Unsolved Murders

Ethel Winifred Collins Morris

Age: 66

Sex: female

Date: 7 Dec 1953

Place: Llangain, Carmarthen

The skeletal remains of Ethel Winifred Collins Morris were found in a field at Llangain near Carmarthen on Monday 7 December 1953.

Her remains were found by a party of workmen that had been clearing a triangular piece of waste ground to erect a memorial hall at Llangain, five miles from her home. One of the workmen said that he threw some trash in which there was a bundle of clothes on to a bonfire. He said, 'I was watching the fire and saw what appeared to be a backbone of a human falling out. I saw other bones there which I immediately took out of the fire'

The workman said that that trash was six feet high and that a person could have got in it with difficulty.

A police inspector who went to examine the location said that near the dividing edge between the triangular field and another field that he saw a human skull with a quantity of greyish hair adhering to it. He said that there was a net over the hair and that he then saw other bones nearby and a complete set of dentures, a gold wedding ring, a dressing gown cord, some pieces of a navy-blue cloth, a brown handbag, a lady's brown shoe and a plastic bag.

The handbag contained a bottle with some liquid in it, a small purse with 11s 8d in money, a metal safety razor blade container with a number of used blades in it and a pair of sun-glasses and a mirror.

The remains of her body that were found included her skull, portions of her spine, some ribs and the main bones of her legs. The pathologist that carried out her post mortem said that there was no soft tissue left which he said made it extremely difficult for him to arrive at a cause of death.

Ethel Morris had lived in Tynant, College Road in Carmarthen and had gone missing from her home on 21 July 1953.

A friend of hers who had lived in Sawmill Terrace in Carmarthen said that Ethel Morris had been very depressed at the time and in bad health and noted that she had a weakness for brandy. She said that Ethel Morris seldom went out and that when she did she would take a small bottle of brandy with her because of her weakness.

After her body was found the bottle found in the handbag was taken away for analysis. A woman that knew Ethel Morris said that she was sure that the handbag and its contents and the gold ring had belonged to Ethel Morris. She also added that Ethel Morris had been in the habit of wearing a net over her hair.

When the bottle was analysed it was found to contain 13.4 per cent of alcohol.

Soil from her handbag was also analysed for drugs and poison, but nothing was found.

Her husband said that Ethel Morris had been unwell for about three years and that she had been on a strict diet and had got very thin. He said, 'On the morning of July 21 I got up to make breakfast. As I left the room, she asked me to leave the door open as she wanted a little more air. When I took the meal to the bedroom later, she had disappeared. I then found the front door open'.

He said that he later reported her missing to the police.

After Ethel Morris's remains were found he identified her clothing as hers.

When the Coroner asked Ethel Morris's husband whether Ethel Morris had had friends in Llangain or in nearby Llanstephen, he said that years earlier they had spent a lot of time in Llanstephen on holiday.

After the inquest resumed on 5 January 1954, the coroner said that it seemed quite clear that there was no suggestion of foul play but said that it would be difficult for the jury to arrive at a verdict.

The Coroner noted that it was extraordinary how Ethel Morris, in her state of health, had got to Llangain and into the improbable place where she was found.

He said that there were two possibilities, that perhaps she was mentally deranged and had wandered about and lain down and died from exposure or suicide, which he said in the circumstances could only be surmised.

The jury returned a verdict stating that in the absence of positive evidence that her death was probably due to exposure.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Mail - Tuesday 05 January 1954, p3

see Western Mail - Wednesday 09 December 1953