Man 'massacred family of four after sexual rebuff'

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The Independent Online

A scrap metal dealer "massacred" three generations of the same family out of fury that his sexual advances were turned down by a woman having a lesbian affair, a court was told yesterday.

David Morris, 39, of Craig-cefn-parc, Swansea Valley, is accused of beating to death Mandy Power, her invalid mother and her two daughters after she rejected him when he appeared unexpectedly at her home on the night of 26 June 1999.

Jurors at Swansea Crown Court were warned they would have to "subdue their emotions" because they would be "shocked and appalled" by details of the killings.

Ms Power, 34, her daughters Kate, 10, and Emily, eight, and their grandmother, Doris Dawson, 80, were found dead after neighbours reported a fire at their home in Clydach, Swansea Valley. Ms Power had been beaten at least 38 times with an iron pole and her body had been "desecrated" after death, the court was told.

Patrick Harrington, for the prosecution, said all four victims were subjected to the "most grotesque" violence. "In each case, their heads were smashed with such force that massive bone damage was done," he said. "This was not simply murder, this was a massacre."

Ms Power, described by Mr Harrington as a "sexual adventurer", was involved in a lesbian relationship with a former police officer, Alison Lewis, when she was killed.

Ms Lewis and her husband, Stephen, a policeman, were arrested a year after the killings on suspicion of murder. But Mr Harrington said the suspicions were unfounded and it was Mr Morris who murdered all four.

Mr Morris, who has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder, repeatedly denied that a gold chain found at the murder scene was his, the court was told, but four days before the trial he accepted that it might be. Mr Harrington said: "Morris lied and lied and lied. But the prosecution was able to prove that the chain was his and that it was left at the scene of the killings. For over one thousand days he maintained his lying. Then, four days before this trial we learnt that, for the first time, he now accepts that it probably is his."

Mr Harrington said Ms Power led a "complex and unconventional" social life after she divorced but was in a "settled and loving" relationship with Ms Lewis and was happier than she had ever been. "She was not interested in any sexual dalliance with anyone else ... but that may have led to her death," Mr Harrington said.

Ms Power was friends with Mr Morris's partner, Mandy Jewell, but he did not approve of the friendship. Although he disliked Ms Power, he wanted a sexual relationship with her. When she rejected his advances he exploded into a violent rage, the court was told.

Mr Morris is alleged to have set five separate fires in the house to destroy evidence, but firefighters managed to prevent the house being gutted and preserved vital evidence.

The trial is expected to last three months.