Did this man kill other children?

by BEN TAYLOR, Daily Mail

A murderer who escaped justice for 33 years may be one of Britain's worst child sex attackers, police believe.

Brian Field, 65, was finally jailed for life yesterday for the 1968 murder of 14-year- old Roy Tutill.

Detectives think he may have claimed other victims in the three decades before he was trapped by a DNA sample given after a drink-driving conviction.

The files on up to 25 unsolved child murders and dozens of other attacks on young boys could now be reopened.

These include the case of a 15-year-old found hanged near Field's home in 1984 and the disappearance of two schoolboys in the same area in 1996.

Officers from across the UK have held a special conference to discuss Field and his past. Detective Inspector Chuck Burton, who runs a national register of child murders and sex assaults, calls him one of the most dangerous offenders he has met.

Field has been convicted on five separate occasions since Roy's death, of offences ranging from indecency to kidnap. But there are fears that other victims did not live to identify him.

The judge who jailed the twice-married former Royal Marine yesterday told him: 'I have no doubt you sought to destroy the sole source of evidence against you'.

The Old Bailey had heard that Field spotted Roy as he hitchhiked home from his Surrey grammar school - the teenager was saving the bus fare towards a train set.

Field sexually assaulted him before strangling him with a rope.

He hid Roy's corpse in the boot of his white Mini before driving home to see his wife and new-born son. Three days later, he disposed of the body at a private estate in Surrey.

As the massive police hunt went on, Field and his family moved away from the area.

Four years later, while serving his first prison term - for attempted abduction and indecent assault on a boy of 14 - he was questioned by Surrey police about Roy's murder. Field denied it and there was nothing the detectives could do.

But the Tutill case was reopened in the 1990s as advances in DNA increased the possibility of obtaining a profile from samples taken from Roy's clothes.

Finally, in January this year, a match was made with Field's profile on the national database. He had given a DNA sample following an arrest for drink-driving.

Silver-haired Field, of Solihull, West Midlands, is now likely to be questioned over the disppearance of David Spencer, 13, and his friend Patrick Warren, 11, on Boxing Day, 1996. They vanished a few miles from his home.

Another file likely to be reopened is that of Mark Billington, 15, who was found hanged in November 1984 in a wood in Meriden, near Solihull.

West Midlands Police confirmed last night that they was actively reinvestigating the Billington murder and remained 'open minded' about the disappearanceof the two boys. Field has already been questioned about an assault on a seven-year-old boy on the M4 in 1998 and an attempted assault on a 14-year-old in Surrey in 1999.

Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, who led the fresh inquiry into Roy Tutill's death, said: 'We have to look carefully at the last three decades of Field's life, bearing in mind that he had carried out his first murder as early as 1968.'

Field spoke only twice in court yesterday - to confirm his name and to plead guilty to the murder 33 years ago.

Judge Gerald Gordon described the killing as ' particularly obnoxious'.

He added: 'These acts and their consequences must have haunted his parents for the rest of their lives and the family must still suffer.

'When you strangled him, I have no doubt you sought to destroy the sole source of evidence against you. Thirty-three years later, you have been proved wrong.

The judge warned that advances in scientific techniques 'should stand as a warning that there is no hiding place for sexual and violent criminals'.

Roy's aunt Monique Guerin said: 'Justice has been done at last. It is a shame Roy's parents had to go to their graves not knowing that.'

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now