Llangolman: Politicians join calls for re-investigation
ON DECEMBER 11, 1976, two elderly siblings, Griff and Patti Thomas, were found dead by their postman in their isolated farmhouse, Ffynnon Samson, in Llangolman.
A shambolic police investigation into their brutal deaths, led by DCS Pat Molloy, came to the conclusion that the siblings had died in a bizarre murder-suicide following an argument over money.
An inquest into their deaths was held in Haverfordwest in February 1977, just three months later.
DCS Molloy’s report to the coroner talks of an exhaustive investigation, an in-depth search of the crime scene and the questioning of all extended family members with Molloy saying that he found “no evidence that anyone other than Mr. and Miss Thomas were in the house when the crime occurred”.
DCS Molloy also concedes that that his investigation “cannot establish a motive and that the scene presented so many bizarre features and contradictions” which were indicative, in Molloy’s opinion, of a “sudden, unpredictable outburst of violence between the two deceased.”
Molloy ends his report by curiously commenting that the scene would be “more easily understood” if it was an attempted robbery “gone badly wrong”.
The inquest found, based off of DCS Molloy’s report, that Griff, 73, snapped and beat sister Patti, 70, to death with a dining room chair before he either accidentally fell into a burning Settle that had somehow been set on fire during the argument over finances, or he threw himself onto the flames to commit the ghastliest of suicides.
The inquest could not decide on Griff’s cause of death and so it was left open.
It’s clear, in hindsight, that the police investigation ignored the facts to come to a speedy conclusion, by studying press clippings from the time it’s also clear that DCS Molloy had decided what had happened in Ffynnon Samson before any of the evidence collected could be forensically examined.
Griff, who spent his life farming, could not form a basic grasp, grip or pinch with his left hand which caused the limb to be virtually useless outside of changing gears in his car, so the idea of him beating Patti to death with a heavy chair seemed ludicrous to those who actually knew the pair.
Griff also had arthritis of the spine which gave him a hunch in his back and left him too weak to work the farm that he and his sister deeply adored, so the idea of Griff moving Patti’s body from the kitchen to the living room also did not seem right to family and members of the local community.
Both siblings were also deeply religious with Griff being described by those who knew him as ‘timid’ and ‘gentle’, after his death a book of welsh poetry he had written was given to the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth, the idea that this deeply religious man would become so angry that he would take his sister’s life was another aspect of the crime that, again, both family and local people felt simply wasn’t right.
An unidentified, bloody left thumbprint was found by Police on an overturned sewing machine near Griff’s charred corpse. Molloy believed the thumbprint was somehow put there by Griff, who must’ve miraculously healed from his long-standing issues with that hand, his family and local residents believe that this is proof of a third person being responsible for causing the deaths of Griff and Patti.
All we can say for sure is that the inquest labelled Griff a lunatic and a murderer, and those two descriptions did not sit well with those who actually knew the brother and sister.
44 YEARS LATER….
Following the airing of The Pembrokeshire Murders, this newspaper took a new look at the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Griff and Patti and uncovered shocking new information missed by DCS Pat Molloy back in the closing days of 1976 and shows that his ‘exhaustive’ search for family members was, in fact, anything but.
On April 9, 2021, I was contacted by Sandra Jellicoe, she claimed to be a relative of Griff and Patti’s who was never traced by police or by probate following their deaths.
She told me that her mother Sarah, known affectionately as ‘Lal’, was a cousin of the Thomases who met an upset Patti in Ocky White’s in Haverfordwest on either November 23 or 30 1976.
When asked about why she was so distressed, Patti told her cousin that a woman “from away” had confronted her and demanded that Griff and Patti move out of Ffynnon Samson so that she could purchase it.
When Patti denied this request, the Englishwoman became ‘ferocious’ with her, this left Patti understandably shaken up.
Between 7 – 14 days after this confrontation, both Thomas siblings are found dead in their home.
I asked Mrs. Jellicoe why her mother did not report this to the police at the time and she said that her mother “was sure the police would be in contact” and she would tell them then.
Just days later it was “in the papers” that brother had killed sister and then taken his own life, following this Mrs. Jellicoe’s mother thought that “the police must know what they’re doing” and so did not come forward.
Mrs. Jellicoe also provided me with in-depth information regarding her family links to Griff and Patti, this has been verified and found to be correct by the family.
I advised Mrs. Jellicoe to contact the police, which she has since done, and I then passed this information across to members of the local community that I had been in contact with.
Confident that this new information could shed light on a crime that has haunted the local community, it was decided that we would await a police reaction.
That reaction was, according to sources close to the investigation, to allocate a police officer to ascertain what physical evidence remained in police storage.
That source also told us six-months ago that “95% of the evidence storage areas” have been searched “but nothing can be found”.
When we asked police last week what they were doing in regards to Griff and Patti, they said: “No updates at the moment. The family will be kept informed of any developments.”
POLITICAL PRESSURE ON POLICE?
Shortly after the Llangolman murders were featured in The Herald, a campaign was launched to persuade the police to re-examine the investigation at the time and to re-open the inquest.
Campaign coordinator, Hefin Wyn, said those who knew the brother and sister cannot accept the coroner’s verdicts and are adamant there was a third person involved.
Two local AM’s have also thrown their support behind the campaign with Conservative AM Paul Davies, telling local papur bro, Clebran:
“I support the calls made by people from all parts of Pembrokeshire and beyond for this matter to be reopened.
“It is obvious questions remain unanswered and therefore it is highly important this matter is looked at again and all the evidence re-examined.
“I hope the authorities will look favourably upon the request – the community has now been waiting for 46 years for answers and it is important the questions that are unanswered will be answered.”
Plaid Cymru Regional West and Mid-Wales Senedd member, Cefin Campbell, said: “The latest revelation in the February edition of Clebran revealing the evidence given by Sarah Mary Luke raises further questions regarding what actually happened at Ffynnon Samson almost half a century ago.
“I know many within the local community, and further afield across the whole of Pembrokeshire are keen to see this case re-opened by the authorities – especially on considering the new forensic work developed by the police over the last decades.
“I am happy to support the community’s wishes – and am hopeful an investigation will bring new light to bear on what happened at Llangolman”.
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