With marks on her face, ruffled clothing and clear signs of strangulation, the discovery of the body of Caroline Evans, 39, made headlines across the UK as detectives from Scotland Yard and Welsh police rushed to find the killer.
But the culprit will never be found and the identity of his killer remains a mystery to this day, making it one of Wales’ oldest cold cases, still unsolved more than 75 years later. You can see the other cold cases from Wales, where the killers were never found, here.
Caroline was married to a clerk, Daniel Evans, working as a schoolteacher and living a full life in 1945. World War II had ended in May of that year, she was married to the love of her life, and she had a steady job. Aged 39, she was a pillar of her community and lived in a safe, rural and idyllic part of Wales.
Read more:The grisly tale of murder, starvation and disease on a Welsh island you can see from the shore
She felt safe enough in her village home to cross a forest shortcut that took her along a path known as the Dark Vale on the night of Saturday, October 6, 1945, towards her mother’s house. . It was a weekly routine for Caroline who often spent time with her mother, Harriett Williams, then proprietor of the City Arms pub in Minera. She had left her house, wishing her husband a good night at 10:30 p.m. before starting the one-mile walk that was such a habit that neither she nor her husband had any qualms about its safety.
Daniel and his wife agreed that he would meet her the next day at the City Arms pub and Caroline left that night. But the couple will never see each other again.
His path skirted a cemetery that was fenced off with iron gates before descending steeply into a valley before ascending to the City Arms on the opposite side. Caroline’s body was found on Sunday morning, less than three hundred yards from her home in the village of Coedpoeth, Wrexham. It was discovered laid out in a thicket that bordered the driveway alongside the cemetery by a farmhand who was bringing in cattle to be milked.
Given her injuries, the two marks on her face and the marks on her neck, it is believed that she was attacked on the way and then dragged into the bushes where she was then strangled.
A subsequent autopsy would confirm the original thesis that Caroline had been strangled, reports North Wales Live, but increasingly disturbing theories materialized when her clothes were discovered to be in a mess, with police believing she had Been sexually assaulted before. his death.
While searching the thicket where she was found, police found her briefcase which had apparently been opened by her killer. It was noted that the briefcase had a catch and that although it was closed when found, it was caught in the brambles and there were brambles inside, indicating that it had been closed where it was discovered.
Daniel was not initially informed of his wife’s untimely death. Indeed, he had had a conversation with a neighbor at the back of their houses around 10:30 a.m. during which the neighbor had mentioned to him that the body of an unknown woman had been found. The two had speculated on the identity of the lady in question, assuming that she might have just returned from a ball. It wasn’t until later that day that the police broke the news to Daniel.
The police initially thought that Caroline had been the victim of a robbery. She had just cashed her salary check for the previous month at her bank the day before her murder, taking part of the balance in £1 notes. Confusion over these notes initially led police to suspect an RAF member who had seven or eight crisp new one pound notes in his possession. He said he officially received them after returning from abroad, an explanation later proven by rigorous police investigations.
From the start, the case was considered important enough to be handled by Scotland Yard’s top detectives, Inspector Philpott and Sergeant Hislop leading the investigation.
The idea that it was an RAF man who had committed the terrible act remained in the minds of the two investigators, even after their theory of the £1 note was scuppered.
Three days after Caroline’s body was discovered, an anonymous motorist called the police saying he had driven an RAF serviceman, dropping him off near where Caroline had died.
The motorist would never reveal himself or reappear throughout the investigation, but other reports said eyewitnesses spotted an airman kneeling on the ground near where Caroline’s body was discovered the night of his death.
This pursuit of a mysterious airman killer has seen another serviceman surface as the prime suspect after telling police he ‘could’ be the killer. Returning from the war with serious psychological problems, the ex-soldier believed he may have experienced a mental blackout the night of the murder and attacked Caroline. However, the police quickly dismissed him.
Police played messages in local cinemas, in English and then Welsh, calling for eyewitness reports. Later they distributed “murder forms” asking all residents of Coedpoeth to write down where they were on the night of the murder. As the Daily Mirror put it so well, the police have just come up against a “pile of alibis”.
During her inquest on January 15, 1946, a verdict of murder by an unknown person was returned for Caroline and the case was closed shortly after without any new leads emerging.
Five years later, in 1950, an 18-year-old soldier called John Lionel Raymond Rusdell was convicted of shooting Dilys Myfanwy Scott in Marchwiel, Wrexham, killing her instantly. At the time, he also claimed responsibility for the murder of Caroline Evans. However, police said they considered his claim and rejected it outright Rusdell would have been only 13 at the time.
Police reopened the case in May 1951 but have had no further developments since. Caroline’s killer has remained elusive ever since.
Get the latest Welsh news straight to your inbox by signing up to our newsletters here.