Carol Ann Lee

Carol Ann Lee

Something Wicked

The Lives, Crimes and Deaths of the Pendle Witches

John Blake (July 2024)

Lee Something WickedOn 20 August 1612, ten people from Pendle were executed before a vast crowd at Lancaster’s Gallows Hill. The condemned and their associates had endured six months of accusations, imprisonment and torture; their treatment was such that one of the group died in Lancaster Castle’s dungeons, while awaiting trial.

Today, a thriving tourism industry exists in and around Pendle, the former home of the so-called witches, yet virtually everything we know about the case originates from a single source: Thomas Potts’ Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches, hurriedly published in 1613 and distinctly skewed in favour of the prosecution. Until now…

Sunday Times bestselling author Carol Ann Lee brings an entirely fresh perspective to the story by approaching it as true crime. Having worked in the genre for more than a decade, her research leads to revelatory discoveries, transforming our knowledge of those shadowy figures behind ill-famed names, and the terrible events that befell them.

After four centuries of superstition and surmise, the two central, warring families – each headed by a fiercely independent widow working as ‘cunning women’ – emerge fully formed, as the book uncovers the reality of their lives and their alleged crimes before exploring the trial and executions.

Along the way, we uncover the truth behind some of the story’s most enduring mysteries: the legend of Malkin Tower and the final resting place of the Pendle witches.
This is a ground-breaking book that will take the reader on a spellbinding journey into the dark heart of England’s largest and most notorious witch trial.

Carol Ann Lee

A Passion For Poison

The Extraordinary Crimes of Graham Young

John Blake (August 2021)

Lee A Passion For Poison‘The whole story is so terrible. You will be disgusted and amazed.’
Graham Young, confessing his crimes to detectives

There are few criminal cases more astonishing yet less well-known than that of Graham Young. A quintessentially British crime story, it involves two sensational trials, murders both certain and probable, a clutch of forgiving relatives, and scores of surviving victims.

A Passion for Poison tells the absorbing life of master poisoner, Graham Young, who killed many tens of people in a murderous career, which began as a 13 year-old schoolboy in a North-west London suburb, with the murder of his step-mother in 1960 before culminating in four further life sentences in 1971.

Best-selling true crime writer, Carol Ann Lee takes the reader on an extraordinary journey through suburban streets with which we are all familiar, but where the commonplace – dull, even – soon becomes oppressively sinister. Set against the backdrop of modern Britain, from post-war austerity to the gloom and glam of the 1970s, it sheds light on a rapidly changing society and a gruesome British true crime story.

Carol Ann Lee and Peter Howse

The Pottery Cottage Murders

The terrifying true story of an escaped prisoner and the family he held hostage

Robinson (March 2020)

Lee Howse The Pottery Cottage MurdersFor three days Billy Hughes played psychological games with Gill Moran and her family, while secretly murdering them one by one. Blizzards hampered the police manhunt, but they learned where the dangerous criminal was hiding and closed in on the cottage. A desperate car chase ensued, ending with a shoot-out and the killer’s death. There was just one survivor.

The plot for a great crime novel? No, it all actually happened in January 1977.

The Pottery Cottage Murders is a gripping, fast-paced account of a criminal case that reads like fiction but is terrifyingly true. What took place at a family home on the Derbyshire moors in 1977 made the name Pottery Cottage synonymous with horror: an address briefly as infamous as 112 Ocean Avenue in the US town of Amityville, where a young man had murdered his entire family three years earlier, and the home of married killers Fred and Rosemary West on Cromwell Street in Gloucester.

Afterwards, the determination of sole survivor Gill Moran to prevent any written or dramatic accounts of the case saw ‘Pottery Cottage’ largely vanish from public consciousness, yet those events were important milestones in the history of British crime.  At last, the real story has been told by Carol Ann Lee and her co-author, Peter Howse, the former Chief Inspector, who bravely saved Gill’s life over forty years earlier, as Hughes held her hostage in the final shoot-out on the moors.

Carol Ann Lee

Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter

True Stories From Victims and Survivors of the Yorkshire Ripper

Michael O'Mara (March 2019)

Lee Somebody's Mother Somebody's DaughterMuch has been written about the brutal crimes of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, and – thirty-five years after he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of thirteen women– scarcely a week goes by without some mention of him in the media.

In any story featuring Sutcliffe, however, his victims are incidental, often reduced to a tableau of nameless faces. But each woman was much more than the manner of her death, and in Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter, Carol Ann Lee tells, for the first time, the stories of those women who came into Sutcliffe’s murderous orbit, restoring their individuality to them and giving a voice to their families, including the twenty-three children whom he left motherless.

Based on previously unpublished material and fresh, first-hand interviews the book examines the Yorkshire Ripper story from a new perspective: focusing on the women and putting the reader in a similar position to those who lived through that time. The killer, although we know his identity, remains a shadowy figure throughout, present only as the perpetrator of the attacks.

By talking to survivors and their families, and to the families of the murdered women, Carol Ann Lee gets to the core truths of their lives and experiences, not only at the hands of Sutcliffe but also with the Yorkshire Police and their crass and ham-fisted handling of the case, where the women were put into two categories: prostitutes and non-prostitutes. In this book they are, simply, women, and all have moving backstories.

The grim reality is that not enough has changed within society to make the angle this book takes on the Yorkshire Ripper case a purely historical one. Recent news stories have shown that women and girls who come forward to report serious crimes of a sexual nature are often judged as harshly – and often more so – than the men who have wronged them. The Rochdale sex abuse scandal, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and the US President’s deplorable comments about women are vivid reminders that those in positions of power regard women as second class citizens. At the same time, the discussions arising from these recent stories, and much of the reporting, show that women are judged today as much on their preferences, habits and appearance as they were at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper attacks. The son of Wilma McCann, Sutcliffe’s first known murder victim, told the author, ‘We still have a very long way to go’ and in that regard he is correct.

Carol Ann Lee

The Murders at White House Farm

Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family. The definitive investigation

Sidgwick & Jackson (July 2015)

Lee The Murders at White House Farm PaperbackAs the media destroyed Sheila’s reputation, the behaviour of her brother Jeremy was raising suspicions in his horrified relatives. Had he committed the murders in order to inherit from his wealthy parents? Dramatic new evidence suggested he had, and he was convicted the following year. He has always protested his innocence.

Drawing on extensive new research, including correspondence with Jeremy Bamber, Carol Ann Lee describes the years of rising tension in the family that culminated in the murders and takes us through the twists and turns of the investigation and trial. Scrupulously fair, The Murders at White House Farm is an absorbing portrait of a family, a time and place, and a gripping account of one of Britain’s most notorious crimes.