True Crime England

The Murder of Tia Rigg


 Childhood of Tia Rigg

On the 4th January 1998, Lynn Ahmed and Lee Rigg welcomed a daughter – Tia Simone Rigg. From the moment Tia was born, she was placed on the child protection register. Lynn Ahmed had previously had three children and during her time as a mother, there had been numerous reports of domestic violence in the home.

It was this risk to the children’s safety which led to her three eldest children being placed in the care of other family members in the time before Tia’s birth. When Tia was born, she was the only child in Lynn’s custody. Following Tia, Lynn went on to have three other children – totalling seven children to four different fathers. Again, Tia and her three younger siblings remained on the child protection register with it highlighted that the children would be likely to suffer neglect.

This was later changed to likely to suffer physical abuse. Lynn, who had two previous prison sentences for robbery and assault, was known for using illegal drugs. Social workers also classed Lynn as suicidal.

Tia when she was younger (Credit: Daily Mail)

On numerous occasions, Lynn following her other children’s births, Lynn tried to commit suicide. It was because of these incidents that in early 2008, Tia was placed in the custody of her Aunt. However, shortly after, Tia and her aunt had a disagreement and it was ruled Tia would be able to return to her mother’s custody. It was later discovered that between 2009-2010, there had been seven incidents involving domestic abuse, suicide and neglect within the family home. These incidents were raised but agencies failed to intervene.

 Those who knew Tia described her as a pretty and football mad girl who was always so happy about life. At Albian High School, where Tia attended, she was described as well mannered and had a good group of friends who she frequently hung around with.

Tia in her school photograph (Credit: Wikipedia)

3rd April 2010

At 2:17pm, Lynn received a phone call from Tia’s uncle, John Maden. He asked Lynn if she would mind sending Tia round to his house to babysit his young daughter. Tia agreed and set off to her uncle’s home located at Dalmain Close, Cheetham Hill.

Tia had a good relationship with her uncle. She would frequently visit him, and they would typically chat about the football or family issues. On the 2nd April, the day before, Tia had visited her uncle alone to see a new puppy that he had bought. John and Tia also regularly met at her grandmothers, Shelia’s, for family gatherings. All in all, nobody had any reason to suspect John of having any sinister motives towards young Tia.

At around 3pm, Tia arrived at her uncles home. Tia’s favourite football team, Manchester United, were playing that day and so when she arrived her and John had a brief chat about how the game was going. It was after this brief welcoming, that John took his prescribed Olanzapine and drugged Tia. Olanzapine is an antipsychotic tranquiliser and so Tia was probably left semi-unconscious and drowsy.

John Maden (Credit: Murderpedia)

After successfully plying her with tranquilisers, John then carried Tia upstairs to the spare bedroom. It was in this room, that John removed all of Tia’s clothing and committed an horrific catalogue of sexual injuries, raped Tia and then stabbed her in the abdomen while she was still breathing. After this, John then took a guitar string and used it to strangle Tia to death. Forty-five minutes after Tia had arrived, John made a telephone call to the police.  

The Call to 999

The operator who took John’s call reported after how chillingly calm he was as he relayed to her how he had murdered his young niece. The following below is a transcript of that call.

John: Hi, I would like to report a murder.

He is asked where it happened and gives his address and name as John Nigel Maden.

Operator: Well what has happened there?

John: My niece has been murdered by me.

Operator: When has this happened?

John: I have just finished killing her now.

Operator: Why have you done that?

John: Because I felt like it.

The operator then asks John what his niece is called and how old she is. John replies that her name is Tia Rigg and wrongly reports her age as 11. The call is cut off before being reconnected. The operator then asked for more details.

John: I am quite sure the officers that come to the house will be able to take all the details you need.

Operator: How’s it happened?

John: I have used … with a knife and strangulation and that’s it, bye.

Officers arrived at the scene two minutes later and immediately arrested John. As John was led away from the home, the police began a search of his house for details as to what had happened. Upon reaching the upstairs spare bedroom, they were greeted by a sinister and horrendous view. Tia’s body was found face up, naked except her socks. The guitar string ligature was still around her neck and her hands were tied behind her back with a shoelace. A large stab wound was found to her abdomen. Placed around Tia’s body was two knives, a broom handle and a sex toy which were all stained with blood.

John Madan’s home (Credit: Daily Mail / Cavendish)

8th April 2010

On the 8th April 2010, John Nigel Maden, an unemployed and divorced warehouse worker, appeared in Manchester Crown Court for the first time. It was on this same day, that Lynn went missing. A close friend, who was staying with Lynn and the children, reported that Lynn had disappeared at around 10:50pm and had left a note saying she wanted to be with Tia.

As previously mentioned, Lynn had a history of suicide, with reports claiming that in the past she had tried to commit suicide in front of her own children. A quick search of the house also showed that Lynn had taken numerous items from Tia’s room with her.

