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Suspect `told detectives horrific murder details'

A MAN accused of murdering and mutilating a widow coolly recounted the full sequence of events to police who had despaired of solving the crime, a court was told yesterday.

Kevin Joseph Morrison, 59, a police informer, relayed details of 74-year- old Alice Rye's murder in an elaborate tip-off, Liverpool Crown Court was told. He even acknowledged the risk he was taking, telling police: "It can only be me or somebody who has told me."

Although many facts he related had never been disclosed to the public, his account of the murder in Wirral, Merseyside, between 10 and 11 December 1996, was remarkably accurate in every aspect but one, said Robert Fordham QC, for the prosecution. Mr Morrison - and not the one-time friend he tried to incriminate - was the murderer.

Mr Morrison, formerly from Poole, near Nantwich, Chesh-ire, denies murder.

Mr Fordham told the jury how Mrs Rye, a widow for 10 years, was bound with rope in the back bedroom of her home, stabbed twice in the chest, gagged with a towel and sexually tortured before two kitchen knives were plunged into her eye sockets. "If there is any consolation, it is that the depraved act was almost certainly committed after death," he added.

Mrs Rye was last seen alive at 11.50am on 10 December 1996. A neighbour found her the next day.

Mr Fordham said the case was one of "great unusualness, great horror and great wickedness". He said: "It is a great horror in that it is alleged that this defendant not only murdered a lady ... but after death mutilated her. It is a case of great wickedness because this defendant sought quite blatantly to blame another for the death. It is a case of great unusualness in that had it not been because of an initiative taken by this defendant, he would not have been brought to justice."

In May 1998 Mr Morrison, a police informant for four years, contacted officers with information on a "job on the Wirral". He told them: "You will be surprised by what I'm going to tell you. You are going to be convinced that either I did the murder or the fella I'm going to tell you about done the murder."

He told of a parcel he was given to look after by a man called Keith Darlington on the day of the murder. It contained items belonging to Mrs Rye.

Mr Morrison said Mr Darlington had told him: "I watched [the television programme] Cracker. They are going to do a psychological profile of this guy and they won't be looking for me. They'll be looking for a nut."

The trial continues today.