I lived - but I knew Sweeney would kill

THE victim who survived a brutal axe attack by monstrous serial killer John Sweeney has revealed how she tried desperately to convince police that he would attack and kill other women.

Speaking exclusively to the Ham&High in her Primrose Hill flat, the murderer’s ex-girlfriend Delia Balmer said she was not surprised to hear he had gone on to kill.

After hearing about the trail of death Sweeney left behind him throughout his 10-year reign of terror, the Royal Free nurse said: “I knew already. I told them from the beginning he was a psychopath.”

The 53-year-old carpenter, who named himself ‘the scalp hunter’, was jailed for life this week for butchering two other former lovers and dumping their dismembered bodies in canals.

Police now fear he is responsible for a string other killings across Europe.


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But Miss Balmer this week slammed Scotland Yard detectives for failing to jail Sweeney when she first reported him for her abduction and torture in 1994.

She claims they allowed her attacker out on bail despite her desperate warnings that he would return to kill her. Her worst fears were realised when shortly afterwards, Sweeney did return and tried to kill her with an axe. Ms Balmer miraculously survived and Sweeney went on the run.

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“When I was ‘done over’ they had already had him inside,” said Ms Balmer.

“I told them he would cut me to bits. I told them how he would do it, where he would do it, when he would do it and what time he would do it.

“I got no protection and exactly what I had warned of, did happen.”

The law eventually caught up with Sweeney and in 2002 he was given four life sentences for a series of offences including the attempted murder of Ms Balmer.

But a frail-looking Ms Balmer said this prison term and the whole life sentence he received on Tuesday for the murders of Melissa Halstead and Paula Fields have brought her little comfort.

“There’s no justice as far as John Sweeney is concerned,” she said. “People started congratulating me saying don’t you feel happy he’s behind bars now.

“But I said ‘so what, I don’t give a damn’. The time when it mattered to me was when I told them what he was going to do and they didn’t do a thing. I didn’t want to be mutilated and they let him out to do it.”

Miss Balmer first started a relationship with Sweeney in the early 1990s. She became increasingly disturbed by his creepy habits of sitting for hours drinking tea and looking at his pet taratuala.

In 1994 she eventually kicked him out of her Kentish Town flat, but he soon returned to wreak a horrifying revenge, breaking into her home and subjecting her to a two-day ordeal.

The psychopathic workman tied her to the bed by her wrists and ankles and threatened her with a loaded gun.

“He pressed it to my head and pulled the trigger to the first click. I knew if it went to the second one it would blow my head off,” she said. Miss Balmer only managed to escape when he took her for an evening to the pub.

She then alerted police to his actions and he was arrested.

But he was released on bail two weeks later and three days before Christmas broke into her home again, but this time with an axe.

She was saved only when a neighbour rushed in with a baseball bat and chased Sweeney off.

A green canvas rucksack he had left at the scene contained a ground sheet, a length of rope, masking tape, surgical gloves and a saw blade. Ms Balmer was treated for serious wounds to her head, chest and arms.

However, police only brought Sweeney to justice in 2002 after he evaded their clutches for six years.

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