Friday, 30 October 2015

The Murder of Winnie Evans

Returning to the murder file, this is a case from 1944 and the murder of 27 year old Winifred Mary Evans, a member of the W.A.A.F.  She had been found battered and raped , on November 9th 1944, though the actual cause of death was Asphyxiation.  Her killer had held her face down in mud in a ditch, causing her to suffocate.  Police were called to the ditch in Ellough, which was near Beccles, in Suffolk.  She had been to a dance with another WAAF, Corporal Margaret Johns.  They left the dance, and walked back to the billet.  Winnie went off to report for duty at the Signal Office, whilst Margaret visited the ladies toilet.  She had a shock to see a drunk airman in there.  He claimed he was lost and was this Camp Number One?  Corporal Johns took him outside and pointed him in the proper direction of Camp One.

    This gave Police their first break and started questioning people in that camp.  They learned that one man came in the camp around 1.00am and later was seen cleaning his uniform.  His name was Arthur Heys, a 37 year old airman.  Under questioning, he admitted that he was found in the toilets by Margaret Johns and told where his billet actually was.  It took him in the direction of where Winnie Evans had gone.  He insisted he had not attacked her, but had a huge problem.  It took him nearly an hour to get from the toilets to his billet.  His uniform was taken for forensic examination, and despite the cleaning, brick dust and dirt from the ditch was found on it.  There were also hairs.  They corresponded to hair from Winnie Evans.  But to dispel any claims of tunnel vision, scientists took hair from Heys` wife, which was also a match.  Nevertheless, Heys was charged with murder.

    The trial was set for Bury St. Edmunds on January 22nd 1945, in front of Justice MacNaughten, but prior to the trial, a letter was received by Heys`commanding officer.  It was allegedly from the real killer, saying that Heys was innocent, and gave details of the crime that pointed to the letter being genuine.  The lost and drunk airman had been wrongly charged.  This proved to Police that it had been written by none other than Arthur Heys.  The only people that had known Heys had been "drunk and lost" were the Police, Margaret Johns and........ Arthur Heys.  He was convicted of murder, sentenced to death and hanged at Norwich Prison on March13th 1945.