Unsolved Murders

Mamie Stuart

Age: 25

Sex: female

Date: 12 Nov 1919

Place: Windmill Cliff, Brandy Cove, Gower, Wales

Mamie Stuart was found at the bottom of a disused lead mineshaft (or cave) in Brandy Cove, Gower in 1961.

When she went missing November 1919, she was described as a native of Sunderland, aged 26, 5ft 3in to 5ft 4in tall, with a medium build, dark brown hair, dark grey eyes, very even teeth with one missing, and of good carriage.

It was thought that she had been murdered between 12 November and 6 December 1919 and cut up and dumped in the mineshaft. An inquest into her death in 1961 named a man that was thought to have murdered her, a marine engineer that she had been bigamously married to.

Mamie Stuart had been a chorus girl and a typist. She was from Sunderland but was last seen in Swansea. She was the daughter of a ship's Captain.

She had been bigamously married to a marine engineer who later died in 1958 and it was thought that the evidence pointed to him being the murderer. The marine superintendent was charged with bigamously marrying her at South Shields in March 1918 and convicted and sentenced to 18 months hard labour. He had previously been married in 1905. He had denied that he had formerly married her saying that he had met her in July 1917 and they had stayed together at several addresses but where not married and that he had not seen her since December 1919.

At his trial letters were presented in evidence from him to Mamie Stuart in which he had begun, 'My Darling Wife', 'My Sweet Little Wife' and so on and had been ended with 'Your loving hubby' and 'From your hubby' and 'Your Husband' etc..

One letter that he had written said 'You ask to be free. Are you not more free than any other girl? You wander to and fro at your own sweet will, no one to question or prohibit you. Now you see that such is not what you ought to do. I do not quite understand in what manner I can do more. It does not lie in my power. I have no intention of doing such awful things as you suggest. I can only imagine you mean me to go on a wrong path so that you can divorce me. I will not believe that you have ever done anything that I could complain of. I gave myself to you long ago. You never seemed to care after a few short weeks. You flaunted me before your friends. I did my best for you. I gave you my name and my love, and you trifled with both'.

A detective stated that the signature that the man had given on his arrest was the same as the one on the register of Mamie Stuart's marriage certificate.

She had been cut into three parts so as to fit into several containers. Both her upper arm bones, shoulder blades and parts of her thoracic spine had been sawn as well as both thighs above the knees.

Swansea police carried out digging operations in the search for her. In order to set any doubt at rest they obtained permission to examine a garden at Caswell Bay in the Gower Peninsula but without any result. There was also some excitement caused when some woman's clothing was found on the cliffs at Caswell Bay, but the police were not satisfied that the discovery was connected to Mamie Stuart.

A Brighton Spiritualist said that he had been in contact with Mamie Stuart in the spirit world four times and that she had told him the same thing each time that she had been in the spirit world since the early part of December and would be found in a yard deep under a brick-red floor buried in her clothes.

Several siting's of her were made, including a girl found in Canada but her disappearance remained a mystery until 5 November 1961 when her remains were found at Windmill Cliff in Brandy Cove.

Mamie Stuart was found on Sunday 5 November 1961 in a cave of an old lead mine workings at Brandy Cove in Caswell by some pot holers. The bones that were found were estimated to belong to a woman aged somewhere between 20 and 30 years, between 5ft 3in and 5ft 4in tall and with one tooth extracted from the upper jaw. Found near her body was a 22ct double half round wedding ring and a three-diamond stone cross over mille set 18ct gold engagement ring.

Examination of the remains found on the body revealed:

  1. A portion of brown close woven suiting cloth and associated with the cloth were two metal wire tassels that were green or turquoise with cotton tapes.
  2. A portion of black silk material.
  3. A celluloid hair slide which did have a metal fitting, with dark brown hair attached.
  4. A mother of pearl button.
  5. A piece of chain possibly used as a fastener for a cloak or such garment.

After her remains were found in 1961, the police attempted to find someone that could assist in identifying them.

