Heroes and Villains
Dr Buck Ruxton
Simon Entwistle tells the story of a gruesome Lancaster murder...
Stories of murder are not very pleasant at the best of times, but some can be really intriguing. You could imagine this next story coming straight from Agatha Christie's novels, and for this story we shall make our way to the historical city of Lancaster, and as Dawn French would say a Murder Most Horrid...
Dr Buktyar Rustomi, was Indian and on starting his own Surgery at Dalton Square in Lancaster in 1930, he changed his name to Buck Ruxton. From looking at pictures of him he reminds me personally of the British actor James Mason. He was a good looking chap with an eye for the ladies. Apparently his wife Isabella, had been accused on a number of occasions by Ruxton of having affairs behind his back. She did complain to Lancaster police that she had been assaulted by her husband, but they took little notice.
The Ruxtons employed a maid called Mary Rogerson, a job that was going to cost her life. She was used to the many arguments her employers had, and in September 1935, she witnessed the Doctor having a furious argument with Isabella. He again accused his wife of having a lover. Ruxton grabbed Isabella by the throat and strangled her in the front room. Sadly Mary watched the whole incident in horror, and then Ruxton informed her that she would have to die as well, and she sadly joined Mrs Ruxton.
The Doctor had to get rid of both bodies to conceal his murderous acts, so he calmly carried both bodies to his bathroom and with his medical knowledge he dissected and butchered both corpses. He rolled the neatly cut flesh into rolls of newspaper, similar to a butchers shop. And in the dead of night he carried his macabre packages to his car boot.
He was familiar with the Scottish Borders an area not very densely populated, so he drove through the night and made his way to an area known as Gardenholme Linn just south of Edinburgh. He had visited this area many times in the past and knew of a ravine that he presumed would have no human access due to its remoteness. He calmly drove his car to the top of the ravine, and opened his car boot. The weather was horrific - high winds and heavy blustery wind and rain, and he started to throw the packages in to the ravine.
As he climbed back in to the driving seat he must have felt that he had just committed the perfect crime, and he started the journey back to Lancashire, working out an alibi for his activities.
The Doctor drove at maximum speed back home and entered the Westmorland town of Kendal. As he made his way through the town he hit a cyclist and knocked him off his bike, the cyclist was unhurt but very annoyed that the driver did not stop. He memorised the car number plates and contacted Kendal Police who in turn contacted Milnthorpe Police, who put up a road block at Milnthorpe.
As Ruxton entered the village he was stopped by a police officer. He must have felt sheer fear as the police officer flagged him down. The officer informed him of the Kendal incident and asked him to take his driving documents to Lancaster police station the next day. Again Ruxton must have wiped his brow in relief.
It was only a matter of time before Lancaster police visited Ruxton to ask him if he had seen Mary Rogerson, as her mother had reported her as missing. He told the police that she had not been at work for the past two days. The police accepted his story, but came back two days later as Isabella had also been reported as missing by friends. He mentioned that she had possibly gone to Blackpool with her lover. The police again accepted his story, after all he was a Doctor.
Meanwhile up in the Scottish Borders, a hill walker came across several bundles of newspaper and to her shock she noticed they contained human organs. She contacted the Borders police who found many parcels of rotting flesh. At first the police were convinced that they were dealing with some five bodies. A post mortem took place at the University of Edinburgh, and it was ascertained that they had two female remains one a young lady the other in her forties. The Borders police contacted the network for missing persons and it was only a matter of time before Mary Rogerson and Isabella Ruxtons names came to their attention. The Lancaster police then focused their investigations on Ruxton - he was the prime suspect.
There were two incriminating factors that the Doctor had not taken into consideration. He had wrapped the human flesh in a local newspaper, and he had collided with the Kendal cyclist on the return journey. This information had secured Ruxton's fate, in one of the first cases where forensic evidence was successfully used to convict a criminal, yet he was convinced that if he managed to hire the best barrister in the United Kingdom he would have a good chance of evading the hangman's noose.
He sold his story to a famous newspaper for £3,000 in the hope that this money would save his life. But the country's best lawyer could not save him.
Dr Buck Ruxton will go down in Lancashire history as a real villain.
Article sent in by website user Simon Entwistle
The views expressed on this page are those of the contributor and the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the BBC.
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last updated: 22/04/2008 at 15:28
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