On the 20th April 1968 Roy Tuthill 14, left for school in Kingston, from his home in Wheelers Lane. His family was never to see him alive again. He left school at 3.30 dressed in the Kingston Grammar school uniform of a pink blazer with grey stripes. He caught the bus to Chessington, where as usual, he got off and attempted to hitch-hike home to Brockham. Later a bus ticket was found in his pocket confirming that he had made this 6d trip.
At 9.20pm that evening the police at Dorking were told that Roy was missing. The following day attempts were made to trace the missing boy. Photographs were taken to Tolworth and to Chessington Zoo and enquiries made with bus drivers to see if they could remember the missing boy. Many other enquiries were made including searching all the pill boxes close to Brockham to see if he was hiding there. On Friday the 22nd, at 1 p.m., forestry workers found Roy's body in a plantation near a private road at Mickleham. However, at 8.15 that morning when the foresters passed that spot there was no body there. The body was.' covered by the school blazer and stood out like a beacon.' A total of one hundred and fifty officers were involved in the enquiry, leading to the interview of 10,344 people.
A bus driver stopped on the Bridge Road roundabout and found that his bay was occupied by an Austin Westminster. The driver was leaning across the front and was speaking to a school boy, which was no doubt Roy Tuthill. This resulted in 18,000 drivers of Austin Westminster's being traced and interviewed across the UK. There were no computers, in those days and so all the records had to be searched manually and all the records maintained by hand on a card index. Over 1,000,000 car registration documents were examined by the Surrey Police.
The Tuthill enquiry carried on literally for years without anyone being charged with murder. In 1970 a TV programme, "Police Five featured the murder and this resulted in a one hundred and forty calls and fourteen letters but still no success. In 1989, a sergeant who had worked on the original enquiry, Vince McFadden was by then the Detective Chief Superintendent for Surrey. He interviewed a man at about that time who had admitted the murder. He had the right Austin Westminster car, and was a salesman who on that day had called at a shop alongside where Roy had last been seen.
Scientists were trying to develop DNA from stains on exhibits to prove the case. This again came to nothing. In 1998, detectives again considered the case to find out if any of the remaining evidence was able to be subjected with the now advanced DNA techniques. This again met with no success. The police never close a case of unsolved murder.
When in 2001 the murderer was finally convicted it was revealed that he had a white mini, in the boot of which Roy's body was carried. Twenty-eight witnesses were traced who could say that the body had not been dumped before 1pm. One woman said that she passed the spot at 11.10 that morning. As she approached she saw a dark green motorcar parked facing towards the private road. She is certain that there were at least four men in the car, including a white-faced youth. As she approached it drove off towards where the body was found. (When a final detection was made it is believed that Field dumped the body from his white mini. It is not known if he acted alone or was involved in a paedophile ring.) The pathologist Dr Keith Mant reported that the boy had been dead two to three days when he was found, but had not been at the spot where he had been found very long. Death was by strangulation with a rope ligature, and the boy had been raped. Several officers were sent to the scene to work with scenes of crime officers to undertake a thorough search of the area, known as Small Beech Copse, in the grounds of the home of Lady Beaverbrook, Cherkley Court.
In 1998, Detective Superintendent Brian Woodfield was again reviewing the case, hoping that advances in forensic science might yield that vital corroboration that will allow the murder finally to be solved. Again in 2000 Detective Superintendent Cook, reviewed the case and in 2001 there was success. A motorist was stopped in Birmingham for drink driving and a routine DNA swab was taken and entered into the national database. After all these years the murderer had been found. The drink driver's DNA matched that of the sample taken from Roy's clothing when the technological advances had allowed. Due for trial in November 2001 a senior officer said in October that Field would plead guilty to the murder but not to the sexual assault as he did not want to be branded a paedophile with all the consequences of that when kept in prison for a long time. Thursday 15 November 2001 was a good day as this was when Brian Field, by now sixty five admitted murdering Roy Tuthill and was sentenced to life in prison. When sentenced he showed no emotion. He had lived not far from Tolworth in Thames Ditton where he worked for the Milk Marketing Board as an engineer.
Both Roy's parents, Hilary and Dennis Tuthill of Wheelwrights Cottage in Wheelers Lane, died many years before, the mother never recovering from the death of her son. Roy's brother and sister both emigrated. The new investigation had been completed by bringing back together as many of the original murder squad that were alive, or could be found. Paddy Doyle who led the enquiry for Surrey came back to the UK from retirement in the Irish Republic and was to be given a commendation by the Chief Constable Dennis O'Connor - a nice touch. (Paddy Doyle lived in Brockham for some years)