Infamous ‘Jigsaw Murders’ case being made into TV drama

A notorious double murder case solved by pioneering forensic experts is being made into a television drama.

By EEN Reporter
Friday, 24th April 2020, 11:42 am
Updated Friday, 24th April 2020, 11:43 am

The grisly deaths of Edinburgh women Isabella Kerr and Mary Rogerson made headlines around the world after a motorist stumbled across human remains near the Devil’s Beef Tub close to Moffat in Dumfries-shire, in September 1935, sparking a massive police investigation.

Following a huge search, more than 80 body parts – including two severed heads – were found, each neatly bundled up in newspapers, wrapping paper and sheets, and scattered. Teeth and fingertips had been removed to prevent identification.

The case, which became known as “The Jigsaw Murders”, led eventually to the hanging of Dr Buck Ruxton – originally Bukhtyar Rustomji Rantanji Hakim from Bombay in India – who emigrated to Canada before moving to the Capital.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Doctor Buck Ruxton murdered both his wife and maid.

He was already married but struck up a relationship with Isabella and took her as his common-law wife. They had three children and hired Mary, her childhood friend, as a maid and nanny, and he set up in practice in Lancaster. Suspicion fell on Ruxton after Isabella and Mary were reported missing to police in the Capital.

Scientists from Edinburgh and Glasgow universities examined maggots found on the bodies to determine the date of the killings and reconstructed the victims’ bodies, leading to Ruxton’s conviction and hanging in Manchester at the age of 36 in May 1936.

A new TV series will be based on author Jeremy Craddock’s book The Jigsaw Murders: The True Story of the Ruxton Killings and the Birth of Modern Forensics, which is due to be published next year. It will be made by Tod Productions and STV Productions.

Elaine Collins, managing-director of Tod Productions, said: “Jeremy Craddock is a hugely talented writer, who is not only determined to excavate this brutal story and the consequent scientific breakthroughs that still influence today’s forensics, but to give an unprecedented voice to Buxton’s female victims.”

Mr Craddock, a journalism lecturer, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that The Jigsaw Murders has been optioned for TV by Elaine Collins and Tod Productions. I am a huge fan of her work, especially Shetland and Vera, and I feel privileged that she has seen potential in my work.

“This is a story that has haunted me since I was a child, a landmark case that changed the way forensic pathologists help to solve murders.

“Most previous accounts focus solely on the lurid aspects, ignoring the human drama behind it all. My book – and hopefully a TV drama – will tell the full story of the people behind the sensational headlines for the first time.”

David Mortimer, managing director of STV Productions, said: “We’re thrilled to have Tod as part of the STV Productions family and The Jigsaw Murders is a fantastic addition to their already strong development slate of distinctive, high quality shows.”

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Frank O'Donnell

Editorial Director