Skip to main content

The murder of Beverley Rowbotham ... Suspects, Persons of Interests, Coincidence.

Talk about a rush to judgement ...

In a case with no witnesses, no motive, no murder weapon and, if what was presented in court is any guide, NO EVIDENCE AT ALL, the RCMP considered the murder of Beverley Rowbotham solved within 3 weeks.

Their conclusion: the husband done it because we can't find anyone else to pin it on and we got other stuff to do.

(See Part One -
There must be a public inquiry into the bungled trial of Mark Stobbe http://blackrod.blogspot.ca/2012/03/there-must-be-public-inquiry-into.html )

Now we'll be the first to say that police always know more than they tell the public, and that its a losing bet to armchair quarterback a police investigation on the basis of years of CSI, Criminal Minds and Law-and-Order (all versions). But when they try to send a man to prison for the rest of his life based on a case so thin that it's invisible to the naked eye, the onus reverses and the two teams of RCMP investigators involved in the case better start talking about how and why they made the recommendation to prosecute.

Beverley Rowbotham was killed in her back yard in the early evening of October 24, 2000. It was an especially vicious attack. Trial testimony was that she had been hit 16 times with, likely, a hatchet, which is a small hand axe.

The jury was told one blow came after she had been placed in the back of her car in the garage. Yes, years of CSI tell us that conclusion would be the result of blood spatter in the vehicle. The medical examiner said 14 blows were delivered as Rowbotham was on the ground. Two axe cuts were in her left shoulder, and two fingers were severed, probably as she flung her hand behind her head to block the axe.

One axe blow to the head is still unaccounted for in this reconstruction. Obviously, that's the one that felled her.

A photo of her skull shows deep cuts to the bottom of her skull just above the neck. Skull fragments were found scattered in the back yard. Interestingly, there appeared to be no blows to the top of her head. That's surprising, since that's the biggest target for someone hitting a victim in the head with an axe.

Beverley Rowbotham was dragged or carried to the garage and put in the back seat. Police were mystified at the lack of blood at the scene, both outside in the yard and inside the garage. One officer said the amount of blood in the garage was what you might expect from a nose bleed, not someone chopped in the head 15 times with an axe.

A photo of the interior of the garage is deceptive. Its full of police evidence markers. While the markers suggest a lot of blood, each one only marks a drop. But Rowbotham's body was leaking blood heavily, soaking the back seat and dripping out of the bottom of the car after it was abandoned.

RCMP originally released a false story, saying Rowbotham's wedding ring and shoes were missing. The ring was gone, but the shoes were actually in the car, placed beside the body.

Somebody at the RCMP knew enough about criminal profiling, or had watched enough TV, to conclude that the attack was typical of an offender filled with rage and hatred. Its a sad commentary on modern society, and police thinking, that that invariably means the husband.

The only problem with pinning the crime on Mark Stobbe was that there wasn't one iota of evidence of discord between him and his wife. No witnesses to loud arguments, no whispered laments to her sisters, no hidden notes saying "in the event of my death, investigate my husband." That didn't prevent the Crown attorney from declaring the crime was a crime of passion, an attack by a hate-filled husband who lost it because his wife missed Saskatchewan, where they lived before he got a job with the Manitoba government.

It sounds ridiculous now and it was just as hollow in the three weeks the RCMP were making their case against Stobbe.

The RCMP may have been certain Stobbe was the killer, but nobody else who saw the evidence they collected was. Alberta prosecutors who reviewed the file were clear: you don't have a case.

Instead of reassessing the investigation, the RCMP kept trying to reframe it to nail Stobbe.

And it doing so, did they overlook other, equally viable suspects?

The handyman.

He had the means, i.e. a hatchet. The weapon used to kill Beverley Rowbotham was never found. Early in the trial, the Crown called the handyman hired by Mark Stobbe to fix things around the house, to say there had been a hatchet on the premises. In fact, he testified, he had sharpened the hatchet himself.

Stobbe eventually parted ways with the handyman because he was unsatisfied with his work and it was costing a lot of money. But Robotham's sister testified that Bev had mentioned that the handyman creeped her out. She also said that of the couple, it was Bev who had a temper and who was often short with people, not her husband Mark.

Did she have a run-in with the handyman? As we said before, we have to believe the RCMP checked his alibi for the night of the murder up, down and sideways, and he was eliminated as a suspect.

The neighbour.

Motive, anyone? A neighbour of the Stobbe's pops up as a person of interest because of his interesting relations with residents in the area. It appears the man was trying to buy up various parcels of land that had been one large farm before it was sold off in pieces. He intended on building a home for his family once he got the property he wanted.

