Twisted murderer slaughtered homeless women to become an infamous serial killer

A twisted murderer slaughtered homeless women in a warped bid to become Nottingham's "only serial killer".

In early 2005, drifter Mark Martin was determined to become Nottingham's first serial killer began to pursue his sickening dreams.

Martin grew up in Ilkeston and lived at home with his mother.

He was bullied at school for the birthmark under his right eye that gave him his nickname ‘Reds’, leading him to become violent and aggressive. These behaviours only seemed to worsen after his father's death.

He ended up with a criminal record for burglary, common assault, using threatening behaviour, possession of an offensive weapon and attempted robbery, the Nottingham Post reports.

In a letter to his probation officer in 2002, Martin wrote: “I was so sweet and nice until my dad died, and now I’m evil.”

In the same letter, he asked: “How long till I kill? It could be a lady, pets, anything”.

Little did anyone know he would go on to do just that.

Upon his arrival in Nottingham, Martin had admitted being violent to his wife, even though he told a probation officer he loved her and did not want to lose her.

When she was pregnant in 2002 with their son, Martin took her by the throat when they were in a car, Nottingham Crown Court was told. He also hit her and threatened her with a Stanley knife.

In October, 2004, Martin was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his wife at a house in Radford. She had a bruise to her right eye, red marks to both sides of her nose, a cut to her upper lip and reddening and bruising to her neck.

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The next day, Martin called 999 and told a police telephone operator he had been locked up the night before for trying to strangle his wife. He spoke of having bad thoughts and that he was going to end up killing someone.

Over the next couple of months, he engrossed himself in the homeless community, turning up at soup kitchens and befriending alcoholics and drugs addicts.

By December 2004, Martin was living in a tent on land near the warehouses off Great Northern Close, near London Road.

He soon gained a reputation among the homeless community as something of a bully – intimidating people, and forcibly taking their benefit money.

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But beyond this behaviour, there was something even more disturbing. He would tell people that he was dangerous and that he was going to hurt people.

One homeless person said: "If you heard Reds was on one side of town you would go to the other. When he knew you had drugs or money he would look for you and take it off you."

At one point, he even boasted about becoming Nottingham's 'first serial killer'.

The exact date when Martin committed his killings is not clear.

He ended up being charged with murdering both Katie Baxter between December 31, 2004, and February 1, 2005; Zoe Pennick between the same dates; and Ellen Frith between January 23 and 25, 2005. He was handed a minimum of 25 years in jail.

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Martin did not say what had happened, so the best version of events comes from an inmate who was on remand with Martin after his arrest – and who said Martin had told him all about it.

He said that Katie Baxter had been picked up by Martin in the city centre and taken down to the warehouse site.

Zoe Pennick was killed about seven days later, after Martin lured her to the same warehouse by saying he had 2,000 cigarettes, and wanted her to sell them on. Then he grabbed her by the throat and strangled her.

Meanwhile, Ellen Frith was strangled in a squat in Marple Square, St Ann’s, and set on fire.

He has since been named among Britain's Most Evil which airs on Sky Crime at 9 pm on Tuesdays.

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