Hooton Wood Tragedy – Brother Charged With Murder – Shocking Discovery

August 1926

The Times, Friday, August 6, 1926.

Brother Charged With Murder
Conisborough Girl’s Fate
Death In Hooton Woods
A Shocking Discovery


A youth of 24 years, Cecil Roodhouse, lately employed at Kilnhurst Colliery, has been charged with the wilful murder of his sister, Kathleen Roodhouse, 17 ½, whose body was found in Hooton Cliff Wood, near Hooton Roberts, on Sunday afternoon, after the young man had told the police where it was.

Cecil Roodhouse was bought before the magistrates at Rotherham West Riding Police Court on Monday.

Mr. E. Rose presided ans was accompanied on the Bench by Mr. T. Beeden. The prisoner was remanded until next Tuesday.

The inquest on the victim of the tragedy was opened on Tuesday at noon and adjourned.

Superintendent Horton said that the man was a miner, and his sister had been living in Conisborough   with her mother. He went there on Saturday and made some arrangements to take his sister to Rotherham. They left somewhere about 6-30 p.m., and instead of going to Rotherham, he took her to a wood at Hooton Roberts, and there her body was found on Sunday.

‘At 2.30 in the afternoon the prisoner went into the Rotherham Borough Police Office, and to Detective-office Miles he made a statement which implicated himself, and having made that statement, the police went with him to the spot indicated in this wood, where they found the dead body of the sister covered with branches and leaves and totally obscured from view. The Superintendent added, ‘She had evidently met her death by some wounds on the head, and marks on the throat suggested that she had been strangled.’

Detective-officer Miles said that he was in Rotherham Borough Police Office on Sunday afternoon about 2.30 when prisoner entered and said, ‘I have killed me sister.’ He cautioned him and he then made a long statement, which was taken down in writing. In that statement he told where the body could be found.

Acting upon that statement, witness went to Hooton Cliff Wood to the place indicated.

‘Prisoner took us within a few yards, and indicated the place where I should find it,’ the officer added. He subsequently handed the man over to the West Riding Police.

The body was covered over from view. It was under an older bush, lying partly on the right side, covered with branches and twigs, and there were wounds and marks on the body as described by the Superintendent.

The prisoner was asked if he had anything to say why he should not be remanded and in a reply which was scarcely audible he said ‘No, sir.’ He was then remanded until Tuesday in next week.

An Unfortunate Family.

The Roodhouse family, of which the dead girl was a member, has been very unfortunate. In recent years the mother, Mrs. Roodhouse, and her daughter Kathleen, have been living at 20, School terrace, Conisbro’. Cecil Roodhouse, the accused man, has lodged at the house of Mr. and Mrs. F. Barkers, his uncle and aunt, at 16, Dene crescent, East Dene, Rotherham. A younger son, Edgar, lives with another aunt, Mrs. Hill, who is a so the occupier of a house on the East Dene estate.

The husband of Mrs. Roodhouse was killed in the great disaster at Cadeby colliery in July, 1912. Cecil Roodhouse would then be about eleven years of age.

Cecil Roodhouse was born on June 12th, 1901, at Conisborough, but left Conisborough in infancy, when his family moved to another part of the district, and returned there in 1911, a year before the Cadeby disaster, in which his father was killed. He worked for a time in the brickyard at Conisborough, where he had his right hand mutilated in an accident with a machine. Afterwards he was employed at the Cadeby Colliery and at Edlington; and then went to sea as a fireman on a White Star liner. He returned to coal mining in November, 1925, and settled with his uncle at Rotherham. It is said that he had been a good deal depressed in account of the coal stoppage, and was thoroughly tired of being idle. He appears to have had no funds or relief throughout the stoppage.

Katheleen Roodhouse was born on March 6th, 1909, and is said to have been a bright, intelligent girl, robust and well built. For a time she lived with an aunt near Cambridge, but had been at home for some years, and was quite happy there. When she left home with her brother on Sunday, they seemed to be on the best of terms.

A Fatal Journey.

On Saturday, Cecil Roodhouse, who had not slept at his lodgings in Dene Crescent on Friday night, turned up at the home of his mother at Conisboro’. Since the commencement of the coal dispute he had been out of work, and there is no doubt that he was short of money.

There was some talk at Mrs. Roodhouse’s home about Kathleen going into service. She had been in employment for some time. It was understood that Cecil could find a place for her.

The two set off to go to Rotherham. Mrs. Roodhouse was under the impression that they would take an omnibus for the journey, but it is now clear that they walked until they came to Hooton Cliff Wood, where the journey for Kathleen came to a fatal end.

