Parents' emotional plea for information on missing hours before son's death
PUBLISHED: 09:15 14 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:09 15 April 2019
The parents of a man who was found dead on a Norfolk playing field have made an emotional appeal for information to shed light on his final hours.
Steven Rouse, 53, of Long Road, Tibenham, was discovered at the Turnpike community playing field in Bunwell on October 26 last year.
The discovery of his body, close to the village hall where a baby and toddler group was taking place, shocked the community in the village near Attleborough.
His devastated parents Bill and Gloria Rouse, who live in Lewisham in South London, are now appealing for help to find out what happened to their son between leaving home at 10pm on October 25, and his body being found at 11.30am the following day.
Mrs Rouse, 76, said: “All we know is that he apparently left home at about 10pm. He spoke to his work mate on the phone. He had arranged to go to work the next day and at 10am his work mate texted him and the text came back read but was not answered. We just really want to know what happened in those hours and whether anyone saw him.”
A black Audi A4 S-Line car that Steven had borrowed for a trip to the Lake District over the previous four days was found in the playing field car park and his parents hope that someone may have seen it.
They have also tried to access records to his two missing mobile phones.
Mr Rouse, 78, said: “We thought the easiest thing might be to try to get hold of the printed phone bill records but everything is electronic these days and if you don’t know his password you can’t get access to it.”
An inquest that opened into Steven’s death in November was told that the medical cause of his death was hanging. A full hearing is due to take place on April 17.
Mrs Rouse said: “He was a wonderful son, we couldn’t have wished for more. We were really close with him, especially me.” She said it was “out of character” not to have received a message or phone call from him in those hours.
A trained teacher, Steven had lectured at City College Norwich in brick work and building but left to use his skills working on historic projects.
Mr Rouse said: “His speciality, which he had always wanted to do, was working with church stone work and flint work. His last job was working for three years with Professor Warwick Rodwell on a Grade II listed building in Northwold. They were amazed with the work he had done.
“He was a fantastic person, who had a great job that he loved and was earning good money.”
Though born in South London, Steven moved to Norfolk initially to stay with his grandmother before getting a job at City College.
Mrs Rouse said: “At his funeral we had nearly 100 people. Hardly any were relatives, they were all work mates and people he had met. They were all so upset.
“He literally loved the life he had been given, he was a real nature lover enjoyed so many things and for this to happen has been a total shock.”
The free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.
Anyone with information, to be passed to Mr and Mrs Rouse, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org