WALES’ UNSOLVED MURDERS
THE people responsible for some of Wales’ most horrific crimes have never been caught. And this has been the case as far back as the 1930s. Many of these murders have been reinvestigated several times as advances in forensic science emerged.
But the details and reasons behind them remain a mystery and justice has never been done. JOYCE COX The schoolgirl was sexually assaulted and murdered in Cardiff on September 28, 1939, when she was days short of her fifth birthday.
She disappeared when her older brother Dennis, seven, lost track of her as they walked home from school for lunch.
Joyce’s killer was never caught although there were at least two suspects.
The body of Joyce, who lived in the Whitchurch area of Cardiff, was found on a railway embankment near Coryton station.
A copy of the Western Mail and a tobacco pouch were found close by.
South Wales Police is now undertaking a cold case review of the documentation gathered by the former Glamorganshire Constabulary in the aftermath of the murder.
In a letter to Joyce’s cousin Terry Phillips, Chief Inspector Mark Kavanagh wrote: “A prime suspect was identified early on in the original inquiry and remains the main focus of interest in this case. The team is undertaking intelligence research to identify what information is available about this individual.”
But the prime suspect in the case believed to have died decades ago.
Mr Phillips, who wasn’t born at the time of the murder and is now 73, said: “Together with other members of my family, I have been shocked to learn that the police now conclude that the primary suspect died as long ago as the 1950s.
“I was told that documentation relating to the case could not be published because of the possibility that it named a suspect who was still alive. The new information from the police suggests that isn’t the case. I have written to the National Archives asking the chief executive to look at the case for publication again.” SKELETON IN THE WOODS The skeletal remains of a man were discovered at Clocaenog Forest near Ruthin in November 2015.
It is believed the body had been there for a number of years and that the man had been in his 60s when he died. He was 173cm to 180cm tall and of stocky build.
His remains were discovered by two brothers who were camping in the forest. is
Forensic tests showed the man had suffered a serious head injury. Dentistry analysis revealed work typical of that carried out in the UK between 1980 and 2000. A dark green Pringle jumper was also recovered close to the remains. This might have belonged to the man but this has never been confirmed.
North Wales Police said the investigation is still continuing by the Force Major Incident Team. MURIEL DRINKWATER The 12-year-old was raped in Penllergaer Woods, near Swansea, before being shot with a World War One-era Colt 45 weapon in 1946.
The crime became known as the “Little Red Riding Hood murder”.
Muriel went missing after leaving school and making the short journey through woodland to her parents’ remote Tyle-Du Farm.
Searchers still remember the woods around the farm lit up by glow worms and the cries of Muriel’s parents, Margaret and Percy, on the night of June 27.
The next morning PC David Lloyd George found the Gowerton County School pupil’s body in undergrowth.
One of her hands was raised and her eyes were still wide open.
Police believe the killer would have been between 18 and 25 when the murder was carried out.
At the time of Muriel’s death officers visited every farmhouse and cottage within 150 square miles and interviewed 20,000 men in Swansea, Aberdare and Carmarthenshire. But their efforts proved fruitless. A staggering 3,000 mourners attended Muriel’s funeral. CAROL STEPHENS Six-year-old Carol Stephens had been sent out to the corner shop on an errand by her mother on April 7, 1959, when she was abducted in the Cathays area of Cardiff, sexually assaulted and then strangled.
Her body was discovered in a ravine 60 miles away from her home close to the village of Horeb, near Llanelli.
Between her disappearance and the discovery of her body there had been a frantic nationwide search for the schoolgirl.
A few weeks earlier she had told friends: “I have a new uncle who is taking me for lovely rides in his motor car.”
Her friend Kevin Northcott had nearly caught the killer after collecting the number plates of all the cars in the area the day that she disappeared – but he did not take the number of a green car where a man in his 30s was sat waiting near Carol’s home.
Police interviewed around 10,000 people, checked nearly 3,000 cars and took more than 1,100 statements during the hunt for Carol. SANDRA PHILLIPS Sex shop worker Sandra Phillips was discovered locked in the store by her area manager Anthony Williams on a busy Friday lunchtime on June 14, 1985, after she had been brutally raped and beaten to death.
Two brothers from Neath – Wayne and Paul Darvell – were convicted of the gruesome killing and were later jailed for life for Sandra’s murder.
But it was revealed that Wayne Darvell had a history of confessing to crimes he did not commit and the brothers were released in 1992, prompting South Wales Police to apologise for “investigational failings”.
A 2002 review revealed new information when police took down walls inside the adult store to take DNA samples and reinterviewed some of the 200 male members of the “blue movie club”.
