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Name: ROSS, Charles William 'Billy'

Nee: son of Major Charles Joseph Ross

Birth Date: 6 Aug 1912 Eldama Ravine

Death Date: 11 Jan 1933 Nairobi, hanged

Last Date: 1933

Profession: Menengai murders

Area: Nakuru

Book Reference: Hut, Murders, Thurston

General Information:

Murders - Saturday, October 8, 1932 - …. Charles William Ross, 19 year-old son of the late Major Ross, soldier and noted big-game hunter of British East Africa. Educated in his early years at a school in England, he had gone to live in Kenya in 1927, and was employed by the KFA, whose headquarters were at Nakuru. Ross's companions were two young women, Margaret Keppie and Winifred Stevenson. Miss Keppie, a qualified chemist and druggist and member of the Pharmaceutical Society, had arrived in Kenya four months previously from Leeds, England, where she lived with her parents. She first joined the Nairobi firm of Messrs. Howse & McGeorge and was transferred to the Nakuru branch. A week before, her engagement to a fellow employee was announced.
"Winnie" Stevenson, 20 years of age, was the daughter of Mr Harry Stevenson, known in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, as Harry Venson, entertainer. A bright, vivacious girl and accomplished linguist, speaking the native languages of Swahili and Kikuyu fluently, she was generally understood to be Ross's sweetheart. He was known to be devoted to her. ………..
Missing trio …… Anxiety gave way to alarm when the strange tales of Ross's eccentricities and unusual behaviour were revived. Though mostly shy and reserved in the company of women, he was said to have exhibited vicious sexual tendencies which, apparently, were satisfied only by sadistic frenzies or indulgence in orgies of bloodshed. A story was told of his stabbing of animals after he had shot them and then smearing himself with the blood. He was accustomed, as well, to wander off by himself and mingle with the natives of the Colony, converse with them in their own dialects and participate in their quaint customs. The men of one tribe called him their young "White Chief". [Ross had murdered the two girls and was tried for the murder] 'An X-Ray photograph of Ross's head was used by Dr. H.L. Gordon, mental specialist and leading witness for the defence …….. Pronounced mental instability ……. He was midway between the feeble-minded and the moral-deficient. [He was found guilty and hanged on January 11, 1933.
Thurston - Official Records - CO533 - 427/5 - 1932-33 - C.W.Ross: transcript of murder trial.
Old Africa - 11-12-08 - L S Van Aardt - The first European to be hung in Kenya was a youth called Ross. I was at the Eldoret European School with him. Later he murdered two girls on Menengai, threw one into the crater and left the other on the rim. He refused to tell where the body of the first one was and The Kenya Regiment and the Police searched for days before finding her. The hangman, who had to carry out the execution, owned a restaurant outside Nairobi which I used to frequent. He delighted in insulting his clients but he did serve very good food.

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