What Happened to China Rose Sims?

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China Rose Sims was originally from the Philippines. She was a beautiful 36-year-old woman who had a good grasp of English.

In February 1988, China Rose met and married David Sims, 20 years her senior, through an introduction agency in the Philippines while David visited on a business trip. The marriage was David’s fourth.

They returned to the UK and settled in Southend, Essex, about 40-50 miles east of London. A man named Geoffrey Paston, a friend of David’s, moved in with the couple shortly after.

After David’s return to the UK, he started using “Anthony Peter Lewis” in his personal and business life. One of David’s business ventures was a buy-and-sell shop of products from Thailand. According to Esquire Magazine Philippines, David and China often flew to Thailand for the shop, but unfortunately, the business did not prosper.

David and China Rose were last seen together in Pattaya, Thailand, in 1992.

David Sims joined the police in the late 1960s and was considered a popular and trusted officer.

He was appointed to the Special Patrol Group (SPG), a group of officers who are the first called to attend public-order disputes. SPG has been accused of using excessive force, most notably over the events leading up to the death of 33-year-old Blair Peach at a 1979 anti-National Front Demonstration in Southall.

The New Zealand-born teacher was killed during widescale unrest as thousands of protesters fought almost 3,000 police deployed to protect the NF’s right of assembly in one of the most racially diverse areas of London. More than 700 people were arrested, 345 of them charged and hundreds more injured .

Peach, a special needs teacher, was struck on the head as police charged at him and other protesters on the evening of 23 April 1979. A report compiled soon after by Metropolitan police commander John Cass, but only released in 2010, concluded that Peach was “almost certainly” killed by one of six riot police officers who were members of the Special Patrol Group, which was replaced in 1987 by the Territorial Support Group

Vivek Chaudary. The Guardian, April 21, 2019.

After David Sims joined the SPG, his personality changed. He started drinking excessively and showed violent tendencies. His three previous wives divorced him on the grounds of violent temper tantrums.

After leaving the police force, he tried his hand at running a pub but failed and started a second-hand furniture chain.

Five years into the marriage, China Rose told her sister, Joy, David was becoming more violent.

“She said he told her he was going to get someone to killer, because it would be cheaper than getting a divorce,” Joy said in 2001.

In early 1993, China Rose got a part-time job working in a nursing home. Shortly after, she told Joy she feared David, who had abused her regularly, would kill her. She wanted out of the marriage but had nowhere to go.

China Rose Sims was last seen at Valentine’s Day party in 1993. Reports vary on when David was last seen, from one to three months after his wife disappeared.

Her family does not believe she left on her own. China Rose was devoted to her father, who was seriously ill at the time and has since passed away. She never checked on him or contacted her siblings after her disappearance.

Husband of China Rose Sims - David Sims
David Sims: Pattaya Mail

For a few years after the disappearances of the Sims, police thought someone had murdered the couple.

In 1996, the Philippine Immigration Bureau sent its agents and visiting Essex police officers to arrest Geoffrey Charles Paston at his home in Tacloban City, 370 miles south of Manila, after a month of surveillance.

Police found Paston operating a nightclub and living with a Filipino woman. The British Embassy based in Manila requested the Immigration Bureau’s help in locating and arresting Paston for the disappearance and alleged murder of David and China Rose Sims. They had received leads he was in the Philippines.

Paston denied involvement and told investigators he feared for his life and that “heavy characters” were responsible for the disappearances of David and China Rose Sims.

Paston further said two years earlier, David Sims asked him to sell his Southend home and put the money from the sale – nearly £40,000 – into a new British bank account in the name of Anthony Peter Lewis, The Guardian reported.

Authorities believe he flew to Thailand after speaking with Paston.

An unknown man, who claimed to represent David, collected most of the money from the sale. In 2001, £10,000 remained untouched in the bank account.

That same year, police announced they were treating China Rose’s disappearance as a homicide and focused on David Sims as his wife’s killer. It is unclear what happened afterward.

Police believe David Sims is either dead or discovered a lucrative, alternative source of income, such as heroin trafficking, and he is hiding out in the Philippines or Thailand.

A detective working on the case said in 2001, “‘Sims had connections with the bar business in both Manila and Thailand, and it is possible he may have begun trading in drugs.” David Sims might have been killed due to his illegal activities.

David Sims has two daughters from his first marriage. They were not close to their father, but he always sent them birthday and Christmas cards every year. They had not received any cards between 1993 and 2001, and it is unclear what the status is today.

Laura, David’s oldest daughter, told The Guardian in 2001, “He was a Jack of the Lad and a bit cocky. He also had a terrible temper. He could well have got himself into trouble. I think he has come to a sticky end.”

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

When I was researching this case, I found only three articles and a Doe Network entry on China Rose Sims’ disappearance. NOTHING SINCE 2001. Nothing.

Not even on David or Paston. Weird, to say the least. It’s like police and the media forgot, or chose to forget, about this case. That is why China Rose Sims is on this blog.

I did not find information on the Valentine’s Day party – the people there, what time she left, if David attended, etc.

I believe David made due on his threat and hired someone to kill her or he did it himself. Then, he took off to either the Philippines or Thailand to live out the remainder of his life.

David was violent towards China Rose and she was afraid he would kill her.

He asked Paston to sell his Southend home. In 1996, Paston said David asked him two years prior to sell the home, which puts David alive and well in 1994. That is, if Paston was telling the truth.

It is unclear why police arrested Paston for the the Sims’ disappearance.


“British Police Seek Missing Couple.” Pattaya Mail. http://www.pattayamail.com/409/news.htm. Accessed April 24, 2020.

“Briton Fugitive Nabbed in Philippines.” UPI.com. April 11, 1996. https://www.upi.com/Archives/1996/04/11/Briton-fugitive-nabbed-in-Philippines/8394829195200/. Accessed April 24, 2020.

Thompson, Tony. “Murder Mystery of the China Rose.” The Guardian. April 21, 2001. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/apr/22/tonythompson.theobserver. Accessed April 24, 2020.

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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