchester to research the deaths in canals and rivers and says he was followed by ‘a tall man wearing a hood’ into a poorly lit area of the Rochdale Canal towpath.

Castlefield-Basin

Castlefield Basin

He described the experience as ‘terrifying’ and says Greater Manchester Police must act ‘before the killer strikes again’.

He also suggests GMP may have denied the existence of a serial killer while they pursue a covert investigation in case publicity provokes the killer to strike again.

GMP has always maintained that there is no serial killer and that all the deaths in the past nine years are suicides or accidents.

Officers have again refuted the claims and say young or gay men do not make up the majority of the deaths.

To prepare for a conference in Manchester on psychopathology, Mr Sheridan spent May walking around the canals in the early hours of the morning.

Canals

Canals

In a video made of his experiences, he said: “Walking along the Rochdale Canal, I was followed by a tall man wearing a hood into a poorly-lit area.

“The sense of isolation and vulnerability at the location were quite frankly terrifying.

“I’m convinced foul play is a point concerning some of the bodies.

“I concur with the people of Manchester that ‘The Pusher’ is almost certainly the cause of some of these deaths.

“I believe the killer is targeting gay men or men the killer is assuming to be gay – following them from a night out or more worryingly, picking them up in bars.

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal

“We may be dealing with a psychopath or extremely disturbed individual.

“Something very similar could be afoot in Manchester to the case of Dennis Nilsen.

“The police need to take this very seriously.”

Mr Sheridan has also speculated that ‘The Pusher’ has an excellent knowledge of the streets around the canals and public transport to slip away.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, he added: “Manchester is probably a great place to be a serial killer because it’s got great transport links and a very transient population.

“When speculation about the ‘Son of Sam’ killer [David Berkowitz] in New York in the 1970s started the NYPD were very negative that there could be a serial killer at large.

“That’s common for police forces around the world.

“If acknowledged, it can start an effect where the serial killer sees it as a challenge to try to out-fox the police.

“Media and public pressure mounts as the body count rises and the police are in a no-win situation unless they catch the killer.

“The fact water is involved [in the deaths in Manchester] suggests the killer could be cleansing themselves of their guilt over their homosexuality – we see these Freudian patterns all over life.”

The idea of a serial killer stalking Greater Manchester’s canals was first raised last year by Birmingham City University Professor Craig Jackson .

He has maintained that canals are not normally chosen as places for people to commit suicide and there were too many deaths for it not to be suspicious.

Teenagers brutally attacked in Manchester's Gay Village during phone robbery

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One of the victims, 19, was stamped on as he lay helpless in Sackville Gardens
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Two teenagers were knocked to the ground and beaten during a brutal robbery in Manchester’s Gay Village.

One of the victims was stamped on as he lay helpless on the floor in Sackville Gardens in the early hours.

The attack, carried out by a gang of four, came between 4am and 4.45am on Tuesday, August 4.

The victims, both 19, believed to be from Derbyshire, were visiting Manchester city centre for a night out.

They were approached by the offenders at the top end of Sackville Gardens near Canal Street, and the gang made brief conversation before they all left. The offenders soon returned and attacked the pair, then stole their mobile phones and fled.

Police have arrested three people in connection with the attack and are now appealing for information.

One of the offenders was described as white, about 5ft 10in tall, skinny to medium build, mid-20s, and either bald or with very short light brown hair on the sides. He was wearing a dark grey, long-sleeved hooded top with writing on the front.

Another was said to be white, mid-20s, about 6ft tall and wearing a baseball cap, jogging bottoms and a dark grey hooded top. The others were also thought to be wearing jogging bottoms and hooded tops.

Three men, aged 19, 20 and 25, have been arrested on suspicion of assault and were bailed until September 23, pending further enquiries.

Det Sgt Mark Astbury said: “These two young men had simply come into Manchester to enjoy a night out when, for absolutely no reason, they were set upon by a gang of four men. With strength in numbers, they subjected these two innocent young men to a nasty and unprovoked attack and stole their mobile phones.

“We have made three arrests but our inquiries will continue until we establish the identities of everyone involved and brought these people to justice. I would therefore appeal to anyone who has information or who witnessed what happened to please do the right thing, come forward and tell us what you know.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Manchester Pride explores the hidden history of a rainbow city

 

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An interactive project called OUT! will use crowdsourced recollections to celebrate Manchester’s LGBT community

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A 1988 Gay Unity parade. Photograph: Manchester Libraries

From the notorious police raid on the Hulme fancy dress ball in 1880, to the pioneering North Western Committee for Homosexual Law Reform set up in 1964, Manchester’s LGBT community has a long and notable past. Now Manchester Pride is celebrating the city’s stories in an interactive project – and you can be part of it.

Launching online next month and called OUT!, the project will draw together documents, data and crowdsourced recollections to create a digital archive, interactive timeline and an evolving map of Manchester tagged with stories and footage.

“The objective is to allow people to explore the hidden archives and hidden histories that Manchester holds regarding Pride and regarding LGBT as a community,” explains Jake Welsh, managing director of e3creative, the design company developing the site.

Building on a heritage trail initiative from 2003, marked by 19 rainbow tiles at historically significant locations around the city, the interactive map allows users to digitally construct their own walking tours based on the geo-tagged stories. What’s more, the project encourages individuals to add their own memories to the map, from text to photographs, audio to video.

“By dropping pins, they can put their own story forward – so it might be their first coffee where they first held hands with their partner,” explains Daniel Jessop, project manager at Manchester Pride. Contributions can be made anonymously and kept private or shared with all.

