Pretty Awful: They say beauty is skin deep. Nowhere did that ring truer than with Susan Grund – liar, adulterer, abuser of children, cold-hearted killer.
Dead Man’s Hand: A psycho is on the loose, marking his kills with playing cards. Will the police catch him before he takes another life?
A Message in Blood: It looked like an easy case to solve. The victim had even written her killer’s name in blood. But what if the clues point elsewhere?
Scene of the Crime: A young mother is found bludgeoned to death in her home. The obvious suspect is her husband but he claims he’s innocent. Brilliant detective work will prove him a liar.
The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly: A good wife, a cheating husband, and a spurned mistress collide in this dark tale of deceit, sexual obsession and murder.
Sad but True: Ronald was upper-crust, a wartime pilot living off a family allowance. He was also dangerously insane, with a predilection for throttling prostitutes.
Empty Words: A respected scientist dies in what looks like a case of accidental poisoning. But what if this wasn’t an accident? What if it was murder?
Click the "Read More" link below to read the first chapter of
Murder Most Vile Volume 25
Appointment with a Killer
Lynne Rogers was a determined young woman. Recently laid off from an administrative job, the 17-year-old had launched a concerted effort to find new employment. And her goal was not just any old job but the kind that she yearned for, one that offered the chance of international travel. And so, Lynne had spent weeks scouring business directories, eventually coming up with a list of over 300 companies in and around London. She’d then written to all of them, enclosing her résumé and details of the kind of position she was interested in. To her surprise and delight, she’d received a personal reply within days. The man who called said that he was the owner of a company that jetted high-level executives to and from Europe. He was looking for qualified young women who could perform secretarial duties on these trips. The pay on offer was £14,000 per annum, more than double what Lynne had earned at her previous job. Was she interested? Of course she was.
Despite the misgivings of her father and sister, Lynne was over the moon about the potential job offer. In the days leading up to her scheduled interview, she had her hair styled and sent her most practical outfit to the dry cleaners. She also borrowed a typewriter from a friend and spent an entire weekend honing up on her less-than-adequate typing skills. On the morning of September 4, 1991, she was a bag of nerves. Her potential employer had called again the previous day and told her to meet him at Charing Cross station in central London. He’d told her that they would be driving to Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex and taking a helicopter from there to Gatwick Airport. He also told her to bring her passport along. It sounded almost too good to be true – and it was.
On September 4, Lynne Rogers bade her father, Derek, and her older sister, Suzanne, goodbye. She told them that she would call as soon as she knew the outcome of the interview. Then she boarded the train at Catford, London bound for Charing Cross. Her family would never see her alive again.
By 10:00 that night, Derek Rogers was becoming concerned. He knew that Lynne had taken her passport with her and that her new employer might well have taken her on a day-trip to the continent. But he also knew his daughter. Lynne was a diligent, reliable girl. She’d promised to call and she would definitely have done so had she been able. After waiting a half-hour more, Derek went to the Catford police station and reported her missing.
The missing persons case was assigned to Detective Superintendent Douglas Auld. But as the days passed with no clue as to Lynne’s whereabouts, it became increasingly clear that something bad had happened to her. Soon the story was attracting massive attention in the British media. Teenaged girls do not simply vanish from the busy streets of London in broad daylight, at least not unseen.
The first clue to Lynne’s disappearance emerged when a man came forward to report a strange conversation he’d overheard. According to the witness, he’d been making a call from a public telephone in Crawley, Sussex, in the days before Lynne went missing. In the call box next to him was a man who was talking quite loudly. The witness could hear everything that was said, and he found the conversation to be odd. The was talking about a job offer involving international travel. He also mentioned a helicopter ride during the interview process. What the witness found strange was that such a lucrative offer would be made via public telephone. He also noticed that the man had a small tape recorder which he held up to receiver throughout the conversation. After reading about Lynne’s disappearance in the newspaper, the witness had decided to come forward with what he’d heard. Unfortunately, he could not give a description of the man he’d seen, and the call box itself yielded no clues. Hundreds of callers had since handled the phone, obliterating any fingerprints.
On September 9, five days after the disappearance, the investigation took a dramatic turn when the body of a young girl was found hidden in dense undergrowth in Rotherfield, Sussex, some 40 miles south of London. It was Lynne Rogers and she had been brutally strangled.
The location at which the body had been found meant that the murder inquiry was conducted by the Sussex Police, with Detective Superintendent Michael Bennison taking charge. Initially, the belief was that this was a sex crime, but the subsequent autopsy threw up a surprise when it revealed that Lynne had not been sexually assaulted. There were, however, curious bruises on her chin which would turn out, on closer inspection, to be tooth impressions. Since bite marks are as unique as fingerprints, this was a valuable clue.
But it would only be of value if the police could find someone to match the bite against, and at this point they had no idea who might have done this or why. Speaking to Lynne’s sister Suzanne, they learned that the mysterious caller had phoned four times and that Suzanne had spoken to him once, when Lynne was out. She said that she had heard airplanes and flight announcements in the background. Did this mean that some of the killer’s cover story was true, that he was an airline employee?
