Millionaire property developer 'murdered beautician he paid £10,000 a month for sex', court told

Prosecution says suspect Peter Morgan was 'obsessed' with victim Georgina Symonds

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The Independent Online

A millionaire businessman and father allegedly paid a beautician thousands of pounds a month to be his personal escort before strangling her to death, a court heard.

Peter Morgan, a property developer, appeared in court in Newport, Wales, charged with the murder of Georgina Symonds, a 25-year-old former pole dancer to whom Mr Morgan allegedly paid £10,000 a month in return for sex.

The prosecution said Mr Morgan, who has two children, had been in a relationship with Ms Symonds for three years, bought her expensive gifts and paid for her to stay in expensive hotels.

The court heard Mr Morgan - who is said to be worth an estimated £20 million - gave Ms Symonds £1,000 a week to pay for her BMW car, paid for her to attend extravagant spa days and took her on helicopter rides from his home.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the 54-year-old allegedly wrapping Ms Symonds’ body in plastic sheeting after she was strangled, before lifting her into the boot of his Porsche and taking her body to Beech Hill Farm.

Ms Symonds was reported missing after failing to collect her five-year-old daughter from school.

Upon his arrest, the court heard Mr Morgan admitted to police he had killed Ms Symonds, saying in a statement: “I strangled her this morning. I took her body to Beech Hill Farm. I love her so much.” 

He admitted to the crime after police officers traced Ms Symonds' mobile phone to his car. However, at the trial, Mr Morgan pleaded not guilty to the charges made against him.

Prosecutor William Hughes QC described Mr Morgan as “a man obsessed and besotted with a younger woman” and called the murder of Ms Symonds “cold-blooded”.

Ms Symonds’ mother Deborah was the first witness called the prosecution and described her daughter as a “lovely, fun and happy girl”. She claimed Georgina “wanted [Mr Morgan] out of her life” after the death of her ex-boyfriend and “hated him” in the weeks leading up to her death.

The court heard Mr Morgan allegedly installed a hidden listening device in Ms Symonds’ home and bugged her phone so he could listen to her calls undetected.

The prosecutor said: “Morgan told police he heard her mention she was going to leave him and carry on working as an escort. He did not want her seeing other clients. He wanted her exclusively. His increasing wish was to monitor her, to the point of obsession.”

Mr Morgan had allegedly separated from his wife, Helen, and divorce proceedings were ongoing, the court heard.

The trial continues, and is expected to last up to three weeks.