Unsolved murder of Cardiff taxi driver John ‘ Jack’ Armstrong being reviewed

The unsolved murder of a Cardiff taxi driver more than four decades ago is being reviewed by police.

John ‘Jack’ Armstrong, 58, was found murdered in October 1979 after he collected a customer from Cardiff in his taxi. His body was found in Cowbridge three days after collecting a fare in the Fairwater area of the city.

No-one has ever been convicted of the murder but police officers in the city are hoping advances in forensic capabilities and changes in loyalties will bring about justice. Detectives at South Wales Police’s Specialist Crime Review Unit are once again examining the case.

On October 5, 1979, 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. The firm he worked for, Castle Private Hire Taxi Company, in Westgate Street, Cardiff, had taken a call from a man identifying himself only as Williams, asking to be collected from the Fairwater Pub in St Fagans Road to take him to Cowbridge.

Mr Armstrong drove off in his metallic bronze Colt Sigma 1600cc, registration RNY 119R, and 10 minutes later, at 1.30pm, he radioed taxi control.

John 'Jack' Armstrong was found dead three days after picking up a fare in Cardiff
John ‘Jack’ Armstrong was found dead three days after picking up a fare in Cardiff

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. You can read about more murder cases in Wales which have never been solved here.

How many crimes are being committed where you live? Find out with your post code:

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 40 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.
Reports can also be made online via  bit.ly/SWPReport.

WalesOnline – Cardiff