Lynn – Tia’s mother (Credit: The Sun)

An appeal for Lynn’s whereabouts was aired shortly after the report came in. It was known to the police that Lynn had some money with her, but they did not think she was running away. The appeal highlighted that Lynn was thirty-four years old, mixed race, five foot seven, of medium build with long black hair. She was last seen wearing a black tracksuit with a grey t-shirt, black tracksuit bottoms and was believed to be carrying a pink bag. Late into the 8th April, the local force helicopter and trained dogs were utilised, but Lynn was not found.

However, the following day, a friend of Lynn’s informed the police that she had arrived at her home.

The Trial

On the 4th October 2010, the trial of Maden began at Manchester Crown Court and was ruled by Mr Justice Keith. Prior to the trial, Maden had pleaded guilty and so no jury was used in the case. Instead, prosecutor’s and defence worked in highlighting the sentence that Maden needed.

The first piece of information at the trial was focused around the autopsy report. It was concluded that Tia had suffered severe blood loss from the stab wound to her abdomen. The stab wound had been done while Tia was still alive and had caused damage and injury to her internals. The primary cause of death was ligature strangulation.

The prosecution then started their argument based around the extreme pornographic images Maden had accumulated over the previous year. During a police raid at his home, police found thousands of pornographic material on his laptop and mobile phone that was organised into categorized folders named, ‘Snuff’, ‘snuff stories’ and ‘brutal rape’.

Lynn being comforted at Tia’s funeral (Credit: The Sun)

Further investigation found that Maden had also downloaded a mass amount of extreme child abuse and violent pornography and burnt the images onto CD’s. One officer even commented how Maden had collected nearly every image / video of this level that was available on the dark web. As Maden had only began collecting the material one year prior, it was theorised that Maden had developed an intense obsessive interest in the images and literature relating to paedophilia, rape and torture to collect so much in a small space of time.

During the trial, it also came to light that Maden had a previous criminal history. Twenty years prior to the murder he had been convicted for theft and then threatening behaviour – something that had since been struck from his criminal record.

The prosecution then moved on to July 2009. In this month, Maden had downloaded and read a series of books that graphically explained how to torture children. It is believed that from this, combined with his excessive use of child pornography, Maden had developed deviant fantasies against children in respect to torture and sadism.

Although Maden had confirmed numerous times that he had no reason to explain why he had done what he had done, his defence argued that Maden had been hearing voices in the weeks leading up to the murder. Maden had apparently described it as a ‘bad voice telling him what to do’. However, the judge dismissed these claims. Instead, the judge ruled that there was a sexual motive behind the horrific murder.

Maden was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released. Mr Justice Keith told Maden, “It is inescapable that Tia Rigg died because you decided to realise your fantasies about torturing and killing a young child. It is difficult to know how long Tia’s ordeal lasted. The terror, the unimaginable pain you inflicted on her, the indignities you subjected her to while she was still alive. It was planned, it was premeditated, and her agony must have been prolonged. This is one of those exceptional cases which the only just punishment requires you to be imprisoned for the rest of your life”. Maden became the 40th individual to receive such a sentence within the UK.


After the trial Lynn made a statement to the media. She said;

Tia was my baby girl. She was always happy and never sad. She brought a smile to everyone who she met. Tia was loved by everyone, family and friends but to me she wasn’t just my daughter – she was my best friend.

When this nightmare happened, it killed me inside. My heart has been broken and will never mend. All this is left is a big, empty hole. For me, this nightmare will never end but justice had been done. At least Tia can rest in peace.

Tia was my whole world. I love her so much, she was my life. I miss her big smile every morning and her beautiful freckly face. She always laughed when I said that.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. I love and miss her so much and always will.

After the death of Tia, a report with issues regarding the numerous ‘serious failings’ of social services was published. As highlighted before, seven incidents were missed by social services. The report stated that social workers could have intervened to protect Tia from the severe behavioural problems suffered by her mother – who had a history of heroin and crack cocaine and a criminal record. The report finalised that social workers had an over optimistic and unrealistic perception of Lynn’s ability to care for her children and failed to appreciate the chaos of Tia’s family life.

However, Lynn was not the one who murdered Tia. As previously mentioned, Lynn’s oldest children had been placed in the care of another family member and Maden still had access to these children. Removing Tia from her mother would not have saved Tia from the horrendous acts in which she suffered.

On the 19th October 2012, Marcel Maden (Tia’s older brother) was arrested for stashing guns and ammunition at his mother’s home at Higher Broughton. Prior to his arrest, police had suspicion that Marcel was involved in gang behaviour and watched as he attended court to support a close friend charged with a similar charge. Police then decided to seize Marcel’s phone and upon looking at his images, found him to be in the possession of numerous weapons.

