Author Topic: Murder Most Foul....  (Read 38040 times)

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DaveR

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Murder Most Foul....
« on: February 05, 2011, 07:01:17 PM »
Murders are something that are fairly infrequent in the local area (fortunately), however, there have been several high profile cases...and this is one from 1976 that I have always found fascinating.......I've often wondered what made Neil Rutherford snap that fateful evening.


"The night five died in quiet hotel"


A Penmaenmawr man stumbled upon the shooting that left five people dead at the Red Gables hotel on Friday 24th September 1976.

Just before 6pm, Mr. Will Williams, 41, arrived home to find a woman waving her arms in the road. Near her a man lay bleeding. Mr. Williams of St. Johns Park ran over to help the man. Then he smelled smoke and found the hotel was on fire. He told neighbours to phone the emergency services.

“I ran over and took the man's pulse. It was very weak. He had blood all over his stomach and on his nose. I sent for blankets to keep him warm...He didn't say anything to me and then his pulse stopped. The woman who found him said that he had told her he had been shot. She was in a right state”.

Then Mr. Williams smelled smoke and he and other neighbours ran through the gardens.

“The doors were closed so we hammered on them and shouted 'anybody there?'. There was no answer and I didn't want to open the doors because I have seen what draught does to a fire.”

Meanwhile, the fire service had been called by a woman in St. John's Park  and a doctor who arrived at the scene pronounced the man dead.

It was getting dark and raining when firemen fighting the blaze found two men and two women dead inside the hotel. All had gunshot injuries.

Those who died in the incident were hotel owner, Mrs Linda Simcox (59), her daughter and son-in-law Lorna(24) and Alistair McIntyre(33), a long-standing family friend, Mr. John Gore Green (55), of Bay City, Texas, and the hotel's former gardener, Mr. Neil Rutherford (54).

Mr. Green was found in a downstairs kitchen and Mrs. McIntyre was in an upstairs bedroom. Mrs Simcox and Mr. Rutherford were lying dead in the lounge. Beside them was a automatic pistol. Detectives are working on the theory that Mr. Rutherford shot the four people before turning the gun on himself.

Detectives, fire officers and forensic scientists were at the hotel early on Saturday looking for clues to help them solve the mystery. Several items, including handbags and notebooks, were removed for examination. The hotel interior was badly damaged by the fire and police believe the fire was started in two separate parts of the building.

The man found dying in the road was identified as Mr. McIntyre. He is believed to have escaped from the hotel and crawled through the gardens to the road to call for help. He tore off his pullover as he made his way through the garden.

Lorna and Alistair McIntyre were living at the hotel and Mr Gore Green was the only guest.

Curious villagers who went to the scene on Saturday said the whole town had been shocked. Several spoke of Mr. Rutherford, known locally as 'the commander'. He  was a  short, stocky middle aged man, that had been working at the hotel as a gardener and handyman for eighteen months. They had heard that Mr. Rutherford had left the hotel a fortnight ago but he was seen in Penmaenmawr on Friday afternoon before the deaths.

He was known in most of the pubs in Penmaenmawr, his 'local' was the Alexandra, where he went about four times a week. The landlord,  Elwyn Frogatt, said the commander was a quiet man who always drank alone.

“He was a proud gardener and used to bring us tomatoes. I never had any trouble with him. He used to come in quiet times and drink halves of Guinness.”

The landlord of the Bron Eyri hotel, Brian Jones,  said that the commander struck him as a very fidgety man.

“He would never sit down. He used to pace up and down the room and look out of the window. He would just have half a pint of Guinness and then go. He never stayed longer than half an hour. When we heard about all this on Friday night, no-one could believe it”.

The commander was in the Mountain View hotel on Friday afternoon, shortly before the murders. The landlord, Mr E. Kemish, said that he seemed his normal self.

“He was on his own and pacing up and down like he normally did. He used to come in about once a week for a drink. On Friday he had a glass of Guinness and a couple of gins.

Regulars at the pubs said the commander was always on his own and rarely struck up a conversation.

Neil Rutherford was the son of Richard Perry Rutherford, a shipbuilder, and was born on the 15th May 1922 . He was married on the 7th August 1948  to Joan Margery Colville-Hyde (born 05.05.1923) but the marriage was dissolved on the 2nd May 1972. They had one daughter.  He had a distinguished record of service in the Navy, including two DSCs. He retired from the Navy in 1958, following a stint at  the Underwater Weapons Material Department (Bath) . He had been working at the Red Gables hotel since April 1975 as a gardener and general handyman.

© North Wales Weekly News 1976

The Red Gables Hotel reopened after the murders, but the bypassing of the town by the A55 led to its closure about 10 years ago. It remains derelict today:
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 09:46:28 PM by DaveR »

Fester

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 09:59:10 PM »
Hmmm, I was totally unaware of this until today.
Although I have always been very interested in major crimes and murders.

At the time of the inquest, was there any doubt that Rutherford committed the crime?
The only motive I can see is that of a disgruntled ex-employee, who had drunk more than usual on that day .
(he had slipped a couple of gins on top of his usual Guinness)

A proud ex serviceman, he may have gone to the hotel, inebriated, and either wanted to settle a score or ask for his job back.

Things may have quickly got out of hand, and once he had killed the first person he had to kill all witnesses,... then having realised the enormity of what he had done, decided that he had to do himself in.
Interesting also that he had only recently become divorced.

