Former builder guilty of family 'massacre'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A former builder was today found guilty of murdering three generations of the same family by bludgeoning them to death with a pole.

Mandy Power, 34, her bed-ridden mother Doris Dawson, 80, and her daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, eight, were found dead by firefighters at their home in Clydach, near Swansea, in June 1999.

David Morris, 44, of Craig-cefn-Parc in the Swansea Valley, beat all four to death with a pole before setting the house on fire.

During the three-month retrial the jury of six men and six women at Newport Crown Court heard the murders described as a "massacre".

Members of the victims' family sobbed uncontrollably as the jury delivered the unanimous verdicts after almost 20 hours of deliberation at Newport Crown Court.

Morris, smartly dressed in a light grey suit, stood immobile and apparently emotionless as the verdicts were delivered.

High Court Judge Mr Justice McKinnon then gave Morris four mandatory life sentences, to run concurrently.

He spoke at length about the savagery of the brutal murders that Morris carried out and made a recommendation for a whole life term.

He said that in this case "life imprisonment should mean imprisonment for the rest of your life.

"As I see it, if ever there was a whole life case, this is it.

In making the whole life order the judge spoke of the "exceptional savagery" of the murders which Morris had carried out.

He told Morris "that early release provisions should not apply to you because in my judgment you should not be released early.

"Life should mean life and you should never be released."

The judge's comments followed a 15-minute summary of the case which graphically detailed the savage brutality of the murders.

The judge spoke of Morris' "sadistic motivation" in the murder of the two children Katie and Emily.

He also told Morris "it is clear that the motivation for the murder of the three vulnerable people must have been to defeat justice".

The judge had earlier detailed how Morris had attacked Mandy Power, who is believed to have been the first of Morris' four victims.

He told Morris it would probably never be known exactly what his motivation had been for the attack, whether it was a rebuffed attempted to have sex with the mother of two, or to find out why his own partner had apparently been called a "slapper".

The judge said to Morris: "What is clear is that you used the pole savagely to attack Mandy Power and her two daughters, aged 10 and eight, and the injuries speak for themselves.

"You then attacked Doris Dowson, the mother of Mandy Power, and the grandmother - she was 80 years old and was helpless in bed."

He said that it was not known exactly what happened during the initial attack, but it may well have been that Mrs Powers' daughters had carried the pole to their mother themselves so she could defend herself.

Morris then turned it on her to fatal effect and later used it on the two vulnerable children and the grandmother.

The judge outlined in graphic detail the savage injuries which each family member carried as a result of the attack.

He said that Mandy Powers' face was smashed in 10 places and she had sustained at least 10 blows.

Her daughter Emily had had her skull smashed into 20 pieces, her sister Katie had excruciating heading injuries and the pole used in the attack had been pulled through her fractures. Their grandmother sustained fractures to her face.