80 Years On The Anniversary Of A Child Murder That Shook Wales: Joyce Cox

4 years old Joyce Cox

Joyce was only four years old when she was abducted, sexually assaulted and killed. The offender has never been identified. The date was 28th September 1939 and it would be easy to say that such a case has little relevance in our world. We write here all the time of folk who disappear or are killed in recent years. Their situation could still be solved and rightly the emphasis is on their cases on social media. However, when Joyce Cox suffered a cruel death at the hands of a low life the effects on the family rolled on through the decades. I offer their agony as more evidence that we should never spare a thought of mercy for the faceless morons who hide from their crimes.

In the murder of little Joyce we can see how devastating these killings are and the suffering radiates out across generations.

The Brief Circumstances

She had been walking next to her seven year old brother on the way back from school at lunchtime. Her strangled body was found on a railway embankment near Croyton railway station. The children had been walking via their grandmother’s place in Velindre Rd and then on to home. The total walking time would have been seven minutes. Factor in little legs and distractions, 15 minutes should have seen the brother and sister safe.

By 5th October she had been buried. A large crowd lined the streets for the funeral cortege. Cops both uniformed and not were in that crowd. The community of Whitchurch, Cardiff collectively mourned and seethed. On the day her burial took place the WW2 was speeding up a destructive path that in the end would leave an estimated 50 million dead.

Joyce’s family would deal with whatever the war threw at them and the loss of this little girl. A gas mask, tobacco pouch and a copy of an older newspaper were found at the scene. Also present was the girl’s underwear. She was found in a huddled and partially dressed condition a day after she disappeared. According to Wales Online the place she was left was only accessible on foot from two different paths. Joyce Cox was only two miles from home. It is sickening to see that her cause of death was said to have been shock.

The route the brother and sister walked that day from their grandmother’s place.

Her father, who had been serving in the army, returned home to help comfort his family. He said of his daughter;

‘She was a doll of a girl. Only last Monday I had promised her a present for her birthday and she was full of childish excitement and anticipation. Now this has come. It is terrible.’

There were 1000 people interviewed and Glamorgan Police hoped for an early arrest. All looked good at the time. A slouching man was described. Another was said to have been walking with a girl who looked like Joyce. The years went on and a nation mobilised for war. It would have been a terrible time to try and track down a male deviant piece of nothing, most of Europe was on the move.

4 years old Joyce Cox

Meanwhile Joyce’s mother never spoke of the pain she felt. At least she did not do so to the cousins and Joyce’s brother Dennis. Dennis died in 2007, but apparently this little lad, as he had been, blamed himself for losing track of his sister that day. Regret and heartache was with him all his life.

Of the creature that broke that family? A cold case review was surprised to see that there was strong evidence that the killer had died in the 1950s.

Unlike the case we wrote about in Las Vegas ( the murder of Kim Bryant) the evidence taken from the scene of Joyce Cox’s death had not faired well. Even if they wanted to no DNA profile could be extracted.

On 12th January 1970, in Australia, another seven year old boy would be around when his little sister disappeared. Like Dennis Cox he would go on to carry the burden of taking his very young eyes of Cheryl Grimmer for just a moment.  I bet there was little anyone could say to reassure these boys that became tormented men. They were not to blame.

80 years have gone by and the memory of this defiled little girl lives in the minds of that Welsh family.

We should not treat killers as one off specimens when they are convicted of such crimes. They should be dealt with with all the Dennis Coxs of the world in mind. They kill after sexually assaulting little children and blight lives then they, in the case of unsolved killings, hide. They do not try and make peace for the family. They watch them search and rip apart. So what mercy or mitigation should they receive? In my opinion, none.


John T


See Also: The case of Muriel Drinkwater, Genette Tate, Mary Boyle, Allen Redston and Mr Cruel