BBC thriller Sherwood is based on a real-life double killing that rocked a Nottinghamshire mining town. Robert Boyer attacked ex-miner Keith Frogson with a crossbow before Terry Rodgers shot daughter Chanel Taylor in unconnected slayings.
The BBC’s harrowing thriller, Sherwood, has kept viewers captivated with its grisly tale of a double killing set against the backdrop of a town still scarred by the miners’ strike.
And the six-parter was inspired by two real-life tragedies that sparked the biggest police manhunt Nottinghamshire Police has ever seen.
In unconnected attacks, delusional Robert Boyer killed ex-miner Keith Frogson with a crossbow and samurai sword while Terry Rodgers shot his own daughter just weeks after walking her down the aisle.
In a grim twist, both men fled to the same local woodland, evading police for several weeks and sparking the kind of search that has never been seen before or since.
The devastating chain of events started when former miner Keith ‘Froggy’ Frogson, 62, was found butchered on his own doorstep in the pit town of Annesley Woodhouse on the evening of July 19.
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Mr Frogson – who was a member of National Union of Miners and played a major role in the strike of 1984 – had been attacked with a crossbow and hacked to death with a samurai sword after returning from a night at the local pub.
Desperate to catch the killer, police turned their attentions to mineworkers and found he had a history of clashing with Robert Boyer, 42, who was a member of the rival Union of Democratic Mineworkers and had been branded a ‘scab’ for continuing to work through the strike.
It soon emerged that Boyer bought the sword for £150 online before attacking Mr Frogson and later setting fire to his house before fleeing into the nearby Annesley Wooods.
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 hairdresser had been shot four times in the back and head by her father, Terry Rodgers, 55, who had walked her down the aisle just seven weeks earlier.
Rodgers had already served jail time for attacking his first wife with a claw hammer, and had moved in with Chanel and her husband Lee after splitting from second wife Anne.
Speaking at the time, insiders claimed Chanel had been scared of her father, who had sold his security business and is said to have been in dire financial straits.
Rodgers fled the scene and went on the run, hiding out in Annesley Woods and sparking a huge manhunt – the biggest carried out by Nottinghamshire Police.
Operation Rendition saw 620 officers assisted by helicopters and heat-seeking equipment scour the 1.5 square miles of woodland for both men.
A gaunt and dishevelled-looking Boyer was found first, living in a makeshift den and surviving on tinned food and bottled water. A day later, Rodgers was found and arrested after 17 days at large.
Rodgers admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied murder. Prosecutors refused to accept his plea and he was due to stand trial for murder on March 6, 2006.
However, in November 2004, while on remand at Lincoln Prison, Rodgers was placed on suicide watch. After refusing to eat for two years, he died at Lincoln County Hospital on February 25, 2006, aged 57.
As for Boyer, the original theory that the murder was strike-related was discarded when it emerged that Boyer was mentally unwell and had delusions that Mr Frogson was trying to destroy his house.
Prosecutor Andrew Easteal told the court: “He had convinced himself that Keith Frogson was trying to dismantle his house brick by brick, that acid was being thrown at the brickwork and that a screwdriver had been used to chip away at the bricks.
“He had developed a fixation with Mr Frogson. He was obsessed with the idea that Mr Frogson was persecuting him and trying to damage his home.
“Mr Frogson was completely innocent of this and had no idea what Boyer was thinking, or the delusions he was suffering.”
Easteal added: “It was suggested initially that the origin of this tragedy had something to do with the miners’ strike.
“May I make it absolutely clear that suggestion is wholly wrong. It has no basis in fact.
“The reason for that misunderstanding stems from the fact that Boyer was a miner and worked through the strike and Frogson was a leading member of the NUM.
“But Boyer was quite oblivious to this until after the arrest. The fixation had nothing whatsoever to do with that.
“He was having entirely fanciful beliefs about what he believed Mr Frogson was doing.”
Prosecutors abandoned a murder charge after a mental assessment and Boyer instead pleaded guilty to the killing of Frogson at Nottingham Crown Court.
He was sent to jail then given an indefinite hospital order.
* Sherwood continues tonight at 9pm on BBC One
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