In mid-November 1993, Derek Severs (68) and his wife Eileen (69) of Hambleton, Leicestershire disappeared without word. Their neighbours and friends soon became suspicious and contacted the police.
After a week, on 18th November, police visited the bungalow in which the couple resided, only to find the previously tidy house was now messy, with the kitchen and bathroom carpets removed. When police spoke to their son, Roger, he insisted that his parents were simply on holiday, however there was no evidence of this apparent trip, and Roger was soon arrested on suspicion of murder.
A thorough forensic investigation was conducted. Although attempts at a clean-up had obviously been made, blood was found in the bathroom and garage of the bungalow, the bloodstain patterns suggesting a vicious attack. Trails of blood and yellow fibres led outside to the car, which was suspiciously filthy with mud. Investigators collected samples from inside the car and from the wheel arches.
The samples taken from the vehicle were analysed and confirmed to contain mud composed of various constituents, namely quartz, calcite and ironstone. Furthermore, an interesting combination of plant material was found in the vehicle. Whereas the grasses, alder, oak and hawthorn traces were standard for English woodland, 2% of the sample was found to consist of the fairly rare horse chestnut.
With the composition of mud and pollen known, experts were able to narrow down the likely origin of the samples to a few specific areas. Upon search of the areas, an officer searching Armley Wood discovered a disturbed patch of soil littered with broken branches. It was here that the buried bodies of Derek and Eileen were discovered. The couple had been brutally attacked and Eileen wrapped in a yellow blanket before being driven to the site and buried. The earth piled on top of the bodies was analysed and confirmed to be from the Severs’ garden.
It was established that on 13th November, upon returning to his parents’ house after drinking, Roger battered his mother to death when she refused to give him money. He then proceeded to beat his father when he returned home. Roger Severs admitted to killing his parents but claimed diminished responsibility. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.