Friday, 10 October 2014

The Case of The Body in The Garden

This death goes back to the mid 1960`s and actually happened in Singapore, but the person responsible had gotten away with it for at least six years until in October 1971, Ian Reed entered the Hounslow Police station in London and confessed to killing his wife, Dorothy, back in 1965 in Singapore.  He was serving there in the Army at the time.  What was strange was that Dorothy Reed was alive and well at home.  Except that she was not Dorothy Reed.  Police contacted their counterparts in Singapore who thoroughly searched his former home, and dug up the garden, where they discovered skeletal remains.  Now the task was to identify the body.  Photos were found of Dorothy, and in photos of her smiling, a distinctive clue emerged that compared to the skull of the remains.  A clearly protruding tooth.  The photos of Dorothy were superimposed on the skull, and they matched, particularly the protruding tooth.  Police were now sure this was Dorothy Reed, but who was the woman claiming to be Dorothy in Hounslow?

    Reed, in his confession, said that he married Dorothy, in Singapore in 1958, but some years later, he began an affair with her sister Joan.  Dorothy announced then that she was leaving him for another man.  Reed reacted explosively.  The fact that he was bedding his sister-in-law made no difference, it was a case of "how dare she cheat on ME!"  He claimed she shook her violently and when he stopped, she was dead.  He informed Joan he had accidentally killed her sister, where upon he buried her body in the garden.  In a true state of grieving, she assumed her sister`s identity, and moved back to England with him in 1970.  But even this episode was not enough for Reed, and he soon started seeing another woman.  Joan knew that one wife had "disappeared" so there was no reason why history should not repeat itself.  She warned Reed that she turn him in so he decided to go to the Police and give himself up.

    He appeared at the Old Bailey in 1972, and on June 6th, he was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 5 years.  The Jury accepted his version of events that the Death of Dorothy was an accident.  The most famous case of using superimposed pictures on bones to identify a person was in 1935, when Professor Robert Glaister proved that remains found, where that of the common-law wife of Dr Buck Ruxton.  He was hanged for the murder of Isabella, and also for the murder of his maid, Mary Rogerson.