DYCE: Killer of mother and daughters to die in prison

HE was the man who almost got away with murder. For nearly three decades Wilbert Dyce lived with the knowledge of having slaughtered a mother and her two children.

Now, 28 years after his deed of “unspeakable brutality” he is set to die behind bars having been finally brought to justice.

Dyce was 26 when he stabbed 27-year-old Norma Richards to death after she resisted his attempts to rape her at the family home in Dalston, east London.

He then turned on her two daughters Samantha, nine, and Syretta, seven, stabbing the oldest to death and drowning the youngest.

In a cold-blooded bid to conceal his crime Dyce daubed the flat walls with the National Front logo to fool police into thinking it was a racist murder.

Although Dyce was known to victim’s partner Keith Cunningham - the brother of the late England footballer Laurie Cunningham - his name never featured in the original police investigation.

No-one in the local Dalston community ever suspected he was involved, not knowing Dyce was a drug addict and habitual carrier of knives with a history of violence towards women.

Most Read

It was only when the case was reviewed in 2009 that his DNA was matched to semen samples found at the scene and he was questioned for the first time.

Dyce, now 54, at first denied any sexual contact with Norma Richards, insisting she was “like a sister”.

But when he was confronted with the DNA evidence he said they had a brief affair.

At the Old Bailey on Friday (17/12).a jury of six men and six women unanimously found him guilty of three charges of murder.

Norma Richards, who lived with her children on the Kingsgate Estate and was well known as the “babymother’” of the brother of the then Real Madrid footballer Laurie Cunningham, a former West Brom winger, who became the first black player in a competitive England international in 1979.

Norma was found lying naked on the floor. She had been beaten about the head and stabbed four times in the neck and chest. Both girls were submerged in the bathtub.

The case went cold. But in August 2008 journalist Peter Law contacted Scotland Yard while writing a book about Laurie Cunningham.

His questions generated a police enquiry with a cold case review finally establishing a DNA match between Dyce and a crucial semen sample kept on a microscopic slide.

Dyce was arrested on October 3, 2009.

He was convicted of three charges of murder and sentenced to a whole life tariff by Judge Anthony Morris QC.

In an impact statement Norma Richard’s brother Dalton said: “28 years ago a light went out in our lives when our sister and her daughters who were horrifically murdered in their own home.

“In all this time we have struggled to come to terms to see how and why a human being could take their lives in such a horrific manner.”

He said Dyce was an “evil murderer” and his imprisonment meant the family could bring some closure to their nightmare.

Judge Morris told Dyce: “These were offences of unspeakable brutality and the utmost gravity.”

He was satisfied that Dyce was then a sexual predator, targeting women who were alone.

Detective Chief Inspector Steven Lawrence, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said it was a “truly appalling crime”.

He condemned Dyce as “an evil, violent man who preys on the weak and vulnerable who has never accepted responsibility for these terrible crimes nor at any stage shown remorse.

Now aged 32 Norma’s surviving daughter Rhodene Cunningham, said: “When I was four, I found my mum and my sisters’ dead in our flat we lived in. I was really scared; my mum was just lying there covered in blood. I ran upstairs and my sisters were in the bath. They were dead too.

“It was weird going from being the youngest to the eldest, not being able to talk to my sisters about boys, make-up and secrets….What could it have been like growing up with them? I’ll never know, I never got the chance.”