ANOTHER BRITISH ARMY COURTS MARTIAL-THIS TIME A CRIME OF PASSION.
In June 1955, a British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) Courts Martial was convened in Düßeldorf, Germany, presided over by Brigadier D.L. Betts.
Charged before him with murder was a REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers), Sergeant, Frederick Emmett-Dunne.
At the time of the alleged offence, on wednesday 30th November 1953, Emmett-Dunne was an Acting CSM (Warrant Officer Class 2-Company Sergeant-Major), at the REME Workshops, 4th Infantry Division, Glamorgan Barracks, Duisburg. He was an unmarried man, and lived in the barracks.
The murdered man was Sergeant Reginald Watters, an NCO Instructor in the REME Technical Training School. His body had been found hanging in barrack block number 4 in the early hours of December 1st. Nearby was an overturned bucket. As a married man Watters had lived with his German wife Mia, a former night club singer, in an MSQ (Married Service Quarters) unit, about 1500 metres from the barracks.
Emmett-Dunne had caused the death of Watters with a severe blow across the throat and then taken the body to Block 4. He had then enlisted the help of his half brother, a private, also living in the barracks, to rig the body so as to appear as if a suicide.
Emmett-Dunne had pleaded not guilty to the charge, which was in fact a civil offence committed whilst on ative service.
At first it was thought that Watters HAD committed suicide, because his wife was having an affair with Emmett-Dunne, and a young British doctor HAD mistakenly declared suicide to have been the cause of Sgt.Watters' death.
However, in 1954, Emmett-Dunne returned to England, where, on the 3rd of June, he had married Mia.
News of this marriage had attracted the attention of a police officer, Frank Walters, who had been a former staff sergeant of the Royal Military Police SIB-(Special Investigation Branch), and who had been involved in the Emmett-Dunne case the previous year. He reported this to his superiors, who immediately got permission to have Watters body resumed and more professionally examined. Resulting medical opinion led to Emmett-Dunne's arrest and detention in March 1955.
Under Military Police escort Emmett-Dunne was taken back to Düsseldorf, Germany, still in detention. At the Court there he appeared in uniform, smartly dressed as a sergeant of REME and wearing a number of medals from his previous service in the Irish Guards, Merchant Marine and Royal Marines.
The Court determined from the evidence presented and from statements taken from many witnesses, that Emmett-Dunne WAS guilty of murder, and sentenced him to be hanged. (The death penalty was still in force under English law at that time).
However, the German and British Governments had signed a Convention on 26th May 1952, prohibiting the enforcement of the death penalty on German territory by the Occupation Armed Services Authorities, and so, Emmett-Dunne's death sentence was changed to 'Life In Prison-not to be released for ten years', instead.
He was ignominiously stripped of his stripes, REME flash and all his decorations.
Under SIB Royal Military Police escort he was taken via the Hoek van Holland and Harwich and then by car direct to Norwich Jail, where he was handed over to the prison authorities.
Emmett-Dunne was released in 1965, and then disappeared into history!
For the full story see the book "Crimes of Passion", Treasure Press-London-1984. Pages 119 to 125 inc., "A Question of Suicide?" Pictures courtesy of Treasure Press.There are more pictures in the book.
Please allow a few seconds for the pictures to format!
If anyone ex RMP recognises themselves as escorts I'd be pleased to know!
Revison 1 date 20.09.2004. (Letter from ex.Sgt.Peter Radford-SIB reproduced below).
Revision 2 date 14.11.2005.(Escort leaving ship with Emmett-Dunne at Harwich identified as WO1 Reg.Taylor-SIB).