Murder at the Gables: Frank's life after the murder

Georgina Rodgers (nee Robson). The boy is probably Frank's older brother, William George.
The Terrace at Broadmoor, c. 1908. The patients are wearing the distinctive Asylum clothing of dark blue jackets and grey trousers. Their clothes and shoes were made on site.
Berkshire Record Office
An Extract from the Broadmoor Admission's Record
4th December 1908
Cambridge Independent Press

In 1904, Frank Rodgers made headlines around the world when he shot and killed his mother at their Meldreth home; the Gables in the High Street. The family had moved to Meldreth from London about eighteen months previously. A number of pages on this site give further details of the tragedy.

Frank is Sent to Broadmoor

Frank was found guilty of murder, although he was deemed to have been insane at the time of the shooting. The Judge ordered Frank to be sent to prison and he was admitted to Broadmoor on 9th June 1904. The “c” above his name in the admissions log (below) indicates that he was a child.

Known as Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, the first patient, a female found guilty of infanticide, had been admitted there in 1863. It was not until 1948 that Broadmoor ceased to be a prison and officially became a hospital.

According to the Broadmoor records, Frank was discharged on 22nd December 1906 when he was deemed to have “recovered”.  However, newspaper reports from two years later (including the one from the Cambridge Independent Press, shown on the right) give Frank’s release date as December 1908, citing that he had been released by order of the Home Secretary. The reason for the discrepancy in the dates is not known but it is possible that Frank was moved from Broadmoor to a different institution before his final release.

Life After Prison

In October 1909 in London Frank married Christiana Cross, who was from Bath. Frank’s father, William and his uncle were witnesses at the wedding. The couple went on to have two children, Doris Christiana in 1910 and Leonard Alexander in 1915. In 1911 census the family was living in Harbord Street, Fulham. Frank was working as a solicitor’s clerk – possibly a job he got through his father’s contacts.

Army Service

In October 1914, whilst living in Bath, Frank signed up for military service.  To the question, “Have you ever been sentenced to Penal Servitude or Imprisonment by the Civil Power?” he answered “no”.

According to his 1914 service record, Frank was 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall, weighed 138lbs, had a sallow complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

Frank  had an exemplary service record, being described as “honest, sober, hard working and intelligent”. Many of Frank’s records can be viewed online, including letters written by him and his wife.

In 1953 Frank’s son Leonard died.

Frank died in Lambeth in 1965, aged 76.  His wife, Christiana died four years later.

Other Family Members

William Alexander Rodgers (Frank’s father)

William, died on 26th November 1910 at the age of 51.

William George (Frank’s brother)

In 1911 Frank’s brother William married Mary Heath Widger in Kensington, London. Frank was a witness at the wedding.

Winifred (Frank’s sister)

Winifred married Laurance Rupert Woods in Richmond, Surrey in 1909.

Robert Alexander (Frank’s brother)

Robert married Ida Lydia Stephens in Streatham, London in 1921. He died in Surrey in 1984.

Henry Frederick (Frank’s brother)

Henry was the only one of Frank’s siblings not to marry. He served in the Royal Air Force (or Royal Flying Corps as it was then) during WW1, signing up in 1916 at the age of 23. He gave his next of kin as his sister, Winifred. He was discharged on 26th June 1917, his services no longer being required as he had been offered a temporary commission as 2nd lieutenant with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Henry was killed in action on 3rd or 4th October 1917 in France. The record of probate from November 1917 describes him as being “of Perth, Western Australia”. Probate was granted to Laurance Rupert Woods, manufacturer and Winifred Woods [Henry’s sister] (wife of Laurance Rupert Woods). Effects £318 12s 6d.

Queenie (Frank’s sister)

It was for his sister Georgina’s sake (who was known as Queenie) that Frank said he had murdered their mother. Queenie was in her sixties before she married for the first time, marrying Charles Alexander Bullivant in 1961, shortly after the death of his first wife. However, seven years earlier, in 1954 they travelled as man and wife on an extended trip to Australia, travelling on the Jason departing Liverpool on 14th May 1954 and returning on the SS Potosi from Sydney to Liverpool, arriving back in the UK on 20th February 1958. Charles Bullivant died in 1969 and Queenie died in 1982.

We can only speculate as to whether Frank’s extended family knew of the tragedy that had occurred in Meldreth in 1904.

For more details on Frank’s extended family, please see this extract from the Rodgers/Robson family tree.

With thanks to Alan Williams for the research he carried out into this case.

Comments about this page

  • Frank’s wife, Christiana Cross, was a cousin of mine. I cannot find any information about what happened to their children, Doris and Leonard. Does anyone have any information they could share with me?  I would also love to know if Christiana knew of Frank’s past. 

    By Chris Carey (17/11/2016)

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