But the killer was not found and in 2009 it was announced that the investigation would cease unless new evidence was submitted. DIANE JONES, SARAH-JANE JONES AND SHAUNA HIBBARD Mother Diane Jones, 21, and her two young daughters were killed after petrol was poured through their letterbox on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr.
Someone poured petrol through the front door and set it alight on October 11, 1995, killing Diane and her daughters, Shauna, two, and Sara Jane, 13 months.
Nobody was ever convicted of murder but two women who lived on the estate, Annette Hewins and Donna Clarke, were convicted of arson with intent to endanger life before being released on appeal.
Ms Hewins, who served 18 months of a 13-year sentence, spoke of her “10-year struggle to clear her name” and revealed she had written long letters to her husband instructing him how to bring up their children.
Ms Clarke was accused of having a motive because she had been having an affair with Ms Jones’ partner.
A defence lawyer said after the appeal that he “had never known a case to have proceeded on such flimsy evidence”.
Ms Hewins died in February aged 51. LILY VOLPERT Pawnbroker Lily Volpert was discovered lying on a heavily-bloodstained floor behind the counter of her general store in Bute Street, Cardiff, on September 3, 1952, after having her throat slit with a razor.
After the gruesome discovery was made it was said that vital evidence may have been destroyed as police attempted to check whether Ms Volpert was alive or not.
The main witness at the trial was Harold Cover, who came forward claiming that he had seen Somali sailor Mahmood Mattan leaving Volpert’s store on the night of the murder.
Mr Mattan, 28, was hanged at a Cardiff prison for the 41-year-old spinster‘s murder – the last man to be hanged in Wales.
Mattan’s conviction was quashed posthumously in 1998 after the Court of Appeal ruled that the conviction was unsafe and his surviving family were awarded £725,000 compensation.
Since then South Wales Police have reviewed the case but have not arrested anyone else in connection with the crime. PAUL SAVAGE Postman Paul Savage was beaten to death in the street with a wooden post as he delivered letters.
The 30-year-old was attacked as he delivered mail in Clayton Road, Mold, at around 7.30am on February 4, 2003.
Mr Savage, who was married with one daughter, was left dying in the snow by his attackers in an incident which prompted the Royal Mail to reassure his colleagues about their safety.
The organisation also offered thousands of pounds in rewards for information that led to the conviction of the killers.
Police investigated suspicions that the murder may have been related to a drugs feud involving a Manchester gang.
But, to date, no-one has been convicted over the brutal assault – despite a number of repeated appeals.
North Wales Police said the killing of Mr Savage is no longer an open investigation but that any information received about the case will be followed up. MAUREEN MULCAHY Unmarried 22-year-old mum Maureen Mulcahy had enjoyed a night out in February 1976 with friends in Aberavon, near Port Talbot, drinking bottles of her favourite cider.
She walked home alone but within a few hundred yards of the pub a man caught her and strangled her to death.
Joe Kappen, the nightclub doorman who killed Swansea schoolgirls Geraldine Hughes and Pauline Floyd, was posthumously linked to the killing.
Kappen, who worked doors in Swansea and Port Talbot, was exhumed in 2002 and his DNA was linked to that taken from the scene of the murders of Ms Hughes and Ms Floyd, both 16.
However, although the teenagers had been killed two and a half years earlier in the same area as Maureen there was no conclusive evidence to prove Kappen was
responsible for the later killing.
The case remains unsolved. ELSIE HUGHES Widow Elsie Hughes, 90, was found brutally battered to death in her own house for less than £200, which was missing from her home in Hawarden Road, Abermorrdu, near Wrexham.
North Wales Police launched a manhunt after a man in a light-coloured hooded top was seen running away from the terraced house where the retired school cook lived – and later offered a £100,000 reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest.
In March 2007, two years after the murder, two men were arrested on suspicion of the killing but were later released without charge.
Photographs of trainers similar to those believed to have been worn by the killer were released in 2008 but nobody has been linked with the killing since.
North Wales Police said the killing of Ms Savage was no longer an open investigation but that any information received about the case will be followed up. HARRY AND MEGAN TOOZE The gunned-down bodies of Harry and Megan Tooze were discovered at their home, Ty Ar y Waun Farm in Llanharry, near Bridgend, in July 1993.
The pensioners – who had been shot with a shotgun – were found wrapped in carpets and tarpaulin in a cowshed near their farmhouse where they had just had tea.
Jonathan Jones, the boyfriend of their daughter Cheryl, was wrongly convicted of their murder after police had discovered his fingerprint on one of the saucers at the scene but the verdict was quickly overturned on appeal.
Since then South Wales Police have made several attempts to solve the murder but no further arrests have been made.
