DYFED-POWYS POLICE Commissioner, Dafydd Llewelyn, has admitted that ‘questions remain unanswered’ over the Llangolman double murder of Griff and Patti Thomas in 1976 and that there is a ‘case to reopening the case’.

Following the airing of ‘The Pembrokeshire Murders’ in January, the brutal crimes of John Cooper were at the forefront of many minds.

It didn’t take long for a couple of intriguing crimes to resurface that almost screamed of an early, unfinished John Cooper beginning to flex his criminal muscles. 

Those crimes were, namely, the December 1976 deaths of Griff and Patti Thomas in their Llangolman farmhouse, Ffynnon Samson.

The Thomas siblings lived out their entire lives in Ffynnon Samson, neither married nor had children. They worked the farm with their late father, who lived into his nineties, until they were physically unable to due to their advancing years.

The Thomas siblings were both deeply religious, Griff, it is believed, was invited to become a Deacon at Rhydwilym Baptist Church where they both worshipped every Sunday.

Discovered by a postman on Saturday, December 11 1976, Griff had been burned to death by a collapsed settle and Patti, it was believed at the time, had been brutally beaten to death by a dining room chair found bloodied at the scene.

Chief Superintendent Pat Molloy, nearing the end of an illustrious career that saw him collar the Cannock Chase Child Murderer in Staffordshire, was in charge of the initial investigation that saw 174 items taken as evidence, house-to-house enquiries with over 150 statements taken and 430 fingerprints taken from the house.

The discovery of £2,700 in cash in the bureau of the house effectively derailed the murder investigation with a Haverfordwest-based inquest hearing and deciding that Griff, a deeply religious, timid 73-year-old man with arthritis of the spine, rowed with Patti about money before beating his sister to death with a dining room chair and either accidentally, or by design, setting himself on fire and perishing in the blaze.

The investigation and the inquest failed to answer several pertinent questions that, 45 years later, remain woefully unanswered.

Griff, the inquest heard, killed his sister in a moment of insanity, he committed that brutal crime whilst suffering from both crippling arthritis and a fractured skull. The inquest said he got that head injury whilst fighting his elderly sister who might have ‘pulled his hair’.

A sewing machine in the property, found with both Griff’s blood on AND an unidentified fingerprint, had had its cover replaced by persons unknown.

Locals believed then that there was someone else in the property that night, those concerns, it seems, fell on deaf ears.

The 1977 inquest decided that Patti had met her end at the hands of her brother, Griff’s death, however, was left with an open verdict.

Due to the inquest’s findings, Griff was labelled a murderer and, for many years, he was refused a headstone in Rhydwilym Baptist Church because of that.

Locals never accepted the inquests findings, with a growing number of people vocalising distrust in the verdict. Many continued to speak of a third party being in the property. That person was, until recently, believed to have been ‘Bullseye Killer’ John Cooper.

Following the publication of an article in ‘The Pembrokeshire Herald’ dated Friday, January 15 that spoke of the perceived links to John Cooper, I was surprised by how many people got in touch some 45 years after the Llangolman deaths to speak highly of both Thomas siblings and to cast doubt on the involvement of Cooper.

Eager to see justice finally served, a North Pembrokeshire papur bro ‘Clebran’, in conjunction with Mynachlog-ddu Community Council, wrote to the Dyfed-Powys Police Commissioner, Dafydd Llewelyn, seeking a review of the coroner’s verdict and a possible reopening of the case.

Police Commissioner Llywelyn said he had recently read the coroner’s report and added “I understand why local inhabitants have concerns that some questions remain unanswered, and, therefore, there is a case to considerreopening the case”.

The letter is published in full in the current issue of Clebran and Dafydd Llywelyn highlights the need to establish whether any forensic evidence is still available to be examined.

He has promised to take up the matter with senior police officers, a move that has been welcomed by local inhabitants. Brother and sister lie in the same grave at nearby Rhydwilym cemetery.