The Horrific House Dispute that Ultimately Ended in Tragedy
Love thy neighbour
Ann Hoover was a piano teacher and a respected member of her tiny community in Pittsburgh. She had spent time over the years, slowly doing her little house up to exactly how she wanted it. The only thing that ruined her sanctuary was the run-down house next door. The roof was missing tiles, and the windows were boarded up. Ann prayed that someone would buy the house and renovate it.
That dream came true when Roy Kirk bought the house. Introducing himself to his new neighbour, he said he was doing the house up as a project, to sell maybe or move into. Ann’s prayers had been answered, and she was immediately drawn to her new younger neighbour. As part of the community group, she invited Roy along, and Roy also impressed the rest of the neighbours.
Roy was quick to start the work on the house, ripping out the walls, rotten plaster and broken beams. The rubbish was heaped outside the house, but that was to be expected with a renovation. Ann had some concerns over the work being carried out; in her mind, the roof should have been the first project to be tackled. Once Roy waterproofed the house, then he could complete the rest of the work.
She approached Roy and asked if she could recommend him a roofer to sort the problem. Roy thanked her and said he was on a budget and would be doing all the renovations himself.
Ann left it and carried on watching the work on the house. She was concerned it was not progressing well, and the house was beginning to look worse than when Roy started.
The Drip of Dissatisfaction
The final straw came during a heavy storm where water started pouring into Ann’s bedroom from the roof next door. Having spent so much time renovating her own house, Ann was slightly heartbroken at the damage caused to her property. The next day Roy appeared; she confronted him. Unfortunately, this time he was not so polite, and things took a turn for the worse.
Ann felt she had no other option but to contact the housing authority and issue a formal complaint. The housing inspector visited the next day and issues Roy, with several orders to work on the house for safety reasons. That was the same week that Ann saw her first rat from the pile of rubbish next door.
As time progressed, it was clear that Roy was not doing any work on the house. Ann was left with no alternative other than to take legal action against him. The neighbours supported this; their house prices were plummeting due to the derelict building on their block too.
The court case was a success. Several neighbours gave evidence. The judge awarded Roy with fines and stated the house most likely should be demolished. Ann felt guilty. She hadn’t wanted to bankrupt the young man just make him work on the house. However, this was not the end of the matter, as Roy appealed the decision. Still, Ann reasoned she was sure before the appeal he would do some work on the house.
The day before the appeal, Roy turned up at the house for the first time since the court case. Ann could hear him knocking walls down. It sounded like he was working in the basement; she ignored the noise and calmed her nerves playing her piano. Neighbours rang and arranged to pick her up in the morning for the appeal.
The Dispute is Resolved
As she went upstairs, she was a little concerned about the noise next door but reasoned she needed a good nights sleep. She cleaned her teeth and walked into her bedroom, where she was hit on the back of the head. Ann would never make the appeal court. Neither, for that matter, would Roy.
When neighbours went to pick Ann up, there was no answer from the door; they went to court thinking she had made her way there. When the judge appeared in the court, she was shocked to see neither party had turned up. Finally, one of the neighbours stood up and expressed her concerns about Ann not answering the door that morning. The judge ordered the police to investigate.
The House of Horror
The police arrived at Ann’s house and located a spare key with the help of a neighbour. They entered the house and noticed that Ann’s keys, wallet, and court documents were lying on the hall table. When they searched upstairs, they saw a spot of blood near the bathroom but could not locate Ann.
They decided to search the house next door. As the front door stood ajar, they walked in and located Roy in the basement. The police officer walked him out whilst he searched the rest of the house. Neighbours noticed how unkempt Roy looked. He was dressed in a pair of dirty trousers, held up with a belt because he had lost so much weight.
The police officer went back downstairs to the basement, spotting a mannequin without arms and legs in the corner. He then spotted a hole between the two properties with enough space for a man to crawl through. That was when he realised that the mannequin was the torso and head of Ann Hoover.
They immediately arrested Roy, and after a struggle, placed him in the police van.
He kept screaming, Just kill me now, just get it over with — A neighbour said
Police followed an extension cord from the house down the street to another property Roy owned. He had been stringing extension leads down the road for electricity. In the house, they found several cages with dead mice and rats in them. In the bathroom, they found a very hungry python. Roy had been feeding the enormous snake from the cages below. It was unclear whether this was why he was cutting Ann up, to feed her to his pet.
One Death Becomes Two
Police took Roy to the local police station for formal questioning and charging. When the police opened the van door, they found he had hung himself from the top of the cage using his belt. The neighbourhood dispute had claimed a second body.
Evidence shows that Roy knocked a hole between the two properties. Entered Ann’s house and knocked her unconscious. He dragged her to his property, where he strangled her with an electric cable and started dismembering her body. Once in the police van, he had loosened his belt and pushed it through the bars before it left. He then looped it around his neck and hung himself while his arms were restrained behind his back.
The Community Park
Ann always had faith in her community and felt it could be so much more than it was. So on June 1st 2002, on what would have been Ann’s 50th birthday, the community gathered together to do just that. In her memory, many friends, relatives, and neighbours dedicated the small park at the corner of Jefferson Drive and Country Lane, known as the Ann Alison Hoover Memorial Park; this is a community area for families.
The two houses were bought and renovated. Two new families now live there. However, it is unclear whether they know the history of their homes and the horrific incident of a neighbourhood dispute that claimed two lives.