This serial killer murdered 26 homeless people in Mumbai and Kolkata

·3 min read

It’s a mystery that movies are made of. 

As a matter of fact, there is indeed a movie made on the serial killer dubbed by the media as Stoneman. But let’s back up a little.

A lone, hooded figure standing in front of a car looking at an empty misty country road silhouetted at night by car headlights
Image for representational puroses only. Getty Images.

Who is Stoneman?

The real identity of the serial killer known as Stoneman remains unknown. However for nearly two decades, this unnamed person struck terror in the hearts and minds of people in Mumbai and Kolkata.

Where did Stoneman start his killing spree?

By all accounts Stoneman’s first murder was in the Sion-King’s Circle area in central Mumbai. It was 1985 and the streets of the city were not as crowded as they are today, especially after a certain hour of the day. With camera surveillance still a thing of the future, crime detection and prevention was largely dependent on the city’s overburdened police force.

Police would drive up and down sensitive neighbourhoods just to make sure the miscreants stayed off the streets. Innocent times, right? Except Sion and King’s Circle weren’t sensitive neighbourhoods. They housed upper middle class families and were peaceful localities to live in and raise your children. The mere thought of a murder in these neighbourhoods was unthinkable, let alone having a serial killer on the loose.

And yet, sometime in 1985, an unknown killer began to target homeless people in the area. Unfortunately, people sleeping on basements wasn’t and isn’t an unusual phenomenon. As with all big cities, several homeless people would find a corner on the streets and spend the night there before starting work all over again the next morning. This continues to happen not just in Mumbai and Kolkata but in most major cities around the world. It was this crowd that the Stoneman targeted.

Cases of homeless people’s skulls being smashed by a large stone started emerging with the police having no idea as to who was responsible for this. Every other day there would be news reports about a homeless person being killed in their sleep by a large stone. The police hypothesised that the murderer was a large man since the stones would typically weigh up to 30 kg. The only common thread between all the murders was the fact that they were all homeless people, killed in their sleep, with a large stone. There was seemingly no motive and certainly no evidence.

Mumbai’s police was at its wits end and did what it could. After rounding up people that fit the description of the murderer, the murders stopped. However they weren’t able to make the charges stick to any of the arrested suspects. In any case, the murder spree, which had now claimed over a dozen lives, came to an end by 1988. But that was just in Mumbai.

By 1989, Kolkata began witnessing a similar series of murders with the same modus operandi. The victims were pavement dwellers and were killed in the same manner as the victims in Mumbai. This continued till the end of the year before the murders stopped as suddenly as they had begun. The Kolkata Police were also unable to catch the murder who would commit his crimes after midnight or just before dawn. It was concluded that Stoneman was a psychological maniac who may have either died or may have been convicted of some other crime resulting in him being in prison.

In any case, more than 30 years later no one can say with certainty just who the Stoneman killer was or what exactly happened to him.

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