Seicolegydd fforensig yn galw am ail agor achos marwolaethau Llangolman.Forensic psychologist calls for the case of a Pembrokeshire brother and sister to be reopened.
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Good evening and welcome to a new series of Taro Naw.
The summer of 1976 and a brother and sister from Pembrokeshire...
..are filmed at a chapel service.
Within a few months, they were both buried in the cemetery.
Police say the brother killed his sister...
..before setting himself on fire, but some question that.
You think someone was in the house.
There must have been.
Tonight, a special investigation. Who killed Griff and Patty Thomas?
In May, John Cooper was jailed for life...
...for two double murders in Pembrokeshire during the '80s.
But is it possible that Cooper is also responsible...
..for the deaths of another brother and sister in 1976?
Here's Aled Scourfield's report.
The village of Llangolman in the Preseli mountains.
Here, in rural Pembrokeshire, was Griff and Martha Thomas' home.
They had both retired.
The brother was 73-years-old and the sister was 70.
Unmarried, they had spent their whole lives at Ffynon Samson.
I was a bit of a favourite with them.
They gave me presents at Christmas time and sweets.
I never left there without sweets.
Huw Absalom farms in Llangolman.
He was 15 in 1976 and spent a lot of time with Griff and Martha...
..or Patty as she was known.
His father was their first cousin and rented land from the Thomases.
The farmer still treasures some of the gifts he received...
..from his relatives.
I had this from Griff and Patty in 1969.
We always received nice gifts from them at Christmas.
It shows here...
It came from Ffynon Samson.
Patty Thomas and her brother...
..were born at the start of the 20th Century.
People living in rural areas had to be frugal.
They looked after their money.
There was no cheese and jam on the table.
It was one or the other.
They lived on vegetables from the garden...
..and they shopped locally in the village.
During the mid '70s...
..Reverend Peter Thomas was a young minister at Rhydwilym Chapel.
Griff and Patty Thomas were loyal members of the congregation.
They were genial, kind and supportive people.
They were very welcoming.
I had been to Ffynon Samson more than once during that time...
..and received a very warm welcome.
And the conversations were always sweet.
But the sweet turned sour.
On Tuesday, December 7th, 1976, Griff Thomas left his home...
..and walked to the village shop in Llangolman.
That's where he was last seen alive at around 4.00pm.
On the morning of Saturday, December 11th...
..Nigel Rossiter, a 22-year-old postman from Narberth...
..was driving on his round around Llangolman and Maenclochog.
He had been to Ffynon Samson on the Thursday...
..and hadn't seen anyone.
I returned there about 8.30am or 8.20am.
I picked up what I thought was post to go...
..and it was post I'd put there on Thursday.
I noticed this, so I went back to the house.
He witnessed an atrocious scene as he entered the house.
Going into the house, I had to go in a good bit of the room...
..because there was a big chair or something in the way.
I could see this charred body in a nest of cushions...
..and a made-out thing, like, as if it was a nest.
In a state of shock...
..he left the farmhouse and ran to a nearby house to call the police.
35 years later, this is the first time Nigel Rossiter...
..has spoken publicly about his experiences.
Despite seeing a man's body in the kitchen...
..he didn't see the second body.
When he returned with the police...
..he saw Patti Thomas's body in the parlour.
She was sitting on the table. She was slumped over on the table.
The close-knit community was shocked by the terrible news.
The local minister was amongst the first to be called to the farmhouse.
I saw Griff from the porch. I didn't go beyond the porch.
I saw a black, burnt figure.
I couldn't believe it was Griff.
Yet, I had to accept...
..that something dreadful, rapacious and extremely violent...
..had happened there.
The news about the deaths...
..had spread across the area and beyond within a few hours.
The farmhand came back to the yard.
He was terrified after hearing what had happened.
Dad was out on the farm and my mother had gone to Carmarthen.
My mother had heard of the incident in Carmarthen.
Detectives were questioning all locals within an hour or two.
Television cameras were also there.
The police had launched a big investigation into a double murder.
Police officers from all over Dyfed-Powys...
..had been called to Llangolman.
My work was going from house to house.
I had a team looking into the family's background...
..discovering whether someone had seen anything suspicious.
We collected information from people within that community.
We visited every house in Clynderwen, Maenclochog...
..and the surrounding areas for any information.
Griff and Patti Thomas' deaths were all over the media.
Reporters from Wales and London visited Llangolman.
Murders in rural parts of the country were very rare.
Many locals were concerned a murderer was on the loose.
