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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 18:04 GMT
Man jailed for 1968 schoolboy murder
Brian Field in 2001
Brian Field: 'A danger to society'
A 65-year-old farm labourer from the Midlands has been jailed for life for the murder, 33 years ago, of schoolboy Roy Tutill.

The 14-year-old was abducted, raped and strangled in 1968 as he hitch-hiked to his Surrey home from school so he could save his bus fare to pay for a new bicycle.

Divorced Brian Field, from Solihull, West Midlands, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the 33-year-old murder - thought to be the longest period between a crime being committed and solved.

Police believe Field may be responsible for other murders and police forces around the country are expected to examine dozens of cases of missing children and hundreds of unsolved sex attacks.

Roy Tutill
Roy Tutill was hitch-hiking home
Jailing grey-haired Field, Judge Gerald Gordon told him that he had killed a "normal, happy, healthy boy" and that the evidence against him had been "overwhelming".

After satisfying his desires and hiding the body in his car boot, Field had returned to his wife and newborn baby.

The judge said: "These acts and their consequences must have haunted his parents for the rest of their lives and the rest of the family must still suffer from what you did.

"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."

Killed in 'panic'

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

Wendy Joseph QC, told the court that tests had shown Roy had been strangled from behind with a rope and had been sexually assaulted.

She said: "He described the boy convulsing, gasping for air and said he carried on until Roy suddenly went lifeless."

Adrian Fulford QC, defending, said Field had told police he killed the boy "as a result of panic".

Field had lived with a "terrible, corrosive and all-consuming secret" over the years, he said.

DNA speck

Field, a loner with previous convictions for attacking boys, is believed by detectives to have been one of Britain's most dangerous paedophiles.

He was trapped only after a tiny speck of DNA was matched to him when he was stopped by police for drink-driving in the Midlands.

Field killed Roy to "eradicate a witness" and police fear other boys may have met the same fate.

West Midlands Police in particular are believed to be looking at unexplained deaths or disappearances in the area.

Other cases

Among them are the mysterious disappearances of David Spencer, 13, and Patrick Warren, 11, who were last seen in Chelmsley Wood, near Field's home, on Boxing Day 1996.

It was thought they had run away.

They are also understood to be reopening the inquiry into the death of 15-year-old Mark Billington found hanged from a tree seven miles from his home.

His parents always maintained he had probably been attacked by a man who murdered him.

Scene of where Roy Tutill's body was found
The scene where the boy's body was found
The murder of Roy Tutill remained Surrey's only unsolved child murder until Field's arrest in February this year.

The Kingston Grammar School pupil, known to his friends as Tutts, went missing after leaving the school on April 23 1968 at 3.30pm.

He boarded a bus with friends for the start of his 15-mile journey home - but hitch-hiked after a few miles as he was saving towards a new bicycle.

He was last seen trying to stop a car in Chessington, close to his home in the village of Brockham Green, near Dorking, Surrey.

Stored body

His body was discovered nearby in a copse at the entrance to the late press baron Lord Beaverbrook's estate at Mickleham, Surrey, three days later.

His clothing, including his red and grey striped school blazer, were found folded across his body.

After his arrest, Field confessed to killing Roy with a rope and keeping the body in the boot of his white Mini car before dumping it.

He moved from Surrey shortly afterwards and travelled around Britain as a farm machine repair man.

Police exhibits
Police exhibits including the boy's school bag
Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook said outside the court: "By his plea of guilty, Brian Field has publicly admitted that he is a very dangerous person.

"When you take into account his previous criminal history, it leaves you in no doubt what a danger he poses to society and in particular, to young boys."

Police appealed for any other possible victims over the last 30-odd years to come forward.

West Midlands police said that its officers had liaised with their counterparts in Surrey.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "We have been liaising with colleagues at Surrey Constabulary and we will be examining the possibility of links between Field and other uncleared matters.

"One such matter is the death of Mark Billington, which is now being reinvestigated.

"We are open-minded about the disappearance of Patrick Warren and David Spencer, but this remains a missing persons inquiry."

The BBC's Stephen Cape
"Detectives are investigating whether Brian Field is responsible for other suspicious deaths"
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