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A passing car notices what appears to be a bag of trash tossed onto the road. Upon closer inspection, the driver finds a woman bundled up in the garbage, left for dead. Retired Deputy Chief Constable Tom returns to the podcast to talk about why this cold case was such an eye-opener for his police department.

The Detective:

Ret. Deputy Chief Constable Tom was one of Scotland’s most senior police officers. A graduate of Edinburgh University and The FBI Academy, his last role was as commander of a linked murder investigation, commonly known as The Worlds End Murders. He writes a regular “Inside Justice” column for The Scotsman newspaper and has authored several books, including “The Worlds End Murders: The Final Verdict” and a groundbreaking study of forensic science called “Ruxton: The First Modern Murder.” He is currently working on a new book examining the sex industry. He lives in Edinburgh.

Read Transcript

Tom: [00:00:05] We very quickly discovered that what we thought we knew was only the tip of the iceberg. This case opened a window. And out of that window, we saw things we did not like to see.

Yeardley: [00:00:24] Hi, I’m Yeardley. This is Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:00:27] Hey, there.

Yeardley: [00:00:28] And his identical twin brother, Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:00:30] Hello.

Yeardley: [00:00:31] And this is Small Town Dicks.

Dave: [00:00:34] You will hear detectives from Small Towns around the world discuss their most memorable cases.

Dan: [00:00:39] We cover the intimate details of what went wrong and what went right.

Yeardley: [00:00:43] As these dedicated men and women search for justice and crack the case.

Dan: [00:00:48] Names and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.

Dave: [00:00:53] So, please join us and maintaining their anonymity out of respect for what they’ve been through.

Unison: [00:01:02] Thank you.

(music)

Yeardley: [00:01:09] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects, I’m here with the A-team. I have Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:01:16] Happy Saturday.

Yeardley: [00:01:18] Happy Saturday to you. And I have Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:01:21] Happy afternoon in a Saturday in the winter.

Yeardley: [00:01:25] (laughs)

Dave: [00:01:27] For that superfan.

Yeardley: [00:01:28] Vague, and specific. All at once.

Dave: [00:01:31] Good day, Yeardley.

Yeardley: [00:01:32] Good day, sir. Small Town Fam, you have landed in the honeypot today because we are so thrilled to welcome back one of our new favorite guests, really deeply honored retired Detective Chief Constable Tom.

Tom: [00:01:49] Hi. Good morning.

Yeardley: [00:01:51] Good morning. Tom is in Scotland, Small Town Fam. We have left the United States and leapt over to Europe via Zoom. Thank you, Zoom. Tom is an author of several books. He has a long and storied career. So, I’m just going to let you take it from here, Tom.

Tom: [00:02:10] Thank you very much. I want to talk today about a fairly normal case or what looks like a normal case, but a case which has real food for thought and which had many consequences. Edinburgh in Scotland is a city of about 400,000 people. It’s not an industrial city. It’s a city of the arts, of the sciences, of universities, is a city of government, etc. But it has a port, the port of Leith. Some of you may even have heard the old tongue twister, “The Leith Police Dismisseth Us.”

Yeardley: [00:02:45] (laughs)

Tom: [00:02:46] In that port, of course, there are sex workers. There have always been sex workers. You show me a port where there are sailors going about, and I’ll show you sex workers. Since the 18th and 19th century, there have been sex workers working in Leith. They were policed with a fairly light touch. There was a recognition that sex workers would always exist. If you try to suppress them, all you do is you drive them underground. The best way to deal with them is to manage it so as to make sure that the worst excesses of extortion, blackmail, pimping, etc., to come on you. So, there was a kind of a relationship there between the sex workers of Leith and local police.

[00:03:30] In the spring of 1983, on the night in question, a young couple were citizens band radio, shortwave radio fans, CB radio that was very popular at a time. They had gone down to the foreshore just along the old industrial part of Leith docks because there were clear sightlines. It was a filthy, wet, dirty night. As they were driving along this rotted track, they saw in front of them a bag of rubbish, and they swerve to avoid running over and damaging their car. They thought somebody had just thrown a bag of rubbish out of the car. When they passed it, they looked and they saw two feet sticking out this bag of rubbish. So, they stopped, got out, and they found it was the body of what they thought was a young woman. I say they thought it was a young woman but the body had been flattened, as if it had been run over or apparently run over several times. They looked for signs of life, but of course, they weren’t medics, they didn’t know what to do. So, they drove as quickly as they could away to find a telephone.

