Unsolved Murders

Megan Tooze

Age: 67

Sex: female

Date: 27 Jul 1993

Place: Ty Ar y Waun Farm, South Wales

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze were shot at point blank range in the head with a 12-bore shotgun at their home at Ty Ar y Waun Farm.

A man was convicted of their murders in 1995 but was cleared following an appeal on 25 April 1996.

The man was the fiance of the daughter of Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze. He was described as debt ridden and was said to have driven the 200 miles from Orpington, Kent, where he lived with his fiance, Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter, and shot them in order to claim their £150,000 inheritance.

Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze were last seen driving home to their farm Ty ar y Waun Farm, The Meadow in Llanharry, Rhondda at about 11am on Monday, 26 July 1993 following a trip to the Tesco supermarket in Llantrisant. They had gone to Tescos in Llanharry just about every Monday for the previous fifteen years. While Megan Tooze went into the supermarket to do the shopping, Harry Tooze stayed out in the Landrover in the carpark reading the newspaper. Whilst he was sitting there, he met one of his sisters as he often did and they had a little chat about the family.

They had earlier left their farm in their Landrover truck at 9.30am to get their pensions from the post office in Llanharry.

They were later seen returning to their farm at about 11am by a neighbour who saw them as she was crossing over the cattle grid that was on the service road that provided access to both of their homes.

Shots were later heard coming from the area of the farm around 1.30pm that same day. However, local people said that they had thought nothing at the sound of the shots thinking that it was someone shooting rabbits.

A relative also tried to call them at about 3pm that day but got no answer.

Later that evening, after Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter called and got no answer, she alerted the neighbours. She had been in Orpington, Kent at the time and used to phone them every day.

When a nearby farmer first went to their farmhouse to check up on them, he said that he found their farm eerily deserted with the door unlocked and a half-prepared lunch in the kitchen.

Their bodies were later found in the early hours of Tuesday, 27 July 1993 hidden in a cowshed under some hay attached at the farm.

It was said that there were very few clues for the police to work on.

The murder weapon was never found.

However, it was said that there were no signs of a robbery and it was thought that they had known their killer.

It was noted that Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze had taken out a speacial teacup for someone shortly before their murders and that when the police examined the farmhouse it was found left out and in a used condition, having been used to drink tea. It was said that the teacup was part of a reserve set and that only used in circumstances such as the honour of an unexpected guest or special visitor.

Harry Tooze had previously run a market garden business but had retired seven years earlier. Although he had retired, he still grew cabbages and used to shoot rabbits that tried to eat his cabbages. At the time of their murders he had just got a knew shotgun after his old one had been stolen about a year earlier.

When the police examined their farm it was found that they had unpacked their shopping and had started making some food as there was a pan on the cooker with chopped potatoes in it ready for cooking.

On the table they found the special cup that was used for guests and a tea pot and milk jug as well as a sugar bowl and a magazine.

In 2006 the police said that they were focussing their efforts on trying to identify two cars that had been seen in the area at the time.

The first car was a black 4x4 type vehicle that had been seen in the Llanharry area.

The second car was a red saloon car that had also been seen in the Llanharry area.

At his appeal, the fiance also mentioned sightings of a Suzuki that was said to have been seen near the farm by a neighbour around the time off the murder which was never traced after his conviction was quashed and he was released but it is not known whether that Suzuki is one of the cars mentioned in the 2006 police appeal for two unidentified vehicles that they were focussing on, or a third car.

Although there was no known motive for their murders, it was thought that one theory was that they were murdered by someone that had gone to the farmhouse to rob them. However, the police noted that there was no obvious sign of a break in.

The case against Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's son-in-law to-be stated that he had been debt ridden and had driven the 200 miles from Orpington and shot them both to claim their inheritance.

It was said that when he had then arrived unexpectedly, that Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze had taken out the special cup and given him a drink of tea from it and that he had later shot them both and hidden their bodies in the cowshed. It was said that when he had returned to the flat he shared with Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter in Orpington he told her that he had spent the day looking at flats.

It was noted that following their murders he had joined his fiance in making television appeals for information to help catch the murder or murderers.

