Neville Heath - a dangerous man for a woman to have known
It was at the Pembridge Court Hotel in May 1946, just after the War, where a 32 year old woman Margery Gardner went to a hotel room with a good-looking younger man, the so-called Lt Colonel Neville Heath. They settled in to a night of adventure in the hotel room, but an alert member of the hotel staff interrupted proceedings, and, in retrospect, probably saved Margery Gardner's life.
But Margery Gardner was a risk taker and agreed to accompany Heath back to his room in the same hotel on 20th June. Heath opened the hotel door with his key - there was no night porter - and he took her up to Room 4. The next morning the chambermaid found the room in disarray, and the dead body of Margery Gardener, horribly mutilated. There was no sign of Heath, who by this time had gone down to visit his unofficial fiancee - a Miss Symonds - in Worthing. From there he went to Bournemouth - with a new name and rank of Group Captain Rupert Brooke.
On 3rd July he entertained Miss Doreen Marshall to dinner at the West Cliff hotel, Bournemouth, and escorted her out of the premises at about 11.30pm. Doreen Marshall was never seen alive again. The so-called Rupert Brooke was called on to help the Bournemouth police to investigate her disappearance, and the local police officer, Detective Constable Souter, recognised his similarity to pictures of Heath issued by Scotland Yard and challenged him. Heath denied it, but he was kept at the station until Detective Inspector George Gates arrived.
The police found a railway ticket belonging to Doreen Marshall, a pearl from her necklace, and a left luggage ticket. George Gates reclaimed Heath's left luggage, opened his suitcase and found articles with the name Heath on. He also found blood-stained clothing which had hairs which came from Margery Gardner and a blood-stained riding switch.
Detective Inspector Reg Spooner from Scotland Yard arrived and took him back to London, at about the same time as Doreen Marshall's body was found, again brutally and sadistically murdered.
Heath went for trial at the Old Bailey and because of the forensic science evidence against him, the only issue was whether he was mad or not. He was found sane, and Guilty. When he was about to be hanged he is said to have asked the hangman Albert Pierrepoint for a whisky, and then added "I think I'll make it a double"
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