[00:04:42] Their car was full of shortwave radio, but they had no way of contacting the police via the shortwave radio, so they had to make their way to a telephone call box. It sounds like ancient history because everybody’s got mobile phones now, but in these days, it was telephone call boxes. So, it was about 10 minutes before they got in touch with the local police station. And, of course, a police car arrived very shortly thereafter, and they found the badly mutilated body of Sheila Anderson. There were signs of life and so ambulance was quickly called and was taken up to the hospital. But as soon as Sheila was unloaded at the hospital, it was discovered she was dead. She had quite clearly suffered from extensive crush injuries consistent with being run over by a car, perhaps not just once.

Yeardley: [00:05:35] With no witnesses apparently or seemingly, what was your first lead? How did you even go about investigating case like this?

Tom: [00:05:44] Luckily enough, within the hospital emergency unit was a local policeman who was dealing with another case. When he saw the young woman being brought in covered in blood and dirt, of course, he interested himself. He actually thought that he recognized her. He recognized her as a young woman who lived in was brought up in the area he worked. And he knew her because he knew she was a sex worker, and she was called Sheila Anderson. We had identified her and the cause of death within a couple of hours of her being found. Immediately, our first line of inquiry was that it had been perhaps a punter, a customer, who she had picked up.

[00:06:28] The lead investigator was a very famous detective of his generation called Detective Chief Inspector Jim Wilson, who I learned a lot from. And he said, “Look, let’s leave this open, let’s try and suggest that this may have been an accident. This may have been a road traffic accident, and try and tempt the driver to come forward.” It wasn’t a strong chance, but it was a chance. And so that’s how we played it in the first 24 hours or so. We said, “There’s been a motor vehicle accident. A young woman has died, anybody coming forward?” etc. But of course, nobody was going to come forward to admit that they’d been involved.

But within hours of us finding her body, we got reports from other street girls, who had actually seen Sheila interacting with a customer in a car just about two hours before her body was found. We learned that Sheila had the habit of going with clients in their cars to secluded spots to fulfill their contract. It was also known that Sheila was a fairly feisty girl, who was able to stand up for herself, and she was prone to argue with her customers. If somebody tried to roll her or refuse payment, if she felt she’d been cheated, she would actually enter into an aggressive confrontation with them.

Yeardley: [00:07:54] Ah, go Sheila!

Tom: [00:07:56] On one occasion, we knew that having fallen out with a customer, she had actually got out of the car she was in and gone and stood in front of the car of her customer, and refused to move until she got paid. From her injuries, it looked as if that’s what she had done and that the punter, the customer, had literally driven over her, and perhaps reversed back over her again to get away. There were several items of her personal belongings that were missing. We knew she’d had a coat and we knew she’d had a handbag, these were missing. This added weight to the theory that she’d been in a car, she’d had an argument, she’d got out of the car, leaving her coat and her handbag in it, and then had stood in front the car and had been run over.

[00:08:54] Sheila was one of an unfortunate generation of people here in Scotland, the first generation of accidental prostitutes.

Yeardley: [00:09:03] About how old was she?

Tom: [00:09:05] She was 26 when she died. In the late 1970s, Edinburgh was one of the first cities in the UK to be badly hit by the first wave of heroin, and a lot of kids in the local housing schemes started taking heroin. Sheila Anderson was a bright, bonnie, young girl who got hooked on heroin and ended up as being a casual sex worker. When I say she was a casual sex worker, I mean she did sex work when she wanted to earn money for drugs. She was not out in the streets every night, or even every week. Only as and when she needed money for drugs.

Yeardley: [00:09:50] Did she have another job when she wasn’t doing that?

