Man who murdered three generations of a family gets life

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The Independent Online

A man aged 44 was told he must never be released from prison after he was convicted of beating to death three generations of a family in a rage fuelled by drugs and alcohol.

David Morris murdered Mandy Power, 34, her two daughters, aged eight and 10, and her elderly bed-ridden mother in what prosecutors said was a frenzied "massacre", probably caused by sexual jealousy.

The former scrap-metal dealer was convicted of the four killings at Swansea Crown Court after an 11-week retrial, ordered after his original trial had been ruled unfair.

Morris beat Ms Powell so severely with a heavy iron pole that her skull was broken in 10 places. He then assaulted her body with a sex aid. Her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, had 20 skull fractures, and her mother, Doris Dawson, 80, was beaten to death in bed.

Morris, placed at the scene by a speck of paint found on a gold chain, then set light to the family's house in Clydach, Swansea, trying to cover his tracks.

Mr Justice McKinnon said he was making a recommendation for a whole life term because of the "exceptional savagery" of the attacks. Only 30 other prisoners in Britain are serving a whole life term.

The conviction brings to an end a seven-year investigation to resolve one of the most intractable murder hunts in Wales. The jury in the retrial heard suspicion had initially fallen on Ms Power's lesbian lover, Alison Lewis, a former police officer.

Lawyers defending Morris had claimed Mrs Lewis had "probably" committed the killings. She and her police officer husband were arrested and questioned about the killings but have always maintained their innocence.

The court heard that Ms Power was a "sexual adventurer" who had numerous affairs after the end of her marriage, then embarked on a "very intense and physical" relationship with Mrs Lewis. Prosecutors said the passionate nature of their relationship made impossible a claim by Morris that he had also been one of Ms Power's lovers.

Patrick Harrington QC, for the prosecution, said: "Love blossomed between the two and it became a physical relationship very quickly. It made Mandy Power very happy. It became intense and loving and Mandy said she didn't want to go with a man again."

Morris, who lived close to Ms Power and knew her through her friendship with his partner, Mandy Jewell, said they had slept together seven or eight times. The former builder, with a string of convictions for violence and burglary, may have got away with the killings had a blood-stained gold chain found close to Ms Power's body not been linked to him by forensic evidence.

The killer had denied the chain was his. He finally admitted owning it after a microscopic dot of paint on it was found to match that used on his kitchen cupboards. Prosecutors said Morris invented the sexual relationship with Ms Power to explain the chain, which was probably ripped from his neck during the attack.

The court heard he had been drinking heavily that night and also taken amphetamine. He is thought to have confronted Ms Power over remarks he had overheard about his partner in a pub.

Mr Harrington said the motive for the killing may never be known but it was likely Morris had made sexual advances to Ms Power and murdered her when he was rebuffed.