The identity of a Northampton murder victim who has remained anonymous for the past 84 years could be revealed live on BBC1’s The One Show.
The case of the ‘Blazing Car Murder’, which took place in Hardingstone in 1930, has gone down in Northamptonshire folklore as one of the county’s most gruesome crimes.
Alfred Rouse was convicted, and later hanged, at Bedford Jail in March 1931, for knocking his victim unconscious with a mallet and then burning him to death inside a Morris Minor car.
The victim has never been identified and is buried in an unmarked grave in Hardingstone cemetery.
Two years ago, the relatives of William Briggs contacted Northamptonshire Police after they found out their ancestor had left his family home in London to attend a doctor’s appointment shortly before the murder and was never seen or heard of again.
With the help of Northamptonshire Police, the family contacted University of Leicester academic, Dr John Bond OBE.
He and Dr Lisa Smith negotiated with The Royal London Hospital museum to allow one of the remaining tissue samples to be examined.
University of Leicester worked with the Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science to carry out DNA analysis on the samples to see if there was a match from the sample and the relatives.
The result is due to be revealed to the family on the BBC’s The One Show later this year.
Dr John Bond, from the University of Leicester, said: “It’s been very interesting and rewarding working on such a famous, local murder case.
“It was quite a unique investigation to be involved in, as the perpetrator had been identified long ago and brought to justice while the victim’s identity remained unknown.
“It was a great example of how the scientific and criminological expertise at the University of Leicester and Northumbria University, working together with the police, could provide answers to this family after 83 years.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Phillips, from Northamptonshire Police, said: “Our work at Northamptonshire Police is victim focused so I was delighted to learn of new opportunities to establish the identity of the victim through the development of forensic science.”