Who is Gerard Croiset? Steeltown Murders' Dutch psychic explained
The figure is a surprise inclusion in BBC One's new true crime drama.
Viewers of true crime drama Steeltown Murders may be surprised to see the sudden appearance of a Dutch psychic in the third episode, who is hired by South Wales Police to help with their investigation.
The show chronicles a real case that devastated the county of Neath Port Talbot, which was solved at the turn of the millennium through the first ever use of an identification tool known as familial DNA.
Sandra Newton, Geraldine Hughes and Pauline Floyd were murdered in the same summer of 1973, prompting a major police investigation which saw 35,000 individuals questioned.
Unfortunately, no progress was made in the immediate aftermath of the deaths, with the South Wales force resorting to hiring Dutch psychic Gerard Croiset in a moment of desperation.
Steeltown Murders: Who was psychic Gerard Croiset?
Gerard Croiset was a psychic who gained prominence in the years following World War II, initially consulting police on murder and missing persons cases in the Netherlands, his home country.
Decades later, he had gained international recognition, resulting in police forces and private individuals from around the world hiring him to advise on the most difficult of cases.
One famous example is the disappearance of the Beaumont children from a beach in Adelaide, Australia, when a wealthy property tycoon enlisted Croiset to help get to the bottom of the case.
The move attracted additional publicity to the case, but proved unhelpful in locating the missing youngsters.
In 1978, just five years after the Steeltown Murders case, Devon and Cornwall Police hired Croiset to assist in the investigation into missing 13-year-old Genette Tate (via Devon Live).
Again, his contribution did not bring about any developments in the case, as Tate remains missing to this day.
Croiset died in 1980, aged 71. In the years since his death, his alleged psychic abilities have been the subject of skepticism, with some denouncing his comments as too vague – and at times, completely wrong.
In the third episode of Steeltown Murders, a young detective Paul Bethell (Scott Arthur) adopts this dim view of Croiset, blasting him for giving false hope to the families of victims.
Croiset's unsuccessful intervention caps off a year-long investigation into the deaths of Pauline Floyd and Geraldine Hughes, which is ultimately dropped by South Wales Police until decades later.
On the accuracy of Steeltown Murders, screenwriter Ed Whitmore told RadioTimes.com: "We changed very little; it was more about what do we leave out? Because the story obviously took place over almost 30 years, so that was really the hardest thing."
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