Joseph Kappen

Mary Wilson
AKASaturday night strangler
Kill Total3
Kill PlacePort Talbot
Kill Date1973

September 1973, 16-year-old Geraldine Hughes and her best mate, and fellow factory worker, Pauline Floyd. were on a night out, when they left the Top Rank nightclub in Swansea, they hitched a lift. A witness later said he saw two girls getting into a white Austin 1100 car, at a set of traffic lights up ahead they pulled alongside, he could see the two girls chatting to a man with a busy moustache, they were never seen alive again.

Their bodies were found the next morning dumped, raped and strangled, in Llandarcy woodland, 5-miles from Swansea. 

Over 150 police officers worked on the case, the investigation soon became swamped in a sea of paperwork as officers struggled to keep tabs on thousands of leads.

One lead was the car, a White Austin 1100, more than 10,000 drivers had to be visited and questioned.
Close by, Port Talbot steelworks employed 13,000 men and all were viewed as possible suspects. Also, Construction of the M4 was underway, meaning that hundreds of itinerant workers needed to be considered in the investigation.

July 1974, the murder team was quietly wound down and boxes and boxes of evidence and admin was stored at Sandfields police station in Port Talbot where, because of the damp conditions, it mostly all turned to mush, and became useless, but the girls underwear had been stored in another location, and would become invaluable evidence. 

2000, New DNA advances meant that DNA could now be separated when tangled with another persons, the underwear was sent for analysis, and Operation Magnum was launched.

They started re-investigating at a run down and closed police station, initially with over 35,000 potential suspects, a psychological profiller was called in which reduced the number to 500. They managed to check and eliminate all but 147 men, one of these, a man that had been a night club bouncer at the time, Joseph Kappen fitted all their criteria, a visit to his house became fruitless when his wife informed them he had died 12-years ago from lung cancer. Police carried on investigating Kappen, who was known to police at the time as a petty criminal with a violernt temper.

2002, A cold case review, 

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