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Kevan Roberts




Kill Total: 1

Kill date:

21 August 1997

Kill Place:

Eccles Norfolk




Shop Keeper


Thomas Marshall
D.O.B. 1985




Norwich Crown Court
Case No:  


Mr Justice Smedley


Charles Wide QC








21st August 1997, 12 year old Thomas Marshall left his home in Happisburghn Norfolk, around 5:45pm, to cycle to a friends house close by. When he was late coming home his parents called the friends house to discover Thomas had never arrived, in a panic, they immediately called the police.


22nd August 1997, Police had launched a search, but it was a friend of Thomas, that discovered his dismantled bicycle in woods at Drunsterad Common at 3pm.


At around 5pm a passer-by discovered Thomas' body in a lay-by at Rowdham Heath, near Thetford 50 miles away from the family home.

Thomas had been strangled with his black shoelace necklace and black round-necked T-shirt. Other marks suggested he may have been sexually abused.


Police launched a massive investigation, but after a year it was scaled back, with no real leads of interviewing many hundreds of people.


Roberts ran a local newsagents shop in nearby Eccles village, it appears that Thomas and some other friends frequented the shop, and that a relationship between Thomas and Roberts may have developed. Once arrested police found many disturbing pornographic images of children on his computer, he was openly gay, but had not had contact with police over any paedophile concerns, although in 1995 he had been cautioned about letting two teenage boys use his property for making graphic films.

On a search of his property, including the flat behind the shop where he lived, a small bead being an identical match to one from Thomas' shoes was found in his kitchen sink U-bend.


A  neighbour of Roberts confirmed she saw the shopkeeper in his garden standing over an upturned mountain bike around the time Thomas vanished.


September 1998,

Police believe that Thomas may have threatened to expose Roberts, and it was this fear that pushed him to him becoming a killer.


8th December 1999,

Roberts pleaded not guilty.

But a jury found him guilty of murder.


Sentencing Roberts, to life imprisonment,  Judge Mr Justice Smedley said:-
There is only one sentence I can pass,” the judge told Roberts. “You have been found guilty by the jury of strangling to death a young boy of 12.
“You described him to a witness as ‘not an angel’. “I have no doubt he was not – very few 12-year-olds are.
“But he didn’t deserve to die in the appalling way you treated him.”




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