BBC thriller Sherwood was inspired by the true story of a gruesome double murder by Robert Boyer and Terry Rodgers that shook a Nottinghamshire mining community and led to the biggest manhunt police have ever seen
Viewers were captivated by new BBC thriller Sherwood, which tells the story of a gruesome double murder that sparked one of the biggest manhunts ever seen by the force.
Inspired by real events, the drama is set against the backdrop of a Nottinghamshire mining community still struggling with the hangover of the 1984 strikes, while police attempt to hunt down two unrelated murderers.
And the real story behind the show is one that shook the area to the core.
In the space of just two weeks in 2004, two locals were killed in unrelated attacks before their killers fled at random into the same forest, evading police for weeks.
The devastating chain of events began when former miner Keith “Froggy” Frogson, 62, was found butchered on the evening of July 19 on his own doorstep in the mining town of Annesley Woodhouse.
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Mr Frogson – who was a member of the National Union of Miners and played a key role in the 1984 strike – had been attacked with a crossbow and hacked to death with a samurai sword after returning from a night out at the local pub.
Desperate to catch the killer, police turned their attention to miners and found that he had previously clashed with Robert Boyer, 42, who was a member of the rival Union of Democratic Mineworkers and had been branded a “Scab” because he continued to work the strike.
It soon emerged that Boyer bought the sword online for £150 before attacking Mr Frogson and later setting his house on fire before fleeing to nearby Annesley Woods.
Meanwhile, on July 30, newlywed Chanel Taylor, 23, was found dead by her husband at their home in the nearby village of Huthwaite, near Mansfield.
The hairstylist had been shot four times in the back and in the head by her father, Terry Rodgers, 55, as he walked her down the aisle just seven weeks earlier.
Rodgers had already served a prison sentence for attacking his first wife with a claw hammer and moved in with Chanel and her husband Lee after splitting from his second wife Anne.
Insiders claimed at the time that Chanel was scared of her father, who had sold his security business and was said to be in dire financial straits.
Rodgers fled the scene and went on the run, hiding in Annesley Woods and sparking a huge manhunt – the largest carried out by Nottinghamshire Police.
In Operation Rendition, 620 officers, aided by helicopters and heat-seeking equipment, combed the 1.5-square-mile wooded area for both men.
First found was a gaunt and disheveled-looking Boyer living in a makeshift cave, surviving on canned and bottled water. A day later, Rodgers was found and arrested after 17 days at large
Rodgers admitted manslaughter due to diminished responsibility but denied murder. Prosecutors refused to accept his request, and he was scheduled to stand trial on March 6, 2006 for murder.
However, in November 2004, Rodgers was placed on suicide watch while on remand at Lincoln Prison. After refusing to eat for two years, he died at Lincoln County Hospital on February 25, 2006, at the age of 57.
As for Boyer, the original theory that the murder was related to a strike was dismissed when it was revealed that Boyer was mentally ill and had delusions that Mr. Frogson was trying to demolish his home.
Prosecutor Andrew Easteal told the court: “He had satisfied himself that Keith Frogson was attempting to demolish his house brick by brick, that acid had been thrown at the brickwork and that a screwdriver had been used to knock the bricks off.
“He had developed an obsession with Mr Frogson. He became obsessed with the idea of Mr Frogson stalking him and trying to damage his home.
“Mr Frogson was completely innocent and had no idea what Boyer was thinking or what delusions he was suffering from.”
Easteal added: “It was initially suspected that the origin of this tragedy had something to do with the miners’ strike.
BBC/Home Productions/Matt Squire)
“May I be absolutely clear that the proposal is completely wrong. It has no factual basis.
“The reason for this misunderstanding stems from the fact that Boyer was a miner and worked during the strike and Frogson was a senior member of the NUM.
“But Boyer was unaware of this until after the arrest. The fix had nothing to do with it at all.
“He had completely imaginative beliefs about what he thought Mr. Frogson was doing.”
Prosecutors dropped a murder charge after a mental evaluation and Boyer instead pleaded guilty to killing Frogson at Nottingham Crown Court.
He was taken to prison and then given an indefinite hospital order.
* Sherwood continues on BBC One tonight at 9pm
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/sherwood-real-life-grisly-crossbow-27227597 Sherwood: Gruesome crossbow kill of a real-life ex-miner hacked to death on his own doorstep