Written by Ellis Ian Fields

Friday, 16 March 2012

image for Apollo Moon Landings Killer - Inside The Mind Of A Mass Murderer. A Special Investigation. Lambrusco's demons were born here.

When Gideon Lambrusco was sentenced to four life sentences at Leeds Crown Court last week, as he was sent down he shouted to the court: "Houston, we have a problem."

It was no surprise that the bizarre case should end with this iconic litotes of the space age - for it was the space age, particularly the race to the moon, which triggered the train of events that ended with Judge Lemuel Blandford's sentences.

The hearing was marked by Lambrusco's frequent outbursts - when the judge arrived one morning, he called out: "The Eagle has landed." On the opening day, when the charges were read to him he punched the air and shouted: "Ignition sequence starts… launch commit!" He also insisted all questions were put to him through a solicitor he referred to as the "cap com."

Lambrusco had no police record and never appeared on the authorities' radar. Who was this four-time killer and what sparked his murder spree? Chief Crime reporter Gombert Frizingdale delved into the background of the case…

Lambrusco was born in 1956 to middle-class parents. In 1968 the family was living in a suburb of Bradford.

His mother, Pandora, recalls: "Once Apollo 8 orbited the moon little Gideon was hooked on the space programme. Every Apollo flight from then became a little project for him - he kept scrap books with anything about NASA and the moon programme he could find."

Then, in 1969, his youth group was invited to go on a trip into the Yorkshire Dales - in July.

Pandora: "He was home for the Apollo 11 take-off on July 16, but it was obvious he would be in Kettlewell for the landing and moonwalk. I was under strict instructions to keep all the newspaper cuttings I could find and Gideon prayed there would be a television at the youth hostel where he would be staying."

But when he came home a few days later he was distraught. There was a TV at the hostel but the adults in charge of the party had told the kids to go to bed as usual and did not allow them to stay up to see Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.

"I tried to comfort him by telling him that the TV pictures were not very good and that you couldn't really see anything," says Pandora. "But for some time after he was inconsolable. 'I really wanted to watch it, mum, and they made me miss it,' was all he could say about it."

Other moon landings came along of course, and young Gideon managed to get on with his life - still collecting his newspaper cuttings.

Skip forward 40 years to July 2009 and Gideon is back in Kettlewell with his wife, Fennel, and her parents, Lester and Minnie Scoot.

Minnie remembers that the weekend was a damp one and to pass the time one day they drove to Kettlewell to look around and have lunch in one of the pubs. "On the outskirts of the village Gideon stopped to look at one house in particular.

"He noted that it was a conversion and it dawned on him that it was the youth hostel he had once stayed at as a boy. He told us about 1969 and how he missed the moon landing, then he seemed to go into himself and became withdrawn for the rest of the weekend."

Of course, the newspapers and the TV schedules were full of items celebrating the 40th anniversary of the landing and this seemed to trigger a reaction. Gideon did not lose an opportunity to tell people about his experiences in 1969.

Close friend Les Pamphlet told me: "Oh blimey yeah - Gideon could bore for England on how he was treated in 1969. He used to say things like: 'What totally unimaginative and dopy idiots. Fancy doing that to a bunch of young boys - they should be ashamed. Someone ought to do something.'"

Well, he took it upon himself to be that someone. He tracked down the people who had been in charge of the fateful Kettlewell trip and the rest is history: early in 2011 he drove the four elderly folk to a cottage in the Dales, made them go to bed at 8pm, woke them at 6am and forced them to run round the village until they literally dropped, dead.

Les Pamphlet adds: "He came to the pub and was blabbering about 'A-OK. Mission accomplished. Bunch of guys just about to turn blue. Uh, Houston, this is Apollo 11 signing off.' And he just told us what had happened."

He made no effort to resist arrest when the police came for him and officers report that he co-operated fully throughout their investigation.

Dr Helmut Gleschenpuppfern, the psychiatrist appointed to assess Lambrusco, said: "Complete nutcase. Bananas. Barking mad - I mean, he missed the moon landing and stewed on it for 40 years. Obsessive if you ask me."

Det Supt Stan Needles, who headed the police investigation, added: "Yup. Nutter. Nice bloke, otherwiise. It's his missus I feel sorry for - wife of the Lunar Loony Killer."

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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