TRUE crime dominates the popular imagination. It is not simply a Scottish phenomenon, but it is a subject in which we seem to specialise. Podcasts, television shows and paperback books have all successfully scoured the story of the killers that dominate the criminal underground.

ITV recently dramatised the grisly ­murders of Scottish serial killer ­Dennis Nilsen (below), played unnervingly by David ­Tennant. One of the best books of recent years, The Long Drop by Denise Mina ­cleverly recounts the story of Peter Manuel, the killer who operated in the suburbs of Glasgow in the 1950s.

As true crime proliferated, the ­mystery of Bible John became a minor media ­industry. A recent podcast presented by ­journalist Audrey Gillan explores the lives of the three women killed by the notorious ­murderer.

A two-part BBC series directed by Matt ­Pinder re-examined the failures of policing in The Hunt For Bible John and, more recently, a critically acclaimed book We All Go Into The Dark, by one-time Strathclyde University student Francisco Garcia, dwells on our enduring fascination with the unknown identity of Bible John.

The National: Serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

One Scottish criminal, conspicuous by his absence, in the recent ­industrialisation of true crime, is the darkly obscure ­Arthur Jackson, a troubled loner from Aberdeen who travelled to Hollywood and attacked a then famous actress in what is now a long-forgotten but hugely significant crime.

The story of Arthur Jackson has a ­bizarre symmetry beginning in one ­mental health hospital, Kingseat near Newmachar in Aberdeenshire, and ­ending in another, with Jackson’s death as a patient in Carstairs, Scotland’s State Psychiatric Hospital.

The story begins in earnest in a ­deprived tenement in Claremont Street in Aberdeen, in an unhappy house near an old Victorian Cemetery with a young loner who grew to become one of the film industry’s most notorious criminals.

The only child of an alcoholic ­father and a mother diagnosed with an ­obsessive mental illness, Jackson turned his love of cinema into an escape and an obsession.

As a teenager, Jackson complained that his mother was casting evil spells on him. He moved into an unemployed men’s ­hostel and spent his days in local ­libraries poring over movie books and making pages of detailed notes in tiny, perfect, handwriting.

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In 1967, having briefly drifted to ­London as a vagrant, Jackson robbed the old National Provincial Bank in Bishopsgate, London, escaping with the pitiful sum of £130. As he fled from the scene a self-employed contractor called Anthony Fletcher intervened. Fletcher chased the gunman up a cul-de-sac but as he approached, Jackson brandished a stolen gun and shot him in the chest. Fletcher died at the scene and as the ­police pursued the trail of known bank robbers in London, ­Jackson escaped back to ­Scotland and was not caught for ­decades.

As a teenager, Jackson had racked up his first movie fascination with the ­starlet Gail Russell who shared the screen with John Wayne, until she succumbed to alcoholism.

But years later, a chance screening of a teenage film about Beatlemania, entitled I Want To Hold Your Hand, brought its co-star Theresa Saldana into Jackson’s troubled and possessive mind.

Chance intervened.

Across a single week in different cinemas in Aberdeen – The Capitol, The Regal and an old adult fleapit The Grand Central on George Street – Jackson saw Saldana in three ­different movies, I Want to Hold Your Hand, the New York gang movie ­Defiance and Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in which she played Lenora LaMotta, the wife of the Joe Pesci character, Joey LaMotta.

For Jackson, this seemed more than ­coincidence. Believing that her ­sudden presence in his life had ethereal ­significance, he became fixated with Saldana.

Returning home he wrote in a ­repurposed school jotter: “She is an ­angel. She doesn’t belong in the crazy world of showbusiness. If she were dead, she would be with the angels.”

After writing this chilling diary entry, Jackson hatched a plan to leave Scotland and embark on a mission to murder the Hollywood actress. Manipulating the visa system, he gained entry to America and traced Saldana to her apartment in ­Hollywood, stalking the actress for weeks, before stabbing her 15 times in a frenzied attack.

Jackson’s brutal knife attack shocked Hollywood and in the aftermath of the ­attack, stalking came to be defined in ­California law as “a pattern of ­fixated and obsessive behaviour which is ­repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim”.

The Hollywood security consultant Gavin de Becker saw an opportunity and offered his protective services to Saldana and subsequently to a generation of much bigger stars, eventually becoming a ­billionaire.

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The stabbing was done with such force that the five-inch knife blade was bent. But a stroke of good fortune saved Saldana. A water deliveryman, Jeff Fenn, was delivering a water-cooler dispenser to a nearby apartment and wrestled Jackson to the ground preventing him from escaping.

Despite needing 26 pints of blood to save her, Saldana miraculously survived.

Charged with attempted murder, and held on $100,000 bail, Jackson ­eventually served eight years in ­California Medical Facility, Vacaville, California. ­Unperturbed, he was sentenced to ­another five years after ­sending letters from prison to the ­producer of a TV show on which Saldana appeared, claiming he was on a “divine mission” to kill her.

Coincidentally, Saldana was ­treated at an emergency unit of ­Cedars-Sinai ­Medical Center’s surgical centre on San Vicente ­Boulevard in West Hollywood. The next victim of stalking to be admitted to Cedars-Sinai did not ­survive.

In 1989, 21-year-old ­Rebecca Schaeffer, a sitcom star from the CBS show My Sister Sam was shot dead by Robert Bardo at her Los ­Angeles home. Her death prompted landmark ­anti-stalking legislation in ­California, where the Scottish stalker’s name ­frequently featured in evidence.

Meanwhile, the media had become a self-replicating culture. Saldana’s attack became a teleplay, with the Australian actor Philip English, a character actor from Magnum PI, playing Jackson and Saldana playing herself. Soon after, her death, the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer was recycled as a storyline in the second series of Law And Order.

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By 1990, stalking had gone from ­criminal obscurity to a global ­phenomenon. ­Jackson was eventually extradited to the UK in 1996 where he was tried on a murder charge relating to the bungled bank ­robbery in 1967, and ­committed to Broadmoor where he ­negotiated a move north to Carstairs, Scotland’s hospital for the criminally insane, where he died in 2004, having embarked on a final stalking campaign targeting his own lawyer.

By the time of Jackson’s death in ­custodym stalking had become a universal phenomenon. Numerous celebrities had become victims of deranged fans. It sometimes seemed that stalking had become an accessory to fame, as Kim ­Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bella and Gigi Hadid, and Taylor Swift all took out restraining orders on stalkers.

The phenomenon had spread far from Hollywood too. On April 30, 1993, tennis player Monica Seles, then 19, was sitting on a courtside seat during a changeover in a match at the Hamburg Open when 38-year-old Günter Parche an ­unemployed lathe operator leaned over a fence and stabbed her with a 10-inch boning knife.

Stalking continued plaguing actors and sports stars as the “illusion of closeness” deepened with the internet and dedicated fan sites. Today Arthur Jackson is dead but the psychologically troubling trend he started when he left Aberdeen for ­Hollywood, has become as pervasive as stardom itself.

Strangely, Bible John, a man who is largely unknown and is no more than a bundle of unverified evidence and suppositions has become a national myth whilst a man whose identity is known to us has disappeared into morbid anonymity.