People were more apprehensive and careful.
They would lock doors and use door bolts.
People were aware of some sort of fear...
..that existed due to these murders.
The owner of the local garage in Llangolman has always lived locally.
Denley Absalom remembers the local opinion...
..that someone had broken into the Thomases home.
The house is isolated and as in a very lonely spot.
You're not in the village itself.
You're lucky if you see two or three houses within a quarter of a mile.
It was a lonely spot.
According to police investigations, the brother and sister died ...
..sometime during the evening of Tuesday December 7th, 1976.
How and why remained a mystery.
Locals believed they kept substantial amounts of money in the house.
Dad would buy cattle from them and it would always be in cash.
Dad rented the land and it would always have to be in cash.
Dad would sometimes find it difficult to get the cash...
..but they wouldn't accept a cheque.
The investigation intensified...
..after the police discovered over £2,600.
The police started to doubt whether this was a robbery after all.
There was money left in the house. Miss Thomas' purse was on the bench.
If someone wanted to steal...
..the purse is the first thing they'd have taken.
There was also more money in the house.
That doesn't mean that nothing else was stolen.
We couldn't find anything that had disappeared...
..but the person might have been scared after what happened...
..and killed them without stealing anything.
You couldn't close the book and say that's exactly what happened.
The post-mortem report on Griff Thomas' body...
..showed he had died due to burns.
His sister died due to head injury. She'd been struck by a weapon.
The police examined a fountain next to the house.
They examined everything within a two-mile radius of the farmhouse...
..but they never discovered a weapon.
Don't forget there was a fire. A wooden weapon could have burnt.
It was part of a big jigsaw in which some small pieces were missing.
By trawling through old newspapers...
..we discovered the investigation had changed direction.
Within a few weeks, the police had solved the msytery.
A double-murder investigation was launched.
Griff and Patti Thomas' bodies were discovered in December 1976.
Three weeks later in the local newspaper, Tivyside...
..Pat Molloy, the detective leading the investigation, says this...
"What I am hoping to be able to do is to persuade a coroner's jury..."
"..that no third party was involved."
Within a few weeks, the investiagtion's focus had changed.
Griff Thomas was now being accused of killing his sister.
Why would Griff Thomas kill a sister he'd lived with for 70 years?
For some reason, they'd argued.
Mr Thomas killed Miss Thomas and tried to eradicate all evidence...
..and his own body by killing himself and starting a fire.
According to those who knew them best...
..the brother and sister had lived happily throughout their lives.
They wouldn't argue.
Not at all. Never.
Not in the time that my father and I were there.
My father had always known them. Never.
It's fair to say the majority of people we've spoken to...
..disagree that Griff Thomas...
..killed his sister in the home they'd shared for 70 years.
Other locals believe they need to keep an open mind...
..and Patti Thomas could've been killed by her brother...
..during a family dispute.
Pat Molloy and his team questioned over 1,200 people.
Many believe the investiagtion was ended too soon.
It had all happened, been cleared and the inquest had been closed...
..in very little time.
If this sort of thing had happened in Liverpool or London...
..the inquiry would have gone on for ages.
This all passed in little time.
The police removed 174 items from the house for examination.
They took over 150 statements. They were satisfied with the evidence.
The inquest into their deathh was held in Haverfordwest.
On February 17th, 1977, two months after their deaths...
..a jury decided that Patti Thomas had died due to manslaughter.
An open verdict was recorded in the case of her brother, Griff.
Following the inquest, auctioneer Richard Sykes and his colleagues...
..cleared the house before putting it for sale.
He says the state of the house, even after the police had cleaned it...
..makes him believe the inquest didn't reach the truth.
It doesn't relate to the circumstances we saw there.
I don't believe that...
I think it was more of an acknowledgement...
..that they failed to find evidence of a third party.
He raises the question...
..that someone else could have visited Ffynnon Samson that evening.
Do you think there was an intruder there?
I think that's my conclusion, my belief.
That was just a feeling I had.
I think it was shared pretty generally among the community.
Griff Thomas was last seen alive in the village shop...
..late on Tuesday afternoon, December 7th.
The man who discovered his body has told Taro Naw...
..that the police told him the cheese and newspaper the pensioner bought...
..were still in his coat pocket when his body was discovered.
The police told me they found them in his pocket.
He hadn't even taken them out.
The fact that the Western Mail and cheese were in his pocket...
The first thing you usually do is put the items on the table or chair.
You wouldn't attack someone straight away.
