Murder in Runtley Wood Lane

1968-1969: Runtley Wood Lane Murder: Ken Hewitt: I was on solo patrol in one of the first Panda cars in Guildford Division. This was I think in about 1968/9. My patrol area was mainly covering Jacobs Well, Slyfield Green and Bellfields where I lived in one of the Police Houses.

One morning around 10 am I was directed by a personal radio call from Guildford Police Station to The Bungalow, Runtley Wood Lane, in Sutton Green. Luckily I knew where this was and quickly made my way there. We only had a single blue light on the Panda cars, no horns in the early days.

The report was that the lady in the house had been badly beaten. It apparently came from the wife of PC Ian Robertson who lived in the local police house in Sutton Green. She had young children and knew and visited the lady at the bungalow who had recently had a baby. I am not sure if she was alerted by someone who had called at the bungalow and found the incident or had come across it herself.

Ian's wife went to the bungalow and found the ten day old baby and two toddlers. Their mother was in the bedroom badly battered, bleeding and fatally injured. The children had obviously not been fed that morning and I believe had found some laxative chocolate which had badly affected them, this was mixed up with the blood which was spattered everywhere in the bedroom. The walls were covered with it. I didn't see this for myself but heard about it from those who eventually entered the room and saw the horrendous sight.

As I arrived, the first PC at the scene, the Ambulance crew had just beaten me there and was bringing the lady out of the doorway on a stretcher. She was barely conscious and hardly moving. Her face and head were covered in blood, her hair matted with it and her eye sockets were literally just pools of blood.

She was taken in the ambulance to Royal Surrey County Hospital where she died a little later. Ian's wife, a lovely lady, took care of the children for which I was most grateful seeing the state they were in.

I confirmed that there was no-one else in the building and did what I had been trained to do, protect the scene, although it was a great temptation just to go in to look round. I was first uniform PC at the scene at this and another murder of a WRAC recruit, who was stamped to death by a soldier in a culvert off Worplesdon Road Stoughton. Each time I did what we had drummed into us at Divisional Police Training College: Put your hands in your pockets so you don't touch anything and keep everyone away until CID attend.

CID had been alerted by the initial call and with my confirmation of the circumstances, arrived very quickly. Bert Futter was the DI and I remember Eric Roots walking with him with an early hand-held Dictaphone that they were trying out. They used this to record their immediate thoughts and impressions so they would not overlook something vital when they came to make up the initial report.

I was very quickly told to move away and protect the perimeter of the grounds. Later that day and over the next few days I and fellow uniform PCs had to protect the bungalow scene.

One PC, who was particularly sensitive to what had taken place, was posted there overnight. When the night sergeant visited the bungalow he was rather worried that he was unable to find the PC. He eventually answered his personal radio from the middle of the adjoining field where he had retreated, away form the horrendous scene.

Very quickly the husband of the woman was traced and informed of the death and obviously was the prime suspect but denied doing it. (It transpired he had wanted sex but she had refused him, he became angry and had attacked her). He was brought in (not sure if he was actually arrested) and housed in a small room near the CID office in the old police station in Woodbridge Road, Guildford.

He was 'Co-operating with the Police' and being readily available to answer any questions or give information as the investigation progressed. He was always 'guarded' by a uniform PC for the time he was there. I think he was in that room for about three or four days. This was before PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act].

He consistently denied the murder and as there was no weapon found at the scene, there was little direct evidence linking him to it. At this stage Superintendent Maurice Jackman, who was a legend in the force, interviewed the husband for a number of hours, finally getting him to confess and describe where he had dumped the murder weapon, a pickaxe handle, on Chobham Common.

This vital evidence was recovered and eventually the husband was convicted and imprisoned. The sad ending to this story was that the baby was eventually taken in by one of the relatives of the family; I think they came from East Anglia. I then heard that it had died some months later of neglect by the relatives. A terrible start to a life sadly cut short in such tragic circumstances.

Dave O'Connell: One morning early in the year Detective Constable Eddy Davies and I were on our way to Mount Browne to deliver some items for forensic examination following a break in we had attended. In those days even though we had scenes of crime officers, investigating detectives frequently dusted the scene themselves. It was quite successful too.

As we were passing the Sutton Green Road exit off the Guildford Road a message came from the Control Room: "Any car in the Sutton Green area". We responded and were directed to a house in Sutton Green owned by a Mr and Mrs Ive. When we got there PC Iain Robertson who was then the local PC was in attendance, Iain later enjoyed a long and successful career as a detective.

Mrs Ives had been murdered and her body left in an outhouse. We immediately established that Mr. Ives had gone to work on a building site and put in hand enquiries to trace him. Detective Inspector Ian McGregor was the detective inspector at Guildford with Detective Chief Inspector Bert Futter as the chief inspector for the division. Iain McGregor attended the scene and assumed command with Bert Futter as the lead investigator. We had preserved the scene.

Ives was traced and interviewed. He claimed that he had left work as usual that morning and when he had left home his wife was alive and well. Local enquires confirmed that he had arrived at work as usual and had not seemed to be acting in any other than his usual way. He was invited to attend Guildford Police Station where he steadfastly stuck to his story.

Bert Futter invited Ives to spend the night at the police station so that he would not have to return to the scene of the crime. He was provided with a bed in an open cell for the night. He maintained his claim of innocence and wanted to take an active part in tracing the killer of his wife. No one it seemed had seen Ives leave the house other than at the time he stated. House to house enquiries in the area of the Ives house were instigated.

Detective Sergeant Tony Forward and I interviewed a female neighbour of the Ives in the course of these enquiries. She lived nearest to the place where Mrs. Ives body had been discovered. We had a long session with her taking a detailed statement about her dealings with the Ives and movements around there house. She said she had not seen Ives at all on the morning of the murder.

Having established a good rapport with her we asked her to try and think very hard to see if she could remember anything out of the ordinary that occurred in the vicinity of her house or the Ives house. We left having given her our details asking her to contact either one of us if she remembered anything.

That evening I was called into Iain McGregor's office and told that my DI Sid Harman had asked for me to be returned to duty at Woking as he was short staffed. Surrey Constabulary had had to deal with five murders in quick succession and resources were becoming extremely stretched. I had been on various murder squads for about four months.

The next day the lady witness whom I and Tony Forward had interviewed telephoned Guildford Police station to speak to me. Learning I was not available she asked to speak to Tony. She asked him if he would come back to see her.

She then said that she had seen Ives leaving the area where his wife's body had been found on the morning of the murder. She had seen him get into his car and not come back. She had been too scared to mention this previously and had worried all night about what might happen if she came forward.

Witnesses at the place where Ives worked changed their evidence in that it became obvious they had not been precise in the times that they recollected Ives arriving for work. This information was enough to cast doubt on Ives' account of his movements at the crucial times. He was formally arrested and the cell door shut and locked!

Under interrogation and faced with the new evidence he admitted the murder. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

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