Marcel Maden following his arrest (Credit: Manchester Evening News)

A raid was conducted on his home and early in the morning the police found a Lamber 12-bore double barrelled shotgun, a Smith & Wesson revolver, a US revolver, a P38 9mm pistol, a single-stack box magazine, a 25-round magazine for a Uzi sub-machine gun, a silencer for a machine gun and 86 rounds of ammunition.

At Marcel’s trial, police described how Marcel had sent numerous texts boasting about shooting his rivals and how he was the boss of a group involved in dealing M-Cat and Ketamine on the streets of Manchester. Other texts described how Marcel had “shot some guy that shot his house up” and claimed “two people were found dead” after a drug deal of his had gone wrong. No evidence was found to support his claims of murder.

He was sentenced to seven years and eight months.

Analysis of Maden’s sexual fantasies turned murder

Individuals responses to sexual stimuli are hypothesised to involve cognitive, physiological and behavioural components. The cognitive aspects include; implicit cognitions (sexual impulses and automatic sexual scripts) and explicit cognitions (attitudes about sex and sexual fantasies). Those perfectly healthy thoughts then lead naturally to physiological responses – sexual arousal and / or engaging in sex. This is just the normal way in which our brain functions.

However, if the sexual stimuli stems from illegitimate or highly unusual behaviour, the individual may exhibit deviant sexual behaviour. As we know, two years prior to Tia’s murder, Madden had no collection of child pornography. He was a heterosexual man who had been engaged in a long-term relationship with a woman. It was only in the year before, that Maden became single and began obsessing over child pornography, that his normal and healthy sexual interest became twisted and deviant and so began a chain of reactions.

A sexual fantasy that is sadistic uses the torture of another for ones sexual gain. Carabellese et al (2010) highlighted that the viewing of forced sex, rape and dominance prior was a huge motivator for an individual to progress to sexual homicide. We now know that Maden was watching the worst rated child pornography known in existence for just under a year. This is a short amount of time for someone to develop such an obsession. To support this, research also highlighted potential factors that can cause an individual to stray from viewing illegitimate and deviant pornography to murder.

These are: Pre-meditation, the ideal victim, stimulation of their sexual arousal, regulation of victim’s state, escape from reality and feeling in control. If all these factors can be met, the individual will be more likely to commit homicide in return of sexual gratification. Let’s take each of these points individually in relation to Maden.

Pre-meditation – It was highlighted by the judge that the murder of Tia was planned. The sole fact that Maden had called Lynn an hour before the murder shows that it was planned in some way. He ensured that he provided an alibi for Tia to attend his home alone.

Ideal Victim – Tia was Maden’s niece and nobody had any reason to believe that Maden had sexual thoughts towards children. He had just come out of a long-term relationship and had fathered a child and family / friends explained in interviews that they never believed Maden could be like this. Tia was family and therefore nobody would bat an eyelid if young Tia went to Maden’s alone. He also did not need to force her to go.

Stimulation of sexual arousal – Maden was a grown man and Tia was a young girl. Maden’s fantasies consisted of his dominance over a young and innocent girl. We know that Maden gained sexual release watching snuff movies and child pornography and therefore committing the acts he did on Tia would have offered the same sexual arousal.

Regulation of victims state – Tia was drugged on arriving at Maden’s home, already offering Maden the opportunity to take advantage of Tia. He had also tied Tia up with a shoelace. By drugging and tying Tia up, Maden was given the opportunity to act out his fantasies without Tia fighting back.

Escape reality – The judge in Maden’s trial spoke of how Maden was acting out his fantasies towards children on Tia. We know that Maden enjoyed watching snuff movies and therefore it is probable that his fantasies included a similar plot. Therefore, the crime he committed could be viewed as acting out his dream fantasy and thus, escaping reality.

Feeling in control – Again, Tia was a lot smaller than Maden – so he had easy control over her. He had also drugged and tied her up. The use of this, enables Maden to be able to feel in control. In snuff films, the victim is typically unwilling of the acts being committed to them and again, this feeling of control over Tia would be similar to what he has seen and fantasied about.

The biggest theory for why individuals commit violent, sexual crimes has been linked to the overuse of sexual fantasies and one feeling that they are losing control of themselves. Maden was frequently watching child pornography and if he wasn’t watching, he was reading explicit books detailing the murder of children. In some ways, Maden’s defence of hearing a voice could be linked to this. Due to the loss of control with his addiction and obsession with child pornography, did Maden create the voice to have reason to blame his actions on another?

Again, MacCulloch et al (2000) highlighted that too much violent pornography can lead to more violent and sadistic behaviour in an individual. The reason for this is probably because the pornography starts to lack sexual pleasing and thus, an individual may believe that they need to commit their fantasy themselves to gain such pleasure once more.

Although it is now clear that Maden had a serious obsession with child pornography, and the theory of acting out his deep fantasies, nobody was to know of what was to happen as there was no warning signs or previous convictions relating to murder or paedophilia.