true crime

Simon Mellors told his girlfriend he'd murdered his ex. She stayed.

Warning: This post contains mentions of murder and domestic violence, and may be triggering for some readers.

Janet Scott was having a drink at a pub in Nottingham with her sister Susan Thomson in April 2017 when she met Simon Mellors. Mellors told Scott that he’d spent 12 years travelling the world. Scott, a health worker and mum of six, had no reason to disbelieve him.

“Mum had been married four times,” Scott’s daughter Amy Karnstein explains in a new UK series, Released To Kill Again.

“She was looking for the fairy tale true love that’s in every Disney film.”

The top 5 best true crime documentaries, all true crime fans need to watch. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

In fact, Mellors had not been travelling the world, but had spent 12 years in jail for killing his ex-partner, Pearl Black. Black was a factory worker with two daughters – one with Mellors, one from a previous relationship. After 10 years she’d ended her relationship with Mellors, and started seeing someone else, but wanted to stay friends with him for the sake of the children.

One night in May 1999, Mellors hit Black over the head with an iron bar in her bedroom, knocking her unconscious. He then went out to the garden shed and got some cable ties, which he used to strangle her.

Throughout this, Black’s two daughters were sleeping in the house. The next morning Mellors took them both to school, telling them their mother was still asleep.

Later that day he drank beer and slug pellets in an attempt to kill himself. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for murder. His non-parole period was originally set at 14 years but it was later reduced to 12 years, with a judge ruling that he’d killed his ex due to “intense strain, mild to moderate depression, extreme frustration and inebriation”.

However, Pearl’s brother George told the Nottingham Post his sister had complained to him many times about Mellors’ violent behaviour. Once, when she wouldn’t let him back in the house, he’d “shattered the neck” of the family’s pet rabbit in the garden.

In 2010, George Black wrote to the parole board, begging them not to release Mellors.

“This man is a very intelligent, very calculated, very deviant and a very, very malevolent individual,” he warned them. “Be prepared! His game is far from over.”

ADVERTISEMENT

But in 2011, Mellors was released, and several years later, he started dating Scott. He’d been told by his probation officer to reveal the truth about his past, and six weeks into the relationship, he did.

Nottingham Post
In 1999, Mellors killed his ex-partner, Pearl Black. It wasn't his last murder. Image: Nottingham Post.

Scott’s daughter Amy Karnstein says she and her mother both “threw up and were screaming and crying for a long time”. But Mellors claimed he’d had a mental breakdown and was now reformed.

“Mum being Mum believed his lies, thought he had just made a mistake and we are all only human,” Karnstein told the BBC. “At that point Mum had already caught feelings for him and Mum was one of those people who believed in second chances.”

Worried, Karnstein arranged a meeting with Mellors’ probation officer.

“I said, ‘In your professional experience is he going to do it again?’” she says in Released To Kill Again. “The probation officer looked at me and said, 'I don't think so.’”

As the months went by, Mellors became very controlling. He would tell Scott what groceries she could buy, and whether or not she could go out with friends. He told her he couldn’t sleep without her, and moved into the house. He would go along to all her doctor’s appointments with her. He became convinced that she was going to get back together with her ex.

Scott was feeling suffocated and in December, she decided to break it off. But she waited until January 1, because she didn’t want Mellors to spend Christmas alone.

After Scott had ended the relationship, Mellors found excuses to keep seeing her. He returned her possessions, bit by bit. Then he started stalking her at her new place of work, a supermarket, where she did night shifts. He would sit outside, waiting for her to finish, and try to convince her to get in his car.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The probation officer was made aware of the fact that Simon was stalking Mum and he was made aware of the fact that Mum was petrified of him,” Karnstein told the BBC. “I was there when she made the phone call.”

In late January, Mellors drove to Scott’s house. He let himself in and stabbed her in the chest and stomach with a knife. He forced her into his car. As he drove towards his house, Scott managed to jump out and seek help from a traffic warden. While the traffic warden was trying to stop the bleeding, Mellors turned his car towards them, sped up and ran them both over.

The traffic warden was flung into the air and left badly injured. Scott was crushed to death between the car and a brick wall.

“They had to identify her by the cards left in her purse and dental records and hair DNA,” Karnstein says. “She didn't have a face anymore because of what he did.”

Mellors was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.

George Black was horrified to find out that Mellors had killed again.

"It was my worst nightmare to hear about Janet,” he told the Nottingham Post. “He picks on the weakest. He is like a jackal.”

A month after murdering Scott, Mellors killed himself in jail.

Karnstein says that Mellors took “the easy way out”. She says she and her siblings are the ones who are going to have to live a life sentence.

“The thing that would have hurt Mum the most is that by taking her life, and by the government letting him take her life, it has broken us, all six of us.”

If you or someone you care about is living with family violence please call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

00:00 / ???