Yorkshire grandmother's letters to US serial killer David Gore
- 29 January 2013
- From the section Sheffield & South Yorkshire
For nearly two decades a British great grandmother wrote to an American serial killer, unaware of the extent of his "gruesome" crimes.
Ada Wilson, from Rawmarsh, in South Yorkshire, initially became a pen pal to American prisoners for "something to do".
The 81-year-old began writing to David Gore, a Florida death row inmate, in 1984.
"He was a kind man, full of love for his family and happy, he wrote happy letters with little jokes and that sort of thing," Mrs Wilson said.
Eighteen years of correspondence followed before Mrs Wilson's daughter looked Gore up on the internet and broke the news of what he had done.
Gore, a former police deputy, had been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Lynn Elliot in 1983.
After his arrest for the girl's murder Gore admitted to killing another two girls and three women, for which he was sentenced to life in prison.
Mrs Wilson said she was surprised when she found out the full extent of his crimes.
"It never entered my head that he would be a serial killer, I thought he might have shot somebody or something like that but not a serial killer."
The tone of the pair's letters soon changed.
"When I found out his crime and I told him I knew I saw a different man in him. I saw a man beyond evil.
"I used to feel at his letters and think this man who's done this writing and felt this letter has killed all those women."
Gore started describing his crimes to Mrs Wilson, saying he wanted to tell her "every gory detail" so she could write his biography.
"I didn't expect him to be that gory", she said. "He told me how he strangled them. Some he shot, some he hung. He told me he was a cannibal. What [he] did to young girls was awful.
"He said after he'd murdered one his mind would alter and slow down and go back to normal but he said he couldn't have done any killing without a big bottle of vodka in him.
"But he said after a while it would all build up again in his mind and he could not wait again until he'd done another one."
Gore had admitted to six killings to police but Mrs Wilson said he told her he had murdered 30 women and buried their bodies in a citrus grove.
Following his arrest Gore led authorities to a citrus grove where he once worked but no evidence of further killings was found.
"He said being a policeman he knew exactly how to get rid of evidence," Mrs Wilson recalled.
"I wrote to him and I said 'Many many years ago I lost a little boy' and I said 'even now I am old I can still cry when I think about him so have you ever thought about the relatives of the victims that you have killed, how they must be going on a lot of them not knowing what's happened to their loved one'.
"I said 'If you know all their names then please give them to the police' but he wrote back and said 'I don't know their names'."
Asked why she agreed to carry on sharing letters with a man she believed was evil, she said: "When you get old it's something to do and he didn't just write about his crimes, he would put other things in his letters that were interesting."
'Glad he's gone'
After 25 years on death row, Gore was executed in April 2012.
He had never mentioned his impending death in his letters but Mrs Wilson said she was expecting it "because the last letter he wrote to me was the saddest letter he ever sent".
At the time of his execution Gore called himself a Christian and apologised to his victims' families.
But Mrs Wilson said she would "never, never" believe that.
"It was the way he wrote his crimes that told me he was going through it and enjoying it all again."
"I can't say that I didn't miss his letters because I did but I was glad he'd gone."
Mrs Wilson has carried out Gore's wish and put those letters together in a biography which she hopes to get published.
Although she could not explain why she felt compelled to write the book, she admitted: "I don't think he deserved anything."
Mrs Wilson now hopes to move on from that long chapter in her life.
She said: "To be honest I am trying to forget him because sometimes since he's been dead I go to bed at night and I think about him and all the horrible things he did come to mind."