However, he was arrested five months after the murders and charged. He was convicted on 7 April 1995 by a 10-2 majority after the jury spent two hours deliberating.

The police said that the finace had left his thumbprint on the special cup and saucer. However, it was also noted that the police had found no evidence from his clothes or car to link him directly to the murder.

Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter said, 'If I thought he was guilty I would say so. I wouldn't protect him over this'.

It was herd that the couple were regularly in arrears with the rent on their flat and that the boyfriend had wanted to start up his own market research firm even though he only had £100 in his bank account.

It was noted that he knew that his fiancee was the sole beneficiary of Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's estate.

It was found that although the finace had said that he had spent the day looking at flats, the police said that they could find no estate agents that remembered seeing him on the day of the murders.

Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter and her finace had been together for about eight years after having met at the Polytechnic of Wales whilst studying a business studies course.

At the trial the fiance said that he was like a son to Harry Tooze. He said, 'We spent a lot of time together and I think we had a close relationship, as close as it could get'.

At the trial it was reported that there had been a large number of Megan Tooze's and Harry Tooze's relatives in the court and that when he verdict was read out, they gasped with relief.

A cousin of Megan Tooze said, 'We all believe that it was the right verdict. Harry and Megan have had justice at last'.

However, the fiance appealed his case and on 26 April 1996 his conviction was found to have been unsafe and it was quashed.

After his appeal he called on the police to follow up on a host of other leads in the case including the cars that had been seen around Llanharry and reports of noisy arguments and a mystery middle-aged man that had been seen with Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze who was never traced.

In 2003 it was reported that barrels of a shotgun were found by a member of the public in a disused quarry near Ty Ar y Waun Farm and they were taken away to be forensically tested. However, it was noted that the people that had found the shotgun barrels had painted them white before they were handed to the police.

The police said that they had also been given a holdall that was found in a nearby iron ore mine that had contained two shotgun cartridges, a red one and a blue one and said that they were also examining them, referring to the finds as a 'significant development'.

It was also noted that the police had received an anonymous letter that they said was of interest.

The fiance later married Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter and he later called for the findings of a review into the case to be published. However, the independent adviser that carried out the review said that they never published such findings incase they effected any future trials.

The police carried out a number of reviews into the case, one in 2000 known as the Ross Report, and another in 2005 as well as a third in 2011 after a man was convicted of a similar murder that took place in Scoveston Manor, near Milford Haven on 22 December 1985 in which a man and his sister were shot dead at their home with a shotgun. The man was convicted of their murder in 2011, but he was not charged with Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's murders.

It was noted that when the Assistant Chief Constable announced the opening of the 2000 review that he would leave no stone unturned and said that, 'The conclusion of the report and its findings will be made known. Warts and all, the contents of the report will be made available to the public'. However, it was never made public, despite numerous Freedom of Information requests, the reason given being that the police could not do so as the murder was still unsolved. A Freedom of Information campaigner asked, 'If the head of South Wales Police publicly announced it would be made public, why is it not available 10 years on under the Freedom of Information Act? As I see it, it is not the prerogative of the South Wales Police to refuse the contents of the Ross Report being seen by the public'.

The man that was convicted of Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's murders but later acquitted said that he was going to seek compensation for the two years that he spent in prison, however, it was reported that he never received compensation which is generally only given out when it is clear in evidence that the person was wrongfully convicted, such as in a case when another person is convicted on clear evidence, and not in cases where convictions are found to be unsafe on points of law or technicalities, or in short where there is still any possibility that a person might actually be guilty. He said that the conviction had pulled the rug out from under him in life and it was noted that the stress had effected the health of his wife, Megan Tooze and Harry Tooze's daughter, who had suffered from cartilage loss during her pregnancy during the trial from which she had never fully recovered leaving her with difficulty walking without support and which also caused her to become partially deaf.

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

see Wales Online

see Wales Online New investigation into Tooze murders

see The Telegraph

see Crime and Investigation

see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 28 July 1993

see Newcastle Journal - Friday 07 April 1995

see Irish Independent - Friday 26 April 1996