The project will also see volunteers actively seeking out contributions from the LGBT community – including at Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend next month. “LGBT history in Manchester has often been recorded as a series of events and I think it’s important to record the culture, as well, that surrounds those events,” says Paul Wheatley, one of the project’s “pride pioneers” who will be helping to gather new media and oral histories, as well as collating material from a multitude of organisations and institutions. “Some of my friends have brilliant stories to tell and are real raconteurs about their experiences and their relationship with the history,” he says. “I think that I will be able to capture those experiences in stories whereas if they were approached by other people they might be more reluctant to give that up.” Creating an accurate and thorough record is also a priority, he adds.

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Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will be open for contributions until next summer. But it isn’t only positive stories that will be recorded – as Wheatley explains: “Manchester’s LGBT community has been uniquely persecuted,” he says.

“In the late 70s, an obscure law was enforced resulting in police in gay bars holding a wooden rod between men who were dancing, to make sure they were far enough apart. Some years later, the police persecuted same-sex couples holding hands on Canal Street resulting in gay men and women lying down on the road to block their police vans.” Raising awareness of such events, he says, is crucial. “Those struggles are poorly documented and I hope this project will address that.”

Ultimately, Jessop hopes OUT! will not only showcase how far civil rights have come, but also challenge perceptions. “It’s Manchester Pride’s mission, but shared with the LGBT community, to make sure respect continues to be given and also respect for the past,” he says. “People are always aware of 1967 and decriminalisation, that is seen as the one date – but there is so much more to tell.”

 

Manchester's LGBT history to be celebrated on new digital platform OUT!

BY BETH ASHTON

OUT! will bring together the heritage trail and digital histories to provide a central place for all of Manchester’s rich LGBT history

Manchester Pride has been awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a digital platform that will explore the history of LGBT life in Manchester.

OUT! will bring together the heritage trail and digital histories to provide a central place for all of Manchester’s LGBT past.

Visitors to the website will also be able to create their own personalised trails based on where they are in Manchester, a theme or a time period, giving them the ability to discover and explore without the need of a tour guide.

The trails will use the rainbow tiles, which mark historic occurrences around the city centre, that were installed as part of Europride and OUT! will bring together a variety of projects championed by organisations including Gaydio, LGBT Foundation, Archives+ and the LGBT Youth North West.


The platform will also allow users to contribute to the research, with opportunities for crowdsourcing and digital games that enable the public to engage with and contribute to the ever-growing resource.

Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride comments; “Two of the main aims of Manchester Pride are to celebrate LGBT life in our city and to create opportunities for engagement. With ‘Out!’ we aim to commemorate and unite the rich and vibrant past by providing a factual and insightful legacy resource in one single location.”

“Our vision is to enable communities, historians and researchers, tourists and locals to learn about these histories and encourage them to contribute to the content and engage more fully with and to understand this important part of Manchester’s past.”


Manchester Pride is currently recruiting a number of volunteer research pioneers for this project who will collate information from both the LGBT community and other sources. The funding will provide training for the research pioneers who will visit community groups, researchers and local history societies to introduce the digital tool, ’OUT!’, and gather content including videos, photography and stories.

Daniel Jessop, Project Manager on the OUT! Digital Histories project said, “It’s great to join the team and make sure that stories in the LGBT community are shared. The Heritage Lottery funded project will empower volunteers through training, collecting oral histories and encouraging people to question the past and find out more. ‘OUT!’ celebrates LGBT heritage and if anyone is interested in being part of this please do get in touch.”

Alongside the creation of the digital platform, ‘OUT!’, the funding will also provide:

The training of 40 volunteers to visit community groups, researchers, local history societies etc to introduce ‘OUT!’.
Training of local historians to investigate archives to examine them for LGBT content.
A stand at the Expo Stand at the Big Weekend 2015 to explain the project and demonstrate the digital tool.
A panel discussion during Manchester Histories Festival 2016 to help the wider community to understand the heritage of the LGBT Community in Greater Manchester.
32 individuals will be trainees in oral histories and interviewing skills throughout the life of the project. 18 will initially be trained at the start of the project (12 community volunteers, 6 Gaydio interns) to conduct interviews for the theatre piece, digital booths and during the Big Weekend from the Expo Stand. A further 14 will be trained as a part of LGBT History Month in January 2016 in order to collect stories to add to the resource.
A digital exhibition at Archives + during the Manchester Pride Festival 2015 creating a new strand to their “Radical Histories” unit.
A live performance based piece in conjunction with Hope Theatre in the Gay Village that utilises oral histories and heritage on the digital tool.
A digital game run through Twitter and based around the digital tool to encourage engagement and usage.
To get involved in the project or find out more email Daniel Jessop on daniel@manchesterpride.com .

Manchester library unveils public LGBT archives

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Manchester library unveils public LGBT archives

By John Mack Freeman

The Manchester Libraries have teamed with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation to make the Foundation’s holdings more publicly accessible. Via PinkNews:

The LGF’s history collection – made available at Central Library in Manchester – includes a comprehensive catalogues of LGB magazines, including Mancunian Gay, Outnorthwest, Gay Times, Diva, and several grassroots publications.

The collection, housed in the Libraries Archives+ Centre, also includes several historic documents about early Pride celebrations, Manchester’s gay movement, and literature from the AIDS crisis.

Heather Williams of the LGF said: “We are delighted to be working with Manchester Central Library to make our archives accessible to the public.

“These archives contain valuable records of the development of LGBT rights and changing attitudes in society, and now the people of Manchester will be able to discover and celebrate the history of the North West’s LGBT communities.”