Did twisted Corby killer Adam Stein attack others before he murdered Collette?

Collette Gallacher's family fears the shocking murder was not Stein's first crime against women and girls

By Kate Cronin
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 6:58 pm

Paedophile killer Adam Stein may have raped other people before he brutally murdered Collette Gallacher in Corby in 1986.

It was revealed yesterday (Monday, February 22) that the monster who abducted, raped and killed the six-year-old as she made her way to school will soon be released from jail. Collette's sisters have launched a campaign to get him on the sex offenders register and the town's MP has pledged to raise the matter at the highest level.

But the Northants Telegraph can now reveal that Stein may have other victims that have never seen justice for the crimes committed against them. Northamptonshire Police have said anyone who believes they may have been attacked by Stein can still come forward, even though more than 35 years has passed.

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Killer Adam Stein, who may have offended before in Accrington, Lancashire, or Amsterdam, where he was known to requent. Images: Northants Telegraph / Getty.

In 1984, two years before Stein murdered tragic Collette on February 28, 1986, he was investigated and arrested by police after an accusation of rape in Milton Keynes. No charges were ever brought and the county's cold case team has confirmed that there was sadly not enough evidence to prosecute Stein.

It is also believed that at some point between 1980 and 1983, Stein was also questioned on suspicion of a sexual assault in Scotland, possibly in Glasgow where he had grown up. He would have only been about 20-years-old at the time.

Born in 1959 in Glasgow, Stein grew restless and was drawn to Amsterdam time and time again in his late teens and early 20s - attracted by the more liberal attitude to vice and drugs in the Dutch city.

He would travel there from his Scottish home from the east coast ports via ferry. According to contemporaneous newspaper reports, Stein left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.

Glasgow, where Stein grew up. Image: Getty.

He began a relationship with a chambermaid in London and they married. But that marriage was soon over before he moved to Accrington, Lancashire, where he settled down with another woman.

Again, that relationship ended and Stein moved to Corby - home to thousands of migrating Scots - for a fresh start.

The manipulative killer began to enjoy an active social life in the town, drinking in the Domino and the Kingfisher pubs. Ominously, he was known for dishing out sweets and having a laugh with local kids who lived in the neighbourhood.

He met another woman and married again and the pair had a child, who was just a baby at the time Stein murdered Collette. They settled in Ashley Avenue, just a hundred yards from where Collette was living in Cransley Gardens with her mum, baby sister and her grandparents.

Amsterdam, where murderer Stein was drawn time and time again. Image: Getty.

He got a job as a welder at Portal Fabrications on the Finedon Road Industrial Estate in the summer of 1985, travelling on the bus from Corby then cadging a lift from his friends in Kettering to Wellingborough.

After the sentencing hearing his boss told the Northants Telegraph: "We never had any complaints at all. We were shocked to hear what had happened. We didn't even suspect him. He got on well with everybody."

But Stein's fun-loving personality was just a front.

On his police record were convictions for criminal damage, vehicle offences, burglary and assault.

Collette's disappearance was reported by this newspaper back in 1986. Image: JPI Media.

He was a former heroin user and was said to have taken amphetamine regularly. He had binged on drugs the night before he killed Collette.

On the morning of the killing his shattered wife had fled the family home with their young baby at about 7am on the morning Stein abducted Collette.

Neighbours said they heard a 'blazing' row after he stayed out all night drinking and rolled home in the early hours. In his fury, he put his fist through the living room window before his terrified wife ran out of the house.

On Saturday morning, March 1, 1986, just 24-hours after Collette had gone missing, Stein turned up at his local, the Domino in nearby Kingsthorpe Avenue at about 10.45am, where he chatted with pals, had a few lagers, played pool and left at about 2.30pm saying he was going on a charity walk.

Three nights later the callous killer went on another drink and drugs binge and was found with slashed wrists in a flat on the Exeter estate, telling a friend he had 'done wrong.'

That led police to Collette's lifeless body in his Ashley Avenue home.

The house where Stein lived with his wife and child was daubed with the words 'child molester' before being bulldozed. Image: JPI Media.

At the time, his wife's mother who was living just a few yards away, said of her daughter: "She just wants to forget. She wants to make a new life."

The pair moved out of Corby soon afterwards.

The town was horrified by what Stein had done and an angry mob gathered outside Corby Magistrates' Court for his first appearance the morning after he was charged with her murder. One man was dragged from the path of the prison van as it left the court house.

Such was the danger police believed Stein posed, that immediately after he was sentenced, police said they intended to question him in prison over the deaths of Caroline Hogg and Susan Maxwell - two young girls who were murdered in Scotland and their bodies later found in Uttoxeter and Twycross. Because of Stein's links to both Scotland and the Midlands they thought him capable of both killings.

It emerged years later that those killings had been carried out by Scottish serial killer Robert Black.

Parole documents from 2019 show that, at the time of Collette's killing, Stein's risk factors included misuse of drugs and alcohol, engaging in risky behaviour, angry thinking and thoughts of revenge, use of violence within relationships, using sexual violence to humiliate partners and thinking it was acceptable to sexualise children. He was also noted to have a sexual interest in children and distorted sexual fantasies about children. This, coupled with a poor attitude towards authority, is thought to be what helped keep him in prison for so many years after be became eligible for parole.

Now, Collette's sisters Lauren and Claire Holmes have said that they believe Stein has struck before.

"He's a danger to women and children," said Claire.

"He had previous alarming behaviours and had been violent toward his wife.

"We'd urge anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of his in the 1980s to come forward."

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "We take reports of sexual offences very seriously and will always treat reports of this nature with the confidentiality, seriousness and sensitivity they deserve.

“We will believe you.

“If you have been a victim of sexual assault, whether recent or non-recent, and if non-recent – no matter how long ago, please come forward and call us on 101. If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone initially, you can also use our online reporting tool."

Anyone in need of a friendly ear after being sexually assaulted can contact Rape Crisis who offer confidential support to all sexual violence survivors.

Divers searched the Welland at Ketton after a motorcyclist was seen throwing something off a bridge in the days after Collette went missing. Image: JPI Media.