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  1. #1
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    UK - Northampton, 'Blazing Car Murder', UID victim, perp hanged, Nov'30


  2. #2
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    had an update on this on my fb this morning , i actually live here so was suprised when i found a thread on here .

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25722259


    Scientists investigating a murder mystery dating back more than 80 years have made a breakthrough that could finally identify the victim.

    A man was hit over the head with a mallet and burned to death in a Morris Minor near Northampton in 1930.

    Alfred Rouse was later hanged for the crime and took the name of his victim to the gallows.

    Now, a team led by the University of Leicester have uncovered DNA which they hope will reveal his identity.

    In 1930, the man's badly-burned body was examined and samples taken during a post-mortem examination at a pub near the crime scene in the village of Hardingstone.

    Decades later, a woman was investigating her family ancestry when her grandmother revealed her long-held belief that her uncle was the man burned to death in a car.

    The uncle, William Thomas Briggs, left his home in London for a doctor's appointment in November 1930, but disappeared and was never seen again.

    In the 1950s, almost 30 years after Rouse was hanged at Bedford Jail, the family asked Northamptonshire Police to reopen the case.

    "My family were convinced that William was Rouse's victim," said Samantha Hall, whose grandmother had confided in her.

    Mr Briggs might have crossed paths with the 36-year-old commercial traveller Rouse who it is said wanted to fake his own death.

    Illegitimate children

    Rouse had suffered a head wound in World War One, which left him with a personality disorder to the point that he was described as "a promiscuous rake with an enormous sexual appetite".

    It is understood he fathered at least two illegitimate children and had child support orders imposed on him, leaving him with severe financial problems.

    At the time, police believed he had probably picked up a homeless tramp, who would not be missed if he disappeared, and wanted the car fire on 6 November 1930 to look as if he had died in a crash.

    He rendered his victim unconscious, placed the body in the driver's seat and left some of his own possessions inside before setting it on fire.

    Rouse hoped the fire would go unnoticed in the early hours of the morning after Bonfire Night but two young men saw the flames and went to investigate.

    The car's registration plate was still intact, identifying its owner Rouse, who had fled to Cardiff but was arrested and eventually tried for murder.

    Tissue samples

    Intrigued and determined to find answers for her family, Ms Hall contacted Northamptonshire Police in 2012 - hopeful that DNA profiling could result in a positive identification.

    But the blazing car murder, although a mystery, was not classed as a "cold case" because it had ended with a criminal conviction.

    The family were put in touch with the University of Leicester, which successfully identified King Richard III when bones were found under a Leicester car park in 2012.

    A different team of forensic scientists took on the blazing car murder case and obtained a tissue sample taken from the victim during his post-mortem examination.

    Along with his jawbone, the sample had been archived in the 1930s at the department of forensic medicine at the London Medical College, now Queen Mary College.

    The key to solving the riddle would be finding enough mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the sample to get a profile to compare with the family's mtDNA.

    For months, the forensic team, along with the university's departments of chemistry and criminology, worked with Northumbria University, Northamptonshire Police and The Royal London Hospital Museum.

  3. #3
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    I believe that Rouse actually confessed to the murder on the gallows but did not name the victim. He may not have even known the victim's name. His priority was finding a victim and killing the guy. The man's name was immaterial to him.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  4. #4
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    Murder Mystery Remains: DNA Rules out Briggs as Blazing Car Victim

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0120173340.htm
    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

    We are all one poor choice from being a subject on this forum. Think twice.

  5. #5
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    I see that they are now testing other families who have missing males from that era. Briggs looked like a really good candidate to me but things aren't as they seem sometimes.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  6. #6
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    The Wiki article on Rouse says that authorities were checking 9 other "strong leads" relating to the unidentified man in late 2014 but apparently none have panned out otherwise we would have heard something.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  7. #7
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    I suspect this is one of those cases that could be solved by entering the DNA profile of the victim into family history databases. Someone, somewhere is wondering whatever happened to gran's brother Tom or great-great uncle Percy who disappeared sometime in the late 1920s.

    According to the Wikipedia article on Alfred Rouse, the victim's killer he was:

    "Forty years of age, between 5 ft 6 in [and] 5 ft 8 in. tall, respectably dressed in a light-coloured overcoat, with the [general] appearance of a clerk." The man also had "a slight brogue", and had a boxing or sporting tattoo on his right forearm. Furthermore, he had been wearing police boots which Rouse claimed the man had informed him had been given to him by London police. The man also carried a sports diary.
    Rouse also said of the man:

    ..... on either 2 or 3 November, he had sought out a man of roughly the same build as himself with whom he had become casually acquainted at a pub named the Swan and Pyramid whom he (Rouse) claimed had previously told him "the usual hard-luck story", and had informed him: "Guv'nor, I've got nobody in the world [who] cares whether I live or die."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Rouse

    Assuming the description Rouse gave of the man is accurate there are some clues here:

    1. He was probably born around 1890, =/- 5 years, so 1885-1895.

    2. It's therefore very likely that he served during WWI, as men of all ages joined up as volunteers for that war.

    3. He was "respectably dressed" and had the "appearance of a clerk", so a white-collar worker rather than a labourer or similar.

    4. He had a "slight brogue", which suggests he might have been Irish or Scottish. I don't know of any other accent in the British Isles which is usually described as a "brogue".

    5. He was probably known in some capacity to the police in London if that's where he obtained his boots. Statistically that almost certainly means the Metropolitan Police, but could mean the City of London Police who have jurisdiction in the Square Mile. Since this man seems to be down on his luck in late 1930, it's not impossible (though unlikely, I grant you) that he was a clerical worker laid off from the City of London after the stock market crash of 1929 and was travelling looking for work.

    6. The boxing or sporting tattoo and the sports diary are intriguing. I wonder if he could have been a travelling bookmaker travelling between racecourses or dog tracks, or simply a punter who followed the action around the country. There were certainly a lot more horse racing venues in 1930 than there are today since dozens of smaller ones have closed over the years, especially in the 1930s and 1940s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...sh_racecourses). It would be interesting to know what enquiries were made along these lines.
    Last edited by MelmothTheLost; 06-01-2017 at 10:44 AM. Reason: corrected typo

  8. #8
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    The Swan and Pyramids pub, where Rouse claimed to have picked up his victim, was originally quite a grand place. Judging by the architectural style, it looks to have been built sometime between 1900 and 1920 and to be typical of the pubs being built in suburban London as the Tube network expanded:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/warsaw1948/5420981703

    It was apparently demolished in the late 1960s or early 1970s and replaced by a ground floor bar, now a curry house, with a couple of storeys of flats above it.

    http://pubshistory.com/Middlesex/Fin...Pyramids.shtml

    One thing strikes me: Rouse "claimed [his victim] had previously told him "the usual hard-luck story" ...." so if Rouse was telling the truth he had spoken to the UID on at least one previous occasion and the UID may have visited it on more than the two occasions when he spoke to Rouse. If so, that suggests he was living close enough for this to be a reasonably regular watering hole for him.

    Not sure where that gets us though.



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