3rd January 1991

Missing parents are declared dead

At the time they were declared dead, on 3 January 1991, the fate of Elizabeth and Nicholas Newall was apparently still a mystery to all but their sons.

The couple had last been seen alive in October 1997, and sufficient time had passed by the start of 1991 for the Royal Court to feel confident in presuming them dead beyond reasonable doubt. It may have been helped in this decision by the discovery of blood stains in the lounge and bedroom of their home.

Their son Roderick Newall later admitted to killing them.

“Five years after their murder Roderick Newall was tricked into a tape-recorded confession by his father’s twin brother,” reported the BBC, “and after giving the police the slip he was eventually arrested sailing his boat in international waters. After fighting extradition from Gibraltar for fourteen months he was brought back to Jersey where he took police to the spot in Greve de Lecq woods where he and his brother had buried their parents’ bodies.

On 17 November 1993, The Times reported that Roderick’s brother, Mark, “yesterday admitted helping his brother to bury the bodies of their parents in a shallow grave on Jersey. Newall, 27, pleaded guilty through his lawyer at Jersey police court to aiding and abetting the burial after the couple were murdered by his elder brother Roderick.”

Mark maintained that he’d had nothing to do with the killings themselves.

Bodies discovered

Details of what had happened the night the parents had died eventually came to light. Press and broadcast stories reported that the brothers and their parents had been celebrating Elizabeth Newall’s 46th birthday with a family dinner at the Seacrest Hotel, close to Corbiere. When they returned home, Roderick Newall beat his father to death in the parents’ living room and did the same to his mother in the bedroom. Having disposed of the bodies and evidence, the brothers left Jersey for the mainland, but a week later Roderick was back and declared his parents missing.

The following year, police came across their first strong lead: burnt clothing stained with the parents’ blood. It was this that induced them to return to the family home for a closer examination, turning up blood spots that suggested the parents had been bludgeoned. Yet, according to the BBC, “despite extensive searches including help from the UK search dogs used in the Moors murders case, and a Guernsey medium, the bodies weren’t found.”

Parents declared dead

After three years, the parents were declared dead and the brothers inherited their estate, of a house and close to £1m. Another two years passed before the taped confession and the start of the lengthy extradition effort that brought Roderick back to Jersey to stand trial. His brother, Mark, returned from France and they faced the court together.

On 8 August 1994, Roderick Newall was jailed for life for bludgeoning his parents to death, and Mark was sentenced to six years for helping cover up the crime. Roderick served 12 years, and Mark served three.

The Times reported in 1994 that Roderick was to have his share of the inheritance confiscated, as a murderer cannot benefit from the victim’s death, but that Mark would be allowed to keep his after the withdrawal of legal action by Nicholas Newall’s twin brother, and Elizabeth Newall’s sister, to have him disinherited.


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Other events that occured in January