Tom: [00:09:53] By the time she died, she didn’t have another job, but she had had another job. Trouble is that once she got hooked on heroin, her behavior changed, and she became unreliable and she very soon lost the job. Not only had she lost the job, but she had become estranged from her husband and her two young children. She was living in more or less a drunk squat.

We started to investigate this. First thing we did was, we went to see the traditional street girls in Leith to find out what intelligence they could give us. And actually, they were very forthcoming. If you ever speak to sex workers, if you want to hear the truth, speak to one of them, because they’ll tell you exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They’re a very, very candid group of people. We found that under our noses, in the space of about six months, the whole scene had completely changed. We very quickly discovered that what we thought we knew about the operations of the sex industry was only the tip of the iceberg, and that there was an awful lot more going on than we or the criminal intelligence actually knew.

The old street women had disappeared off the street, and they had been replaced by a very young, drug-using, part-time prostitutes. Whereas the older women had been streetwise and had been able to look after themselves an extent, these young girls were completely reckless, just disorganized, chaotic, and furthermore, because there was so many of them, it had driven down the price. So, these girls were out there on the streets, selling sex for two or three pounds, which is like $5. Up until the 1970s, the street sex workers of Leith had comprised mainly older women. When I say older, in their 20s, experienced streetwise, and they looked after themselves, and they were fairly weary. But when heroin arrived and when it was 15- and-16-year-olds down on the streets selling themselves for two or three pounds, completely chaotic. Half the time they were spaced out on drugs. Anyway, totally unable to protect themselves. Then, they became like something of a feeding frenzy.

[00:12:30] Because not only had the sex workers changed, but the punters, the people who use them had also changed. Whereas it had been the sailors from the port, who would use the services of the sex workers before, now people were coming from far and wide attracted by these very, very young, completely reckless girls. And that’s when the violence escalated, violent offenders started appearing on the scene. They could get away with assaulting them, because they weren’t going to report it to the police because they had no relationship with the police because of the drugs factor. What we had to do was build out relationships and say, “Okay, you might take heroin, and you might buy heroin, all of that illegal. But you know what? What we’re really concerned about is your safety.”

[00:13:23] One of the first things we did was we set up our static watch. We rented a house right in the red-light district and we started to take observations on cars that came through that district. We found that people were coming from as far as 100 miles away, and we found that some of the people who were coming were serious, violent criminals. They were coming to sell drugs, they were coming to buy drugs, they were coming to try to pimp the girls. And we discovered this had quickly grown under our feet. It was a horror story.

Yeardley: [00:14:00] Were those girls, the 15- and 16-year-olds, were they runaways?

Tom: [00:14:05] Most of them tragically, when you look at them, most of them had been in the care of the local authority. Most of them had been in children’s homes. We have this terrible gap between when you get to a certain age, you leave the children’s home and you just fall into an abyss. The economics of heroin are fairly harsh. Once you’re addicted, there’s only three ways you can support your addiction. You can either be of significant individual wealth and very few are, or you can steal the money to sustain your habit, and many people did, or you can sell yourself. And, of course, many young women either to support their own habits or to support the habits of their family were forced into the sex industry.

[00:14:53] At that time, £100 a day habit was not uncommon. In the early 80s, £100 a day every day seven days a week was a lot of money to raise. So, people found themselves on this wheel of constantly having to either steal or sell themselves, whatever they could to get the drug that they needed. Sheila Anderson was just one of many, many victims of that first wave of heroin to hit us. It was quite clear that what had grown under our feet, just as heroin arrived, was a complete change to the street sex scene. We had a criminal intelligence file on street sex workers at the local police station, which might as well have been an antiquated document. It was completely out of date. The scene was changing every week and every day. New girls would arrive, the older girls would disappear, there was no continuity, that punters would come from far and wide, and they knew there was a police investigation going on, even though they knew they were going to get stopped by the police, they still came. We found from our observations that there were senior civil servants, they were lawyers, there were retired policemen, they were ministers. There was a whole collection of people all coming down to use these girls.

