Sixty-eight-year-old Derek Severs and his wife Eileen, 69, had to admit to one failure in their otherwise successful lives. They had given their only son Roger a public school education, rented him a flat and spent thousands settling his debts, but he had turned out to be nothing but a sponging waster and cheat. He was now 37 and seemed unlikely ever to change.

Derek Severs, a six-foot, 20-stone retired ICI executive, lived more than comfortably with his wife in the Leicestershire village of Hambleton, overlooking Rutland Water, and but for Roger the couple’s retirement would have been idyllic. Never keeping a job for more than a few months, their son had been a barman, crop-sprayer and an ironmonger’s shop assistant. But that wasn’t what he told the women who answered his “lonely heart” advertisements. To them he was a businessman, a hospital consultant and even a gynaecologist.

He had fathered a child during his last relationship, which was with a woman whose hotel he had “helped” to run. Instead he had helped himself to the takings, leaving her thousands of pounds in debt.

Between each failed relationship he had returned to his parents to sponge off them, and his latest affair was no exception. But this time it was different. His parents had wanted a grandchild, and Eileen Severs doted on her two-year-old grandson. If Roger didn’t repair his relationship with the child’s mother, his parents told him, they would not give him another penny and they would leave everything to his son.

Roger faked a suicide attempt in an effort to change their minds, but they were adamant. They’d had enough, they told him. If he didn’t patch things up with their grandchild’s mother, it was goodbye.

So he planned their murder, making a list of 14 things he must remember to do, like cleaning-up their bathroom and Rover car afterwards.

It was in the bathroom that he attacked his mother on the evening of NOVEMBER 13th, 1993, when he found her alone in the bungalow, his father having gone out for a drink.

Roger struck her eight times with a heavy steak-mallet which fractured her skull. Then as she lay dying he awaited his father, attacking him with the mallet as he got out of his car. Ten blows later he was satisfied that his father was dead, and he loaded the bodies into the couple’s Rover, drove to a wood a few miles away and buried them.

He told conflicting stories to explain his parents’ disappearance, and their worried friends alerted the police. Detectives questioned Roger, and were dissatisfied with his answers. Searching his parents’ home, they found not only bloodstains but also his check-list. He was charged with murder, and the distinctive mud under the Rover’s wheel-arches led officers to the wood where the bodies were discovered.

At his trial Roger Severs admitted killing his parents but denied murder, claiming diminished responsibility. But the police had found him to be a pathological liar, and the jury reached the same conclusion. On December 6th, 1994, they found him guilty and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.