They received a number of leads:

  1. A call from a 60-year-old woman who had known Mamie Stuart in Sunderland (woman with Siamese cats).
  2. A call from a 63-year-old woman living in Hampstead who knew Mamie Stuart.
  3. Information received by a newspaper from a relative of the marine engineer stating that he had been living in Huron Road, Balham just before the war in 1939.
  4. A report from the Bristol Constabulary stating that the marine engineer was admitted on 9 October 1947 to a home for the aged at 100 Fishponds Road in Eastville, Bristol, after which he died at Snowdon Road Hospital in Fishponds on 30 April 1958.

The police later went to see the 60-year-old woman who said that she had known Mamie Stuart. She was described as a most eccentric lady with a passion for welfare of animals and who shared her flat with 18 Siamese cats. The police stated that it was quite impossible to obtain a statement from her and very difficult to obtain a coherent story. They said that it appeared that the woman did know Mamie Stuart when she was living in Sunderland around 1918 and said that Mamie Stuart had been married to a man who she first said was a Danish Engineer, but later said was a ship's Captain and then later said was only a Chief Officer.

The woman said that she thought that Mamie Stuart had kept company with the man after she had thrown him over. When the police showed the woman photographs of the rings that they had found on Mamie Stuart's remains, she claimed that she remembered going with Mamie Stuart to buy the rings, stating that they were bought at Blackstocks in Bridge Street, Sunderland and that Mamie Stuart paid a deposit on one of them, the price being £3.15s.0d.

She said that she also remembered the detective in Sunderland who made enquiries when Mamie Stuart first went missing and added that she knew that he was now a detective inspector in Sunderland.

The police said that the woman rambled on at great length and that altogether her behaviour was so peculiar that it was quite impossible to take a statement, and that in fact, she refused to allow one to be taken in writing.

The police also questioned the 63-year-old woman who lived in Hampstead who said that she knew Mamie Stuart in Sunderland between 1918 and 1920 from when they were playing together in a stage show. She said that she had some impression that Mamie Stuart intended marrying a seafaring engineer but said that she neither saw nor knew him.

When the 63-year-old woman was shown the photographs of the jewellery she said that whilst she could not positively identify the diamond ring, she thought that it was possible that it was a ring that she had seen her in the possession of. She was also shown a picture of a tassel that was found amongst the remains and said that she had some recollection that it was part of a grey feather boa that Mamie Stuart had owned at the time.

However, the police report stated that the woman had no very clear recollection of the events of that time as they had happened 40 years earlier.

At Mamie Stuart's inquest in 1961, the jury returned a verdict in seven parts:

  1. The remains were those of Mamie Stuart.
  2. She was murdered.
  3. There was insufficient evidence to show the cause of death.
  4. She was murdered sometime between the 12th November 1919 and 6 December 1919.
  5. That she was murdered by George Shotton (the marine engineer).
  6. They were satisfied that George Shotton died at Bristol on the 30th April 1958.

The marine engineer was convicted on 13 July 1920 at the Glamorgan Assizes for bigamously marrying Mamie Stuart and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.

It was further noted that the marine engineer, subject of CRO file No.17923/20, had been sentenced on 11July 1938 for assault, occasioning actual bodily harm on a woman and possessing a firearm and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.

The marine engineer was born on 20 June 1880 in Sunderland.

In 2019 Mamie Stuart's great-niece discovered that Mamie Stuart's remains were stored in a cupboard at a forensic laboratory in Cardiff where they had been for 60 years and arranged for them to be buried. Mamie Stuart's remains were then later buried in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland in December 2019.

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

see find.galegroup.com

see "Skeleton That Of Chorus Girl." Times [London, England] 15 Dec. 1961: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

see Leeds Mercury - Tuesday 03 August 1920

see Sheffield Independent - Tuesday 13 July 1920

see Lancashire Evening Post - Thursday 19 August 1920

see Leeds Mercury - Tuesday 17 August 1920

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 28 July 1920

see National Archives - MEPO 2/8774

see BBC