[00:16:23] The problem was that getting any kind of information out of these girls was almost impossible, because they couldn’t remember what day it was, let alone who they’d seen or what happened. But we could tell by many of their injuries that they were carrying, they had been the subject of extreme violence. Some people abused these girls terribly. Knowing that they were addicted to drugs, they would treat them in the most appalling and violent fashion. So, what that made us do, it made us stop and think about the sex industry and recognize that this was not only or even primarily a law enforcement issue, it was actually a public health issue, because it was the potential for the spread of the venereal disease, and of course, a couple of years later, when AIDS and HIV appeared on the scene, there was also a huge potential for the spread of a deadly disease.

[00:17:24] What we did was, we built a partnership with our public health colleagues from the local health board. We also selected, very carefully selected, a very mature and very hard-nosed woman police officer, Pat Ellis was her name. And we gave her the job to be the prostitute liaison officer. We said, “Work discretionary shifts, do what you like.” Pat was absolutely key to it, because she was a really feisty, experienced, no-nonsense lady, who could speak to these girls in a language they understood and they could speak to her in the same way, and there was an exchange of information.

[00:18:04] For instance, if one of them had been threatened or assaulted, they felt confident enough in Pat, and they started to feed information to Pat about people who they considered to be threatening. We also told Pat to try to establish some prostitute help groups. In other words, voluntary groups, some of them run through the local church, to try and reach out to the girls, not to change their behavior, but to make their behavior safer, and also to give them help and assistance that did allow us to intervene very early in things like drugs, extortion, blackmail, and crimes of violence. So, we managed to nip a lot of these things in the bud.

[00:18:53] We put that in place in the late 1980s, and we also decided to identify what we called the Zone of Discretionary Prosecution. What that meant was that this was an area of industrial buildings, away from any houses, and we told the prostitute groups that, “Look, if you have no more than 12 girls working in that particular area and if they don’t cause any trouble, and we don’t get any complaints about them, then we have other things to do. But if there is trouble and if there is pimping, if there are drugs, if anybody gets rolled or attacked or assaulted, then we will not have other things to do. We will come and we will enforce the law.” We struck a bargain with the sex workers, and that worked.

Dave: [00:19:52] Was there a certain amount of self-policing because of this discretionary prosecution strategy? I’m sure there’s a pecking order where they’re pushing people out saying, “Hey, it’s not your night. There’s already too many people here.”

Tom: [00:20:04] Yeah, there was, and that was particularly the case with underagers. We made it very clear that if we found any girl under 18 on the streets, then all bets were canceled. There was a high degree of self-policing. The girls recognized that they didn’t want to rock the boat, because they were getting a degree of protection and they were allowed to go about their business. We obviously policed it, and we had the prostitute liaison officer, and we responded to calls etc., but it was self-regulating. But it was particularly effective, when HIV came on the scene, because we then had routes of communication. We knew who to speak to., we knew what the scene was, and we knew who was and wasn’t about. We also used to get very early warning if any criminals were trying to move in on the sex industry.

[00:20:59] The sex industry and extortion, blackmail, drugs, they go hand in hand. They’re always together. What we managed to do was, to some extent, separate them, and there was a very, very low infection rate, and we had no further serious assaults. Any punter who turned up and it was violent, was immediately reported through the prostitute help group. We got told about it, and we were on their tail.

[00:21:42] Now, as regards Sheila Anderson’s murderer, we’ve never found him. A few years later, when DNA started to come to the fore and we started to pick up DNA traces, we actually recovered some forensic evidence from that crime scene. In the early 1980s, forensic recovery and good crime scene management was not universal. But there’s DNA recovery in this case, because the forensic productions were well protected at the time. So, we have a DNA profile, but we have never found him. We’ve tried familial. We’ve tried all the tricks in the book, but that case is still open. However, I live in hope. And I’ve told the guy who took over, that runs the cold case unit now, I’ve told him that, “I look forward to the day when some elderly gentleman gets a knock on the door.”

Yeardley: [00:22:42] (laughs)

Tom: [00:22:44] “And has to answer the question about where they were in April 1983.”

Yeardley: [00:22:49] How long before a case like that goes cold?

