Man convicted of murder did not get fair trial due to lawyer's conflict of interest

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A scrapmetal dealer who was jailed for life for the "savage massacre" of three generations of one family had his convictions quashed after it was agreed that he did not get a fair trial.

A scrapmetal dealer who was jailed for life for the "savage massacre" of three generations of one family had his convictions quashed after it was agreed that he did not get a fair trial.

David Morris was found guilty in 2002 of bludgeoning a mother, her two young daughters and their invalid grandmother to death before setting light to the house, near Swansea, to try to cover his tracks.

It was a crime that shook the community of Clydach and led to one of the longest investigations in Welsh police history.

Yesterday - in marked contrast to the roars of jubilation and shouts of anger which emanated from different sides of the public gallery when he was convicted three years ago - Mr Morris, 42, simply mouthed "yes" as the Court of Appeal in Cardiff found in his favour.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Wood said the ruling meant that Mandy Power's family would have to face the further ordeal of another trial.

Her sister Sandra Jones added: "We have every confidence in the police case and the way it was prosecuted and that it will be presented equally as strongly the next time around."

The 11-week trial in 2002 was told that Mr Morris, who lived in Craig-cefn-parc and has three children, had inflicted appalling injuries on Mandy Power after she rejected his sexual advances. According to the prosecution, having consumed eight pints of strong lager as well as amphetamine sulphate, he had gone to her house and attacked the 34-year-old divorcee before bludgeoning her daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, eight, and attacking grandmother Doris Dawson, 80, in her bed.

They were, Mr Justice Butterfield, said, "horrific murders committed with great savagery on four defenceless victims".

After the attacks in June 1999, suspicions fell on a former policewoman, her husband and his twin brother - both serving police officers.

The court was told that Alison Lewis had been having an affair with the bisexual and "sexually adventurous" Mrs Power. She along with her husband, acting inspector Stephen Lewis, and his brother Inspector Stuart Lewis - the first senior officer at the crime scene - were initially arrested and questioned. They were released without charge after four days.

During the appeal in Cardiff lawyers for the convicted man explained that the Lewis's solicitor David Hutchison had gone on to represent Mr Morris.

They argued, therefore, that his case was undermined by a serious conflict of interest.

Michael Mansfield QC, heading the appeal, argued that the conflict could have subconsciously led Mr Morris's defence team to change their approach.

Yesterday Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Curtis and Mr Justice Pitchford, told the court that an argument which claimed Mr Morris had not got a fair trial because of a conflict of interest had succeeded.

He directed that a fresh indictment be drawn up and that Mr Morris should be rearraigned within two months. The venue for the new trial would be determined at a later date, he added. Mr Morris was remanded back in custody.

After the ruling, Mr Morris's sister Debra said: "We are pleased at the outcome ... but this is not something that we should be going through anyway because my brother is innocent.

"I have never doubted him in any way."

A Savage Massacre

MANDY POWER

After divorce from her husband Michael Power, the mother-of-two had led an "interesting, complex and unconventional" social life, indulging in a series of affairs with men. The former nursing-home care assistant, who lived with her bedridden mother, then started a relationship with a former policewoman, Alison Lewis.

ALISON LEWIS

The former Welsh women's rugby international and black belt in karate gave up her job as a policewoman due to health problems. The court heard that the mother of twin girls led a double life, had affairs, and hid her sexuality from her husband. She saw a solicitor about leaving her husband and hoped to move in with Mrs Power.

DAVID MORRIS

Born and bred in Swansea, the divorced father-of-three was, in the words of his own legal team, "no angel". His lover, Mandy Jewell, was Mrs Power's best friend and it was claimed he both hated and desired the divorcee. The heavily tattooed Mr Morris claimed to have had an affair with Mrs Power himself.

SERGEANT STEPHEN LEWIS

He was arrested with his wife after it emerged she had had an affair with Mrs Power. His brother Stuart Lewis was suspected of perverting justice. They were questioned and released. Both took a civil case against South Wales Police. Stephen Lewis later gave evidence for the prosecution at Mr Morris's trial.

DAVID HUTCHISON

The solicitor represented Stephen and Stuart Lewis when they were arrested and in their complaint against the police. He went on to represent David Morris, whose new legal team claim that Hutchison's relationship with the Lewis brothers created a conflict of interest. Mr Hutchison has denied a conflict of interest.