Unsolved Murders

Samuel Evans

Age: 25

Sex: male

Date: 29 Apr 1919

Place: Clawddmoel Farm, Cribyn, Clawdd Voel

Mary Evans and her son Samuel Evans were murdered at their farm. They had been shot with a shotgun.

Two sons aged 16 and 20 were tried but acquitted at the West Wales Assize on 31 October 1919.

Samuel Evans was found dead in the passage and the body of Mary Evans was discovered by the fireplace with a half knit stocking by her side. One shot had been fired into each body and death had in each case been instantaneous.

A constable went to the farm at 5.30pm on Tuesday 29 April 1919 where he saw the younger son in the farmyard. He saw Samuel Evans in a sitting position in the passage and found his body to be cold. He then saw the body of Mary Evans in the lying stretched out on the floor in the kitchen with her face towards the fireplace. Her body was cold as well. Whilst he was inspecting the passage the younger son came in and the constable asked him what had happened and the younger son said, 'Something remarkable has happened here'. The constable then asked him where he had been and if he had touched the bodies and the younger son stated that he had been to Lampeter and said, 'The only thing I did was to put my hand on my mother's face, and I found it was cold'.

He asked the older son if he had seen a gun near Samuel Evans and the older son said that he hadn't. He then asked him if there was anything missing from the house such as money and the older son said that he could not say. They then went to search a dresser and while doing so the older son said, 'Here my mother kept her purse and keys', but they failed to find either the purse or the keys.

The next day the constable took the younger son into custody and charged him with causing the death of his mother and father. The younger son said, 'I have nothing to say but what I said when I came in'. The older son was arrested a short while later.

At the Coroner's inquest the jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder against some person or person's. The Coroner suggested that they should alter that to read 'person or person's unknown' but they refused to do that.

Above an old-fashioned wooden bed there were two guns. One of them, a double-barrelled shotgun, had apparently been used. Gun wads were also found near the bodies. In the older son's box which had been locked, the police found two boxes of cartridges. One box was unopened whilst the other had 22 out of 25 cartridges in it.

In a statement made by the younger son he said that his mother had decided that Samuel Evans was to remain on the farm whilst the older brother was to go to sea. On the day or the murders he had bought a bicycle in Aberayron for £10. 10s. which he said that his mother had given him that morning before starting for school. He said that he had never handled a gun.

The older son said that he had left home for Lampeter and that his mother and brother had known that he was going and that on his way home at 4.30pm he had met the constable. He said he went straight into the farm house and saw Samuel Evans on the floor and went up to him and then saw Mary Evans. He said he shouted to them but got no answer. He said that he didn't know of any ill feeling towards them and had no reason to suspect anyone of murdering them.

A doctor who had examined the bodies said that in the case of Samuel Evans pellets were found all over his brain. He said that the gun must have been held horizontally and close to him when he was shot. In the case of Mary Evans the brain was disorganised. He said that he had no doubt that Mary Evans had been murdered and said that he could not conceive how it was possible for the man to have shot himself.

Clawddmoel Farm was six miles from Lampeter.

Samuel Evans was a repatriated prisoner of war and had returned three months earlier from Germany.

Mary Evans was a widow.

The eldest son was in Egypt at the time.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Aberdeen Journal - Monday 03 November 1919

see Aberdeen Journal - Saturday 17 May 1919

see Dundee Courier - Friday 02 May 1919

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 12 May 1919

see Gloucestershire Echo - Monday 12 May 1919

see Hull Daily Mail - Monday 12 May 1919

see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 12 May 1919

see Western Daily Press - Saturday 01 November 1919

see National Archives - ASSI 72/45/5