Surrey reporter key to child killer conviction

Davison:followed case from days as a young reporter

A long-running campaign by a regional weekly journalist to reopen the files into Surrey’s only unsolved child murder has resulted in a conviction 33 years after the crime was committed.

Brian Field pleaded guilty and was jailed for life at the Old Bailey on 15 November for the murder of schoolboy Roy Tutill.

Since 14-year-old Tutill was found strangled in April, 1968, near Leatherhead, the case has been featured in the Surrey Mirror and Leatherhead Advertiser each year and community editor Mark Davison has been following the story since 1973.

Early last year, the Advertiser, a Trinity Mirror title, ran a three-page spread on the case and queried whether, with new scientific methods being developed, the case could be looked at again.

Initially, the papers said there was a lukewarm reception from the Surrey Constabulary, but a few weeks later, a major re-investigation of the murder was set up. It coincided with further advances in DNA technology being developed at the National Crime Faculty in Hampshire.

Davison kept the pressure up and received a handful of correspondence from members of the public keen to provide new information.

He then wrote a feature for the National Association of Retired Police Officers’ monthly magazine. "It produced an amazing response from at least half a dozen retired detectives who wanted to help and were involved in the case in 1968," he said.

In February this year, Field, now 65, was arrested at his home in Solihull, West Midlands, and charged with the murder. Police are now looking at cases of other missing teenagers to see if there are links with Field, a serial sex offender.

"We were determined to keep this case in people’s mind. Thirty or more years without any justice is a long time. It is just sad that Roy’s mother and father are not alive to have seen justice done," said Davison.

Surrey Mirror editor Diane Flint said: "Mark is a reporter of the old-school variety. He keeps on probing and digging and networking his vast list of contacts and he never gives up.

"He has followed this case from his early days as a young reporter and I am in no doubt that Mark’s tenacity played a key part in finally solving this murder."

By Jean Morgan

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