ROLAND Llywarch had denied guilt to the end.

He would be carried out of the Montgomeryshire Assizes screaming "I am not guilty, you liars" though guilty and insane he had been judged for the double murder of an elderly couple in Foel on March 10, 1906.

And so concluded the event known as the Garthbeibio Murders.

Roland Llywarch was from Montgomery though had lived in London and worked as a milk dealer.

Roland had been visiting his family, staying with his sister in Llanfyllin before visiting his brother in Foel on March 9 when he visited the New Inn public house in the village.

Llywarch’s behaviour in the village inn had been described as ‘uneasy.’

He had accused a sewing machine salesman of being an undercover police detective and shared the suspicion with the landlady, Mrs Astley and had even accused the man who had denied the accusation.

Just before Llywarch left the inn at 7pm he asked the landlady for a shilling's worth of whisky but she told him that she could not supply a shillingsworth so he took a bottle and joined local farmer and butcher John Evans in departing.

Evans and his wife Mary were found dead the following morning.

Farm labourer Samuel Francis had discovered the scene of horror described in newspapers at the time as ‘Aged Couple Foully Butchered.’

Francis had found his master ‘lying across the floor in a pool of blood’ before calling a neighbour and together found Mrs Evans’ body in an adjoining bedroom.

The attacks had been frenzied and sustained with evidence of multiple stab wounds on both bodies and the kitchen floor had been found to have blood stained footprints which led from the bedroom to the kitchen.

More bloody footprints had been found in the snow near the farm.

Roland Llywarch had been apprehended two days later in Llanfihangel.

Border Counties Advertizer: A field near Llanfihangel where Rowland Llywarch was captured. Picture: Geograph.A field near Llanfihangel where Rowland Llywarch was captured. Picture: Geograph.

A field near Llanfihangel were Roland Llywarch was arrested. Picture: Geograph.

He had been reported by farmer John Lloyd who had spotted a man hiding under a bridge in the village and it had fallen on PC Hamer of Llanfyllin to seek out the suspected killer still loose.

Llywarch had been in no mood to surrender and when cornered ‘near a brook in a dingle’ he had brandished a knife and began a ‘savage attack on the officer, ripping his tunic from top to bottom and cutting his belt in two.’

A reported ‘beefy blow’ of his staff from PC Hamer had cut the head of Llywarch who had been rendered unconscious and then bound and handcuffed before being conveyed to Llanfyllin Police Station.

After he was arrested he was asked 'Sut mae eich penchwi heddyw?' (how is your head today) and Llywarch replied 'Yr ydwyf yn cofio tapio yn botel ar y foord' (I remember tapping the bottle on the road).

It is also reported Llywarch had broken ‘into a fit of sobbing’ in his cell.

In the trial in Newtown several witnesses, including the village black smith, school master and neighbour claimed to have witnessed Llywarch in the company of both the victims in the evening of their death.

Each had said Llywarch appeared to have been on good terms with the couple.

However, another witness had reported passing the scene of the crime on the evening of the murder and noticing raised voices.

Edward Owen, of Garthbeibio also testified of the events in the New Inn in the hours before the murders and of Llywarch complaining of suffering of ‘mental derangement.'

Border Counties Advertizer: Newtown's Regent Centre which, in 1906, saw Rowland Llywarch tried and convicted. Picture: Geograph.Newtown's Regent Centre which, in 1906, saw Rowland Llywarch tried and convicted. Picture: Geograph.

The Regent Centre in Newtown, the former site of the Montgomeryshire Summer Assizes. Picture: Geograph.

Llywarch’s wife had testified, saying for the past two years he had ‘delusions and pains in his head.’

Meanwhile a bloody footprint had been found in the snow which had matched those worn by the accused.

During his trial, postcards showing Llywarch with his head in bandages after having been arrested were being sold in a stationers' window in the town before the judge ordered they should be removed and 'highly improper.'

The jury found accused Llywarch guilty but insane and was ordered to be detained during his Majesty's pleasure.

Upon the verdict Llywarch had been enraged, throwing off a prison warden as ‘the greatest excitement prevailed’ as a great fight broke out before he was finally handcuffed and carried out of court professing his innocence.

Several of the onlookers fainted and the barristers strove to get clear.

No fewer than eight warders and policemen struggled with Llywarch until he was safely handcuffed.

The motive of the murders were never known.