Unsolved Murders

Caroline Evans

Age: 39

Sex: female

Date: 7 Oct 1945

Place: Pant Tywyll, Coedpoeth, Denbighshire

Caroline Evans was found dead in a copse near her home on 7 October 1945.

Her post-mortem stated that she had been strangled. Her face bore the signs of at least two blows. Her clothes were also disarranged, and it was thought that she might have been the victim of a sexual maniac.

She had left her home in Park Road, Coedpoeth on the Saturday night to spend the weekend with her mother, which she did every weekend, who was the licensee of the City Arms public house in Minera near Wrexham.

Her husband, who was a clerk, said that he bade her goodnight when she left their house at 10.30pm on the Saturday night, noting that they had agreed that he should meet her at her mother's house the following day.

The route that she would have taken from Park Road where she lived to the City Arms public house which her mother ran was about a forty five minute walk, with the route she took being a short-cut through what was known as Pant Tywyll, (the Dark Vale), and was less than a mile in distance. The path near Park Road skirted a cemetery that was fenced off with iron palings and then descended steeply into the valley from where it rose with an equal gradient to the village inn.

The thicket in which she was found bordered on to the pathway by the side of the cemetery and it was thought that she had been attacked on the path and then dragged into the thicket where she was strangled.

It was noted that the journey was so habitual to Caroline Evans that neither she nor her husband felt any qualms about her safety.

It was noted that Caroline Evans was found early on the Sunday morning, but that her husband was not initially told, and before he found out, he had had a conversation with a neighbour at the back of their houses at about 10.30am during which the neighbour mentioned to him that an unknown woman had been found in the thicket off the path through Pant Tywyll and they had speculated together on who it might be, and guessed that it might have been a woman coming back from a dance. However, it wasn't until later when the police went to see Caroline Evans's husband that the news was broken to him.

Whilst searching the thicket where she was found, the police found her attache case which had apparently been opened by her murderer. It was noted that the attache case had a catch and that although it was shut when found, it was caught up in the brambles, and there was some bramble inside of it, indicating that it had been closed where it was found.

It was also noted that Caroline Evans was thought to have been carrying a two-quart enamel pot or milk-pan with her at the time which was not found.

The police also mowed the entire area around where Caroline Evans was found, but no clues were revealed.

She was a school mistress and was in charge of the infants' school at Wern.

It was initially thought that she had been robbed as she had just cashed her salary cheque for the previous month at her bank the day before her murder. She had cashed the cheque and paid a portion of it into her bank account and taken the balance in £1 notes.

It was initially thought that the notes that had been handed to Caroline Evans had been new ones and given to her in consecutive numerical order although it was later determined that they had been used notes. However, the confusion led the police to suspect a member of the RAF who was found to have seven or eight crisp new one pound notes in his possession. He said that he had been issued with them officially after he had come home from abroad, and his explanation was later found to be true.

During the investigation, another Service man who had heard a lot about the case had begun to wonder whether he was the murderer, thinking that it might be possible that unbeknown to him he had had a mental blackout on the night of the murder and strangled Caroline Evans. However, the police said that they ruled him out, noting that he was a case for a psychiatrist.

Shortly after Caroline Evans was found the police showed two notices for display on cinema screens at all cinemas in the neighbourhood. The first read:

'Will any person who may have been in the vicinity of Park Road, Coedpoeth, or used the public footpath from Coedpoeth to New Brighton, Minera, between 10pm and 12 midnight on Saturday, October 6, or has any information which may assist in solving the death of Mrs. Caroline Evans, please communicate with the police at once?'.

The second notice read:

'Will the young couple who were near the gate leading to the field at the bottom end of Assembly Road, Coedpoeth, at about 10.30pm on Saturday, October 6, and the woman who passed down Park Road about the same time, please communicate with the police at once?'.

At her inquest on 15 January 1946 a verdict of murder by some person unknown was returned.

During their investigation the police said that they took about 600 statements, some of them from far-distant places.

In 1950 John Lionel Raymond Rusdell, who was convicted of the murder of Dilys Myfanwy Scott in Marchwiel claimed to be responsible for the murder of Caroline Evans. However, the police said that they examined his claim and dismissed it. He would have been 13 years old at the time.

The police reopened the case in May 1951 but with no new developments.

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

see www.dailypost.co.uk

see National Archives - MEPO 3/2312

see Derby Daily Telegraph - Thursday 18 April 1946

see Belfast News-Letter - Tuesday 15 January 1946

see Evening Despatch - Wednesday 10 October 1945

see Liverpool Echo - Saturday 27 October 1945

see Western Mail - Friday 16 November 1945

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 08 October 1945

see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 10 October 1945

see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 09 January 1946

see Liverpool Echo - Monday 08 October 1945

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Wednesday 02 May 1951