What happened behind these lonely doors on a December evening in 1976?
The police said nothing had been stolen, but was that accurate?
Ipswich in Suffolk.
Five prostitutes were murdered here five years ago.
Forensic psychologist Dr Clive Sims assisted in profiling the murderer.
He's looked at the evidence from Llangolman.
He believes someone went there to steal.
There was an empty cash box.
The bureau appears to have been broken in.
The back door is unlocked.
And certain aspects of it simply do not make sense.
No-one can be certain that someone had searched through the bureau...
..but the police report noted they never discovered the bureau's key.
John Cooper was imprisoned for life back in May...
..for two double murders in Pembrokeshire in the '80s.
A huge collection of keys from houses he'd broken into...
..were discovered in his home.
We'll be questioning whether John Cooper has the key to these murders?
In 1976, a police investigation concluded...
..that Griff Thomas had killed his sister, Patti...
..at their home in Llangolman, Pembrokeshire.
Is that what really happened?
After murderer John Cooper was jailed in May...
..for murdering siblings Richard and Helen Thomas in 1985...
..and Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 1989...
..there is growing suspicion that Griff Thomas was wrongly accused.
The police believe Griff killed his sister in the kitchen...
..and carried her into the parlour.
The 73-year-old suffered from rheumatism and had a bad back.
According to many, it's impossible he murdered his sister.
He could never have destroyed the house.
I used to sit next to Griff in the chapel.
He had such bad arthritis in his fingers...
..that he could never find the right page in the hymn book.
I would have to find the right page for him.
In the mid-80s, Crimewatch appealed for information...
..following the murders of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas...
..at Scoveston Park in Pembrokeshire in December, 1985.
25 years later, John Cooper was jailed for life for the muders.
Dad said at the time he thought the same person had done it...
..because it was a similar incident.
Another lonely farmhouse...
..and another brother and sister who kept money in the house.
A fire had also been started.
Is there a connection between Scoveston and Llangolman?
There are so many similar factors.
Is that the missing piece in the jigsaw?
You think it is and then you think it isn't.
There wasn't a robbery, no gun.
There was a gun at Scoveston, but there wasn't in Llangolman.
Why did he use a gun in one place?
Some factors are very different, yet some bring it all together.
The police failed to find any forensic evidence...
..to prove that another person was at Ffynnon Samson...
..the night Griff and Patti Thomas died.
We discovered documents that show how John Cooper targeted places to rob.
He also ensured he didn't leave any traces of a crime.
We've seen a list of burglaries associated with John Cooper...
..between 1983 and 1996.
They all share many common factors.
He often targeted isolated, rural houses...
..and there was very little forensic evidence.
The police collected 430 fingerprints at Ffynnon Samson.
All apart from two belonged to Griff and Patti Thomas.
The other two couldn't be proven.
It could have been Mr Thomas as his hand was injured in the fire.
It could be someone...
There was one on the sewing machine.
That could be someone who'd helped Miss Thomas sew something.
It could be that simple. We don't know.
If someone was arrested and that was their fingerprint...
..I'd accept it was them.
Based on the evidence at the time...
..I think the correct conclusion was reached.
The police believed Griff Thomas burnt to death...
..but there was a pool of blood next to him and he had a cracked skull.
Griff Thomas' blood was also found on the sewing machine.
According to the expert who looked at the case for Taro Naw...
..there are other significant clues relating to the sewing machine.
Mr Thomas' blood was found on the sewing machine...
..and yet the cover was put on the sewing machine.
This suggests someone else was at the scene of the crime.
If someone else was there, who was it?
Is there room to believe there's a connection between John Cooper...
..the man responsible for murdering Richard and Helen Thomas...
..and the deaths of Griff and Patti Thomas?
There are enough similarities between the crimes...
..which would suggest...
..that he may be at least considered to be a suspect in this case.
In 1965, 20-year-old John Cooper was jailed for six months...
..for trampling over a man on the ground.
He attacked a police officer the previous year.
He didn't have a criminal record between 1965 and 1983.
Cooper was 40 years old at he time of the Scoveston murders in 1985.
What about the previous years?
It's quite probable, in fact...
..that he would have been offending earlier...
..because it would be extremely unusual...
..for someone to start that late in life on a criminal career...
..and that they would start with that level of violence.
The inquest into Griff and Patti Thomas' deaths at Ffynnon Samson...
..concluded a dispute lead to their deaths.
The police also recognised there was a suspicious element to the case.
There were some missing pieces to the jigsaw.
