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Alfred Arthur Rouse

Kill Total:


Kill place:


Kill date:

5th November 1930


unknown man

Date of Birth:

6th April 1894

Marital Status:



Blazing Car Murderer


Sales traveller

5th November 1930, Rouse picked up a hitch-hiker, parked up in a country lane in Northamptonshire, he knocked his passenger out, and then burnt his car with the man inside.

As he was leaving the scene he was seen by two men, after the men saw the car on fire they reported this to the police and they gave a description of the stocky man they had seen, that was then circulated to the press, who printed a sketch of the wanted man.


Miss Phyllis Jenkins, from Glamorgan, bought a copy of the 'Daily Sketch' with the description of the incident. She showed it to a man who had arrived the night before, who had told her that his car had been stolen near Northampton.

He denied that it was his car. The man was Rouse and Phyllis' sister, Ivy, was his pregnant girlfriend. The 'Daily Sketch' the next day carried more details, including Rouse's name. He returned to London by bus on 7th November, but gossip about his visit and departure had reached the ears of Cardiff police. They quickly informed Scotland Yard and, when he got off the bus at Victoria Bus Station, he was met by police.


In his story to police he told detectives that he had been travelling overnight to Leicester and had picked up a hitchhiker. He had taken a wrong turn and found himself in Hardingstone Lane. At that point he decided to stop for a nap. He had got out of the car to relieve himself and asked his passenger to fill the petrol tank with the contents of a can that was in the car. The man had then, according to Rouse, asked him if he had something he could smoke.

Rouse, a non-smoker, conveniently had a cigar with him and he had given it to the man. This seemed to the police to be a little strange. Rouse went on to say that he had left the car and walked over 200 yards to relieve himself. It was strange but he had taken his suitcase with him on this call of nature. He said that on his way back he saw the car burst into flames. He said he tried to reach the man trapped in the car but had failed and panicked.



26th January 1931, At Northampton Assizes. Technical evidence was given that showed that the carburettor had been tampered with before the fire had started and Rouse's fate was sealed.

The trial took six days the jury retired to consider their verdict taking just 75 minutes to return a guilty verdict.

The case is unusual in legal history because the identity of the victim was never known and therefore Rouse was convicted of the murder of an unknown man.


10th March 1931, Rouse was hanged at Bedford prison by Tom Pierrepoint.



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