The murder of God-fearing, bible-quoting, partially deaf Thomas Thomas at the branch of Star Stores he managed in Garnant, South Wales has remained an unsolved mystery since it happened in 1921. His body was found on the morning of Sunday February 13th, his head smashed, his throat cut and with a stab wound to the stomach, any of which could have killed him. Over £126 was missing from the store safe, yet there were oddities about the attack which suggested this was more than a robbery that went tragically wrong: Thomas had been gagged with cheese, and there was no tear in his trousers, shirt and waistcoat above the stab wound. What circumstances could explain these things?
Garnant was in shock, and Scotland Yard arrived in the form of DI George Nicholls. A number of suspects were identified but none seemed to have the telling combination of motive and opportunity. Despite the expertise of Nicholls the case was eventually abandoned and the killer’s secret died with him.
This is the story of a terrible crime in an almost archetypal Welsh mining town. It was a crime symbolic of a turning point in early twentieth century Wales, as the coal industry declined and its recently assembled townships came to terms with their uncertain futures and sought new identities.