True crime fans are making pilgrimages to the obscure rural location that was the setting for the notorious nineties ‘Essex Boys’ shooting.
The triple murder saw three drug dealers gunned down in a Range Rover in December 1995 on land at White House Farm in Rettendon, Essex.
And Bill Theobald – whose brother first found the bodies – says at least two people a week are now walking onto his family’s land to try to find the exact spot where the trio were blasted to death inside a Range Rover in a targeted hit 28 years ago.
And he says it’s ‘bizarre’ that the crime has gained such notoriety that many of the unwanted visitors weren’t even born when it happened.
Bill, whose brother Peter Theobald made the gruesome discovery, said: ‘We have constant interest in the murders with at least one or two visitors to the lane every week.
Police officers with the Range Rover on the farm track in Rettendon where the three men were found dead
Patrick Tate, Anthony Tucker and Craig Rolfe (from left to right) were all found shot dead in a Range Rover near the isolated farm track at Rettendon, Essex in December 1995
Now ghoul hunters have began to descend on the grisly spot to take photographs
‘Most people just go down there without asking and some weren’t even born when it happened – it’s very bizarre.’
Tony Tucker, 38, Pat Tate, 37, and Craig Rolfe, 26, were shot in cold blood as they arrived at the end of an isolated farm track, supposedly to do a drug deal.
All three had been shot in the head, while Tate was also blasted in the stomach – an act which some have speculated was to silence him while his friends in the front were executed.
The bodies of the three men were found the following morning by farmer Peter and his friend Ken Jiggins as they went to feed the farm’s 800 pheasants.
At first the pair thought they were poachers who had fallen asleep – then saw blood.
Speaking on a Crimewatch reconstruction in 1996, Ken said: ‘I got out and walked towards the Range Rover and as I walked towards it I could see the person sitting in the passenger seat and I could see the driver and I assumed they were asleep.
‘I went forward and looked right into the driver’s side, looked straight at the passenger. There was blood all down his front. The driver was sitting with his head to one side and blood on his face.’
Peter added: ‘There was also a third person in the back seat. It didn’t look as though there had been any kind of struggle. The two in the front were just sat there as though they were asleep.’
Police soon descended on the scene with people speculating the men may have been killed in revenge for being involved in the supply chain of an ecstasy tablet linked to the death of Essex teen Leah Betts, 18, the month before.
Bill now runs the shooting range at the farm and lives on site close to his brother Peter and his wife Fran.
The murders have become notorious, sparking books and several films, including Essex Boys starring Sean Bean in 2000 and Rise of the Footsoldier in 2007.
Searches on YouTube bring up recent videos of the farm track and TikTok has several videos showing people walking down the lane.
True crime sites on Instagram also show recent snaps of the location.
One TikTok video poster says: ‘If you’ve seen the Rise of the Footsoldier, the Range Rover murders, well this is where it happened. I’ll show you the exact spot.
‘This road here, this wasn’t here when it happened, just this track. They come along here in the Range Rover.
‘The Range Rover was parked right here, that’s where the three bodies were found that morning, back in 95.’
The killing in the small village of Rettendon was made into a 2000 film starring Sean Bean
Bill Theobald (right) says two people a week are walking onto his family’s land to find the spot the trio were blasted to death inside a Range Rover
The spook hunters have began to irritate local landowners with their trespassing
Michael Steele, 76, (left) was convicted alongside Whomes (right) for the same triple murder. Steele, now 80, is up for parole this month. Pictured in 2006
And he added: ‘If these trees could talk. I’ve always wanted to visit this place.’
Another who videoed himself walking down the track and posted it on YouTube said: ‘We’re going to have a walk down now to the exact point where the Range Rover was found.
‘Where I’m standing right now is where the Range Rover was. This tree here is exactly where it was. It’s a bit eerie.’
Jack Whomes and Michael Steele were convicted of the murders in January 1998 and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite protesting their innocence.
Whomes has since been released.