Monday, 24 February 2014

Mamie Stuart & The Man Who Got Away With Murder

Mamie Stuart was a 26 years old former chorus girl when she mysteriously vanished just before Christmas 1919.  She remained missing for a further 42 years before one of those discoveries by sheer luck uncovered her tomb.  Mamie had left her home in Sunderland at the age of 15 to pursue a career on the stage, where she met and fell in love with a fellow Wearsider , George Shotton, who was 13 years her senior.  They married on march 25th 1918 and settled in a cottage  at Caswell Bay, near the Gower Peninsular in South Wales, but before Christmas 1919, they both had vanished.  A man had left a trunk at a hotel in Swansea and after three months, the hotelier handed it over to Police.  The trunk contained clothes and jewelry but a piece of paper was found containing the address of Mamie`s parents.  Police showed the clothes and jewelry to Mrs Stuart who identified them as belonging to Mamie.  She also showed them a letter she had sent them telling them that George was violent and that she feared for her safety.

    Police decided to investigate the background of George Shotton and discovered that he was already married and so this marriage was bigamous.  He had married a woman named May Leader on September 7th 1905, they had a child between them and had settled down only a mile away from Caswell Bay.  Shotton was located and arrested, and admitted knowing Mamie but denied marrying her.  he claimed she had a secret lover, and indeed, did produce a letter destined for some man, from Mamie.  An extensive search of the coastline was launched but she was not found.  Shotton now found himself charged with bigamy, but he claimed somebody had impersonated him.  This was certainly not believed and he received 18 months jail with hard labour.  Police believed he had killed Mamie.

    The story now raced forward to November 1961, and three cavers exploring a disused lead mine at Brandy Cove, only a mile away from Caswell Bay.  They discovered a sack containing human bones, and immediately alerted Police.  Doctors examined the remains, which had been cut into three sections, and determined her height, age and sex.  Bits of clothing and jewelry found in the sack, were identified as belonging to Mamie, by an old friend of hers.  A picture of Mamie was superimposed on the skull and found to be a match, exactly like the way that Professor Robert Glaister did for Mrs Ruxton in the notorious Buck Ruxton murder case.

    The following inquest in December 1961 brought a startling revelation.  83 years old retired postman Bill Symons recalled seeing Shotton hauling a heavy sack from the cottage, to which Shotton initially recoiled in shock, mistaking his uniform for that of a Policeman.  Shotton put the sack into his vehicle and drove off in the direction of Brandy Cove.  After Mamie had vanished and the Police enquiries, he thought nothing of it, thinking he was obviously wrong to think he had just watched a killer hauling away his victim.  The Jury decided that the body was indeed that of Mamie.  The Police now started to hunt for Shotton but were too late.  He was discovered in a cemetery in Bristol where he had died in 1958, at the age of 78.  He had gotten away with cold blooded murder.  It was believed to have been committed in a "jealous rage", which is rich considering he had a wife and child living nearby.