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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The David Hilder Murder Case

     On July 3, 2012 a group of foreign students on holiday in Southsea England, a resort town on the English Channel, made a gruesome discovery on the rocks at Portsmouth Beach. They stumbled upon what turned out to be a torso wrapped in a pink shower curtain stuffed inside a plastic bin. Three days later police officer found a pair of legs at another spot on the beach.

     While the Home Office forensic pathologist could not determine the exact cause of death in this case, marks on the torso suggested that the male victim had suffered a "sustained and violent assault sometime between June 30 and July 3, 2013." The authorities identified the remains as 30-year-old David Guy, a Southsea man who lived in a camper van and spent a lot of time in the nearby flat of a friend, David Hilder. According to residents of the area, David Guy, when sober, was polite and helpful. When intoxicated he became violent.

     The dismembered man's longtime friend David Hilder collected and sold scrap metal. He rode around on a bicycle equipped with a butcher's box affixed to the handlebars. Witnesses had seen a man on such a bike in the vicinity of the torso dump site.

   On July 5, 2013 David Hilder showed up at the Shoreham police station where he spoke to police constable Stephen Miles. "I need to speak to a copper," Hilder said. "I think I have killed someone." The dirty, disheveled man, known as "Big Dave," seemed confused.

     "What happened," asked PC Miles.

     "I do not know. I'm not sure what I have done." Hilder told the officer he was having flashbacks of the crime he may have committed. "If I have done what I think I've done, then I'm going to kill myself."

     "What do you think you have done?"

     "I don't know," came the reply.

     Police officers conducted a search of David Hilder's flat and didn't find anything suspicious. When advised of this Hilder seemed relieved. Noting that he may have overdosed on the drug Nurofen, Mr. Hilder said, "It must have been all in my head then."

     A police officer drove Mr. Hilder to a nearby hospital where he was examined and discharged. The officer put him on a train back to his apartment on Richmond Road in Southsea.

     Further investigation of the relationship between "Big Dave" Hilder and "Little Dave" Guy revealed a history of violence. Guy frequently accepted food from Hilder and showered in his flat. In return he was supposed to take care of Hilder's cat, Tinker. When Hilder returned home to find his place a mess and Tinker neglected he'd punish Mr. Guy with a beating. In recent weeks the two men had been arguing over Mr. Guy's new relationship with another man.

     Police officers on July 8, 2012 arrested David Hilder for killing David Guy. The suspect denied having anything to do with his friend's death or dismemberment.

     David Hilder's trial got underway in the Winchester Crown Court exactly one year after the discovery of Mr. Guy's torso on the Southsea beach. The defendant stood accused of murder and the lesser offense of manslaughter. In his opening statement to the jury, Nigel Lickley with the Crown Prosecution Service called the murder "painstaking and deliberate." According to the prosecutor, the defendant had used his bicycle to dispose of Mr. Guy's body parts. (The victim's head, arms, several internal organs and his genitals had not been found.) Prosecutor Lickley, in referring to the killing and dismemberment said, "It took time, it took clarity of thought, and it took planning."

     Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson of the Hampshire County Constabulary took the stand for the prosecution and described how he collected cat hair follicles from the pink shower curtain that had been wrapped around Mr. Guy's torso. The Hampshire police sent these samples to the United States where they were visually compared to follicles from 493 American cats. The English samples did not look like any of the hairs from the U.S. cat follicle collection. (The death scene follicle looked like Tinker's hair.)

     Scientists at Leicester University's Department of Genetics compared DNA extracted from Tinker's known hair with the DNA of 152 cats from Southsea and other parts of Hampshire County. Tinker's DNA did not match the DNA from any of the hairs from the 152-cat database. When the DNA from the shower curtain hairs were compared to the DNA of Tinker's known samples, the scientists concluded there was only a one in one-hundred chance that the death scene hairs had not come from the defendant's cat. (DNA in cats is less specific than in humans.)