This man's motivation seems to have been that he was powerless, and the main supporting pillars of his life were absent.
Those being,  A job ....a family,  and close friends.
I also wonder whether he had discovered some bad news about his health recently too?  That would have been the tipping point.

Fester...
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DaveR

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 10:17:04 PM »
Interesting analysis. I found this out:

"Commander Rutherford retired from the navy 5 January 1959. He was son of Neil Perry Rutherford and after his father's death, Neil took over the family firm as head of A. Rutherford and Co, until it was liquidated in the 1960s. By April 1975, he was working as a gardener/handyman at the Red Gables Hotel, Penmaenmawr, North Wales."

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One other thing I would mention is that a former Submarine Commander working as a gardener? That's some comedown. He left the Navy in 1959, ran the family firm (Rutherford & Co, shipbuilders in Birkenhead) until it went bust in the 1960s, then was divorced in 1972. One by one, as you say, the pillars of his life were taken away from him. It's possible that he may have been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (although no-one would have been aware of such a thing back then).

Another point of interest is the weapon - an automatic pistol. Remember Rutherford hadn't been living or working at the hotel for several weeks, so it's likely he brought the weapon with him - did he have it all planned out?

The Inquest report is in Caernarfon archives - never got round to going to view it yet. The NWWN for late 1976 may also contain the information.

Rutherford & Co advert:

suepp

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 10:23:53 PM »
I remember the Red Gables murder happening, and the sense of shock it caused.  There was a murder on Lloyd street Llandudno in the 1970's when a lodger murdered  his landlady, I remember walking home from school not long after it happened  wondering what all the police activity was about.

DaveR

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2011, 09:12:30 PM »
There's a book about North Wales Murders, mentions the Llandudno one (a case of mistaken identity?) but not the Red Gables murders. I have it somewhere.

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Fester

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2011, 10:20:31 PM »
It looks like another 'mystery' is unfolding.... over on Oscar.  :o
Fester...
- Semper in Excretum, Sole Profundum Variat -

Dwyforite

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 02:06:18 PM »
the man who commited the murder was  john jones,he had been drinking in the town after having bust up with a girl friend ,i dont remember if he lived at the same address as her but when he returned late afternoon  to her boarding house he was refused addmission by the landlady  who he then stabbed to death.

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 02:06:18 PM »


Pendragon

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 02:12:25 PM »
I was on my way home from Brownies on the night of the Gables murders. There was 3 people shot as I remember. One lady was pregnant.  I remember it was a shocking time. Pen has quite a high murder count in ratio to the amount of people living there.
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Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." -Bob Marley

Pendragon

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 02:26:18 PM »
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It looks like another 'mystery' is unfolding.... over on Oscar.  :o
Yet again Bruce Jones is involved. the guy is an ass   >>>
(ha ha Brumbob I said Ass too) hopefully Justin is found safe and sound. Lovely fella
Only hindsight has 20/20 vision
Angiegram - A romantic notion derived from the more mundane truth.

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." -Bob Marley

Trojan

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 04:32:00 PM »
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the man who commited the murder was  john jones,he had been drinking in the town after having bust up with a girl friend ,i dont remember if he lived at the same address as her but when he returned late afternoon  to her boarding house he was refused addmission by the landlady  who he then stabbed to death.

The murderer was John Thomas Davies, a 46 year old factory worker, of Clifton Road, Llandudno.

It was Llandudno's first recorded murder and took place at Jubilee House, 24 Lloyd Street, on June 2 1970.

The victim, 72 year old Mrs Florence Roberts, was stabbed twice by Davies, on his way to attack his 43 year old girlfriend who was also stabbed. His girlfriend however, recovered after hospital treatment.

Davies made his getaway aboard a Crosville bus, which was stopped by Police at Deganwy. Davies stated "I killed the wrong woman"

He pleaded guilty to murder at Chester Assizes Court, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

 




DaveR

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 05:31:28 PM »
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Davies made his getaway aboard a Crosville bus
He's no O J Simpson....

Trojan

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 05:53:42 PM »
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Davies made his getaway aboard a Crosville bus
He's no O J Simpson....

 L0L

If Davies is still alive he would be 87 years old today.

Dwyforite

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 09:16:15 PM »
sorry wrong surname ,i stand corrected

DaveR

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2011, 11:18:08 AM »
Going back to the Red Gables case, careful reading of the newspaper article throws up more questions..

1) Red Gables is a three storey building, with the main entrance at first floor level. I'm assuming that lower floor (back garden/basement level) was where the kitchens/service areas were), first floor (pavement level in photo above) was public lounges/reception etc, and First Floor was Bedrooms. Now, what's interesting is that the bodies were found on three separate levels, one upstairs, two on the first floor, and one downstairs - how was Rutherford able to kill 4 people on three separate floors so easily?

2) I find the fact that Rutherford shot himself next to the body of Mrs Simcox significant - a possible romantic entanglement that went wrong?

3) As I've mentioned before....Rutherford hadn't been living at the hotel for several weeks. So he must have travelled there with the pistol (unless he had hidden it in the hotel previously), which indicates the whole thing (to some degree) was premeditated. Why did he own a pistol and ammunition anyway?

Pendragon

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Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2011, 11:29:01 AM »
Wasn't it Mrs Simcox who was pregnant?
Only hindsight has 20/20 vision
Angiegram - A romantic notion derived from the more mundane truth.

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." -Bob Marley

Three Towns Forum - Talk about Llandudno, Colwyn Bay & Conwy

Re: Murder Most Foul....
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2011, 11:29:01 AM »