TV show examines case of Tywyn minister who dismembered parishoners' private parts

By Cambrian News reporter in Local People

ONE of the most disturbing criminal cases in Tywyn’s recent history is to be revisted by an S4C true crime series tonight.

‘Y Ditectif, fronted by Mali Harries, looks back at the remarkable case of the minister who mutilated corpses in his chapel in the 1980s.

Emyr Owen, the minister of Bethel Chapel in Tywyn was sentenced to four years in prison for the mutilation of three corpses and for writing death threats to people in North Wales in anonymous letters.

The shocking case is featured in the programme Y Ditectif on Tuesday 28 June, 9.30pm on S4C.

The bizarre case shocked the community of Tywyn in 1985 and made national headlines.

The clergyman was found to have severed the penises of the bodies after they had been laid out in the chapel of rest. He was caught after police in North Wales carried out an investigation into anonymous letters including one letter threatening to kill a woman’s four year old granddaughter.

Former North Wales Detective Constable Gwyn Roberts recalls his time working on the case on the S4C programme and explains how Emyr Owen was caught.

He says the well-respected preacher explained that he had an evil side to his personality.

“Emyr Owen told me at the time that he was glad that he’d been caught. He said the ‘bad’ Emyr had now gone and that he would never return.

“Looking back at those years - I’m so glad we caught him before he did something worse.

“We’ll never know exactly what he did and unfortunately he took his secrets to his grave,” explains Gwyn Roberts.

Police found photo negatives of dismembered genitalia arranged on plates at Owen’s home. The Welsh Presbyterian minister then admitted severing the private parts of three male bodies.

The programme features an old interview with Emyr Owen himself after he was released from prison. Vaughan Hughes, the producer, recalls his interview with the minister.

Vaughan Hughes says, “One of the questions I asked him was simply - Why? Why did he carry out such deeds?

And his response and shocking justification was that men should go to heaven without their sex organs."

Vaughan Hughes reveals that he had also been a victim of Emyr Owen’s threats.

“In my case, after the programme was aired, Emyr Owen started phoning my home and would make threats. It wasn’t very nice.”

Emyr Owen died in Llandudno in 2001 aged 78.

Y Ditectif is also available on catch-up TV.

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