     Dr. Jon Wetton, the scientist who led the University of Leicester's DNA project took the stand for the prosecution. Dr. Wetton, who had done similar work on dog DNA, said, "This is the first time cat DNA has been used in a criminal trial in the UK. This could be a real boon for forensic science as the 10 million cats in the UK are unwittingly tagging the clothes and furnishings in more than a quarter of households. Animal DNA offers a way of linking people to places and items though the transfer of their pets' hairs."

     David Hilder's attorney, without much to work with emphasized his clients low IQ (63) and his learning disability. The defendant also suffered from severe depression.

     On July 30, 2013 the jury acquitted David Hilder of murder but found him guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter. Justice David Bean sentenced Hilder to serve a minimum of twelve years in prison.


  1. This is utterly ridiculous...convicting someone on the dna of a cat......absolutely ludicrous. Also in other reports of this story the police claim that the body was dismembered in David Hilder's garage or something like that and yet this story says they have no idea where he was killed. I strongly believe that the wrong man has been convicted of this, to me it seems that this mentally vulnerable man was set up!

    1. he was not set up at all he should have gone down for murder!!!!

  2. i know both dave`s "hilder" is know as digger dave "guy" know as little dave or more commonly chopper dave ( becuse of his love of copper pushbikes ) was know to be a bad drinker that is to say a great bloke when sober but not so when drunk and often got into fights and tinker was digger dave`s cat digger also look after little dave`s cat ( a small black cat ) which little dave used to hurt when he was drunk .
    I think this may have been part of the trigger

    1. I knew them both when big Dave was married to Marilyn, and little Dave was a vague friend of his. After Marilyn died, Little Dave would ring him up and make nuisance calls, mocking him for his wife dying.
      I'd seen neither since 2003, but at the time they hated each other. Big Dave could be a violent guy who went off without a thought, thought he was capable of the perfect crime, because he was cleverer than any copper, and lied continuously about his early life. I knew him from 1991 and his story changed all the time.
      I didn't like Little Dave, but he didn't deserve this.
      They weren't gay, they didn't have the imagination for it.

  3. i would also like to note nether Dave was gay as you hinted at . digger was a widower little Dave a long line of (failed ) girlfriends . Diggers IQ , digger was poorly educated and finds reading extremely difficult at the best of times most IQ test are based partly on words and wholly on word for instruction . Dave is not thick just illiterate .
    So “Jim Fisher True Crime blog” Stop lazy and reading this junk from news papers , find out for yourself

    1. lin, you did not add anything new to what was already written except nicknames and the cat was black. Hardly ground breaking news. Stop your attacking and being lazy and add something of substance to the story. I'm just saying.

  4. I hope Tinker (and the other cat)is being cared for.

  5. no lin you are right i also knew both daves, i stayed with digger for a bit after meeting him whilst i was in care he presented as a kind man for a while little dave was also known to me as i was one of his "failed relationships" after our relationship broke down due to his excessive drinking and taking of drugs digger started to get violent thoughts he often mentioned to me that if he could he would kill little dave castrate him and burn his body pieces... i honestly never thought he was serious assumed it was a drug filled rage as at the time digger was taking legal highs (no longer legal)i told the officers this when i was questioned by police i made multiple statements to them, but i was never called forward to give evidence on the stand, digger did a fair few of the thing he had always told me he would and i for one do not agree with the manslaughter sentencing, i believe it should have been murder he planned it all and had done for a while it seems, after his sentencing i got a letter from diggers solicitor to let me know he was ok like i cared!!! man deserves all he gets i hated little dave after everything that went down between us but i would never have wished this upon him, he deserved a life!!

  6. where you the young lady i used to talk to on many occasions when i phoned digger and he would take so long to get to the phone. if so you know of me. i think we were all on the train at the first hearing in winchester i did not speak as i did not want offend or upset you in anyway. i hope your dreams cam true an you have the life you wished for and moved on from these sad times . all the best lin