Mr Jones later said that the murders still “haunt” him and Cheryl – who he has since married – and that the investigation had not been properly conducted by police. TREVALINE EVANS Trevaline Evans, 52, left her antiques shop in Llangollen, Denbighshire, on June 16, 1990. A note on the door said she would be back in two minutes but she was never seen again.
One of the biggest investigations of its kind got under way in North Wales with more than 330 statements taken and 1,500 names checked.
Detectives launched a new investigation in 2001 into Mrs Evans’ disappearance, setting up a major incident room employing 10 officers to look at every statement, phone call and piece of evidence collected at the time of the original inquiry in 1990.
It was hoped new forensic techniques and fingerprinting technology would generate fresh leads in a bid to solve the suspicious disappearance.
But the inquiry was brought to a close in August last year when officers failed to find any new evidence of Mrs Evans’ whereabouts.
Her brother – record Cardiff City goal scorer Len Davies – appeared on television to appeal for information on where she was but she remains missing to this day.
North Wales Police said the disappearance of Mrs Evans was no longer an open investigation but that any information received about the case will be followed up. PHILIP SAUNDERS Newsagent Philip Saunders, 52, was found dead outside his home in Canton, Cardiff, in October 1987, having been viciously battered with a spade.
The day’s takings from his kiosk had been stolen and he died five days later.
Michael O’Brien, Darren Hall and Ellis Sherwood were wrongly convicted in 1988 of the robbery and murder.
All three men served a total of 11 years behind bars after the conviction based on a “confession” from Mr Hall.
But during a hearing in December 1999 the Appeal Court was told Mr Hall had a history of telling lies and it emerged that investigators had shown a “systematic disregard” of the rules governing interrogation.
Mr O’Brien and Mr Sherwood have since been awarded damages for their false imprisonment.
No other person has been arrested in connection with the killing. JOHN CONNORS John Connors, a retired dentist from Neath, was last seen on March 30, 1978, by his closest friend, Philip Knight, who has since passed away.
Mr Connors’ body was discovered the following day in the living room of his home by a home help employed by social services. There was no forced entry and it is suspected that the killer got his victim to let him in by subterfuge, he knew his killer, or the front door was insecure and someone walked in.
The cause of death was multiple blows to the head with a blunt instrument.
A man aged between 30 and 40, 6ft tall, of proportionate build with dark brown hair was seen leaving the premises in Lewis Street at around 7.15pm on March 30 and he drove off in a white car with two other men. But extensive inquiries failed to trace them. JOHN ARMSTRONG John (also known as Jack) Armstrong’s body was found on October 8, 1979. The 58-year-old taxi driver died from a series of blows to the head.
Three days before, the firm he worked for, Castle Private Hire Taxi Company in Westgate Street, Cardiff, took a call from a man identifying himself only as Williams, asking to be collected from the Fairwater Pub in St Fagans Road, Fairwater, to take him to Cowbridge.
Mr Armstrong took the job, driving his metallic bronze Colt Sigma 1600cc, registration RNY 119R, and 10 minutes later, at 1.30pm, he radioed taxi control to confirm he had picked up his passenger but he was never heard from again.
At 6pm that day his blood-spattered taxi was found in Treoes Lane, Treoes, near the Waterton Industrial Estate at the western boundary of the Vale of Glamorgan.
There appeared to be signs of a struggle inside the car, with blood on the passenger seat and other parts of the interior and exterior.
The incident was treated as murder, with a possible motive being robbery. The body was found some 11 miles east of the abandoned vehicle on common land known variously as Stalling Down or Cowbridge Common, to the north east of Cowbridge. OTHER UNSOLVED KILLINGS IN WALES June 1943: Mabel Harper, 53, beaten to death, sexually assaulted, also strangled, in Western Avenue, Cardiff. April 1948: Jerzy Strzadla who was robbed and stabbed in Aberdare Park. September 1956: Jean Challenger, 32, a housewife, was murdered while blackberrying in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff. April 1972: Harold Fisher, 54, was robbed and stabbed to death outside Havana Bakery, Cardiff. December 1972: Nora Wilfred, 33, was stabbed to death in Bute Street, Cardiff. June 1975: David Williams, 49, was found dead at the foot of cliffs in Barry. ARE POLICE STILL INVESTIGATING? South Wales Police said that all historic murder cases, often referred to as “cold cases”, are allocated to the specialist crime review unit and remain under active consideration and will be subject to re-investigation as and when new information is received or when there are advances in forensic science.
The force said each case was reviewed periodically and if information comes in from the public or other forces they act on it.
South Wales Police said it was one of the first forces in the country to set up a review team in 1999 to conduct cold case reviews.
Postman Paul Savage