But past residents of the St. Andrews area have unnerving memories of their neighbour. He was aggressive, threatening, scary, and fiercely single-minded when it came to getting the land he wanted, we were told. He threatened the lives of one man's wife and daughter. He would sneak up on people and scare them out of their wits. He had his eye on the Stobbe residence and may have felt snookered out of it. Stobbe had been looking to buy a house in Winnipeg, but when the deal fell through he took his second choice, the house in St. Andrews.

That neighbour eventually succeeded in collecting all the land he wanted and building a new house for his family. He's since died.

The cyclist

This is as odd as it gets.

The trial was told motorists saw a heavy-set man on a bicycle on the highway the night Beverley Rowbotham was killed, and RCMP believed that man was the killer who dumped the body in the car in a service station parking lot, then used the bicycle to make his getaway.

Four years after the murder, a man came to talk to police to say he was riding a bicycle the night Beverley Rowbotham was killed and his attention was drawn to a car in the service station parking lot where her body was found. In other words, he's the only person ever to put himself in the actual vicinity of the murdered woman's body.

We know about his because HE WAS A WITNESS AGAINST MARK STOBBE at the trial. Not only a witness, but the only witness in the case to link Stobbe directly to the murder---if only for a minute or two.

The bicyclist said he had left his job in Selkirk where he worked the swing shift, and was bicycling home shortly after 11 p.m. when he noticed a car with its lights on parked behind the service station in Selkirk. He glanced at the driver, who was "slumped" behind the wheel.

"That's him," he said, pointing to Mark Stobbe in the courtroom in the trial's most stunning moment.

Only, under cross-examination, he retracted his identification, saying that the person he saw was a big man, like Mark Stobbe, but not Mark Stobbe. The judge was livid. With the jury out of the courtroom he lit into Crown attorney Wendy Dawson, of British Columbia, for stage managing such a cheap show. She protested that she didn't know the witness would point the finger at Stobbe, and that she expected him to say he couldn't identify the man behind the wheel. The judge recalled the jury and spelled out how unreliable the witness was and how unsafe it was to depend on eyewitness evidence when it comes so late after the event.

The cyclist, perhaps inadvertently, made himself a person of interest. The police were looking for a man on a bicycle on night Bev Rowbotham was killed and there he was, admitting he was on a bicycle the night Bev Rowbotham was killed. Even more, he put himself near the body. We have to assume the RCMP did a thorough investigation of the new witness, including accounting for every minute of his presence at his job in Selkirk.

We know, though, they did not take a DNA sample from him.

And what to make of the evidence of a couple that drove home to Selkirk after a trip to Los Vegas. They lived only 5 doors down from the service station. Like everyone, they knew at a glance what was new in their immediate neighbourhood and what wasn't.

The next morning, RCMP were going door-to-door questioning residents as to whether they saw anything the night before, and they knocked at the couples' door. Both of them told the police they were passing the service station AT ABOUT 1 O'CLOCK and DID NOT see a car in the parking lot. Did not see a car two hours after the cyclist said he did. RCMP never took a formal statement from the couple, and the husband died shortly before Mark Stobbe was arrested.

The cyclist didn't go to police with what he saw until four years later---October, 2004. What twigged his civic duty? We're betting it was news coverage of a memorial service for Beverley Rowbotham on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2004.

You can still see a photo of Mark Stobbe at the event. Note that it looks as if he weighed as much then, 8 years ago, as he does now.

The RCMP investigator

Like reporters, police look for the unusual. Something out of the ordinary. Something that doesn't fit. Because that's often where the turning point in an investigation comes.

In this case, the unusual was the suicide of the lead investigator.

Only 45, tasked with a career-making murder investigation, he killed himself one year to the month of Rowbotham's murder. She was killed Oct. 24, 2000. He took his own life Oct. 13, 2001. Just a coincidence?

His reason for suicide may have been entirely personal. But in the wake of the shocking case of Canadian Air Force Colonel Russell Williams, nobody is beyond suspicion. Williams was an honoured pilot who led a double life, committing a string of break-ins and rapes before eventually killing two women before being caught.

Unknown Male

DNA belonging to a male who was not Mark Stobbe was found on the inside of the handle of Beverley Rowbotham's purse.

A footprint from a shoe that wasn't Mark Stobbe's was found on Beverley Rowbotham's hat in the garage.

Two buttons from an unknown garment were discovered in the debris field in the back yard among the blood spatter and bone chips.

Ya think that may add up to an unknown male who attacked and killed Bev Rowbotham?

If it does, he's got a 12 year head start on police.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police