A Curious Note.

Cecil Roodhouse, having left the dead body of his sister in the wood, did not return to his lodgings at Dene Crescent. He spent the night in a lodging house.

Some time on Sunday forenoon, Mrs. Hill, the aunt who has the care of Edgar Roodhouse, a boy of 14 years, received a note, which appeared to have been sent by Cecil Roodhouse. The note has since been handed to the police, and no doubt it will be produced and read during the further proceedings.

In effect the note asked that Edgar, the boy, should be sent to see his older brother Cecil, as it would be the last chance he would would have. The writer of the note added that he intended to give himself up to the police, and hinted that the body of Kathleen would be found in Hooton Cliff Wood.

Some of the relatives of the family were so impressed with the contents of the note they set out for Hooton Cliff Wood in a motor car and made a search but could not find anything. The boy Edgar was not sent to meet his brother.

Police Station Visit.

About 3.30 p.m. on Sunday, Cecil Roodhouse went to the Rotherham Borough Police Station, and there made a long statement to Detective officer Frank Myles. A little later he was taken to the West Riding police office. He offered to show where the body of his sister lay. Four police officers went with Cecil Roodhouse to the wood. They were Chief Inspector Clayton Smith, Detective Officer F. Miles, of the Borough Force, and Inspector Wilson and Sergeant Culling, of the West Riding Constabulary.

The body was found in a place indicated by Cecil Roodhouse. Later in the day the young man was formally charged with the wilful murder of his sister.

Murder Charge Preferred.

A few minutes after 11 o’clock on Monday forenoon Cecil Roodhouse was brought before the magistrates in the lower court at the headquarters of the Rotherham West Riding Police. He had a very dejected appearance, and towards the end of the brief proceedings he seemed to have great difficulty in controlling his emotions.

Opening Of The Inquest.

Mother’s Story.

The inquest was opened at Rawmarsh Council Offices on Tuesday morning. A large crowd, mostly composed of women, assembled outside the offices, and watched the arrival of Mr. J. Kenyon-Parker, the District Coroner, and Supt. Horton, of the West Riding Police Force. Their curiosity was not appeased by the sight of the accused man, for he did not attend the proceedings.

Barely lasting twenty minutes, the inquiry was purely formal, the District Coroner stating that the inquest would be resumed on Tuesday next. August 10th at 12 o’clock. Mrs. Eleanor Roodhouse, widow, of 20, School Terrace, Old Road, Conisborough, mother of the dead girl, was present. She appeared very composed, and gave her evidence in a calm voice. She identified Kathleen as her daughter, and said that she was 17 years of age, and was unmarried. At the time of the tragedy she had not had any occupation. She had not been in domestic service, but had been staying with an aunt. Witness last saw her daughter alive on Saturday about 6.30 p.m. at her house. She went out of the house with her brother Cecil, who was the son of witness, Mrs. Roodhouse said she thought that they were going to Rotherham to their cousin for a few days, or a week or so. They intended to go by bus, and Kathleen had a parcel with straps on Cecil had no luggage. He had been staying with his uncle, Mr. F. Barker, 16, Dene Crescent, Rotherham. Kathleen was not going to stay with this uncle, and she intended to go to Mrs. Hampstead, 26 , Fitzwilliam Road, Rotherham.

In reply to the Coroner, Mrs. Roodhouse stated that her daughter was not insured.

Mr. F. Barker, 16, Dene Crescent, who did not give evidence during the hearing, appeared very distressed.

The Funeral.

A large and sympathetic crowd gathered outside Conisborough Cemetery on Thursday afternoon to witness the funeral of Kathleen Roodhouse, of 20, School Terrace, Conisborough, the 17 year old victim of the Hooton Roberts Wood tragedy. The crowd numbered about 2,000.

The service was conducted by the Vicar of Conisborough the Rev. W. A. Strawbridge.

The mourners included Mrs. E. Roodhouse (mother), Mr. A. Roodhouse, Miss M. Roodhouse, and Mr. E. Roodhouse (brothers and sisters), Mrs. Hill (Rotherham), Mr. and Mrs. V. Roodhouse, Mrs. E. Roodhouse, and Mr. and Mrs. F. Barker (unles and aunts), Mr. R. Lowe, Mrs. Glasby and Mr. P Lowe (Sheffield), Mr. C. Roodhouse and Miss I. Roodhouse (Rawmarsh), Mrs. Shearstone and Mrs. Hampstead, Rotherham (cousins).

There were several beautiful floral tributes.