true crime

6 things the Ghost Story podcast didn’t tell you, according to a criminal analyst.

Spoiler alert: this article contains spoilers for the podcast Ghost Story.

If you’ve listened to the popular Ghost Story podcast, created by journalist Tristan Redman, you’d be familiar with Dr Naomi Dancy, the suspected faceless ghost around which the story centres.

You'd know her husband's name too – Dr John Dancy, a much-revered member of the prestigious and well-regarded Dancy family. And then there's Naomi's brother, Maurice Tribe. Maurice was blamed for shooting his sister in both eyes, apparently jealous after losing an eye during war service, before killing himself.

The podcast focuses on the haunting – hence the name – but Redman also investigates the mystery behind the murder, including opinion and analysis from several experts. One of those experts is award-winning criminal behavioural analyst, Laura Richards.

According to Richards, much of her interview was excluded from the podcast, including findings (based on extensive research and analysis of the facts) that led her to conclude that Naomi's husband, John Dancy (referred to as Feyther in the podcast and from here on in) was the killer – not Maurice.

"All the evidence points in one direction – to Dr John Dancy," Richards tells Mamamia.

"I believe the family wanted to control the narrative and protect Feyther and the family name, rather than go on a search for the truth and honour a brilliant woman. For me, it demonstrates the height of male entitlement and male privilege."


It's important to note that Feyther's second wife, Mary Garston, also died under suspicious circumstances.

"Two women die suddenly and unexpectedly, years apart, both married to the same man, and no questions are asked? That’s unconscionable," says Richards, who believes Ghost Story essentially erases Naomi, rendering her a footnote in her own story.

"Dr Naomi Dancy’s life matters. She was a brilliant woman ahead of her time. Dr John Dancy was memorialised as a legend and hero, when almost everything about him and his achievements were a work of fiction.

"And all the family seem to be okay with that. Dr John Dancy may well be a serial killer and they want to preserve his faux reputation rather than right the wrong and restore Dr Naomi Dancy’s name and her brother, who was a war hero."

Here are the findings that led Richards to conclude Feyther was the killer, not Maurice. 

1. The police accepted Dr John Dancy’s narrative without question. 

"The Detective Inspector wrote 'no doubt that Maurice Tribe shot his sister and then committed suicide', however, having analysed the case file, I have many questions about this," explains Richards. "His narrative should have been challenged and not just accepted because he was a doctor and because he said that’s what happened."

One of those questions, Richards says, is how Maurice – whose left eye was made of glass and whose right eye had limited vision – could precisely shoot his sister in both eyes.


"That's very unusual and precise and exact for a man who cannot see. How could he do this and then try to shoot John Dancy, as Dancy would later claim?"

2. The timing doesn’t add up.

"According to the autopsy reports, Dr Naomi Dancy was killed at 12.20am and Maurice Tribe died at 12.30am," says Richards. "Dr John Dancy does not call the police until 1.37am. He called his housekeeper first. Why? And why the delay? What was he doing for more than an hour?"

3. His statement to police was questionable. 

"He said Maurice shot at him, but he turned the light off and fell on the floor to dodge the bullet," explains Richards. "This is extremely unlikely." Richards' analysis also revealed an unaccounted-for time gap, vagueness, lack of detail and an unexpected shift from past to present tenses – "all of which are evidence of deception".

4. Dr John Dancy’s actions. 

Richards discovered Dancy washed Maurice's hands and put a razor blade in his hand. "Why? His windpipe was completely severed, and it was obvious he was dead. Why touch him at all?" He also called crime writer Dorothy Sayers three weeks after his wife's murder and invited her to the house, says Richards. 

"She said there was no evidence of trauma when she spoke with him. Why invite a crime writer into his home just weeks after such a catastrophic and traumatic event?"

5. The insurance policy. 

Upon Noami's death, her husband stood to gain £6500, which is equivalent to $450,000 in today's money. But Feyther claimed in the police report that the insurance policy was Maurice's motive. He said that Maurice was so upset to lose his yearly commission he killed his sister. However, Richards sees through this. "Insurance policies are always a red flag in domestic violence murders," Richards says. "Maurice most likely knew nothing about it and could not claim."


From her extensive research of cases throughout the years, Richards believes the crime scene points to revenge. "Naomi was shot in each eye, which points to it being very personal – these are very specific, precise and controlled acts of targeted violence, carefully executed. It points to a revenge motive."

6. Dr John Dancy was seeing a younger woman.

Richards discovered Dancy was seeing Mary Garston, who was 17 years his junior, and introduced him to the children within two weeks of his wife's murder. "He had a nickname for her, Mousy, which illustrates this was unlikely a new relationship," she says. 

"He moved her into his house after Dr Naomi Dancy was murdered, and they married 12 months later. She was also wealthy." 

A few years later, she too died suddenly and unexpectedly in the night. The family said she died in childbirth but Richards says that wasn't true. "She apparently fell and died, according to Dr John Dancy, who was in the house at the time. No questions were asked about it. There was no autopsy." The doctor who signed the death certificate was a friend of Dancy's, which Richards says is also a huge red flag.

Unanswered questions.

According to Richards, despite a second woman dying while in the house with John Dancy, no questions were asked, leading to one specific important question: Why?


"Why was a man who lied about his credentials and everything he had apparently achieved not questioned, despite two significant women in his life being found dead suddenly and unexpectedly, years apart, when he was in the house with them? The fact no questions were asked illustrates how little women matter. That’s the message," Richards says. 

"My takeaway is that the men are in control here – they are still controlling the narrative. They are deemed more important than both the women's lives."

Richards, who hosts podcast, Crime Analyst, believes true crime podcasts are more than just entertainment – or at least, they should be.

"The search for truth and justice is important and with that comes a great responsibility," says Richards.

"Protecting a faux male legacy, and a man who may have killed two women, has been shown to be more important than honouring a remarkable trail blazer Dr Naomi Dancy and Mary Garston, who is also a footnote in this story. The message is that men, their feelings and their egos matter more than two women's lives. 

"It doesn’t get more patriarchal than that."

Richards is currently re-investigating the disappearance of Australian woman Marion Barter, a teacher and mother-of-two who disappeared in 1997 from Southport, Queensland.

Feature image: Instagram/@crimeanalyst

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