When it comes to famous movie killers, few are as notorious as the Saw franchise’s Jigsaw. First making his big-screen debut in 2004, the twisted killer’s inoperable cancer inspired him to truly test people’s willingness to live in a series of terrifying games.

In the movies, John Kramer was nicknamed “Jigsaw” because of his penchant for cutting a jigsaw-shaped piece of skin out of his victims. This sick symbol represented his victim’s lack of the necessary survival instinct to survive his tests.

But while the plot of the Saw franchise is fictional, few people know that in 2009, some years after the world was first acquainted with Jigsaw, a man committed crimes so similar that the police initially did not to divulge its full details to the public to avoid mass panic.

The then 38-year-old Stephen Marshall was a bodybuilder, personal trainer and former bouncer who lived in London with his girlfriend Sarah Bush, a former prostitute. Marshall had been one of her clients, and, despite being convicted of assaulting her, they remained together.

The couple rented a room in a flat owned by 49-year-old Jeffery Howe, who was described as “a jovial, charming character who had a heart of gold and would get on with anyone.” Howe’s heart was so good that he allowed Marshall and Bush to stay with him rent-free after falling on hard times. 

However, it was Howe’s good nature proved to be his eventual undoing. Pictured below is the bathroom where he was cut into a jigsaw.

The couple’s relationship with their live-in landlord turned sour when he eventually tried to get them to pay rent. The 49-year-old had clearly cottoned onto their dubious past, and he was reportedly reluctant to press the issue because of what they might do.

Then, on either March 8 or 9, 2009, the kitchen salesman mysteriously went missing.