Bury St Edmunds: Suicide note found in US dance teacher murder case

Scott Rogers on his American TV show. Source: WAFB Scott Rogers on his American TV show. Source: WAFB

Sunday, August 31, 2014
9:00 PM

New details have emerged about the murder of a controversial former Bury St Edmunds dance teacher in the US, and suicide bid of his apparent killer.

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The note left at the scene of the Scott Rogers murderThe note left at the scene of the Scott Rogers murder

The body of 52-year-old Scott Rogers, who had become presenter of a US television show called About Town, was found in his home in Louisiana last week.

It emerged yesterday the former Suffolk man had died from a single gunshot wound to the head, and that a possible suicide note written by the killer had also been found at the scene.

Police believe the note was written by Mr Rogers’ son-in-law - and lover - Mathew Hodgkinson, 36, who is the suspect in the case but who remains critically ill after apparently turning the gun on himself. He also originally came from Bury St Edmunds.

The sheriff’s department has released an image of the note found at the pair’s home, which said: “They broke our happy loving home, they do not get to take Scott too.”

Mr Hodgkinson remains in hospital in a critical condition after he had surgery to remove pressure on his brain, the sheriffs department in their American home town said.

The Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi says it appears Hodgkinson, who was a producer on the About Town show, shot Mr Rogers in his bed before turning the gun on himself.

Mr Stassi is examining phones and computers owned by Rogers and Hodgkinson to try to find out more about why the shooting happened.

Mr Rogers, who was known as Richard Scott-Rogers when he lived in Suffolk, founded the Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts in Bury St Edmunds in 1983.

But he came under scrutiny in the mid 1990s when Suffolk County Council alerted parents about the studio’s “unhealthy atmosphere” similar to “a religious or supposedly religious cult.”

He also faced 13 unspecified charges, but was cleared of them after a crown court trial in 1995.

At the weekend, Seth Dornier, Mr Rogers’ lawyer, also revealed more details about an ongoing federal court case Rogers was facing in the US.

Law enforcement officials had removed one adopted and one fostered child from the Rogers’ household earlier in August while an investigation was carried out into allegations Rogers had lied about his name on immigration, adoption and foster parent paperwork.

Mr Dornier also told US media that Mr Rogers had been concerned the historic allegations would be known in the States and destroy him.

Mr Stassi told the EADT: “During the continuing custody hearing for Mr Rogers’ adopted son all the dirty laundry from the UK came out and everything came to a head on Wednesday.

“They could see the end was near, the game was up.

“These two young men came out of his dance school. Rogers had them under his control since they were 12 years old.

“He ran them over here like they were his personal butlers, with an iron fist. People here were not aware of this background.

“Mr Rogers had a TV persona, he was grand marshall of parades, MC of fundraisers. They never looked down on him.

“It caught everybody off-guard.”

Mr Stassi added he was not liaising with police in the UK over the pair’s past as that aspect would be a federal matter.

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