South East Wales

Tooze murders: Call to publish murder review findings

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHarry and Megan Tooze were blasted with a shotgun, covered in a carpet and left in a cowshed

The man wrongly convicted of murdering an elderly couple twenty years ago has called for the findings of a review of the case to be published.

Harry and Megan Tooze were killed in what was described as a "brutal macabre execution" at their farmhouse near Llantrisant, south Wales, in July 1993.

Their daughter's boyfriend Jonathan Jones was convicted of murder and later freed on appeal in 1996.

An independent advisor on the case has rejected the call to publish files.

Prof Margaret Griffiths says her group never produced a report in case a future prosecution was affected.

She does not believe any other papers from the time should be published for the same reason.

The bodies of Harry Tooze, 67, and his wife Megan, 65, were found in a cowshed at their farm at Llanharry the day after they where killed.

They had been shot in the head with a shotgun and covered in carpet.

Their best china was found laid out on the kitchen table of the farmhouse, prompting speculation that they had been expecting a visitor.

But the alarm was raised when their only child Cheryl, who lived with her partner in south east England, could not raise them.

South Wales Police began a major murder investigation.

More than 60 officers were immediately brought onto the case, while Cheryl Tooze made an emotional public plea for information to help find the killer.

However, attention soon began to be focused on her boyfriend Jonathan Jones.

Gunshots heard

He was arrested and charged with the murders.

Following a trial at Newport crown court in 1995 Mr Jones was found guilty but Ms Tooze was convinced of his innocence.

Image caption Jonathan Jones and the murdered couple's daughter Cheryl on the day his conviction was finally quashed

In 1996 he was released when appeal court judges quashed the conviction.

Cheryl Tooze and Jonathan Jones are now married.

Remembering the murders, neighbour Joyce Davies recalled how she heard gunfire that afternoon but thought nothing of it.

She now wishes she had mentioned it to police when they began searching for the couple.

"I heard two shots. I just thought it was Harry shooting rabbits, that's all," she said.

"I didn't know anything was wrong until the night and they were all out looking for them. I just wish that when the police came here I'd gone to them and told them I'd heard two shots but who thinks of anything like that?

"It might have helped before anyone went in the house."

Despite numerous appeals and re-investigations, the double murder remains unsolved.

Shotgun cartridges were found in a flooded mine shaft on nearby land following another search of the area, while shotgun barrels were discovered by a member of the public in a quarry.

Police received an anonymous letter which they also said was of interest, but the killer or killers have never been brought to justice.

In 2000, two reviews of the case were set up - one by retired Det Supt Malcolm Ross, formerly of West Midlands Police and another by an independent advisory group.

Solicitor Stuart Hutton, who helped defend Jonathan Jones back in 1995 and still represents him today, said the work of those investigations should be made public.

"That should be published or made freely available for people to look at because how can you have an investigation?" he argued.

"You need to know that investigation has been carried out properly as there may be other input.

"I'd like that published and I would like the police to seriously let us know, all of us ,what has happened with their investigation and where they think their leads have gone bad."

20-year 'nightmare'

But Prof Griffiths, who chaired the independent advisory group, said she still firmly believed publication could affect a future trial.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionStephen Fairclough reports on the still unsolved murders

"I think it would be very difficult to publish anything," she said.

"The Independent Advisory Group didn't publish a report and so that issue doesn't arise anyway.

"But I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to publish anything else because this is an unresolved murder and there is the possibility that at some point in the future new evidence may become available."

In 2008 South Wales Police said that all lines of inquiry in the case had been exhausted and the investigation was being scaled down - though not closed.

In a statement, a force spokesperson added: "This month marks 20 years since the tragic deaths of Harry and Megan Tooze.

Image caption Despite the fresh investigations and case reviews - the Llanharry farmhouse murders are unsolved

"The public can be assured that any new information which is received in relation to this case will be fully investigated."

Harry's sister Olive, 90, is not convinced.

"To me, I haven't got much faith, the way this was carried out," she said.

"It's 20 years, but it's 20 years every day. It's not only now. That's not going to be it. It's every day. Every day is a nightmare."

"Cheryl's life has been made a misery. It has ruined her and Jonathan's life. She misses her mother and father.

"Never a day goes by in these 20 years when I don't think of them. When I think of the two of them gone, they were robbed of life."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites