This week, we talk about Monster Competitions and catch up with the Murder Friends. We review the podcast from ITV Catching Melanie’s Killer and a Dateline 3 parter called The Widower.
Catching Melanie’s Killer
This is an eight part podcast brought to us by ITV. Narrated by Robert Murphy, who is an ITV news correspondent, we hear about Melanie Road – a 17 year old schoolgirl who was murdered whilst walking home from a night out in Bath in 1984. She had been stabbed to death, sexually assaulted and her body was left just yards from her own home. Her body was found by a milkman at around 11am and he called the police. Police found her keys which had a name tag of Melanie on it and using a loudhailer, drove around the area calling her name. Melanie’s mother heard this and went outside. Chilling. Whilst there was evidence at the scene, blood etc, there was no DNA testing, mobile phone tracking or CCTV in 1984 and the case went cold.
All 35,000 pieces of evidence were placed into storage. 30 years after the murder, DCI Julie Mackay took control of the cold case. We learn a lot about Julie, how she doesn’t rest on this case – even after being told by one of her supervising officers to drop it, directly disobeying his orders, we hear about the issues she is facing in her personal life with her son. Julie tells a huge part of this story. She is tenacious, invested and has such a drive to solve this case.She had the blood from the crime scene tested and there was no DNA match. They chase round close matches to the DNA but they then get a really close match from a woman who was arrested in a domestic abuse incident.
We’re not going into specifics but they catch their man, 32 years later and he is sentenced to life with a minimum of 22 years. The Judge noted that he will likely die in prison.
Dateline’s The Widower
For a quick Podcast Review, we’re discussing Dateline’s new (and first) mini-series: The Widower, about a Las Vegas man who had four of his six wives die under mysterious circumstances.
This series is only 3 episodes and I actually really loved the format. My go-to podcast is Dateline because I love that you can listen to one episode and it’s one complete story, but it’s nice to have something in-between one episode and a full-blown 8-ep series. I’d love more podcasts to have mini series please!
The Widower follows Thomas Randolph. Some people are calling him the “Joe Exotic of true crime” and I feel that. Maybe slightly less dramatic.
Like I mentioned, he was married 6 TIMES and 4 of his wives died. He’s also the worst looking man I’ve seen in a long time.
There’s a lot of characters, evidence and investigating so I won’t dive too much into that, but I’ll give you the beginning. But the story starts when Randolph calls 911 to report that his wife has been shot.
Police and emergency crews arrive to find his sixth wife Sharon dead from a gunshot wound and a man named Michael Miller also dead from gunshots.
Randolph long claimed to be innocent, saying that Mike had broken into their home, and shot and killed Sharon, forcing Randolph to kill Mike out of self-defense. This is believed to be the case for awhile, but not long. Certain pieces of evidence don’t add up.
The prosecution alleges that Randolph had hired Mike to kill Sharon for the life insurance, and then killed Mike to cover his tracks (unbeknownst to Mike as part of the plan all along).
However, they don’t believe they have enough evidence for a conviction so the detectives are forced to keep looking. They go back in Randolph’s history and find 3 other dead wives with big insurance payouts.
And the story begins!
Overall I really enjoyed it! I loved the format and being only 3 episodes, there’s not a lot of extra time for padding or dragging on. One thing that I didn’t like is that there was no host. Dateline episodes always have a host (and we have our own favourites) and I find that helps tie interviews and stories together. Without the host, sometimes I found it hard to tell when we were going into a commercial preview – like suddenly someone was talking but I didn’t get what they were talking about and then I realized that it was a future promo for later in the show.
Normally I don’t have that issue with regular Dateline episodes but did notice it a few times with this one.
True Crime News:
Weird Crime Time: