Unsolved Murders

Evan Thomas Davies

Age: 31

Sex: male

Date: 11 Dec 1941

Place: Air Raid Shelter, Whitchurch Road, Cardiff

Source: www.truecrimelibrary.com

Evan Thomas Davies was shot in an air raid shelter on Whitchurch Road on 11 December 1941.

He was a police constable.

The investigation was narrowed down to two youths, but one of them was found dead in a field a few days later which made the case more complex and in the end no charges were made. It was thought that the dead youth had committed suicide.

It was said that if the youth had not died, that both of the youths would have been arrested and tried for Evan Davies's murder and that it was the unique fact that one of them had died that made the case complex as the evidence regarding conversations with the dead youth could not be used.

It was also noted that the results from the coroner’s inquest were also open to debate in so much as the dead youth was not named by the jury as having been involved in the murder. The jury was asked three questions, answers at end:

  1. Do you name the person who fired the shots? NO.
  2. Do you include the other youth as a principal in the second degree? YES.
  3. If so, do you name such other youth? NO.

A report on the inquest noted that whilst the answer to the second question was affirmative, that the negative answer to the third question made no sense when the scientific evidence regarding fibres on the gun, the finding of the cosh and the inseparable nature of the two youths as friends was taken into consideration. The report stated, 'The negative answer which the jury have however given is in such extreme contradiction with the facts proved in evidence that their finding in this particular respect is, in my opinion, an error of factual judgement. I can only assume that the Jury's answer to this particular question has been motivated by emotional and not logical consideration arising from the fact that they were possibly moved with concern for the reputation of the deceased youth, and the emotional effect upon his parents of an affirmative answer which would have incriminated him in the murder as a principal in the second degree'.

The author also noted that the whole of the police evidence was not allowed to be presented at the inquest due to the fact that it was incriminating against one of the people, ie the other youth, who was to give evidence.

It was noted that the suspected youth attended the inquest and gave evidence, but the coroner ruled that he could not be cross examined. It was also noted that his evidence was guarded. In his evidence he denied the following:

  1. All knowledge of the murder.
  2. That he was in the vicinity of the scene of the crime at any time on the material date.
  3. That he had a Steyr automatic pistol in his possession on the material date.
  4. That he was with anyone who handled a Steyr automatic pistol on the material date.
  5. That he handled a Steyr automatic pistol on the material date.
  6. That he knew of the existence of a Steyr automatic pistol apart from the Steyr automatic pistol which had been produced in the Court.

It was noted after the inquest that the youths answer to question 5 was directly contradicted by the testimony from several witnesses and that the inability to cross examine the youth meant that that point could not be made.

During the investigation into Evan Davies's murder, it was found that Evan Davies was called to the shelter between 8pm and 8.15pm after complaints were made about youths hanging about in there with guns. When he went into the shelter he was shot, and the youths ran off dropping a tommy-gun. The tommy-gun was thought to have belonged to one of the main suspects who was said to have been the taller of the two.

The two youths were seen to run away by several people.

The shots that killed Evan Davies were thought to have come from a 9mm Steyr automatic pistol.

Evan Davies died from shock and haemorrhage resulting from two bullets passing through vital organs of his body.

It was noted that between 8pm and 8.15pm on 11 December 1941 that an attache case was stolen from a property at 70 Witchurch Road.

Evan Davies was shot at 8.15pm in the air raid shelter on Witchurch Road which was approximately 100 yards from 70 Witchurch Road.

At about 8.10pm on the Thursday, 11 December 1941, a police sergeant met Evan Davies at the junction of Whitchurch Road and Allensbank Road. They were both in uniform and walked along Whitchurch Road and passed the air raid shelter which was built against the Barracks Wall there.

When they got there, Evan Davies left the police sergeant and went into the air raid shelter. The police sergeant then walked on for a distance of about 40 yards and stopped and waited for about two minutes for Evan Davies. As Evan Davies did not come out, the police sergeant said that he proceeded to the air raid shelter and went in by the northern entrance and said that as he did so he saw Evan Davies in the shelter with his back to him and that immediately in front of him there were two youths facing Evan Davies.

The police sergeant said that he walked towards where the three people were standing. He said that he noticed that one of the youths was shorter than the other and that the taller of the two youths was wearing a dark overcoat that was buttoned up to the neck and also wearing spectacles. He said that he also noticed that the taller of the two youths appeared to be a little older than the shorter youth. He said that the taller youth was standing on the left side of Evan Davies and was quite close to him and that the other youth was standing about one yard to the left and rear of the taller youth.

Evan Davies then told the police sergeant that there was a case under the seat in the shelter and asked him to see what was inside it. The police sergeant then took the case and placed it on on the seat there and was in the act of examining it when he said he heard Evan Davies say, 'What have you got under your coat? Open your coat'. He said that the taller youth then said, 'I won't, why should I?'. The police sergeant then said, 'Open your coat when the officer tells you'.

The police sergeant said that he then saw the overcoat of the taller youth being opened and a Thompson sub-machine gun fall out to the floor. He said that Evan Davies then appeared to try to catch hold of the youths but that as he did so the shorter youth, who was standing directly opposite him opened his jacket and pulled out an automatic pistol from between his waist and his trousers and pointing the pistol at Evan Davies fired two shots in quick succession at point-blank range.

He said that the two youths then immediately turned and ran out into the street through the southern entrance of the shelter. The police sergeant said that he then saw Evan Davies sway and stagger. The police sergeant said that he then ran out of the air raid shelter through the northern entrance and then turned in a southerly direction but could not see or hear anything of the two youths. He said that when he went back into the air raid shelter, he found Evan Davies there apparently dead.

The police sergeant said that he then went to telephone his superiors and that as he was doing so he stopped a passing motor car in which there was a doctor and the doctor went to see Evan Davies and pronounced him dead.

It was noted that the police sergeant could not give a very good description of the youths that he saw in the air raid shelter as there had only been two very dull lights inside the shelter and that they were high up on the wall.

However, he described the youths as one being aged about 17 years and 5ft 6 in tall and the other being aged about 15 years and about 5ft 4in tall.

It was noted that at about 8.20pm, two men had been walking along Whitchurch Road on the west side by the barracks wall and approaching in a northerly direction and that when they were opposite the Heath Hotel, they heard two reports, which they said they thought were the back firing of a motor vehicle. They said that when they had gone along about another six yards, two people ran past them in the opposite direction towards Crwys Road. They said that one was taller than the other and that the taller one was wearing a dark overcoat that was flying open as though it was unbuttoned. They said that they walked on a little further and then saw the police sergeant at the telephone kiosk outside the northern entrance to the air raid shelter with whom they had a conversation.

The police report noted that it therefore appeared from the two peoples statements that the reports they heard were probably the shots that had been fired killing Evan Davies and that the two persons that they had seen running past them were the youths that had been in the air raid shelter.

A 15-year-old boy said that he had been in Whitchurch Street at about the same time walking on the footpath on the barracks side heading towards Crwys Road and that when he was about 12 yards past the air raid shelter he heard two bangs and that when he stopped to look around he saw two young men walking on the footway at a rather fast pace towards North Road. He said that when he first saw them, they were halfway along the air raid shelter. He said that they walked only a little way in the direction of North Road and that they then stopped and crossed the road into Allensbank Crescent which was directly opposite the shelter. He said that one of them was taller than the other and that the taller youth had been wearing a dark overcoat.

Two other boys that had been in Whitchurch Road at about the same time said that when they were at the corner of Gelligaer Street and Witchurch Road they heard two bangs, one immediately after the other. They said that they were walking on the pavement on the east side of Whitchurch Road towards the Heath Hotel and that as they arrived outside the Heath Hotel they saw two boys, who they described as being about 5ft 6in tall, running towards the block-house near the entrance to the barracks. They said that they also saw three little boys following them.

The police noted that the two young men referred to by the 15-year-old boy and the two other boys might have had no connection with the crime, although noted that on the other hand, they could have seen the two youths concerned with the murder after they had come out of the southern entrance of the shelter, suggesting that they might have gone across the road towards Allensbank Crescent and then, upon entering Allensbank Crescent, retraced their steps along the east side of Whitchurch Road and that when outside the Heath Hotel then run across towards the block-house and in doing so passed the first two youths.

The attache case found in the air raid shelter was found to have been stolen between 8pm and 8.15pm on the same night from an office at 70 Whitchurch Road. The office consisted of a room on the ground floor and the occupier said that he left the office at about 8pm, closing the door but not locking it, and leaving the electric light burning inside. He said that he left his attache case, which contained business papers, lying on a chair at the side of his desk, and that when he returned to his office at about 8.15pm he found the office door slightly ajar and the attache case missing.