Tom: [00:22:53] Well, that’s interesting, because the key to a cold case is to keep it warm. The Sheila Anderson case is an interesting case, because it remains unsolved but I had a huge blaze of publicity, of course initially. A lot of people came forward and gave information and tried to help. Some of the information is helpful, some is unhelpful. There’s quite a lot of malice that comes out. People who have boyfriends that they’ve fallen out with, they’ll say, “Well, I’m sure he used to use prostitutes,” usual sort of thing. So, it was about four or five weeks, I think, of intensive investigation until the public started to become disengaged. That was made worse, because in the summer of 1983, there was also the abduction and murder of a child from the Edinburgh area, and that took the public attention.

[00:23:48] The thing is this you see. The thing is this, talking about it now, on your podcast, you never know. Somebody might be listening to that. It might ring a bell. One of the big problems with anything to do with the sex industry or vice is that witnesses are very reluctant to come forward. If they come forward and say they’ve seen something, they’ve got to explain why they were where they were in the first place, and why they were doing what they were doing. Of course, in the moment and immediately after, first of all, they think they might become suspects. But secondly, they might have to explain to their wives or their partners or their friends why they were where they were. But as time goes on and as years pass, that fear fades a bit. If you can keep the case in the public consciousness, then you’ve got a very good chance still of getting new leads and new names. And, of course, if you’ve got historic forensic evidence, as we have, all you need is that name. Or, you might get somebody who just phones up and says, “Listen, on the night in question, my brother came home and he was this and he was that.” It could be something as simple as that. But the Sheila Anderson case opened a window, and out of that window, we saw things we did not like to see.

[00:25:09] So, poor Sheila, is there anything positive? She left two children. Her life was a complete catastrophe caused by heroin. Some good came of it, because it changed the way that we saw and changed the way that we dealt with and managed the sex industry from thereon in. I also felt that there (unintelligible 00:25:36), I think people still don’t realize the addictive nature of heroin particularly, and how it can destroy your life. I was an inspector on that squad and I spent time speaking to members of Sheila’s family and the horror of watching their bonnie, vivacious, cheery daughter disappear in front of their eyes, and nothing they could do, their feeling of absolute powerlessness, there was nothing they could do. The sex industry will always carry risk. You can never make the sex industry completely safe. It’s impossible. All you can do is reduce risk. I like to think that as a consequence of the measures we took, we reduced risk and improved our intelligence picture significantly.

Dan: [00:26:31] It doesn’t matter where you are geographically in this world, sex work is always going to be there. And it always seems like it’s the same circumstances and we want sex workers to know that you can talk to us.

Dave: [00:26:46] Law enforcement wants people involved in the sex worker industry to feel safe to come to us if they have concerns. Especially about a punter or a John, anything that is making the workers in that industry feel unsafe or weary, give us some intelligence. We can act on that.

Dan: [00:27:06] Yes, please talk to us. It seems like all these serial killers, we had the Green River Killer. He specifically targeted these women because he knew that there wasn’t a relationship between the police and these women who are working out on the streets. We want to break down that barrier. You see it nationwide and worldwide, that we want to break those barriers down so we can protect these women.

Dave: [00:27:31] Yeah, it’s alarming to watch how precipitous the fall is when you have this financial instability or insecurity, you have drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and this feeling of hopelessness, how that will drive you into a circumstance that leads you to the sex industry. Law enforcement sees that often and it’s really difficult to watch, as well as the families having to witness this.

Dan: [00:28:02] It’s tragic that substance abuse and that these drugs, heroin and opiates, these prescription pills can destroy your life so fast.

Dave: [00:28:13] Yeah.

Tom: [00:28:14] I saw drugs coming in the 1970s and that changed everything. But it’s interesting with Sheila Anderson, because we were determined to make sure that Sheila was a worthy victim. Because whether you like it or not, there is a societal thing, I don’t know. It’s not said, it’s not articulated. But if a sex worker got beaten up or assaulted, or even murdered, well, it was because she was doing what she was doing, that sort of thing. I think there’s a real danger there, and that’s why I talk about this case a lot because Sheila Anderson deserved, and she got exactly the same caliber of investigation as anybody else. And I still live in hope that I’ll get a phone call one day to say that we’ve got the guy or we’ve identified him through a familiar hit or something like that.

