The day a couple’s North Wales seaside holiday ended with brutal killing

A soldier who rented a holiday cottage on Anglesey’s east coast hit headlines back in the 1940s after his wife was brutally killed at his hands before being hastily buried on a beach.

Records indicate that Ivy Nettleton had been holidaying in a picturesque part of North Wales back in October 1945 with her husband when two ladies horseriding along the beach found her battered body at Red Wharf Bay near Benllech. A pillowcase was found covering her head, and beneath was a stocking, tea towel, and cotton wool pad tightly wrapped around her neck.

Arthur Albert Nettleton, a former Royal Army Medical Corps Staff Sergeant, was questioned soon after the woman was identified. At first, he claimed his 37-year-old wife had run away to Manchester and was living in a safe house but soon admitted to the crime.

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The then 32-year-old went to trial in January 1946 after he admitted to whacking his wife with a hot iron, killing her. During a two-week trial, records show that a jury were told Nettleton claimed self-defence and that his wife rushed towards him holding a bread knife after an argument.

The court heard that Ivy Nettleton had consistently accused her husband of affairs and bullied him throughout their tempestuous marriage. She had banned him from making new friends, never to look at another woman and for all her decisions to be unquestioned.

She was supposedly borderline mentally unstable, psycho-neurotic and hysterical. In summing up, the judge agreed that Mrs Nettleton appeared to have made her husband’s life a living hell.

The jury acquitted Nettleton of murder. He was, however, found guilty of manslaughter.

Sentencing him to five years in prison, judge Mr Justice Stable said: “The jury have taken a merciful view of the case with which I concur. The last 12 months of your life have been absolutely intolerable, but I cannot shut my eyes to my duty. However tiresome she was, you should not have killed her.”

Nettleton was released from prison in October 1950. He lived until 1997.

There have been reports of a woman in white spotted wandering sadly among the ruins of The Onions near Red Wharf Bay. Some believe that is the the ghostly apparition of Ivy still haunting the ruin of a former pub that is a stone’s throw from where her body was dumped.


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