Further support for this theory came which police got a call from another witness, London cab driver Thomas Reynolds. According to Reynolds, he had been parked outside Charing Cross station on the morning of September 4 and had seen Lynne Rogers, noticing her because she was an attractive redhead. Then a blue car had pulled up, driven by a man in a pilot’s uniform. Lynne had exchanged a greeting with the man and had then walked around to the passenger door and gotten in. Moments later, the car had pulled away from the curb and blended into the traffic, most likely taking Lynne to her death. The cabbie did not take note of the vehicle’s license plate number, but he did know that it was a Vauxhall Carlton.
In the meantime, the police had been working another angle. The killer had quite obviously obtained Lynne’s contact details from one of the letters she’d sent to potential employers. A list of those 319 companies had been found in Lynne’s bedroom and, initially, the police thought they’d have to undertake the considerable task of contacting all of them. But then Suzanne remembered something that the caller had told her during their brief conversation. He’d mentioned that he’d gotten Lynne’s CV from a company based in Greenwich, south London. Only one of the companies on the list was in that locale, an organization called Africa Hinterland.
That company, detectives soon discovered, had gone out of business even before Lynne had written to them. But it turned out that they still received mail at the business park where they’d once had premises. That mail was placed in a general mailbox at the park, along with items addressed to other former tenants. This is where Lynne’s résumé would have ended up.
But who would have been able to access it there? Anyone who’d formerly rented premises at the park, according to the facilities manager. He was then asked whether any of those former tenants drove a blue Vauxhall Carlton; and said that there was someone, a man named Wayne Scott Singleton who had owned a now defunct operation called Casualty Car Doctor. The park manager also added that Singleton was from Crawley. The call summoning Lynne to her fateful interview had, of course, been made from that area.
Wayne Scott Singleton was now the main suspect in the murder of Lynne Rogers. Looking into his background, investigators learned that he was a married father of two who was separated from his wife and currently involved with a long-term girlfriend. But that told only a part of the story. It turned out that the suspect had a long police record for petty crime and that Singleton was not even his real name. He had been born Andre Reich. Another interesting detail was that Singleton was obsessed with flying, claimed to be a trained pilot, and often wore a pilot’s uniform. He’d even convinced his wife and girlfriend that he was qualified to fly light passenger aircraft.
On September 28, the police launched a coordinated operation, simultaneously raiding several addresses where they thought Singleton might be. Taken into custody, an outraged Singleton vociferously protested his innocence. He even expressed sympathy for Lynne’s family and expressed his hope that the killer would soon be caught. However, when the police asked him to let them take a dental impression in order to eliminate him as a suspect, Singleton flatly refused. With nothing but circumstantial evidence against him, the police were only able to hold him for 36 hours and were then forced to let him go.
A few days after Singleton’s release, the police received a tip from a Rotherfield farmer named Richard Ellis, who reported that had seen a blue Vauxhall parked beside the road close to where Lynne’s body was found. This had occurred on September 4, the very day that the young woman disappeared. More importantly, Ellis had written down the license plate number. He’d recently suffered acts of vandalism on his farm, he said, and had jotted down the number for future reference. Now he handed over that number to the police. They ran it through the system. It belonged to Scott Singleton who had recently told the police that he’d never been to Rotherfield and didn’t even know where it was.
This was once again a valuable lead. But the police did not want to make the mistake again of jumping the gun. What they really needed was that impression of Singleton’s teeth and since he was refusing to cooperate on that score, they were going to have to do it the hard way. Teams of detectives began working the areas surrounding Singleton’s home, his wife’s home, his girlfriend’s home. Eventually, their persistence and hard work paid off when they tracked down a dentist who had done dental work on Singleton. As chance would have it, he still had a plaster impression of Singleton’s teeth. That was handed to a forensic odontologist who compared it to the bite marks on the victim and was emphatic in his opinion that only Scott Singleton could have inflicted those injuries.
On October 10, 1991, Wayne Scott Singleton was re-arrested and charged with the murder of Lynne Rogers. The case against him appeared overwhelming, but still the prosecution was worried about two issues. The first was that Singleton’s girlfriend was still providing him with an alibi; the second was that this was a crime without an apparent motive. Juries have been known to acquit when the prosecutor fails to explain why the victim was killed.
So why had Lynne Rogers been murdered. If it wasn’t rape or robbery and if her killer had never even met her before the day she was killed, then why? The clue may be hidden hidden deep in the warped psyche of Scott Singleton. Forensic psychiatrists who have examined the case believe that Singleton had staged the whole episode in order to seduce Lynne. He had attempted to impress her with his alter-ego as a handsome pilot but had been rebuffed. An ego as fragile as Singleton’s does not take rejection well. It had sent him into a murderous rage during which he had snuffed out the life of a beautiful young woman who had only wanted to create a better life for herself.
Singleton’s alibi also would not stand the test of time. At trial, his girlfriend, Kim, decided to change sides and testify for the prosecution. Called to give evidence, she admitted that she had lied about Singleton being with her at the time of the murder. She also handed over a cassette tape to the police. On it was a recording of airplane engines and a voice giving take-off instructions to various aircraft. This was the tape that Singleton had played in the background while talking to Lynne and to her sister.
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