THE SAVAGE SURGEON
“Red stains on the carpet,
Red stains on your knife
Oh, Dr Buck Ruxton,
You murdered your wife.
The nursemaid saw you,
And threatened to tell,
Oh, Dr Ruxton, you killed her as well.”
Our first story takes us back to the year 1935: with questions of adultery, a well-known surgeon, a beaten housewife and a maid in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Inside these very doors that we stand before, was the scene of a most foul act.
A well renowned and popular surgeon of his time, Dr Buck Ruxton, later to be known as the Savage Surgeon, practised medicine in Lancaster. To all who knew him he was well liked: amiable, trustworthy, caring: often letting patients off from paying who couldn’t afford the fees.
However, behind these doors, the most publicised murders of 1930’s took place.
Buck Ruxton, a man born into privilege in Mumbai, settled in Lancaster in 1930, with his wife Isabella. He quickly established Dalton Square Medical practise, and he and his wife quickly became a family of 5, with two daughters and one son. To help look after the children, Buck and his wife Isabella hired a maid: Mary Jane Rogerson, who, by taking on this job; unknowingly had signed her own death certificate.
Over the years the local police team became very familiar with the Ruxton’s, with allegations of assault regularly accruing from Isabella, screaming arguments regarding questions of her fidelity to Buck could be heard throughout the whole street, and regularly Isabella would leave Buck, backs packed heading to her sisters with the children. However, sadly she returned time and time again.
One fateful night, the early hours of 15th September 1935, Isabella returned home after visiting the Blackpool illuminations with her family. Sadly, those lights were to be her last memories of this earth.
When she walked through the door. Buck was waiting. Overwhelmed by jealousy and paranoia Buck lunged at her, his large surgical hands wrapping around her throat…as the air drained from her body. Not satisfied by this, he grabbed a knife, stabbing and beating her repeatedly, crushing bones and mutilating organs. Sadly, for Mary the maid; disturbed by the noises she would have interrupted the scene. A completely innocent victim placed in the situation by pure chance…lay dying as bucks hands suffocated her into silence. The autopsy reports indicate that the amount of blood at the scene suggests that both victims were alive as he mutilated their corpses; and that the mutilation took 8 whole hours.
Chopping up the body parts into smaller chunks, removing fingerprints and nails, peeling skin away, burning teeth and hair. Deep cleaning his house to remove all traces of his ghastly crime. And driving all the way up to Moffat in Scotland to dispose what remains were left.
A surgical man thought he could organise the perfect crime scene….only to be thwarted by his own work.
Inside this bag is the key information that led the police on his trial….who wants to take a peak? (show bag – when people look in open and things fly out – inside bag is extracts from a local newspaper).
The bodies were wrapped in many things, partly in Sunday Graphic newspaper… a national newspaper. However, this edition was one only ever published in Lancaster and Morecambe…the net grew smaller.
Missing persons reports matched up with forensic examination of the bodies, a cyclist knocked over by Buck on his way back from Scotland filled a report to the police, clothing on the deceased was matched by family members, and on searching the house pools of blood were found under floorboards, carpets and railings.
The doctors time was up. Proclaiming his innocence throughout he was found guilty by jury of the murder of Isabella and Mary and hanged at HR prison Manchester on 12th May 1936.
Some say on a quiet evening, just past midnight…if you stand in the square you can still hear the screams…. A handwritten note was left to be opened after his death: confessing his guilt to the two murders