"Like a knife through butter."

That was the chilling description given by serial killer Peter Moore when asked how it felt to murder his victims, according to a new book.

The reply, said to have been given in an interview to police following his arrest in December 1995, is detailed in a work by Dylan Rhys Jones - the lawyer who defended the sadistic sex predator, responsible for both violently stabbing to death four men that year and a string of serious assaults dating back decades.

To the many parents who took their children to his Saturday morning kids' movie clubs, however, Moore - who turns 74 today (Saturday, September 19) - was just a mild-mannered cinema owner from Kinmel Bay who ran a number of picture houses in the area.

But, lurking in the darkness behind the scenes, he was capable of unspeakable acts worse than in any X-rated horror film.

Indeed, gruesome fantasy loomed large in Moore's crimes, the killer even telling police when they finally caught up with him that the real culprit had been his imaginary lover Jason - coincidentally the name of the masked machete-wielding psycho in the Friday the 13th slasher franchise.

And, in the book, we're told that Moore, dubbed The Man in Black after his love of dark clothing, had been a frequent visitor to gay clubs in and around north Wales and Merseyside - on whose members he'd carry out his frenzied attacks.

The first of Moore's murder victims though had been a retired railway worker called Henry Roberts, who lived in semi-isolation in a run-down cottage strewn with rubbish and Nazi memorabilia in Caergeiliog, Anglesey.

Serial killer Peter Moore
Serial killer Peter Moore in his day job as a cinema projectionist

Moore is said to have had turned up at his address carrying a combat knife and wearing Nazi-style peaked cap - one of numerous items of German fascist memorabilia owned by him - resulting in Roberts pleading with Moore for his life and telling him he was not Jewish.

Roberts, who also had Nazi-related ephemera at this home, was later found stabbed 27 times and dumped in the yard outside.

When later asked why he did it, Mr Jones said Moore replied, "for fun."

In the book, Moore is said to have referred to times he'd drive around the Conwy Valley area looking for men to attack and said: "Usually I would be dressed as a policeman, or in a Nazi uniform, just to scare them.

"I would assault them with a police truncheon and strike them on the body and their heads many times.

"I heard that a few of these men had been seriously injured as a result."

Edward Carthy was Moore's second victim, but the last body to be found

Edward Carthy, 28, from Birkenhead, was Moore's second murder victim. He was stabbed and buried in the Clocaenog Forest, near Ruthin, after meeting Moore at a gay bar in Liverpool in October 1995.

His was the last body to be found when the book says Moore drew a diagram to help police find where he was buried in the dense forest.

Keith Randles followed, the 49-year-old traffic manager's body being discovered by workmen outside the caravan in which he lived on a construction site on the side of the A5 near Llangefni.

The last time he was seen alive was on the night of November 29, 1995, when he went into a local fish and chip shop to get his tea.

Like Moore's other victims, he had been brutally stabbed to death.

But The Man in Black's killing spree came to an end when police linked him to the death of his final victim, married father-of-two Tony Davies, who he'd stabbed at a gay cruising area at Pensarn Beach near Abergele.

According to the book, an anonymous tip-off to officers had linked a van resembling Moore's to one spotted at the scene of the crime, while blood found on the shore line was eventually matched to his DNA.

It seems that, in attacking Davies, the killer had also cut himself - a mistake which would prove his ultimate undoing.

Moore was arrested on December 22, 1995 and, after initially denying all charges, changed his story in the early hours of Christmas Eve after a search of his home uncovered the murder weapon, traces of all four men's blood and some of the victims' belongings hidden in the garden pond.

Peter Moore is escorted from Mold Crown Court

Chillingly though, it was whilst being interviewed that Mr Jones claims Moore also confessed that the death count could have turned out even higher.

At one point he admitted to detectives that he once singled out as his next target a pedestrian he'd seen whilst driving through Llangefni in Angelsey.

However, by the time Moore had negotiated the town's one way system and doubled back on himself the man had gone.

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Mr Jones recalls one of the interviewing officers, DC Dave Morris, asking Moore: "'If you had found him, would you have killed him?"

"Yes," Moore is said to have replied, before describing how he'd also intended to kill his bank manager in one 'final flurry' before giving himself up.

"I've had some difficult financial problems in the last few months with the cinemas and I’d been in some discussions with the HSBC Bank about my debt with them, which was causing me some concern," Moore explained.

"I got the feeling that the HSBC weren't that helpful and they were putting me under pressure. So, I decided to make an appointment to see the manager in the branch in Abergele and, as a final flurry, so to speak, I was going to kill him in the bank’s consulting room and then wait for the police to be called."

Asked if he'd planned when he was going to carry out the deranged fantasy, Mr Jones said Moore replied: "‘Soon, I suppose, but I hadn't decided on a date.

"I would have done it if you hadn't arrested me."

Moore, who is understood to have threatened legal action to block the publication of Mr Jones' book - due out this week to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the murders - was handed four life sentences in November 1996.

He remains locked up in the UK’s toughest jails, HM Prison Wakefield in West Yorkshire - the so-called Monster Mansion - alongside the likes of April Jones' murderer Mark Bridger and paedophile Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins.

It is unlikely he'll ever be freed.

The Man in Black – Peter Moore – Wales’ Worst Serial Killer is published by Y Lolfa on September 25, priced at £9.99.