Criminal Minds Wiki

Gordon Frederick Cummins, a.k.a. "The Blackout Ripper" or "The Blackout Killer", was a British serial/spree killer and robber active during World War II's German Blitz.


Cummins was one of four children born to a civil servant and his housewife. He was privately educated and received a diploma in chemistry when he as 16. Cummins would go on to drop out of college and held down several jobs, but never held on to one for very long. He obtained employment as a leather dresser at a clothing factory while also training to be a foreman. Cummins developed a strong desire to be seen as an aristocrat and went to great lengths to maintain this façade (including frequent embezzlement), ultimately losing yet another job. He moved into his brother's flat shortly afterwards.

Cummins enlisted onto Britain's Royal Air Force in 1939, quickly earning himself the nickname of "The Count" because of his boastful claims to having noble heritage in his blood. A handsome, well-built man, not only did Cummins's wife find him appealing but the prostitutes of London's poor neighborhoods. He eventually began stealing belongings from prostitutes he regularly visited. During World War II, he suddenly snapped for an unknown reason and started killing; some believe he might have been suffering from a mental illness that was triggered during this time, while others thought that he developed a misogynistic personality that manifested itself into murdering women. Cummins soon took advantage of the regular nighttime blackouts caused by the German Blitz to kill his victims without being detected.

On February 9, the body of 40-year-old Evelyn Hamilton was found in an air raid shelter. The following three days were highlighted with the daily discovery of a victim, whose corpse would now be sexually mutilated. The killing spree gained him the nicknames of "The Blackout Ripper" and "The Blackout Killer", the former being because of the crimes' similarities to those of serial killer Jack the Ripper, most notably the mutilation. On February 14, Cummins attempted to kill a woman named Greta Hayward, whom he previously made sexual advances towards, but he escaped when an 18 year-old delivery boy witnessed the attack, leaving behind the gas mask case he brought along.

After attacking and unsuccessfully attempting to murder another woman, Cummins was arrested two days later by an officer who traced the numbers on the discarded gas mask case back to him. Authorities searched his quarters and found countless evidence used to convict him of the murders. Cummins went to trial for his murder spree on April 27; during this time, he wrote a letter to his wife that seemed to imply that he might've blacked out whenever he started killing. Nevertheless, it took the jury 35 minutes to eventually find guilty of murder, and he was sentenced to death by hanging.

Cummins was executed on June 25 by hanging, ironically during an air raid. After his execution, a fifth body was discovered and attributed to him. The woman, identified as one "Mrs. Church", was revealed to have been killed on October 1941.

Modus Operandi[]

Cummins targeted women between the ages of 25-43 (though one of his suspected victims was 19) who lived in London, most of whom engaged in prostitution during the war. He killed his victims during regular nighttime blackouts caused by The Blitz. He would do this by strangling them, but in the case of his second victim, Evelyn Oatley, he also slashed her throat post-mortem. His last three victims were also sexually mutilated with a variety of objects, such as a can opener, a razor blade, a knife, and a candlestick.

It is debatable whether or not Cummins is a serial or spree killer. He killed a woman on a daily basis across four days, with the last murder and his first attempted murder occurring on the same day. His final attack happened just two days after this. He is also suspected of committing two murders in October the previous year.

Known Victims[]

  • London, England, UK:
    • Unspecified dates: Numerous victimless thefts and embezzlements
  • 1941:
    • October 13, Hampstead Road: Maple Churchyard, 19 (possibly; strangled with her camiknickers; her house was bombed after the murder)
    • October 17, Regent's Park: Edith Eleanora Humphries, 48 (possibly; bludgeoned, attempted to strangle, then slashed her throat and stabbed once in the brain; was found by investigators alive, but died of her injuries shortly after; stole some of her jewelry)
  • 1942:
    • February 9, City of Westminster: Evelyn Margaret Hamilton, 40 (strangled; also stole her purse)
    • February 10, Soho: Evelyn Oatley, 35 (strangled; slashed her throat, sexually violated with an electric torch, and mutilated her abdomen, genitals, and thighs with a can opener and razor blade postmortem)
    • February 11, City of Westminster: Margaret Florence Lowe, 43 (beaten and fatally strangled with a silk stocking; sexually mutilated with a knife, razor blade, poker, and candlestick and eviscerated her abdomen postmortem)
    • February 12:
      • Paddington: Doris Jouannet, 32 (strangled with a scarf; sexually mutilated her abdomen, genitals, left breast, and thighs with a razor blade postmortem; also stole her gold watch and £5)
      • Regent Street: Cathrine Mulchany, 25 (assaulted by kneeing her in the stomach and attempted to kill by strangulation; she fought back and escaped)
    • February 14: City of Westminster: Margaret "Greta" Hayward (attempted; strangled until she was unconscious; fled when a delivery boy witnessed the attack)

On Criminal Minds[]

While Cummins was never directly mentioned or referenced on the show, he appears to be an inspiration for the following unsubs:

  • Season Five
    • Billy Flynn ("The Longest Night") - Both were spree (Flynn was originally serial) killers and robbers who killed during blackouts, were given nicknames for their crimes, had some sexual element in their crimes (Flynn raped the women he targeted, while Cummins would sexually mutilate them in some way), and had children as witnesses. Flynn also appeared in Season Six.
  • Season Seven
    • Travis James ("There's No Place Like Home") - Both were serial killers who had a brother, committed numerous petty crimes prior to their killings (including theft-related offenses), primarily targeted prostitutes of one gender (males in James's case, females in Cummins's), beat their victims (James bludgeoned his to death, while Cummins beat and assaulted some of his and is suspected of bludgeoning one to death), mutilated their bodies after killing them, were active during states of emergency which they used to cover up their crimes (James left the remains of his victims to be swept up by tornadoes, while Cummins killed during wartime blackouts), they had short cooldown periods, and their last surviving victim was rendered unconscious (and in both cases they left behind a young witness) before they fled the scene (though James managed to take his victim with him, while Cummins did not).
  • Season Eleven
    • Andrew Meeks ("A Badge and a Gun") - Both were spree killers who targeted women, were active during times of crisis and danger in the cities they operated in (Cummins killed women during military blackouts in wartime blitzes, while Meeks killed women in high-crime areas in Los Angeles), killed their victims by some form of asphyxiation, had some sexual element in their crimes involving items at the scenes that became their signatures (Cummins sexually mutilated and penetrated women with household items, while Meeks wrapped his victims in household items due to his claustrophilia), were stopped in their later murders due to intervention of witnesses, and were ultimately stopped by law enforcement who traced their records (Meeks was tracked with a BOLO, Cummins left behind a gas mask he wore during the murders that had an ID number).