The Emmett-Dunn Murder
The Emmett-Dunn Murder
at Glamorgan Barracks
Sergeant Reginald Watters REME was employed by the Technical Training School as a NCO Instructor
in the barracks in 1953. On the evening of the 1st December he did not arrive home at the usual time
and his wife eventually became concerned and informed the barracks of his absence. A search party,
led by a (Acting) Sergeant Major Frederick Emmett-Dunn of the same unit, was formed and in their search
of the camp they came across the body of Sergeant Watters hanging from the banister rails of the stairwell
in Block 2, nearby was a overturned bucket. As a married man Watters had lived with his German wife
Mia in a Married Quarter, about 1500 metres from the Barracks.
A pathologist's report led eventually to a verdict of suicide being returned but there was considerable
gossip amongst the soldiers and families in the Duisburg area and this eventually reached the ears of
Sergeant Walters of the SIB/RMP who was involved in the original RMP investigations, and who now
became suspicious.Sergeant Walters started his own investigations and found that Sergeant Major
Emmett-Dunn, who had found the body, had been reported for embezzlement of Workshop funds
and, more importantly, was also rumoured to be having an affair with the wife of the dead man.
This picture is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it shows a dour faced Emmett-Dunn (left, back row)
and secondly because it appeared in the popular press of the day in relation to the murder under the title:
"One of the orgies in the Sergeants Mess in Glamorgan Barracks".
His initial suspicions were all but confirmed when he later heard of the marriage, on the 3rd June 1954
in Leeds, of Sergeant Major Emmett-Dunn, and the widowed Mrs Mia Watters.
Just over a year after the apparent suicide the case was re-opened by the head of the SIB/RMP UK,
and on the 26th February of that year the body of Reginald Watters was exhumed. A senior Home Office
pathologist carried out a second post-mortem and found that Sergeant Watters had not committed
suicide, he had in fact been strangled and then strung up from the bannisters to simulate suicide.
Eventually the true facts of the case emerged. Emmett-Dunn had plotted the murder when he had begun to
believe that Sergeant Watters was becoming suspicious of his affair with Mrs Watters. He pretended to
be a prospective buyer for Sergeant Watters car and had agreed to meet him outside the camp. After killing
Watters the Sergeant Major had placed the body on the back seat of the car and brought it back into the
camp, his intention being to hang Watters from the bannister rails. With the aid of his half-brother Ronald,
also serving in the Barracks at that time, they had hung the body from the rails and placed an up-turned
fire bucket underneath it in order to indicate suicide.
Sgt Watters REME and his wife in the Sergeant's Mess (2nd and 3rd from the left).
At the time of this picture Mrs Watters was already having an affair with Emmett-Dunn.
Luckily for Emmett-Dunn the first post-mortem had been carried out by a young, inexperienced pathologist
who had overlooked vital evidence which a more experienced pathologist would have discovered as a matter
of routine. He had not recognised that one of the bones in Watters neck, that is always broken by hanging, was intact
and neither did he realise that the body fluids had drained to the head and shoulders when Emmett-Dunn
had placed the body over the seat of the car, rather than to the lower part of the body, as would be expected
in a genuine case of suicide by hanging.
Emmett-Dunn arriving back in Dusseldorf after his arrest.
Emmett-Dunn was arrested in the south of England and under Military Police escort brought to Dusseldorf in June
1955 to be tried by General Court Martial presided over by Brigadier D L Betts. At the Court he appeared in uniform,
smartly dressed as a Sergeant of REME and wearing a number of medals. The Court determined from the evidence presented
and from statements taken from many witnesses, that Emmett-Dunne was guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death.
However, there was no capital punishment in the Federal Republic of Germany at the time and because of the Status
of Forces Agreement, Emmett-Dunn could not be executed in Germany or taken back to England to hang.
Emmett-Dunn escorted by RMP to his Court Martial
As a result his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Army Council, He was ignominiously stripped
of his stripes, REME flash and decorations. Under Military Police escort he was taken via the Hoek van Holland
and Harwich to the Military Corrective Establishment, Colchester. There, as a 'Soldier Under Sentence', he was
discharged from the Army and handed over to the civil police who took him to Exeter Prison. He served a total of
ten years imprisonment and was released in 1965, and then disappeared into history!
Emmett-Dunn leaving ship at Harwich en route to
Colchester as a 'Soldier under Sentence'
The former Mrs Mia Watters, and also the former Mrs Emmett-Dunn,
photo taken on the 14th Nov 1956. She later married an American.
Credit to alamy for the photo.
Footnote: Bill Williams BEM first went to Duisburg in 1955 when he was then with the REME. Bill
was a Regimental Policeman and was heavily involved with the re-investigation of the Emmett-Dunn murder.
He tell's me that Emmett-Dunn's half-brother Ronald, left the Army and joined the Merchant Navy. When
news of the re-investigation got out, got cold feet and turned Queen's Evidence, so the whole story came out.
The former Mrs Watters divorced Emmett-Dunn and married an American.
Thanks for the information Bill.
Further Updates: Robert Clark was serving as a National Serviceman in 1954 at the Vehicle Training Camp
at Norton Manor, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, Somerset. He has a distinct recollection of the Red Caps (Military Police)
descending on the REME camp, and marching off an individual, much to the delight of the National Servicemen present.
At the time those in the know soon filled in the details of the apparent suicide of a fellow Sgt in Germany a year or so
earlier and Emmett-Dunn's subsequent marriage to the widow. Robert believes the said Sgt/Major Emmett-Dunn was
serving in D Company at the Camp, and was infact the man arrested and taken back to Germany.
My thanks to Robert for this information
The Following from Roy Endersby
Hi Keith, my name is Roy Endersby ex Cpl 4 Inf Wskps REME 1953-55. I have been checking out most sites re our camp all those
years ago but so far have not been able to make contact with any old pals. Our Sgt Maj was Emmett Dunne as you are aware
murdered a Sgt Waters from the TTS and strung the body up on the staircase in Block2near the main gate. On that evening
I was in charge of the .22 shooting team from 4 Inf Wskps in the top floor of Block 2 (.22 Range). When we left I met Emmett Dunne
at the bottom of the stairs, he asked me if I had seen his step brother, I replied we had not. Those were the stairs where Sgt Watters
body was found. The next day I was interviewed by a Sgt from the SIB and gave a statement as to what I saw and whom I met
during the previous evening. About 6 months later I was again interviewed by Chief Inspector Colin McDougal from Scotland Yard.
The rest is history.
My thanks to Roy for this further insight
I would also like to thank Dave Parker for pointing me in the direction of more
information concerned with this case.
Thanks to Alamy for the Preview photos.
Copyright: Keith Holderness 2001- 2021
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