Edward Paisnel became known as the “Beast of Jersey” after it was discovered that he had kidnapped and raped at least a dozen children on the tiny British Isle of Jersey between 1957 and 1971.
He snatched young women off the street, snuck into boys’ and girls’ bedrooms at night, and wore a gruesome-looking rubber mask that looked like skin. Who was this monster and how did he get away with his crimes for so long?
This is the disturbing true story of Edward Paisnel.
Who Was Edward Paisnel, the “Beast of Jersey”?
Unfortunately, we don’t know very much about Edward Paisnel’s childhood. Nor have we uncovered any details that could explain his later behavior.
We know he came from a well-to-do family, and that he was born in 1925. Beyond that very little is known except that he was put in jail once as a teenager.
He was doling out stolen food to struggling families. This was during World War II under German occupation, and so his acts of generosity would have come with a great deal of risk.
But clearly, Edward Paisnel was not afraid of risk. After all, Jersey Island is only about 45 square miles and has somewhere around 100,000 residents. Not an easy place to hide if you’re a serial rapist.
Yet somehow, Edward Paisnel did manage to evade authorities. And he did so for decades.
We can only wonder what caused the 32-year-old young man to begin his spree of assaults. Whatever it was, it led him to claim his first victim in 1957, a young, unsuspecting woman who was waiting for a bus to arrive.
As she waited, Paisnel casually approached her with a scarf covering his face. Without warning, he wrapped a rope around her neck and pulled her away. Then he took her to an empty field nearby where he beat and raped her.
Edward Paisnel’s Spree of Violence
Edward Paisnel modified his approach over the years. But all of his earliest victims remember being forcibly hauled away to an empty field with a rope where Edward then raped them and fled. They also remembered that he gave off a strange “musty” smell that was quite unusual and distinct.
He kidnapped and raped two more young women later that same year. Both had been waiting at bus stops when he attacked them. After a period of inactivity, Paisnel struck again in October of 1959. Each time his victims fit the same profile: they were all young women that he found waiting at bus stops.
Then on Valentine’s Day 1960, Paisnel snuck into the bedroom of a 12-year-old boy. The boy awoke to see Paisnel standing over him but could do nothing as the intruder threw his rope around the boy’s neck and dragged him away to a field where he once again beat and raped him.
Next, Edward Paisnel targeted a mother and daughter who were staying in a remote cabin. To give you an idea of what his victims experienced, here is a description of the attack, given by The True Crime Edition:
“The mother was awoken at about 12:30am by the telephone ringing downstairs. She went down to answer it, but when she lifted the receiver heard nothing but a click and then the dialing tone. She went back to bed but was awakened about an hour later by a sound downstairs.
She started downstairs to investigate, but as she reached the bottom of the staircase the lights abruptly went out and she heard someone in the living room moving about. In the dark, she made for the telephone to call for the police – but the phone lines had been wrenched out. Then, she was confronted by the figure of a man who grabbed her and demanded money.
He was very rough with her and threatened to kill her, but left the woman immediately when he heard the daughter coming down to investigate the commotion. The woman took the chance to flee and raise the alarm at a nearby farmhouse, and upon returning to the cottage found her daughter – she was still alive but had been horrifically raped in the now familiar signature.”The True Crime Edition
The “Beast of Jersey” Is Finally Caught
Edward Paisnel seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Each time he snuck into another child’s bedroom, he wasted no time in tying up the victims’ hands and blindfolding them.
After so many break-ins and assaults, he became an expert. He was so confident that he would often talk to his victims as he worked. He dropped numerous tidbits of information, such as the fact that he had a wife and that he had had previous victims.
Not all of his information was accurate, however. For one thing, he spoke in an Irish accent, despite not being Irish. And he often mentioned that he had dropped either his cigarette or his lighter even though he didn’t smoke. This information eventually made its way back to the police. They began prioritizing the wrong profile in their search.
Despite all of this, the “Beast of Jersey” did not always succeed. At one point, a fourteen-year-old girl woke up to find him half-hidden in the darkness of her room. She immediately screamed as loud as she could, which forced Paisnel to flee through the window.
Still, it was Edward Paisnel himself who was the ultimate cause of his downfall. After laying low for two years to throw off the authorities, Paisnel got cocky. He wrote the following letter in which he boasted to the police that they would never catch him:
“My Dear Sir,
I think that it is just the time to tell you that you are just wasting your time, as every time I have done wat I always intended to do and remember it will not stop at this, but I will be fair to you and give you a chance. I have never had much out of this life but I intend to get everything I can now…..I have always wanted to do the perfect crime. I have done this, but this time let the moon shine very britte in September because this time it must be perfect, not one but two. I am not a maniac by a long shot but I like to play with you people. You will hear from me before September and I will give you all the clues. Just to see if you can catch me.
Yours very sincerely
Wait and See”Paisnel, in a letter to the authorities
That cockiness would disappear a few years later when he was pulled over at a traffic stop. Police happened to set this up in response to a murder that Paisnel had nothing to do with. Paisnel was driving in a stolen car. He became convinced that the police were there to arrest him.
Instead of stopping, he drove off and the police gave chase. When he was finally forced to pull over, police saw that he was wearing a coat with nails on the cuffs and shoulders. They saw him carrying a flashlight that he had covered in black tape to create a thin beam of light. Paisnel tried to argue that he was on his way to an orgy, but the police brought him into custody anyway.
Edward Paisnel was given 30 years in prison, which means he should have been locked up until 2001. But strangely, he was released in 1991 due to his good behavior.
Fortunately for his victims and their families, his time in freedom did not last long. He died just three years later from a heart attack.
The total number of attacks that Edward Paisnel committed is still coming to light. But there can be no doubt that the disturbing spree of the “Beast of Jersey” goes down as perhaps the most twisted of crimes to ever take place on the Isle of Jersey.