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NEVILLE HEATH

 


Name:

Neville George Clevely Heath

AKA:

Group Captain Rupert Brooke,

D.O.B.

1917

Kill Total:

3 ?

Kill date:

1946

Kill Place:

 

Status:

 

Occupation:

 

Victim:

Margery Gardner

Doreen Marshall

??
D.O.B.  

 


 

Court:

The Old Bailey

Judge:

 

Prosecution:

 

Defence:

J. D. Casswell KC

 


 


 

 

 

FACTFILE

 

Born Neville George Clevely Heath, in Illrord Essex, in later years he would use the alias of Group Captain Rupert Brooke, as well as many others.


1934 Heath joined the Rifle Battalion and enjoyed the service life. In 1936 Heath joined the RAF but was court-marshalled for being AWOL (absent without leave). He was dismissed in September 1937 and, two months later, was put on probation for fraud.

 

July 1938 he received three years in a borstal for stealing £50 worth of jewellery. Once released Heath joined the Royal Army Service Corps, as a private, and was in the Middle East in 1941 where he was granted a commission. It was not long before he got into trouble again, it was fraud again. He again went AWOL, and was court-marshalled. He escaped during his return to England and went to South Africa. Using the name Armstrong, he joined the South African Air Force. The South African authorities found out about his past but, because of his present good conduct, he was allowed to stay on. He was seconded to the RAF in May 1944. Heath returned to South Africa in 1945 where, in December, he underwent his third court-marshal, this time for undisciplined behaviour and for wearing unauthorised decorations. Once again he was dismissed and returned to England.

 

May 1946, On a Spring evening Heath met Margery Gardner a 42 year old actress, after consuming a large amount of alcohol they booked into the Pemberidge Court Hotel in London. Mrs. Gardner was stripped naked, tied up and whipped, they were enjoying themselves !


15th June 1946,  19 year old Yvonne Symonds went to a dance in Chelsea. There she met a good-looking, charming man who called himself Lt. Colonel Heath. Though he was ten years older than she was, she quickly became taken by him. They went back to the Panama Club in South Kensington, followed by a visit to the Overseas Club. They agreed to meet the next day. They spent the whole day together and, after she had accepted his proposal of marriage, agreed to spend the night with him at the Pembridge Court Hotel. They spent the night in room 4 and, next day, Yvonne returned to her parents’ home in Worthing,
 

Thursday 20th June 1946, he again met Margery Gardner. After an evening in the Panama Club they turned up drunk at the Pembridge Court Hotel. When the chambermaid went to clean the room the next day she let herself into the room and found that there was a body in one of the beds. The police were called.
Margery Gardner was lying, on her back. She was naked and had her ankles tied with a handkerchief. Her face was badly bruised and both of her nipples had been almost bitten off. Something had been inserted into her vagina and sharply rotated. Her back was marked with seventeen cross weave lash marks. She had been suffocated, but only after the terrible injuries had been inflicted.


Earlier that day Heath had caught the train to Worthing to see his fiancée, Miss. Symonds. He booked into a Hotel and they had lunch together. The following day, the 22nd, they met again. Heath told Yvonne about a murder that had happened in London and that he would tell her more about it later. That evening the pair went for dinner, where Heath told the girl that he had been staying at the Pembridge Court Hotel and had seen the body. He went on to say that he had lent Margery Gardner his room keys, because she had a man that she wanted to entertain, and that he, Heath, had spent the night elsewhere. The next day Sunday, 23rd, the papers announced that the police wanted to interview Heath.

Yvonne telephoned Heath and told him of the story in the press and he agreed that he ought to contact the police to clear up the matter. Before Heath left Worthing that afternoon he wrote to Inspector Barrett recounting the tale he had told his fiancée, adding that the name of the man that Margery Gardner was supposed to have met was ‘Jack’. He went on to say that he had returned to his hotel room after 2am and found her dead, packed his things and left, worried about being wrongly suspected of the crime.


After leaving Worthing he went to Bournemouth. Here he called himself Group Captain Rupert Brooke. He moved into room 71 but was transferred to room 81 after he requested a room with a gas-fire. Ten days later, on:-

 

Wednesday, 3rd July 1946, he met Miss Doreen Marshall. She was 21 years old and in Bournemouth to recover from flu. She agreed to have tea with Heath that afternoon. They parted after tea but agreed to meet that evening for dinner. They dined together at the Tollard Royal and, about 11.30pm, Doreen left to walk the short distance to her hotel, accompanied by Heath.
On the Friday, the manager of the Norfolk Hotel, where Doreen was staying, told the police of a guest who had been missing for two days. He also telephoned the manager at the Tollard Royal because he had heard that Doreen had dined there the night that she had vanished. The manager at the Royal Tollard, Mr Relf, approached Group Captain Brooke on Saturday morning and asked him if his dinner guest had been Miss Marshall. This he denied, saying that he had known the lady for a long time. The manager suggested that the Group Captain contact the police to clarify the matter.
Heath rang the police and spoke to DC Souter. Heath was asked to come to the station to look at a photograph of the missing girl. Heath turned up at the police station at 5.30pm. While he was talking to DC Souter, the detective noticed the resemblance between the man sitting opposite him and the photograph of Heath circulated by Scotland Yard, and told his superiors of his suspicions. When challenged Heath asserted that his name was Brooke. He asked if he might have his jacket from the hotel and DI George Gates went to fetch it. When Gates returned the jacket was searched and a cloakroom ticket was found, along with a single pearl which came from a necklace belonging to the missing girl and her return half of her railway ticket from Bournemouth to London. When the officers presented the cloakroom ticket at Bournemouth West station they were rewarded with a suitcase. In it was clothing marked with the name ‘Heath’, a hat and scarf, stained with Margery Gardner’s blood, and a leather-bound riding crop covered with a cross-weave pattern. At 9.45pm Heath admitted his real identity. The next day he was transferred to London where he was charged with the murder of Margery Gardner.


The body of Doreen Marshall was found by a lady walking her dog, the body had been dumped in bushes. Naked apart from the left shoe, she had been battered about the head, there were signs that she had been bound. She had died from two deep knife wounds to the throat. A nipple had been bitten off completely and her torso had been mutilated by a Y-shaped cut running from her midriff to each nipple. Something had been inserted into, and torn her vagina, just like the Gardner case.

 

24th September 1946, Heath’s trial was on at the Old Bailey. He pleaded insanity, but two prison doctors testified that, although Heath was a psychopath, he was not insane. The jury took one hour before returning with a guilty verdict.


16th October 1946, Heath was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint at Pentonville Prison.


Heath is further credited with a third murder, although details are sketchy, he was never actually charged with a third murder.

 

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