Previous posts for this serial:
~ Accident or Murder?
The community of Watchfield was fraught in suspicion and both relations and neighbours were concerned by the mysterious disappearance of Rhoda Ann Carter (formerly Rhoda Ann Titcombe). The answers to questions of Rhoda’s whereabouts and the events of the past few days, provided by her husband John Carter were unfathomably bizarre and certifiably untrue. Police Constable Charles Sparkes, of Shrivenham, was called to seek satisfaction in this case!
That Saturday evening, Constable Sparkes called on John Carter to inquire after Rhoda. John insisted that his wife had left for her sister’s home in Eastleach Friday morning. He explained that he and Rhoda had argued the evening before. She had planned to fetch her sister and bring her back to stay with them during her confinement. “I had told her, you won’t. I married you to look after my children. I says to her if you go you stop there; don’t you come back here again!”, Carter claimed. Constable Sparkes had known Rhoda for many years and knew her to be short-tempered, perhaps this explanation bore a resemblance to the truth. When asked if Carter expected his wife to return, he replied that she was expected to return by carrier on Tuesday.
Rhoda’s mother, still concerned, accompanied Cst. Sparkes into the Carter cottage and indicated that her daughter’s belongings were all accounted for beyond one set of clothing. Rhoda had left with nothing but the clothes on her back! Cst. Sparkes felt the need to investigate further as Rhoda’s mother accused Carter of “doing her daughter in”!
A trip to East leach revealed that Rhoda’s sister Jane Weatley and her husband David had not been visited by Rhoda. Carter’s story, an obvious concoction, while Sparkes was away, Carter bolted. Found in a meadow outside Watchfield, Carter is arrested. It was thanks to John Carter’s brother James that the police were able to track him. James, on a milk run, had encountered his brother John. and upon inquiring what he had been up to was told, “I did kill my wife and bury her in the blacksmith shop.” This statement from James and his direction made John’s arrest possible but it was the gruesome evidence, later discovered by Cst. Sparkes and Sergeant Benning from Uffington, which would soon seal the fate of John Carter and resolve the mystery of Rhoda Ann Carter’s disappearance…the body buried under the out building used as a stable! This evidence would be detailed at the coroner’s inquest!
The case continued next Thursday!