REVIEW: Murder by the Sea is the true and terrifying story of heinous crimes on the British coast
There’s something strange about the British seaside… it seems to inspire an awful lot of murders.
This is the premise of new true-crime documentary series Murder by the Sea, which explores murders committed amidst the sun, sand and candy floss. Presented by journalist and true crime writer Geoffrey Wansell, Murder by the Sea tells the shocking crime stories that will make British holidaymakers think twice.
The first episode of the series begins with the little-known case of Stephen Akinmure, an Isle of Mann local who was charged with five murders all before his 21st birthday. After being raised by his strict grandmother, he targeted elderly people for his horrific crimes, typically murders by strangulation and arson. He later moved to Blackpool, where he continued to commit murder and arson. His story is not well known due to the fact he committed suicide shortly before his trial.
Murder by the Sea recounts Akinmure’s story with the colourful character of Wansell, who speaks on a backdrop of seaside mayhem turned sinister. There is something oddly terrifying about a popular seaside soundtrack and the vivid and tacky grandeur of the seaside, being used as a backdrop to illustrate this horrible case.
The series includes reconstructions and interviews with real witnesses, including the police officers who spoke to Akinmure, criminal psychologists and – most tragically – the daughter of two of Akinmure’s victims, who discovered her parents dead at the scene.Murder by the Sea offers an insight into the mental health of Akinmure and the reasoning he may have had for the crimes he committed. Some of the clues left behind in interviews and his two suicide letters may hold an explanation as to why he acted in such a way.
Television dramas have long used the concept of a murder taking place alongside the crashing waves upon the shore of the British coastline. Murder by the Sea reveals the horrible truth – that such murders are common at the British seaside – and asks the question of why that may be. It’s a smart and unique take on a saturated genre, which yields fascinating results.