The post-mortem on Evan Davies showed that he died from shock and internal haemorrhage due to the passage of two bullets through vital organs. The doctor said that in his opinion, the first bullet fired had struck a metal button on Evan Davies's tunic and entered his abdomen and then passed through his liver. He said that the track of the bullet was from left to right and was slightly in an upward direction. He said that the lead core of a bullet was removed from just under the skin of his right flank between the posterior axillary and scapular lines. He added that at the exit wound in the liver he found one part of the missing cupro-nickel covering of the bullet and that on incising the track through the liver he recovered the rest of the metal covering. He said that the reason for the stripping of the bullet was because it had first struck the metal button on Evan Davies's tunic before entering his body.

The doctor said that he also found another wound in the left nipple line, and that again the track was from left to right and in an upward direction. He said that it was a similar wound to that made by the first bullet but noted that the cupro-nickel casing was complete. He said that the complete bullet entered the left plural cavity between the fourth and fifth ribs and passed through the heart an then through the right lung and then exited through the posterior wall of the right plural cavity just above the upper border of the third right rib and finally came to a rest under the skin on the tip of his shoulder.

The doctor said that Evan Davies's death would have been practically instantaneous.

When the Thompson sub-machine gun that had been dropped by the taller youth was examined, it was found to have no magazine and that when it was examined for fingerprints, none were found.

The following day, 12 December 1941 at about 9am a woman that lived at 42 Gelligaer Street, found a Thompson sub-machine gun magazine containing about 19 live gun cartridges on a wall beneath the railings that surrounded the front area of her house. She said that the cartridges were wet and so she wiped the magazine with a towel and then later that day handed the magazine in to the police.

The police also later found a box magazine containing 20 live Thompson sub-machine gun cartridges, similar to those found on the wall at 42 Gelligaer Street in the area of 62 Gelligaer Street, which was ten houses away from 42 Gelligaer Street and on the same side of the road.

Both of the magazines contained rounds of Thompson sub-machine gun ammunition and both magazines fitted the Thompson sub-machine gun that was found in the shelter.

It was also noted that the places where the magazines were found were close to the scene of the murder and in the direction that the two youths who were seen running away had gone, and the police report stated that there was no doubt that the magazines had been thrown away by the youths, or one of them, as they made their escape.

It was also noted that a mackintosh was also found on the floor of the front area of 92 Gelligaer Street. It was rolled up and wet in places, but it was not connected to the crime or claimed by anyone, even though a photograph of it was placed in the papers.

The police also found a piece of rubber tubing at about 4.30pm on Saturday 13 December 1941 on a piece of waste ground at the junction of Gelligaer Street and Whitchurch Road. Both ends of the rubber tubing were plugged, one end with a piece of wood and the other end with a wooden stop, the latter end being wrapped round with a piece of green material.  The piece of land that it was found on was fenced by a high hoarding on the Whitchurch Road and Gelligaer Street sides and by a wooden fence on the other two sides and it was thought that the piece of rubber tubing had been thrown away by the two youths, or one of them, as they were making their escape.

The police found that the Thompson sub-machine gun that was found in the air-raid shelter was identified as being similar to the one that was missed on 31 August 1941 from the Armoury of D Company, 11th Glamorgan Battalion, Home Guard, whose headquarters were situated at the Institute, High Street, Llandaff. It was noted that when the machine gun was missed, that two box magazines were also missed from the box in which the sub-machine gun had been kept. It was also noted that the two box magazines that were found near the scene of the crime were similar to the ones that were missed from the armoury along with the sub-machine gun.

It was also noted that a detachable butt for the sub-machine gun that had gone missing was also missing and that it had not been recovered.

It was thought that the sub-machine gun had been taken on a date between 21 and 31 August 1941.

It was noted that three Thompson sub-machine guns had been kept in boxes in the armoury and they were checked by a man on 21 August 1941 and found to all be there. On 30 August a Lieutenant took one of the boxes and ammunition for a practice shoot and then later returned the sub-machine gun without the box or ammunition to the other man. The man then cleaned the gun and placed it on the shelf in the armoury.  Then, on 31 August 1941, another man saw a sub-machine gun on a shelf, thought to have been the one placed there the day before, and took it and placed it in an empty box and then told the other man what he had done. It was then heard that the other man, knowing that the Lieutenant still had an empty box, knew that a gun was missing but thought that someone might have taken it for practice purposes. However, when the Lieutenant returned the empty box that he had it was determined that a gun and two box magazines were missing as well as about 400 rounds of Thompson sub-machine gun ammunition. It was also noted that a few rounds of .45 service revolver ammunition was also missing from the armoury.

The police report noted that the two youths later suspected for being involved in the murder had been very close friends and were members of D Company of the Home Guard and that they were often on Home Guard duties. It was also found that they had been on duty together at the headquarters of the Home Guard on 22nd, 26th and 30th of August 1941, the period over which the gun was stolen.

It was heard that on the night of the murder that the youth that later died called for the other youth who was suspected of the murder and that at about 7.30pm or7.45pm, they both went out together. They were then later both seen at 9.30pm at the home of the youth that later died when they both went upstairs for a few minutes and then went out again, reaching the other youth's home, the youth that was suspected of the murder, at 9.35pm before leaving again at about 9.45pm after which the suspected youth returned home at about 10pm and the other youth that died returned home at about 10.10pm. However, it was also noted that that the time of the return home of the youth that later died was doubted as it was said that another policeman that knew him saw him at 10.45pm.

It was also heard that a girl said that she saw the youth that later died outside the New Theatre at about 10pm but it was thought that she had got the day she had seen him wrong.

During their investigation the police questioned a man who said that in the early part of August 1941 he had met the two youths at Roath Park Lake and that he had asked one of the youths if he could get him a Tommy-gun and said that they told him that he could and that it would cost in 'five quid', which the man said he agreed to pay. He said that when he later met the two youths again at Roath Park Lane in Cardiff, he asked them about the Tommy-gun and said that they told him that they had got one and that when he asked them where he had got it, the main suspect in Evan Davies murder said, 'We got it from the Home Guard'.

Later, at either the end of October 1941 or the first week of November 1941, a youth said that he went to the house of the main suspect in Evan Davies murder's in St Michaels Road, Llandaff, in Cardiff, where he saw the main suspect in Evan Davies's murder and the youth who was later found dead in the field and said that during a conversation he noticed some boxes on the main suspects writing bureau and asked him whether he had any ammunition for an automatic pistol that was being shown to him at the time and said that the main suspect then opened a black tin box in his room and took a small cardboard box from it that he opened and said that the contents was Tommy-gun ammunition.

When the police went to 7 Syr Davids Avenue in Cardiff, where the youth that died lived they found in the back bedroom on the first floor that the youth occupied, four revolver cartridges and a Thompson sub-machine gun cartridge. It was noted that the ammunition was similar to the ammunition that was missed from the armoury.

When the Thompson sub-machine gun found in the air raid shelter and clothing that belonged to the man that died, a sports jacket, trousers, pullover, raincoat and dark overcoat, were examined by a doctor from the Forensic Science Laboratory, fibres found on the gun were found to match fibres from his clothes. It was noted that the main suspect in the murder said that on the night of the murder that the youth that was later found dead in the field had been wearing a sports jacket and that it was also clear from other evidence that he had also been wearing a dark overcoat. It was noted however that he had not been wearing the raincoat or pullover that were examined, but it was thought that fibres from those items might have come to be on the gun from previous occasions when he had been wearing them.

Either way, the police report noted that the evidence made it clear that the the two youths had had in their possession a Thompson sub-machine gun and that it inferred that the one that they had was the one stolen from the armoury. It further noted that the evidence from the doctor regarding the Thompson sub-machine gun that was found in the air-raid shelter showed that it had been in the possession of the youth that was later found dead in the field. It was also noted that the fact the Thompson sub-machine gun found in the air-raid shelter corresponded in detail with the gun that had been stolen from the Home Guard armoury was circumstantial evidence indicating that it was the gun that had been stolen from the armoury in August 1941. It was noted that the serial number of theThompson sub-machine gun stolen from the Home Guard armoury was not known.

It was however noted that another Thompson sub-machine gun was reported missing from another Home Guard unit, that 22nd Glamorgan (Cardiff) Battalion Home Guard Station at Drill Hall in Dumfries Place, Cardiff. That Thompson sub-machine gun went missing on 30 October 1941. However, it was further noted that the number of that gun was known and that the number of the gun found in the air-raid shelter did not match that number and that as such it was concluded that the gun found in the air-raid shelter was not the gun stolen from the armoury of the 22nd Glamorgan (Cardiff) Battalion Home Guard Station.

During the police investigation they found that the two youths suspected of the murder were very close friends and were constantly visiting each other's bedrooms and that they were both extremely interested in firearms. The police said that when they interviewed the youth suspected of the murder that he said that he had lent the other youth money to buy firearms and that from other evidence concluded that they were constantly discussing firearms so much so that there was no doubt that any firearm that the youth that died might have possessed would have been well known to the other youth.

When the bullets recovered from Evan Davies's body were examined by a gun expert, they were both determined to have been 9mm calibre and to have been fired from a four grooved weapon.

It was noted that within a quarter o an hour after the murder, that the police had found two cartridge cases under the seat in the air raid shelter and when the gun expert examined those he said that they were cartridges used in a Steyr 9mm automatic pistol. It was noted that the Steyr 9mm automatic pistol was a service weapon used by the Austrian army and that thousands of them were brought into the country after the previous war.

It was later noted that in the first week of August 1941 that a Steyr 9mm automatic pistol was missed from the armoury of D Company of the Home Guard unit. The gun had been previously surrendered to the Home Guard by a man who was also a member of the Home Guard and it had hung in the armoury in a leather holster. It was found that the Steyr 9mm automatic pistol that was missing from the armoury was similar in all respects to the one that fired the bullets that killed Evan Davies.

The friend that had given evidence of meeting the two youths in Roat Park said that one night between 10pm and 10.30pm there was a knock at his door and that when he answered someone put something to his ribs and, being started, he took a step back and then discovered that it was the youth that was later found dead and that he had a pistol in his hand. He said that the youth that was later found dead then showed him the pistol and told him that it was a .38 Steyr automatic pistol which he described and it was later identified as being exactly similar to the one stolen from the Home Guard armoury. The friend also said that the youth that was later found dead showed him about ten rounds of ammunition that was stamped, 9mm.

The friend said that about three weeks to a month later when he was at Roath Park with the two youths he asked the youth that was later found dead if he still had the Steyr and said that the other youth, who was suspected of being the murderer said, 'No, I have got it' and that he then pulled it out of his right hand overcoat pocket and showed it to him. The friend said that it was the same gun that the other youth had previously shown him. He said that the youth that later died then said that he had sold it to the other youth.  He said that he was also shown a cigarette tin which contained about 20 rounds of ammunition and said that the youth that was suspected of the murder said, 'It contained twenty rounds of death'. The friend said that they discussed the Steyr pistol and that as they left Roath Park they also discussed the Tommy-gun and that as they were going along City Road the youth that was suspected of the murder had the Steyr pistol in his right hand overcoat pocket and that he took it out and exclaimed, 'The confounded thing has jammed', and then explained that he had been fooling around with it whilst walking along and that a round of ammunition had got stuck in the breech. He said that it was dark at the time and that the youth suspected of the murder was trying to work the mechanism of the gun to eject the ammunition from the breech, and that he failed to do so. He said that the youth tried to prize the ammunition out from the breech and that as they went along Wellfield Road and into a lane at the back of the Presbyterian Church in Penylan Road the youth said, 'There is only one way to get it out and that is by firing it'. The friend said that he waited in Penylan Road whilst the other two youths, who were both suspected of being involved in the murder of Evan Davies, went into the lane at the back of the church and fired it. The friend said that when the youth that was suspected of the murder returned, he said, 'I have fired it to God's own Heaven'.

Another friend said that in the summer of 1941, around July, he had gone to the house of the main suspect in the murder and whilst having a general conversation with him he had seen an automatic pistol lying on top of a cupboard and that the youth showed it to him and explained the workings of it. The friend later identified the pistol as having been a Steyr pistol. The friend said that later, in the early part of September 1941, he had gone to the youths house again and that whilst there in a company of the two youths suspected of being involved in the murder the youth that was suspected of being the gunman pulled the Steyr pistol out from under his pillow, and the friend said that it was the same gun he had seen earlier.

Another friend that lived in Clive Road in Cardiff said that in the middle part of September 1941 the youth that later died called on him and that whilst they were in his garden talking the youth pulled out an automatic pistol and showed it to him. The friend said that the youth called on him two more times later in September 1941 and that on one occasion he had had the pistol and fired it in his garden twice. He noted that it was his habit to give any empty cartridge cases to a little 7-year-old boy and that on that occasion he handed the boy the two empty cartridge cases. The friend said that when the youth and brought the pistol round he had had ample opportunity to examine it and later identified it aas being similar in all respects to another Steyr pistol that he was shown.

It was furthermore stated that when the gun expert examined the two empty cartridge cases that had been given to the little 7-year-old boy that he found that they had been fired by the same gun that had been used to kill Evan Davies. He said that markings on the cartridges found in the air raid shelter and markings on the casings that had been given to the 7-year-old boy were identical and that he concluded that all four cartridges had been fired by the same gun.

Another youth also identified the Steyr pistol after seeing it in the possession of the youth that later died whilst attending a cadet parade at the Herbert Thompson Schools at Ely in Cardiff.