Yes, but you never get a complete jigsaw in any investigation.
There were one or two more missing pieces here.
I think that was highlighted to the jury at the inquest.
They were told the evidence was incinsistent.
Pat Molloy, who lead the investigation...
..was completely satisfied he had reached the right conclusion.
Will the police reopen the case following John Cooper's imprisonment?
Dyfed-Powys Police refused to be interviewed.
In a statement, they said they're in contact with the family.
They added that they have assessed various documents...
..and there currently isn't a clear connection with John Cooper.
The man who discovered Griff Thomas' burnt body...
..in his kitchen back in December 1976 has many questions.
Nigel Rossiter believes the case should be reopened.
I would say yes, definitely now, because no murder weapon was found.
I can't see myself or anyboby...
Your mind must be absolutely a blank...
..if you think you can burn yourself at 70, 73.
A youngster wouldn't burn himself and lie in a fire.
Taro Naw has spoken to many forensic experts...
..who've said it's highly unusual...
..for someone to commit suicide by burning themself.
Clive Sims says he doubts the credibility of the inquest's jury.
I would think they're unsafe.
I feel that there would be a substantial case...
..for looking at this particular crime again as a cold case.
This is the spot where...
Griff and Patti Thomas' minister was shocked by their deaths.
For many in Llangolman...
..the scars of the past are still very much alive in their memories.
It was very difficult for me as a new, young minster back then...
..to undertake the work and officiate the funeral.
Above everything else...
..there was a sense of sadness and loss.
Griff Thomas was buried...
..with an investigation concluding he'd killed the sister...
..he'd lived with for 70 years.
For many who knew him well, that was impossible.
He was wrongly blamed.
Everyone who knew them has never believed that.
He was someone I'd known throughout my life.
He'd lived a quiet life.
He could never have done it.
That's all for tonight. Taro Naw will be back next Monday.
Thanks for watching, good night.
S4C Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Materion cyfoes o Gymru a'r byd. Current affairs from Wales and the world.Seicolegydd fforensig yn galw am ail agor achos marwolaethau Llangolman.Mae seicolegydd fforensig amlwg wedi galw am ail agor yr ymchwiliad i farwolaethau brawd a chwaer oedrannus yn sir Benfro. Ar y rhaglen gyntaf o'r gyfres newydd o Taro Naw, (Medi 12 2011), mae arbenigwr amlwg ym myd seicoleg fforensig, Dr Clive Sims, yn cwestiynu'r rheithfarn, gan ddweud ei bod hi'n "anniogel".Daethpwyd o hyd i Griff a Patti Thomas, oedd yn 73 a 70, yn farw yn eu ffermdy anghysbell yn Llangolman, Sir Benfro, yn Rhagfyr 1976. Er i Heddlu Dyfed Powys lansio ymchwiliad i lofruddiaeth ddwbl, o fewn ychydig wythnosau ro'n nhw wedi dod i'r casgliad bod Griff Thomas wedi lladd y chwaer roedd e' wedi byw gyda hi ers saithdeg mlynedd, yn dilyn ffrae, ac yna wedi rhoi ei hun ar d�n.Er gwaetha' chwilio dyfal, ddaeth yr heddlu fyth o hyd i'r arf a ddefnyddiwyd i ladd Patti Thomas. Yn Chwefror 1977, ddeufis ar �l y marwolaethau, dyfarnodd y cwest fod Patti Thomas wedi marw o ganlyniad i ddynladdiad a chafwyd dyfarniad agored ar gyfer ei brawd, Griff.Gofynnodd Taro Naw i'r proffilydd troseddol, Dr Clive Sims, edrych eto ar y dystiolaeth a gyflwynwyd i reithgor y cwest ar y pryd."Rwy'n teimlo bod tystiolaeth sylweddol dros edrych ar yr achos hwn eto," meddai Dr Sims ar y rhaglen, gan gyfeirio at yr anghysondebau niferus yn yr achos.Ym marn Dr Sims mae lle i gredu fod y brawd a'r chwaer gael eu llofruddio gan leidr wedi i ladrad fynd o chwith.Ym mis Mai, dedfrydwyd y llofrudd, John Cooper, i garchar am oes am ddwy lofruddiaeth dwbl yn sir Benfro yn yr 1980au.Yn y rhaglen, mae Taro Naw yn gofyn a oes posibilrwydd y gallai Cooper hefyd fod yn gysylltiedig gyda'r marwolaethau yn Llangolman?Taro Naw, S4C nos Lun, 12 Medi am 9.30pm.