Yeardley: [00:29:09] I do too. I do love that the cases that you’ve covered with us on this podcast are ones that have brought lasting change to the way police departments in Scotland do things. Like in the World’s End case, everyone learned that you shouldn’t rely on DNA evidence alone to convict your suspect. And then in Vanished, agencies in Scotland learned that sharing information across county lines can be critical. It gives me hope, and it makes me feel, at the very least, the victims of these horrific crimes didn’t die in vain.

Dave: [00:29:46] Well, that’s right. It’s important for your own mind state. You’ve been involved in these cases for so long and between them, these cases, particularly the serial killer cases, they took up much of the center parts of 20 years of my career where I was working on these cases. So, you’ve got to try and find a positive or try and drive a positive, try and learn something.

Dan: [00:30:11] You think about the older generation of these women, which are only six or seven, maybe eight years older than these 15- and 16-year-olds, these 15- and 16-year-olds are attracting a completely different type of punter. That’s pedophilia.

Dave: [00:30:28] Yeah. If convicted in our country, you’d be a registered sex offender.

Dan: [00:30:32] Absolutely. So, just adding to the equation that now you’ve got a totally different kind of predator out there.

Yeardley: [00:30:39] Right.

Tom: [00:30:40] I remember speaking to the head of CID at that time.

Yeardley: [00:30:45] Which is essentially the same thing as the plainclothes detective units that we have here in the US.

Tom: [00:30:51] Yeah, he was a wily old character. He said to me, “Tom, we’ve got enough perverts of our own, we don’t need to attract the mean from all over the place.” And it’s a very good point, and what we’re actually doing by this happening, we were actually attracting serious violent offenders from all over Scotland. Something’s going to happen. There was a very, very pragmatic view that we had to get back in control of this. Otherwise, we’re going to find ourselves again catching serious crime committed by people from hundreds of miles away.

Yeardley: [00:31:43] Are those programs still in place for the sex workers to help build community?

Tom: [00:31:49] Yes, they are but unfortunately, everything changed. The first thing that happened was this old commercial area, which had been warehouses and offices and places where nobody lived, was suddenly gentrified. They knocked down all the warehouses, and they built very expensive flats. So, very soon we got complaints. Pat was in that role for two to three years, and then she handed on to someone else that she brought up. But that rule ceased to exist when the zone of tolerance ceased to exist. Now, the sex industry is very much online. I’m not convinced that we have the same– and this is not me, as an old cop saying, “Oh, it was better in my day.” I don’t mean that at all. I don’t think that’s true. But we do not have the same lines of communication and grip because now the sex industry has disappeared online. We don’t know who, we don’t know where, and we don’t know what. These are the three sort of key factors of all criminal intelligence, who, where, and what.

[00:32:55] We have a cybercrime unit. Of course, years of police units will have, but I’m not confident that they have the ability to be able to monitor it as effectively as we were monitoring it. There’s also now a lot of trafficking in people into the sex industry, particularly from Eastern Europe. I worked for a while, I went across an attachment to Amsterdam, and of course, Amsterdam’s famous for its red-light district, and all these girls in shop windows and all the rest of it. You could always tell which part of the world was doing well and which part of the world was not doing well by the nationality of the girls in the windows.

Yeardley: [00:33:37] So, if you’re in the window, chances are the economy in your home country is struggling.

Tom: [00:33:43] Exactly. When I first visited Amsterdam, there were girls from the Middle East. The last time I was in Amsterdam, it was Eastern Europeans. Romanians, Albanians, Russians who had been trafficked there by people to make money from them. So, it’s a snapshot of who’s doing well in the world and who’s not by who’s working in the sex industry.

Yeardley: [00:34:10] That’s a really good point. Tom, you’ve seen so much in your storied career. What about this case made it so memorable for you? Is it your only cold case?

Tom: [00:34:22] No, I was involved in one or two other cold cases but I think this is particularly important to me because of the tragedy of this girl’s life. The photographs her father gave us, the last photograph he had off her was when she was a schoolgirl. And then, to see how she ended up. But the other thing about it is I know that case is there to be solved. That case is there to be solved. It annoys me that so far, we haven’t and I hope to live to see it resolved. It is coming on 40 odd years ago, so if the guy himself was in his 30s or 40s and most of the people that use the street women were that age group, the perpetrator himself could well be dead by now. But even so, I’d like to know who he was.

Yeardley: [00:35:10] Absolutely. I hope you find out too. And then, I hope you come and tell us.

Tom: [00:35:15] You’ll be the first to be notified, I’ll be on the phone.

(laughter)

Yeardley: [00:35:20] Tom, before we let you go, we’d love for you to plug your books for our fans.

Tom: [00:35:24] Right. Well, if you want to read about the birth of forensic science, if you’re interested in forensic science at all, then you must read Ruxton: The First Modern Murder. Buck Ruxton was a doctor who murdered and dissected the bodies of his wife and his maid servant in 1935. He cut up the bodies, and he kept the body parts until they were partially decomposed. And then, he disguised them by removing all visible signs of identification including their gender. And then, he dumped them in the borderlands of Scotland.

[00:36:08] What followed that was the most remarkable coming together of academia, forensic science, police officers, lawyers. It was the first coordinated case. It was the first case where they introduced forensic entomology, facial superimposition, and dermal fingerprinting, in which the FBI had a hand. So, a remarkable case. But what’s really remarkable about it was that the precedent was established because after the Ruxton case and the notorious trial, it was the trial of the century, etc., etc., after the Ruxton case, they decided that forensic science would not be some peripheral aspect of the investigation, but it’d be part of the mainstream. So, every police force thereafter had detective training, every police force thereafter had fingerprint training, and a group of regional forensic laboratories were established all over the country. It’s a great story, and I would really recommend it. If you have any interest at all in investigation and particularly forensics, that’s the one.

Dan: [00:37:22] I’ve read that book, and it’s fascinating. I think I read it in just a couple of days, burned right through it.

Yeardley: [00:37:28] Yes. And we’ll put the titles up on our website, and they’re in Tom’s bio. So, you can get right to that info. Give us another.

Tom: [00:37:37] What, another book? Well, I wrote two books about The World’s End murders. But the last one is probably the best one to read, and it’s called The World’s End Murders: The Final Verdict, and it was published in 2013. It’s not as explicit as the Ruxton book, because quite a few people are still alive, and so you’ve got to be very careful.

Yeardley: [00:37:59] Well, Tom, this has been amazing. Once again, thank you so much for spending this time with us. Honestly, we could just make an entire season out of your stories.

Tom: [00:38:08] (laughs)

Yeardley: [00:38:09] (laughs)

Dan: [00:38:10] Thank you.

Tom: [00:38:11] Take care.

Dave: [00:38:12] And thank you for your service.

Tom: [00:38:13] Not at all. Thank you, and keep going.

(music)

Yeardley: [00:38:20] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.

Dan: [00:38:50] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.

Yeardley: [00:38:57] Small Town Dicks would like to thank SpeechDocs for providing transcripts of this podcast. You can find these transcripts on our episode page at smalltowndicks.com. And for more information about SpeechDocs and their service, please go to speechdocs.com.

Dan: [00:39:14] And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @smalltowndicks, we love hearing from you.

Dave: [00:39:22] And if you support us on Patreon, your subscription will give you access to exclusive content and merchandise that isn’t available anywhere else. Go to patreon.com/smalltowndickspodcast.

Yeardley: [00:39:34] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-

Dan: [00:39:40] -in search of the finest-

Dave: [00:39:41] -rare, true crime cases told-

Dan: [00:39:44] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.

Dave: [00:39:48] So, thanks for listening small town fam.

Yeardley: [00:39:50] Nobody’s better than you.

Thank you

for making us the winner
of the People's Choice Podcast Award
for Best True Crime Podcast!
Nobody's better than you, Small Town Fam!