Where is Colin Sutton now? Real story behind Manhunt: The Night Stalker DCI
Colin Sutton is played by Martin Clunes.
By: Eammon Jacobs
Martin Clunes reprises his role as DCI Colin Sutton in ITV’s true crime drama Manhunt: The Night Stalker, based on the memoirs of former London Metropolitan Police detective Colin Sutton. The original series debuted back in 2019 and followed the detective (played by Clunes in the Manhunt cast) during the investigation into the death of French student Amélie Delagrange. It’s a gripping account of what happened during the police’s attempts to prosecute the killer, Levi Bellfield, for Amélie’s death.
Nine million people tuned in to the first season of Manhunt, and unsurprisingly, ITV commissioned a follow-up series based on another book by Colin Sutton, The Night Stalker. The new fact-based series, which airs nightly, follows Sutton and the London Met as they attempt to track down the infamous Night Stalker – a serial burglar and rapist who targeted elderly women in South East London for 17 years.
But because Colin Sutton is the focal point of the series itself, many viewers will be keen to know more about the real-life detective’s connection to the investigation, what the outcome of the 2009 case was. Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Colin Sutton?
Colin Sutton is a former Senior Investigation Officer with the London Metropolitan Police and was a key figure in solving the Amélie Delagrange case in 2004 and the Night Stalker case in 2009. He had a 30-year long career, and during that time he helped solve 30 murder investigations. Sutton clearly has a unique talent for putting minute pieces of evidence together and linking them to the real perpetrator.
Not only did he have precise focus in catching criminals, but he was also compassionate. During a lengthy interview with The British TV Place, Colin Sutton opened up about his perspective of his career, saying: “A lot of the job in law enforcement is understanding people and understanding how people reacted and what they’re likely to do next and how they’re thinking.” He also added “And that applies not only to the perpetrator but it applies to the bereaved as well.”
What happened to Colin Sutton?
Colin Sutton eventually retired after his 30-year career in law enforcement, but described his experiences working on the Amélie Delagrange case in his 2019 book Manhunt: How I Brought Serial Killer Levi Bellfield To Justice. The former SIO followed it up in 2021 with Manhunt: The Night Stalker, based on the investigation into serial rapist Delroy Grant. This was the basis for the second series of the popular ITV show.
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It’s worth noting that Sutton is still alive. We’re only bringing this up because a quick Google search misleads many into thinking he died in 2004. This is because there was another Colin Sutton who became a police officer in 1957 and was the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (until the organisation was reorganised in 1985). The older Colin Sutton retired in 1993 and died in 2004.
Where is Colin Sutton now?
As per MyLondon, Colin Sutton currently lives in Suffolk with his family and still works as a consultant for crime writers as well as occasionally carrying out private investigations for various clients. Sutton describes himself on his blog as a “Retired London murder DCI, exercising his brain by thinking about things – and writing it down.”
Sutton previously told RadioTimes.com in 2019 that he was impressed with how Martin Clunes portrayed him in the first series of Manhunt, saying: “It was sensitively done. It wasn’t an impersonation of me. But I think Martin is very talented and he brought a lot to it and he picked up some of my mannerisms.”
The series tries to keep the dramatisation of events as faithful to the real investigation as possible, with Sutton also saying that the producers “were very good at accommodating my request for authenticity – I was keen for the look and the feel to be authentic and they did a fantastic job with that.”
Manhunt: The Night Stalker will air on Monday 20th September at 9pm on ITV. You can order Colin Sutton’s Manhunt: The Night Stalker from Amazon. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.