Detective Inspector Reginald Spooner of Scotland Yard was depressed about the lack of progress in his murder inquiry. “It’s one of the worst jobs I’ve had,” he wrote to his wife from the crime scene in Swansea.

The victim, Ernest Melville, 35, had been importuning men in public houses. Last seen in the company of two sailors on Monday, January 22nd, 1940, he was found dead about 75 yards from the Full Moon pub on waste ground near Croft Street, Swansea. His trousers had been ripped down.

A pathologist said the sequence of events had probably been that first Melville’s testicles were squeezed, then he was throttled into at least helplessness if not unconsciousness. He was struck several times in the face either with a fist or a stone. There were several head injuries, including a fractured skull.

Detective Inspector Spooner was doomed to disappointment. He believed he had narrowed the suspects down to two, but that they were being sheltered by members of the community.