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Unsolved Murders

Douglas Rollo Rouse

Age: 35

Sex: male

Date: 19 Jan 1952

Place: West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

The remains of Douglas Rollo Rouse were found in a ditch under a hedge at West Wycombe on 19 January 1952.

The remains were described as skeletal.

He was identified by his wife who identified his gold signet ring with the initials DRR on it, silver cigarette case, a pouch in the regimental colours of the RAMC, and a bunch of keys that were found amongst his remains. His remains were also noted as being clad with a brown pin stripe suit and nearly new shoes.

Douglas Rouse had served with the RAMC during the war.

Douglas Rouse was a village chemist and had gone missing from his home in Hill Close, Horsell in Surrey in July 1951 after going to visit a club nearby in Woking on his bicycle for his once-a-week pint. He had left the Constitutional Club after having gone there for a drink later in the night, saying, 'Good night, I'm off home'. However, he left his bicycle at the club and was never seen again.

It was said that when he had left the Constitutional Club that he had had £25 in his wallet.

It was also noted that when he had left there had been a blinding thunderstorm.

However, it was noted that when he was found that his wallet was missing, and his wife said that she would have expected to have seen that as he normally carried it with him. It was described as a vital clue that might have helped solve the mystery of his death and was described as being black leather with his initials on it in gold.

His wife said that Douglas Rouse had had his wallet with him when he went to the Constitutional Club in Woking on 30 July 1951. She said, 'Douglas came home from business at 6 as usual, had his tea, did the washing up, he was a handy man about the house, did a little gardening, then went out. He said he'd be back at 9.30. It was a day of oppressive heat and he made one queer remark. He asked me whether I thought it was going to snow. I thought nothing more of it at the time. I've wondered since if the heat had affected his nerves. We were so happy together. Ours was a perfect marriage in every way. I have been expecting the news. At least I know something definite now'.

It was said that Douglas Rouse might have been murdered for his wallet, or that he might have committed suicide and that someone unknown who had later come across his body had taken it.

The pathologist said that he could not fix the cause of death 'because of insufficient evidence'. The pathologist said that Douglas Rouse could have been stabbed, strangled or suffocated or could have taken poison.

The police said that they did not know why he disappeared as he was described as being a happily married man with a secure well-paid job as the manager of the local chemists. The police added that no money was found to be missing from his account. The police said that he had taken £20 out in cash, but that he had replaced it with a cheque and that his account was sound.

The police also said that they did not know how he got to where his body was found which was 40 miles away from his home. They determined that he had left his bicycle at the Constitutional Club after saying goodnight. The police also noted that Douglas Rouse had no associations with the West Wycombe district.

The police suggested three theories to explain his death:

  1. It can be a case of murder, with the body taken to West Wycombe by car and dumped. However, it was noted that no bones in his body were broken.
  2. It can be suicide, Rouse would have access to poisons. However, it was not known why he would have travelled so far from his home and there was no reason for him to commit suicide.
  3. It’s possible that the remains may not be those of Rouse. No one could identify the body. It was noted that although that theory was fantastic, that it had to be considered.

However, it was later suggested that Douglas Rouse might have died from self-administered morphine poisoning. It was said that the police had developed a private reason for his sudden disappearance, and it was reported that it was doubtful that it would ever be made known publicly because it affected another person. It was said that it was a police theory that Douglas Rouse had for some time planned to break away from his work as the manager of the village chemist's shop in Horsell, and that they had found that Douglas Rouse had had an appointment after he had left the Constitutional Club at which he might have paid out some of his £25. It was further noted that a man of his description was reported as having been seen at a hotel in Windsor on 30 July 1951 and also in Beaconsfield on 31 July 1951.

An open verdict was returned.


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


see Daily Herald - Tuesday 22 January 1952

see Daily Herald - Thursday 21 February 1952

see Daily Herald - Friday 25 January 1952

see Sunday Mirror - Sunday 03 February 1952