5th November 1930, Rouse picked up a hitch-hiker,
parked up in a country lane in Northamptonshire, he
knocked his passenger out, and then burnt his car with
the man inside.
As he was leaving the scene
he was seen by two men, after the men saw the car on
fire they reported this to the police and they gave a
description of the stocky man they had seen, that was
then circulated to the press, who printed a sketch of
the wanted man.
Miss Phyllis Jenkins, from
Glamorgan, bought a copy of the 'Daily Sketch' with the
description of the incident. She showed it to a man who
had arrived the night before, who had told her that his
car had been stolen near Northampton.
He denied that it was his
car. The man was Rouse and Phyllis' sister, Ivy, was his
pregnant girlfriend. The 'Daily Sketch' the next day
carried more details, including Rouse's name. He
returned to London by bus on 7th November, but gossip
about his visit and departure had reached the ears of
Cardiff police. They quickly informed Scotland Yard and,
when he got off the bus at Victoria Bus Station, he was
met by police.
In his story to police he
told detectives that he had been travelling overnight to
Leicester and had picked up a hitchhiker. He had taken a
wrong turn and found himself in Hardingstone Lane. At
that point he decided to stop for a nap. He had got out
of the car to relieve himself and asked his passenger to
fill the petrol tank with the contents of a can that was
in the car.
The man had then, according to Rouse, asked
him if he had something he could smoke.
Rouse, a non-smoker,
conveniently had a cigar with him and he had given it to
the man. This seemed to the police to be a little
strange. Rouse went on to say that he had left the car
and walked over 200 yards to relieve himself. It was
strange but he had taken his suitcase with him on this
call of nature. He said that on his way back he saw the
car burst into flames. He said he tried to reach the man
trapped in the car but had failed and panicked.
26th January 1931,
At Northampton Assizes. Technical evidence was given
that showed that the carburettor had been tampered with
before the fire had started and Rouse's fate was sealed.
The trial took six days the jury retired to consider
their verdict taking just 75 minutes to return a guilty
The case is unusual in
legal history because the identity of the victim was
never known and therefore Rouse was convicted of the
murder of an unknown man.
10th March 1931,
Rouse was hanged at Bedford prison by Thomas Pierrepoint.