Anybody's Nightmare

Anybody's Nightmare is a British television crime drama, based on the true story of the imprisonment of Sheila Bowler, that broadcast on ITV on 7 October 2001. The film starred Patricia Routledge as Bowler, a 62-year-old music teacher who was wrongly arrested, tried and convicted for the murder of her husband's 89-year-old aunt Florence Jackson in 1993 after she drowned in the River Brede in East Sussex in 1992. The film chronicles the investigation, trial and the subsequent four years' detention in Holloway Prison and Bullwood Hall Prison before her successful appeal in 1998.


Sheila Bowler (Patricia Routledge) is a 62-year-old music teacher living in Rye, East Sussex. One weekend, she goes to collect her late husband's auntie, Florence Jackson (Jean Ainslie), from the care home where she is living. On the drive back home, Sheila's car suffers a puncture. She makes the decision to leave Florence in the car to walk to a nearby cottage to call for help. Upon her return, Sheila discovers that Florence has disappeared. The police are called, but despite an overnight search, no trace of Florence is discovered. Early the next day, divers pull a body from the nearby River Brede, which is confirmed to be that of Florence.