Later, towards the end of October 1941, another friend said that he had gone to the youth that was suspected of the murder's house and that whilst there he had seen the youth take an automatic pistol out from beneath his pillow and said that he showed it to him. He said that he again later went to the youth’s house and that on that occasion he had seen the pistol on the youth who was suspected of the murder's writing bureau in his bedroom. He said that on that occasion both of the youths suspected of being in involved with the murder were there and that when he had asked who the pistol belonged to the youth that later died said, 'It is our gun'. He said that when he asked where they had got it, the youth that was suspected of being the murderer said, 'I bought it from a chap'. The friend also later identified the pistol that he had seen as being identical to another Steyr pistol that he was shown.

The friend said that in early November 1941 he had again gone to the house of the youth that later died and saw the pistol, saying that whilst there in the living room he saw the youth take the pistol from his pocket and then quickly place it in a drawer as his mother entered the room, which was thought was to hide it from her.

When the youth that was suspected of the murder made a statement, he said that two days before the murder he had seen the youth that later died with a German pistol and later identified the one that he had seen as a Steyr pistol.

The police report concluded that on various occasions over the period from August to November 1941 that the Steyr gun had been seen in the possession of both of the youth’s and that from the conversations spoken of that it was obvious that the youth that later died had either sold it to the other youth who was suspected of the murder or that they had been joint owners of it.

The police however, further report stated that whilst it could be proved that the Steyr gun that the youth that later died had used in the friends garden in September 1941 was the gun that was used to kill Evan Davies, it could not be proved that the Steyr gun that the other youth that was suspected of being the murderer had had was the same gun, although it was noted that the circumstantial evidence inferred that the guns were the same.

One of the friends that had gone to the youth's house who was suspected of the murder said that around July 1941, he had seen a piece of black rubber tubing lying on the floor. He said that it was partially under a piece of furniture and was about 18 inches in length. He said that he asked what on earth the youth wanted it for and said that they youth replied, 'It's a cosh. There are a number of chaps down the park who don't like me and if they try to use any of their rough stuff it will be handy to defend myself'.

It was noted that in the first week of October 1941 that the youth that later died called on the friend that had seen the cosh and that owing to the conversation he had had with the youth that was suspected of the murder, that he cut off a length of hosepipe, about 18 inches in length, and handed it to the youth that later died. He said that a few days later the youth that later died called again and showed him the rubber tubing which he had by then stopped off at one end with a piece of wood and had put a leather thong at the other end which was easily detachable.

The police report then noted that the rubber tubing later found on the waste ground at the corner of Gelligear Street and Whitchurch Road, near the scene of the crime, had a piece of cane inserted in one end. It was also noted that it was not thought that the piece of rubber with the wooden stop had been there for long as it was clean, dry and not embedded in the grass.

The police said that when they later examined the house of the youth that later died, they found ten pieces of cane in a wardrobe there which they stated had obviously been from one large piece of cane and said that they found that the pieces of cane fitted exactly around the piece of cane found in the rubber tubing found on the waste ground and that when all laid out together formed a complete cane.

The youth that later died’ s mother said that she had seen his swagger cane complete and undamaged in his bedroom around the end of November 1941.

The police said that they also found some string underneath some green adhesive tape on the cosh and that they also found similar string at the warehouse of the father of the youth who was suspected of the murder, but noted that it was a common type of string.

The youth that was suspected of the murder said in his statement that he had seen the other youth that later died at his father's warehouse one day and that when the youth that later died saw some large balls of string he had asked him to spare him some, and he said that he gave him about 20 feet of string.

As such, the police report stated that if what the other friend had said about seeing the cosh at the youth's house who was suspected of the murder in July 1941, that there must have then been two rubber coshes because the friend had not given the other youth the piece of rubber until October 1931.

Further, the police stated that when they went to the house of the youth that later died on 4 January 1942, they found a small piece of rubber on a shelf in the conservatory there that when examined, was found to fit exactly the end of the rubber cosh that was found on the piece of waste ground near the scene of the murder.

As such, the police report stated that it was abundantly clear that the cosh found on the piece of waste ground had been in the possession of the youth that later died and that it had probably been constructed by him.

A witness said that on the day after the murder, the youth that later died had called at the house of the other youth suspected of the murder whilst he was not there and that he had gone upstairs to the other youth's bedroom and that he was up there rather longer than usual and that when he came back down he had something bulky under his raincoat. However, the witness said that she didn’t pass any remark on it.

The witness was the last person to see the youth that later died alive, the time being about 9.30pm on 12 December 1941 and he was shortly afterwards reported as being missing.

