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Serial killer Patrick Mackay branded ‘Devil’s Disciple’ will be grilled about eight murders as he makes bid for freedom

THE serial killer branded the “Devil’s Disciple” will face a grilling about eight murders as he tries to be released from prison.

Patrick Mackay, now 70, has spent 47 years behind bars for three gruesome killings.

He originally confessed to eight more but later retracted his admission.

Mackay is now trying to get his freedom but has to convince a Parole Board hearing he was lying over the other murders.

Usually, felons are given a day to go over their case but Mackay has been allowed two.

A source told The Mirror: “The notoriety of Patrick Mackay and his historic ‘confessions’ to unsolved murders warrants this level of attention.

“The board will look beyond Mackay’s behaviour in prison, any remorse, and will focus on his prior criminal history.

“This obviously includes the three murders he was jailed for, but there will be questions on any other crimes he committed.

They added Mackay would have to convince the panel his original ‘confession’ to the other killings were made when he was mentally ill.

Mackay was given life behind bars with a minimum of 20 years in 1975 after being convicted of the brutal murder of a Catholic priest and two elderly women.

He brutally killed widow Isabella Griffiths, 87, who was strangled and stabbed at her home in Chelsea in before strangling Adele Price, 89, in Kensington.

The twisted murderer split Catholic priest Anthony Crean's head in half with an axe in March 1975 and mutilated his body in a blood-filled bath in Shorne, Kent.

When he was arrested, Mackay confessed to those slayings, along with eight more - including that of Stephanie Britton and her four-year-old grandson Christopher Martin in 1974.

He also claimed responsibility for the murder of 17-year-old German au pair Heidi Mnilk who had been stabbed and thrown of a train in South East London.

The psychopath said he had killed Mary Haynes, 79, in Kentish Town as well as a homeless man, a shopkeeper and a 92-year-old woman.

Another victim, he admitted to, was 48-year-old café owner Ivy Davies, in Southend, Essex, in February 1975.

She had been dragged downstairs with a ligature round her neck and bludgeoned with a metal bar.

Mackay had been a patient at a nearby psychiatric facility at the time of all the killings.

Before going on trial he withdrew his confession to the eight killings before facing a court about the other three.

The killer, who changed his name to David Groves while in jail, is currently in an open prison and claims he has reformed and no longer a threat to society.

A hearing has now been set for April.

Should the board decide Mackay should be released Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has the power to step in.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care.

“Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

They said decisions were focused only on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and if the risk was manageable in the community.