Some people think they can get away with anything, and despite his many convictions Neville George Clevely Heath was one of them. He was well-educated, good-looking, and quite a charmer. Too late, his victims discovered he was also a suave sadist.

In 1936 he became an RAF officer, but his weakness for other people’s money soon landed him in court for passing dud cheques and other frauds. This led to his court-martial and dismissal from the RAF, but it didn’t stop him from joining the air force in South Africa, where he married and had a child, his wife subsequently divorcing him for desertion.

Deported in January 1946 following a series of further offences, he committed the first of his three known attacks on women in the following month. He took his victim to a room at London’s Strand Palace Hotel, where he knocked her out and stripped and bound her. But before he could do more, she came round and shouted for help.

She refused to press charges, and Heath moved on to his next victim, Margery Gardner, a 32-year-old 
film extra. On JUNE 26th, 1946, her mutilated body was found in a room
he had booked at the Pembroke Court Hotel in Notting Hill Gate in the names of Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. Heath. After stripping and binding Margery, he lacerated her sexually, flogged her with a whip, and suffocated her.

The police were still seeking him when he struck again a fortnight later after meeting 21-year-old Doreen Marshall at a Bournemouth hotel
where she was staying. Posing as Group Captain Rupert Brooke, he dined with her, sat talking to her in the hotel’s lounge until after midnight, and then went out with her. She did not return, and the hotel’s manager reported her missing two days later.

Instead of fleeing Bournemouth, Heath asked the police if they had a photograph of the missing girl. Then, still posing as Group Captain Rupert Brooke, he went to the police station to look at the photo and was recognised and arrested. He had left his belongings, including a bloodstained scarf and a metal-tipped whip, at Bournemouth West station.

On July 8th Doreen’s body was found in bushes in Branksome Dene Chine. Her throat had been cut and she had been sexually mutilated.

The 28-year-old killer was charged with the two murders, but was tried only for Margery Gardner’s. His defence of insanity was rejected, the Old Bailey jury found him guilty, and on October 16th, 1946, he was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint and Harry Kirk.