Top 10 true crime podcasts: From Serial and West Cork, to Dr Death and George Gibney

The stories veer from fascinating to harrowing, but the true crime genre offers some of the most gripping listening in the podcast world 
Top 10 true crime podcasts: From Serial and West Cork, to Dr Death and George Gibney

True crime podcasts can provide great listening when you're on the move, or at home. 

From murders and malpractice to cons and false accusations, there is plenty of true-crime to get hooked on during your daily runs or rare commute. We’ve gathered up some of the most binge-worthy around so that next time you're heading out for walk number five of the day, you can channel your inner Clouseau and tune into one of these true-crime podcasts.

Serial

Serial, now three seasons long, was the first big true-crime podcast to break into the field and it set the gold standard from the get-go.

Now taught in journalism courses across the world, season one featuring Sarah Koenig’s investigation into the murder of a high-school senior purportedly killed by her boyfriend is considered as the holy grail of deep narrative story-telling. The subsequent series weren't as engaging, but may be worth checking out for fans of the genre.

Available on all podcast providers and https://serialpodcast.org/

West Cork

Bringing it home is one of the most talked-about podcasts of the last two years, West Cork, which has been applauded by the likes of Time magazine and top documentary maker Louis Theroux. The Amazon series is a 13-part investigation into the unsolved 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier outside of the village of Schull, West Cork.

The hosts, Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, spent three years right at the source, interviewing a number of people tied to the case, including Ian Bailey, the former neighbour of Du Plantier who has always maintained he had nothing to do with her death.

Available on Audible.

Dr Death 

Wondery are the masters of true-crime podcasting and one of the network’s biggest hits to date has been Dr Death. It follows the story of Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas neurosurgeon who was convicted after unnecessarily operating on countless patients, leaving 31 paralysed or seriously injured and two dead. Season two, which focuses on a Michigan based doctor with a similarly sinister secret, is currently being released weekly.

Available from Wondery via all major podcast providers 

The Nobody Zone

The Nobody Zone tells of an Irish killer in London, and is one of the most popular recent true crime podcasts. 
The Nobody Zone tells of an Irish killer in London, and is one of the most popular recent true crime podcasts. 

In 1983, Irish homeless man Kieran Patrick Kelly was arrested in London for the simple act of stealing a ring, only to murder his cellmate with a pair of socks hours later.  The Rathdowney man went on to confess to over 30 murders, becoming known as the 'Underground Serial Killer' who revealed a dark world many chose to ignore during the decades he roamed.

Available on all major podcast providers and www.rte.ie/eile/podcasts/

The Teacher’s Pet 

An Australian podcast looking at the mysterious disappearance of Lynette Dawson from Australia’s Gold Coast in 1982. Her husband, former rugby league star Chris Dawson, still claims that the mother of two ran away to join a cult. Its success has led the podcast to actually be taken off the download list in Australia while a suspect faces trial in the case for the first time.

Available through any major podcast provider outside of Australia.

Accused 

Another Wondery hit, Accused is the product of The Cincinnati Enquirer, which draws you in with a different cold-case each season. Now in its third run, the podcast has so far dealt with the unsolved 1978 murder of 23-year-old Elizabeth Andes, the brutal 1987 slaying of prison minister Retha Welch and the mysterious disappearance of David Bocks, a uranium plant worker whose bones are believed to have been found inside a 700-degree vat of salt lava.

Available from Wondery through all major podcast providers.

In The Dark 

Right up there in the podcast hall of fame is APM’s In the Dark. This podcast launched in 2016 after Jacob Wetterling's killer confessed to the abduction of the 11-year-old boy in Minnesota after a 27-year-long investigation. As the podcast moved into its second season, which tells the story of Curtis Flowers, a Mississippi man tried six times for murders he didn’t commit, it gained even more attention.

Available from all major podcast providers and www.apmreports.org

Dirty John 

The story behind Dirty John has been popularised since inspiring a 2018 Bravo and Netflix series, but the preluding Wondery podcast really brings you deep into the story of Debra Newell, a wealthy California divorcée duped by a con artist posing as the perfect man. This is a story about greed, manipulation, domestic abuse, and control that sucks you in right from the start.  Available through Wondery on all major podcast providers 

Where is Geoge Gibney?

Disgraced Irish swimming coach George Gibney.  Picture: Billy Stickland
Disgraced Irish swimming coach George Gibney.  Picture: Billy Stickland

Mark Horgan, of the  Second Captains podcast, chases the disgraced swim coach across Ireland, the UK, and the US, in the hopes of locating Gibney and finally getting his victims' voices heard. We hear how Gibney was a hugely-respected figure in Irish swimming circles before he fled in wake of a court case in 1993 that ruled too much time had elapsed since the crimes occurred for him to stand trial. The final two episodes will be broadcast in the coming weeks. 

Available through BBC Radio from all major podcast providers and from www.bbc.co.uk/sounds

The Last Voyage of the Pong Su 

A tale of international drug trade, bulk heroin shipments, a years-long hunt by Australian detectives, and the lives of North Korean sailors caught up in it all.  

Hop aboard via any major podcast provider or through The Age newspaper on Youtube.

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