Unsolved Murders

Ruth Wilson

Age: 16

Sex: female

Date: 27 Nov 1995

Place: Boxhill, Dorking, Surrey

Source: www.theguardian.com

Ruth Wilson was last seen by a taxi driver who dropped her at the Hand in Hand Pub, Boxhill near Dorking in Surrey.

It was thought that she might have planned to disappear and shortly before she vanished, she had ordered some flowers to be sent to her parents two days after she vanished for no apparent reason.

She was about 5ft 3in tall, had dark shoulder length hair, and wore glasses.

Outside of school she was interested in music and sang in a choir, played the church organ and did bell ringing at her local church as well as playing the electric guitar. She also had a Saturday job at a music shop and did baby-sitting. At school she was studying biology and chemistry and had considered later reading archaeology at university.

She had lived in Betchworth with her stepmother, father and sister and had gone to school at Ashcombe School in Dorking. Betchworth was right next to Box Hill and only a 10-15 minute drive by car.

One of her friends said that Box Hill was a place that Ruth Wilson would go to to alone and have a think, not disappear.

On the morning she vanished she would ordinarily have gone to school on the bus with her sister, but instead she told her sister that she would make her own way to school and later took a taxi into Dorking at 11.30am where she ordered a bouquet of flowers from Thistles, a florist, for her step-mother and then went off to the library where she stayed until 4pm after which she took another taxi to Box Hill in Surrey, being dropped off at about 4.30pm near the Hand in Hand Pub near the top of the hill and was never seen again. It was noted to have been pouring with rain at the time she got to Box Hill in the taxi. The taxi driver that dropped her off said that it was raining, and he dropped her off in the layby near the Hand in Hand Pub and watched her standing there in the layby in the rain as he drove off.

There was no card on the flowers that Ruth Wilson had sent her step-mother.

Ruth Wilson's mother had died when Ruth Wilson was four-years-old after committing suicide a few weeks before Christmas in December 1982. It was reported that whilst Ruth Wilson had always known about her real mother dying, supposedly from falling down some stairs, she had only found out that her biological mother had committed suicide shortly before she vanished. She had gone into London some weeks before she vanished and had a look at her mother's death certificate.

Ruth Wilson's father married his new wife, Ruth Wilson's step-mother about a year after Ruth Wilson's biological mother died.

A school friend later said that Ruth Wilson had become fixated on trying to find out what really happened to her mother. The friend described Ruth Wilson at the time as being really troubled.

The police made a complete search of the Box Hill area, which was a public parkland area about 1,000 acres large, on a steep hill with police officers, dogs, heat seeking equipment and a helicopter, but nothing was found.

Following her disappearance her bank account remained untouched.

A friend later said that Ruth Wilson had discussed running away, but it was noted that when she had got to Box Hill she had had no luggage with her.

It was also later found out that Ruth Wilson had previously visited Box Hill on several occasions after school and before going home, but it was not known why.

It was also reported that Ruth Wilson had been worried about her school grades as homework was considered important in the household, and that she had hidden her last report from her parents, the weekend before she vanished.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported that it was thought, but not confirmed, that the police had found three notes near some bushes by Ruth Wilson, one to her parents and the other two to some friends, along with an empty packet of paracetamol tablets and a bottle of Vermouth, The reference to the tablets and alcohol being found was also reported by the Times Newspaper on 1 April 2002. However, it was also noted that there were no other effects found there at all. The Daily Mail newspaper also reported that it was a possibility that Ruth Wilson had gone to Box Hill to meet someone and noted that if she had planned to run away that Box Hill was not a good start and that going to London would have been a better start.

A retired policeman that later looked into the case observed that it was unlikely that a 16 year old girl left in a layby in just her regular clothes and no luggage could have vanished for as long as she had and said that in his opinion she was never going to return and was possibly still hidden somewhere on the hill with it further being noted that the police search of the hill was not very good.

A chief superintendent with Surrey police said that there were five possible explanations for Ruth Wilson disappearance:

  • An accident.
  • Abduction.
  • Suicide.
  • Murder.
  • She went off to start a new life.

After her disappearance there were a number of sightings of her around Dorking as well as other areas of the country. It was reported that on the day or the day after she vanished, she was seen by a friend walking along Reigate Road with a blue suitcase.

Almost a year after she vanished, a person that looked like her was seen on CCTV in a newsagents two miles from Box Hill, but no developments in the search for her resulted. It was said that the teenager had gone into the newsagent in a distressed state and asked for a newspaper and had become more emotional after she was told that one of the newspapers had been sold out. The shop owner said that she was such a compelling figure that he telephoned the authorities to show them the CCTV footage that he had of the event.

A possible sighting of her was also made in Canada.

In 1998, Iceland, the supermarket chain, printed pictures of Ruth Wilson on the side of its milk cartons in a bid to appeal for information about her disappearance.

Ruth Wilson's parents said that they had kept her Christmas presents from 1995 for her in a drawer for hen she came back and added that although her other sister had left home and their house was too big for them, they could not bear to move as it was her home as well.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.