Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Police review 28 unsolved murders

Muriel Drinkwater
The murder of Muriel Drinkwater, 12, in 1946, is among 28 unsolved murders under review

South Wales Police has revealed it has been reviewing 28 unsolved murders dating back as far the start of World War II.

The earliest case is 70-years-old and involves Joyce Cox, five, who was sexually assaulted and strangled on a Cardiff railway embankment in 1939.

Officers are also re-investigating the 1995 murders of Diane Jones and her daughters in a house fire.

The details have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

UNSOLVED CASES
September 1939: Joyce Cox, five, strangled on railway embankment, Whitchurch, Cardiff
June 1943: Mabel Harper, 53, found beaten to death on grass verge, Cardiff
November 1943: Norah Bartlett, 33, sexually assaulted and strangled, Singleton, Swansea
June 1946: Muriel Drinkwater, 12, sexually assaulted and shot dead
February 1948: Evan David Harris, 72, injured before drowning, South Dock, Swansea
April 1948: Jerzy Strzadla, 33, Polish collier worker robbed, stabbed 44 times in Aberdare Park
January 1949: Ernest Melville, 37, beaten to death on a bombed site in High St, Swansea
March 1952: Lily Volpert, robbed and stabbed in her shop at Bute St, Cardiff. Mamhood Matan hung for murder but posthumously cleared
November 1955: Unknown baby boy with multiple injuries, found wrapped in brown paper in the grounds of Aberdare Catholic School.
September 1956: Jean Challenger, 32, housewife, beaten to death whilst blackberry picking at Llanederyn, Cardiff.
April 1959: Carol Stephens, 6, abducted from her home in Cathays, Cardiff, strangled and sexually assaulted, body dumped in Carmarthen
August 1961: Stephen Watt, 53, died after being found at Dyfatty Park, Swansea
February 1972: Thomas James, 79, retired moneylender tied up and robbed in Sketty Road, Gowerton. Two acquitted by court.
April 1972: Harold Fisher, 54, robbed and stabbed to death outside Havana Bakery, Cardiff
September 1972: Unknown baby boy, strangled and dumped on the bank of River Taff, Cardiff.
December 1972: Nora Wilfred, 33, stabbed to death Bute St, Cardiff
June 1975: David Williams, 49, found dead foot of cliffs, Barry
February 1976: Maureen Mulcahy, 22, strangled, sexually assaulted, Aberavon, Port Talbot
April 1978: John Connors, 80, retired dentist. Beaten and robbed in his Neath home
October 1979: John Armstrong, 52, taxi driver, of Cardiff, found beaten and robbed on Cowbridge Common
June 1985: Sandra Phillips, 38, beaten to death in sex shop at Swansea. Two brothers acquitted on appeal
October 1987: Philip Saunders, 53, Cardiff shopkeeper, attacked and robbed near home in Canton. Three people acquitted on appeal.
March 1989: Cyril Davies, 48, beaten to death at home in Swansea. Person acquitted.
July 1993: Harold and Megan Tooze dead in their farm. Man acquitted on appeal
October 1995: Diane Jones, Shauna and Sarah Hibbard. Mother and two young children killed when petrol was poured through the letterbox of home. Two persons convicted of arson released on appeal.
Source: South Wales Police

Unsolved cases include the 1952 murder of Lily Volpert, 41, who was stabbed in her shop in Bute Street, Cardiff.

Somali seaman Mahmood Matan was found guilty of the murder and was hanged but his conviction was ruled unsafe by a Court of Appeal hearing in 1998 after a campaign by his family.

Other cases police have reviewed include the 1985 death of Sandra Phillips, 38, who was beaten to death in sex shop at Swansea. Two brothers were convicted of her murder but acquitted on appeal.

Detectives have also been looking again at the deaths of two young boys who remain unidentified.

One was found wrapped in brown paper in the grounds of Aberdare Catholic School in 1955 and one was strangled and dumped on the bank of the river Taff in 1972.

The case of Muriel Drinkwater has also been the subject of a review. The 12-year-old schoolgirl was sexually assaulted and shot dead in Swansea in June 1946.

Several of the cases being re-examined have been among South Wales Police's most high-profile in the last few decades, such as the unsolved murder of 53-year-old newsagent Philip Saunders, who was ambushed approaching his home in Canton, Cardiff in 1987.

Michael O'Brien, Darren Hall and Ellis Sherwood - know as the Cardiff Newsagent Three - served more than a decade in prison before being cleared by appeal court judges in 1999.

Appeal Court

A hunt was launched in 1993 for the killer of Harold and Megan Tooze, a husband and wife shot dead in their Llanharry farm.

Their prospective son-in-law, Jonathan Jones, was jailed for life for the killings but was released a year later by the Appeal Court and went on to marry Cheryl Tooze, the couple's only daughter.

South Wales Police has revealed on its website it is reviewing the murders after a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act.

The case of five-year-old Joyce Cox, who was killed by a railway line in Whitchurch, Cardiff, is the oldest officers are re-examining.

The most recent is that of Diane Jones and young daughters Shauna and Sarah Hibbard, who died in a house fire on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr after petrol was poured through their letterbox.

Annette Hewins was jailed for the murders for 13 years but later cleared by the Appeal Court, while her niece Donna Clarke - jailed for 20 years - was also freed after a judge decided she should not face a retrial.



SEE ALSO
Sex shop murder probe draws blank
09 Oct 09 |  South West Wales
Tooze murder case is scaled down
25 Jul 08 |  South East Wales
300,000 pay-out for cleared man
12 Oct 06 |  Wales
DNA breakthrough on 1946 murder
04 Nov 08 |  Wales

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