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Wales hotel that was the scene of a quadruple murder has sold for £150,000

The eerie appearance of the  The Red Gables hotel, in Penmaenmawr

A hotel that became one of Wales’ grisliest murder scenes has changed hands for £150,000 at auction.

The Red Gables hotel, in Penmaenmawr is infamous as the site of one of Wales’ most horrific crime scenes.

On July 25, 1976, the hotel’s former gardener Neil Rutherford shot and killed four people in the building before setting it alight and then turning his gun on himself.

Before an auction the property was marketed for £375,000 but it sold for less than half that figure - £150,000.

Tony Filice, spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Wales, said a grim past can affect a property’s marketability.

By law estate agents must be up front if there is anything in a house’s history that can impact on the buyer’s enjoyment.

Mr Filice, a director of Cardiff estate agents Kelvin Francis, said the Penmaenmawr hotel “looked like a lot of property for the money”.

He added: “It does look as though it’s good value for money, which is probably reflective of what has happened there.”

hotel inside today 

A 54-year-old ex-submarine commander who had served in both WWII and Korea, Rutherford had been described as a quiet man who was rarely seen in company.

battered and strewn debris left 

“He was a proud gardener and used to bring us tomatoes,” said one local landlord in the town at the time of the tragedy.
fireplace derelict and boarded up 

“I never had any trouble with him. He used to come in during our quiet times and drink halves of Guinness,” added the landlord.

Rutherford’s victims included the hotel’s owner Linda Simcox, 59, her daughter Lorna McIntyre, 24, Lorna’s husband Alistair, 33, and family friend John Green, 55, from Texas.

The hotel that was once one of North Wales' grisliest murder scenes .

Mrs Simcox and Rutherford were lying dead in the lounge. Beside them was an automatic pistol.

The man found dying in the road was identified as Mr McIntyre.

He is believed to have escaped from the hotel and crawled through the gardens to the road to call for help. He tore off his pullover as he made his way through the garden.

Reports at the time suggested Rutherford had left the hotel around a fortnight before the murders only to return on the fateful day 39 years ago.

He was known as a quiet man who always drank alone in local pubs.

Mr Filice said it’s often best to tear down a building and start again to minimise a property’s links to a bloody past.

Permission was granted in 2007 to have Red Gables demolished and planning consent has since been given for several houses and 10 apartments to be built on its site.

Mr Filice added: “It may have been purchased on that basis, in which case the historic goings on of the dreadful murders would be eliminated because there’ll be a fresh, clear site.”

The battered interior at The Red Gables Hotel, in PenmaenmawrThe battered interior at The Red Gables Hotel, in Penmaenmawr
But Red Gables did reopen and continue functioning as a hotel after the mysterious murders.

However the introduction of the A55 bypass in the mid 1980s hit Red Gables’ takings badly, with business continuing to limp on until it closed its doors for the final time on 2004.

Since then its interior has been destroyed by vandals and thieves and it was a derelict shell before its sale.

A spokesperson for sellers The Auction People confirmed the house sold for £150,000 in a Manchester auction last month.

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