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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Resentful of his parents' refusal to support him
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: November 13, 1993
Date of arrest: 6 days after
Date of birth: 1956
Victim profile: His father, Derek, 68, and his mother, Eileen, 69
Method of murder: Hitting with a steak mallet
Location: Hambleton, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to two life sentences in prison on December 6, 1994

At Nottingham Crown Court 38-year-old Roger Severs was described by a defence witness as "an inadequate psychopath" during his trial for the murder of his mother and father. Severs was unemployed and, although he lived with his parents, they refused to help him financially.

On 13th November 1993 Severs, resentful of his parents' refusal to support him, returned from a drinking session and battered his 69-year-old mother, Eileen, to death with a steak mallet in their bungalow in Hambleton, Leicestershire. When his 68-year-old father, Derek, returned home he too was attacked and beaten to death.

The bodies were put in the family car and taken to Armley Wood and buried. Severs made up a series of stories to try and account for the disappearance of his parents but the bodies were discovered three weeks after the killings on 1st December.

Severs admitted the killings and tried to claim diminished responsibility at the time of the killings but the jury took just two hours to find him guilty on both counts of murder. On 6th December 1994 Severs was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Parent killer

Derek and Eileen Severs were pillars of their community in Hambleton, Leicestershire. Derek was a successful businessman and Eileen had been awarded an MBE for her charity work. Their son Roger, however, was less successful. He had no career to speak of, lived off his parents all his life and stood to inherit their fortune.

On 18 November 1993, Mr and Mrs Severs disappeared. For a week there was no word from them. They missed appointments and failed to meet friends. It was totally out of character.

On visiting the Severs' plush bungalow on the Hambleton peninsular the police noticed the state of the house was out of keeping with couple's character. They were meticulously tidy, yet the place was a bit of a mess and the carpets had been removed from two rooms.

Everyone seemed worried about the couple's disappearance, apart from Roger. He maintained they were on holiday. Yet there was no evidence of them having planned any trip, and they had made several appointments in the village for that week. From that point on, police were suspicious and Roger was arrested two days later on suspicion of murder.

Scenes of crime officers conducted a forensic search of the house. In the bathroom, they found blood. It was spattered in such a way that it could only have been the result of a violent attack. An attempt had been made to clean it up, but it wasn't good enough. The forensic team found similar blood traces near the garage. They had evidence of two very violent attacks.

Along the hallway carpets in the house, they found a trail of yellow fibres. The 'rolled' appearance of these fibres showed they had been left by something heavy being dragged over the carpet. The blood and fibre trails continued inside the car.

The car was muddy, inside and out. Again, this was entirely out of keeping with Mr Severs' fastidious nature. He kept the car immaculate. It seemed the car had been driven somewhere, probably off road, and probably with the bodies in the back. But where? If police could trace the mud that had built up on the car, then they might be able to find the bodies.

Samples were taken from the wheel arches and footwells of the car. Detailed examination showed the mud had been accumulated recently, off-road, and over a short period of time.

Further analysis revealed the mud contained quartz, calcite, ironstone, chert and coated road stone. This suggested an unmade-up road in the East Leicestershire region. The organic matter in the sample showed two dozen varieties of plant life such as grasses, oak, alder and hawthorn leaves and moss. You would expect to find such a combination of trees in a wood, but the sample included some relatively unusual species such as horse chestnut.

Naturalists were able to narrow down the origins of the mud to two areas of woodland, one on and the other adjacent to, the Hambleton peninsula. The presence of a littel piece of fishing line allowed them to be even more specific - the bodies were likely to be located close to the water's edge.

As police searched one of the locations, an officer noticed some broken twigs and branches. Nearby, there was a pile of disturbed soil - different in colour from the surrounding forest floor. The officer poked his hand into the mound. His fingers closed around cold human skin.

The mound was carefully excavated using archaeological techniques. Police found the bodies of Mr and Mrs Severs. She was wrapped in a yellow blanket. Both had had their heads smashed in - possibly with a mallet.

The earth that had been piled on top of the bodies was shown to have come from the Severs' garden. There was also a potato whose origin, an expert testified, was from Mr Severs' vegetable patch.

Roger had dragged the bodies to the woods and dumped them in an existing hollow. Then he had returned to the house and filled bags with soil from the garden. He made several journeys, using the car to shift two and a half tones of soil and debris from the house to the woods. He piled this soil on top of the bodies and then disguised this disturbance with nearby leaves and twigs.

That left the clean up. He tore up the blood-stained carpets and probably burnt some of the murder evidence - as police found there had recently been a bonfire in the garden. He did his best with Jeyes fluid in the garage and bathroom. He planned the clean up carefully and even left a list of chores he needed to do - clean the car, clean the bathroom, put out the fire. Had the police not arrested him so promptly, perhaps he could have done a better job. Luckily for the police, he hadn't got round to cleaning mud from the car - the mud that led police straight to the bodies.

A year after he had murdered his parents, Roger Severs was convicted and given two life sentences at Nottingham Crown Court


  • 13 Nov 1993 - The last sightings of Eileen and Derek Severs. At 13.30pm Eileen left a charity bazaar and at 15.30pm Derek left a local pub.

  • 14 November 1993 -Roger Severs delivers raffle prizes to two locals on behalf of his mother, who he claimed was sitting in the car outside waiting for him. Witnesses later told police that Roger was in the car alone.

  • Thursday 18 November -Concerned friends contact Leicestershire Police about the disappearance of Derek and Eileen Severs.

  • 19 November 1993 - Police visit Derek and Eileen's home. Police meet Roger and arrest him on suspicion of murder later that day. A detailed search and forensic examination of the Severs' bungalow begins.

  • 20 November 1993 - Severs' car. They find a trail of yellow fibres throughout the bungalow, distributed as if something had been dragged through the various rooms

  • 23 November 1993 - Police charge Roger with the murder of his parents. Eileen and Derek's bodies have not yet been discovered.

  • 1 December 1993, 9.15am - The bodies of Mr and Mrs Severs are discovered in Armley Wood on Hambleton Peninsular.

  • November 1994 - At Nottingham Crown Court, Roger Severs is found guilty of murdering his parents, and receives two life sentences


The victims

Derek, 68, and his wife, Eileen, 69



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