Rachel Hudson

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Rachel Hudson
Rachel Hudson.jpg
Born 1984
Died 17 March 2004
Nationality English
Education Lutterworth Grammar School
Occupation Hairdresser
Spouse(s) Craig Hudson
Children two
Parent(s) Helen Woodier and Barry Manger

Rachel Manger Hudson (1984 – 17 March 2004)[1] was a British murder victim, a mother of two, murdered by her in-laws. The court tried and convicted five members of the family (dubbed "the family from hell" by the Queen's Counsel)[2][3] in December 2005.

Early life[edit]

Rachel Manger was the daughter of Helen Woodier and Barry Manger, who separated when she was a teenager. She had two younger sisters, Jennifer and Hannah.[4] She came from Leicestershire, where she was a student at Lutterworth Grammar School, worked as a hairdresser, and enjoyed going to funfairs. At the age of 16, she met fairground worker Craig Hudson at a funfair in Nottingham, and married him a few months later, in November 2002.[5][6] Her mother tried to stop the marriage, and refused to go to the wedding, considering the family "evil".[5] She had a child from a previous relationship, and would have a son with Craig.[3][6]

By February 2003, she was working at the Highfields Nursing Home in Bulwell, and living with the Hudson family, on Overdale Road, in the Stockhill area of Nottingham.[6] Co-worker Penny Taylor described her as changing from "outgoing, talkative" to "quiet and unforthcoming".[6]

The house was overcrowded, and she and her husband moved several times, first in December 2003 to Goverton Square, Bulwell, then, after complaining to the Nottingham City Council that they were still being harassed by their overbearing family, to temporary accommodation in St Anns, Nottingham.[6] The family reported them missing so the police would reveal their address; Craig applied to be re-housed in Lincolnshire to escape the family's influence, but that application was rejected.[3] When no permanent place became available, the Hudsons moved back to the family home in Stockhill, where the violence towards her began.[6]

Systematic abuse[edit]

After the attempt to escape into a home of her own with Craig, Rachel Hudson lived in the family home in Overdale Road, Stockhill as a virtual prisoner. She wasn't allowed to speak to her parents or even her husband. She was only let out of the house with 'a minder'.[4] The Hudsons feared she would take Craig away from them.[5] After initially siding with his wife, Craig joined the other Hudsons in participating in the abuse.[7]

She was subjected to regular beatings, some with a baseball bat known as "Mr Woody" and a piece of wood known as "Captain Plank". She was made to eat cat food.[4]

On 21 November 2003, the Hudsons forced Rachel to make a videotaped "confession", in which she claimed she tried to split up the family, wanted to kill her children, had stolen money from her husband, and had enjoyed working as a prostitute.[8] This would be her last recorded sighting alive, and her parents last heard from her five months before her death.[7] From December 2003, the Hudsons denied any knowledge of where she was, and claimed she had abandoned her family to run off with another man.[4]

In January 2004, copies of a letter from Rachel were sent to her father, police, and Nottingham City Council social services, saying


Her battered body was found 18 March 2004, in a rolled-up carpet on the grounds of Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire.[9] It weighed only six stone (84 lb or 36 kg), and was covered with burns and bruises. There were a total of 60 separate injuries. Her ear was scarred and swollen, had split in half, and become infected; her mouth was injured so much that her bottom lip had detached.[5][10] She had eleven broken ribs. The ultimate cause of death had been thrombosis from a blood clot in her brain, brought on by septicaemia, dehydration and repeated assaults.[4] The injuries were such that police at first thought they had found the body of a young boy.[5] Police took weeks to identify her, launching an appeal on the BBC TV programme Crimewatch and consulting Interpol.[4] She was 20 years old.


On 21 December 2005, Craig Hudson, Rachel's husband, Craig's parents, Ron and Trudi Hudson, his brother Ronald, and Elisabeth Hogg, who lived with the family as the girlfriend of another brother, Shane, were convicted of her murder. The Hudson parents were sentenced to a minimum of 20 years, Ronald Junior to a minimum of 17 years, and Craig and Hogg to a minimum of 14 years each. Shane, Charlene, and Emile Hudson were convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by covering up the repeated abuse, and later sentenced to 4 years imprisonment, 3 and a half years imprisonment, and 3 years supervision respectively.[5][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Family starved and beat Rachel", Catehrine Cashmore, BBC News, 21 December 2005
  2. ^ "Mother 'killed by her in-laws'", by Rhiannon Edward, The Scotsman, 13 October 2005
  3. ^ a b c "Murder Court Told of 'Family From Hell'", by Steve Mccomish, The Daily Mirror, 13 October 2005
  4. ^ a b c d e f "'Evil' people who killed lovely girl", Hucknall Today, 29 December 2005 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Hucknall29Dec" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Family jailed for daughter-in-law's murder", by Nick Britten, The Daily Telegraph, 22 December 2005
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Court told 20-year-old was murdered by 'family from hell'", Hucknall Today, 17 October 2005
  7. ^ a b c "Murder victim was devoted mother", Catherine Cashmore, BBC News, 21 December 2005
  8. ^ "Rachel 'forced into confession'", Hucknall Today, 27 October 2005
  9. ^ "Family make death clues appeal", BBC News, 15 April 2004
  10. ^ "Dead mum's horrific list of injuries", Hucknall Today, 27 October 2005
  11. ^ "Teenager jailed for murder lies" BBC News, 1 February 2006

External links[edit]