Police reopen investigation into unsolved murder of Welsh taxi driver back in 1979

Image credit: South Wales Police

The unsolved murder of a south Wales taxi driver is being reviewed in the hope that advances in forensic capabilities and changes in loyalties will bring about justice four decades later.

Detectives at South Wales Police’s Specialist Crime Review Unit are once again examining the case of John ‘Jack’ Armstrong, a 58-year-old man who was found murdered in October 1979 after he collected a customer from Cardiff in his taxi.

On 5 October, Jack, as he was known by family and friends, radioed in to confirm he’d collected the fare from a Fairwater pub, but was not heard from again.

His blood-stained taxi was found later that evening in Treoes Lane, Treoes, near to the Waterton Industrial Estate in Bridgend.

But it wasn’t until three days later that his body was found some 11 miles away on Cowbridge Common. Mr Armstrong had sustained catastrophic head injuries.

Despite extensive enquiries at the time, which saw hundreds of statements taken and exhibits examined, Mr Armstrong’s killer has never been found.

As part of the review, exhibits will be re-examined in the hope that forensic scientists will recover DNA which could enable detectives to identify and trace the killer.

Detective Chief Inspector Patrick Catto, head of the review unit, said he was hopeful the passage of time could bring about new investigative opportunities and provide the victim’s family with the closure and justice they deserve.

DCI Catto said: “No case is ever closed and we remain committed to periodically reviewing unsolved cases in the hope that advances in forensic sciences and technology will provide us with a new line of enquiry.

“The 1979 investigation was thorough and this review is no reflection on our colleagues who were involved at the time. We do, however, owe it to the victim and his family to make sure we exploit every scientific advance available to us to try and secure the breakthrough we need.

“If the killer is still alive, they’ve been living with the knowledge of what they did for more than forty years. In addition, it’s likely that someone out there knows who did this, and people’s loyalties change.

“I’d appeal to anyone who believes they know the identity of the killer to come forward. Keeping such a secret will have been a heavy burden – it’s time to do the right thing and come forward.”

Anyone with any information which could assist detectives is urged to contact the Review Unit via 101, quoting occurrence 2000304349.

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