Murder by the Sea: Mamie Stuart

‘He has put me in a great big house and just comes and goes as he likes,’ she wrote to her parents of what had become a violent marriage. ‘I will write more later.’

Her parents wrote back to Mamie, but were informed that the house in Swansea was now closed. Two months later a Swansea hotel manager told police about large suitcase left by a guest.

Shotton’s double life

It contained women’s clothing, jewellery and the address of Mamie’s parents. They identified some of the contents as those of their daughter.

Police soon traced Shotton to nearby Caswell Bay, where they found he’d been leading a double life. He was living there with his wife and small child. He was convicted of bigamy and sentenced to 18 months.

But what of Mamie? Her body could not be located and no charge of murder was brought.

Shotton was seen hauling a sack

The case would not be solved for 42 years, when some young pothole enthusiasts stumbled upon human body parts in a cave in Brandy Cove on the Gower Peninsula. This has once a quiet area used by smugglers and was steeped in legend and folktales.

What did he do to Mamie? What happened to Shotton after he emerged from prison for his bigamy conviction? How close to getting caught for Mamie’s murder had he been?

In 1961, retired postman Bill Symons, 83, told police he recalled seeing Shotton hauling a heavy sack from his Caswell Bay cottage. Shotton apparently recoiled, thinking at first Symons’ uniform was that of a policeman. Shotton put the sack in his vehicle and drove off.

In a TV crime drama he would have been caught. But Shotton was not only arrogant, manipulative and clearly violent. He was also lucky. It’s a disturbing case with no justice or closure at the end.

Murder by the Sea, CBS Reality is on Tuesday, 7 May, 10pm

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