The youth was later found dead on 15 December 1941 in a field situated between Ely Road and Fairweather Road in Cardiff. When he was found he had a sports gun between his legs and it was found that he had been shot through the head. However, it was noted that the gun was missing its butt.

The gun was identified as being that of the other youth who was suspected of the murder, and it was said that there was no doubt that the woman that had seen him leaving the other youth's house on the evening of 12 December 1941 had had the gun underneath his coat.

When he was found a note in his handwriting was found nearby.

When the youth was found dead, he had been wearing a sports jacket, a fawn overcoat, trousers and a pullover. When his clothes were examined, fibres on them were found to match fibres found on the Thompson sub-machine gun found in the air raid shelter.

It was found that before the youth was found dead, but after he was reported missing, that the other youth suspected of the murder expected that he might of committed suicide as it was noted that at about 4am on 13 December 1941, he had said to a witness that he thought that the youth had gone to his house the night beforehand, and that with a startled look, he had said, 'He knows that I have a shot gun an cartridges in my house. He has the freedom of the house and it is more likely than not that he has taken the shotgun and cartridges with him. Either he has done that to shoot himself or he has jumped in the river'. It was noted that when the youth had had that conversation, he had not yet found that his shotgun was missing and said that he later discovered that at about 7am on 13 December 1941.

It was found that the youth had taken the barrel and mechanism of the shotgun but that he had left the stock behind which was thought was probably because it would have been too bulky beneath his coat.

It was further noted that on Sunday 14 December 1941, before the youth's body was found that the other youth had spoken to a man about the youth's disappearance and had said, 'He called on me on Friday night before I went on Home Guard duty, and he called again the same night when I was not there. He went up to my room and has taken my shot gun. He also took some cartridges. I am afraid that what he has done is commit suicide'.

The police report stated that it was quite clear that the youth knew of his friends state of mind such that he might commit suicide and that when he was asked for the reason for that he said, 'I think he is in a pretty bad mess. I think he is in trouble with a girl'.

When the youth gave a statement on 13 December 1941, two days after the murder of Evan Davies, he gave details of being the owner of several firearms but didn't mention the Steyr pistol.

When he was again questioned on 14 December 1941, he said that he knew that his friend had had a hand grenade and a Tommy-gun and other ammunition, as well as remembering that he had possessed a .45 revolver, but still said that he had no knowledge of him possessing any other gun, rifle, revolver, automatic or ammunition.

However, on 18 December 1941, after his friend was found dead, he said, 'About a fortnight ago, I saw him in possession of a 9mm automatic', and then went on to give a description of the gun which tallied in all respects with the Styr pistol. The police noted that he even went as far to describe the loading of the pistol which thus showed that he had examined it carefully and that he had previously seen it in his friend’s possession.

When he was further questioned on 21 December 1941, he added, after some hesitation, that he remembered seeing his friend with a German automatic at Victoria Park about a fortnight earlier, which the police said was obviously referring to the Steyr although he didn't mention the name.

It was further noted that on 21 January 1942 when the man suspected of being the murderer was again questioned, he gave the names of the guns that he remembered his friend possessing and included the 9mm charger load German automatic and that he then picked out from twelve other automatic pistols a similar Steyr pistol as being the one that he had seen in his friend’s possession on 4 December, 6 December and 9 December 1941.

The police report noted that it was strange that he did not mention the Steyr gun in his statements to the police on 12, 13 and 14 December 1941 when he was asked to describe the firearms that his friend had possessed. The police report then questioned why he had not done so, asking whether he had known something about the murder of Evan Davies and that a Steyr pistol had been used, noting that they had not at that point discovered that a Steyr pistol was the murder weapons. The report added that if he were to say that he simply forgot, then that it was strange that he had done so considering that he had examined it so recently before his first statement, the last time being five days before.

The police report then asked, 'Did the youth only mention the Steyr after the death of his friend because knowing his friend to be dead he thought that the best thing to do would be to throw the blame on him?'.

However, the report concluded that they were questions to be gone into at any trial if a prima facie case was found and the youth were to go into the box.

The report further added that if the other witness statements regarding the youth being in possession of the Steyr pistol were true then it demonstrated that the youth was hiding the fact that he had possessed the gun from the police in his statements.

The police further noted another point in the youth's statements which indicated that he might have been trying to throw suspicion onto his dead friend. It was noted that in the youth's statement that he made to the police on 14 December 1941, after his friend had gone missing but before he was found dead, that he said that his friend had had a conversation with a lorry driver employed by his father at about 4.30pm relating to the murder of Evan Davies, and said that his friend had asked the lorry driver what he thought of the murder. He said that the lorry driver didn't reply, but noted that his friend had been forcibly grinning, saying that it was a queer kind of grin and not his friends natural grin or smile. However, the police said that when they questioned the lorry driver he said that he had had no such conversation with the youth that died and said that in fact that he last saw the youth that died at about 2pm on Friday 12 December 1941 and that he did not see him again after that date.

A statement from a girl who was working as an usherette at the New Theatre in Park Place, Cardiff, said that on the Thursday, 11 December 1941, that she had seen the youth that died outside the New Theatre between 9.55pm and 10.05pm.

However, it was thought that she might have made a mistake regarding the date that she saw him.

The youth that was suspected of the murder said that he parted from his friend at Victoria Park at about 6.45pm on 11 December 1941 and later met a girl outside the Olympia Cinema in Queens Street, Cardiff. It was noted that he told the police that it was pre-arranged and that he had been out with her before, but it was also heard that he had told another person that she was a pick-up and that he had not met her before and didn't know where she lived. It was noted that the girl could not be traced even though the youth's father hired two private enquiry agents for that purpose.

As such, the police questioned whether there was a prima facie case against the youth that was suspected of the murder. The report noted that if the other youth had been alive then the question would have been simple as evidence of witnesses’ conversations with him could have been used as evidence, but that because he was dead, they could not unless they had been in the presence of the other suspected youth. The report added that as it stood, the evidence was certainly much stronger against the youth that died than it was against his friend.

The report concluded by detailing the circumstantial evidence that connected the two youths to the case as:

  1. Their close association generally and also on the night of the murder. Unfortunately, there was no evidence that they were together between about 7pm and 9pm. Although the statement made by the youth that died did not agree as to the time or actions of himself and his friend on the night, the youth that died’s statement was allowed to be put in owing to the fact that it was read to his friend, but would not be evidence against his friend, but only evidence as to the attitude adopted by his friend when he heard it.
  2. Evidence of the possession of a Thompson sub-machine gun by the youths by one of their friends.
  3. Evidence that the youth who was suspected of the murder knew of the Thompson sub-machine gun and also that it might have been in his house given by the friend that had heard the two youths talking about it.
  4. Evidence of the Thompson sub-machine gun ammunition being in the writing bureau of the bedroom of the youth suspected of the murder from one of his friends as well as the Thompson sub-machine gun cartridge found in the bedroom of the youth that died.
  5. Evidence that the Thompson sub-machine gun magazine and ammunition stolen from the Home Guard armoury were in the youth that died's possession and were found on or near the scene of the crime, and also from the conversation of two of his friends that the gun was in the suspected youths possession at certain times.
  6. Circumstantial evidence as to the cosh found on the piece of waste ground being in possession of the youth that died. It was noted again that that did not connect the youth suspected of the murder to the murder other than the fact that the length of string supplied by the youth suspected of the murder to the youth that died was similar to that which was fixed to the end of the cosh.
  7. Evidence as to the Steyr pistol that killed Evan Davies being in both youth's possession as well as the inference from other conversations that there was joint possession of the same Steyr pistol and that it was the one that had been used to kill Evan Davies. Also, the fact that ammunition for the Steyr pistol was in the suspected youth's possession in August and October 1941.
  8. Evidence that one of the youths seen in the shelter by the police sergeant was taller than the other, and that the taller youth was wearing a dark overcoat. The youth that died was wearing a dark overcoat on the evening of the crime and it was scientifically proven that cloth fibres found on the Tommy-gun were identical with cloth fibres taken from a dark overcoat owned and worn by him. It was stated therefore that if it had been the two youths in the shelter that the youth suspected of the murder, owing to the description must have been the one who fired the shot. With regard to that, it was noted that the police sergeant had also said that the taller of the youth's had been wearing spectacles and that the youth that died did not ordinarily wear spectacles although a pair of sun glasses were found in his room.

Notes on the case read, 'The case is an extremely interesting one from the legal and police standpoints and it would appear to be unique in its main characteristics. So far as I have been able to determine there is no similar case on record displaying parallel facts'.

The notes went on to say, 'Lastly, may I be permitted to very respectfully suggest that the difficulties of the case and the unique character of the circumstantial evidence, with the apparent problems of its legal admissibility due to the suicide of one of the alleged culprits, make the case one of especial importance and legal contest'.

Also inserted in the file is a note reading, 'This was among the cases to be destroyed but I've decided to retain it', indicating that the file, like many others was due to be lost forever. The note was dated 7/7/58.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see National Archives - DPP 2/944