The boyfriend: arrogant, swaggering - and a killer

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The Independent Online

Morrison was an arrogant bully who thought nothing of attacking women.





The 22-year-old, who was once offered a professional football contract, swaggered into court every day wearing a waistcoat and diamond stud earrings, often adjusting his tie as he listened emotionless to the evidence of how he killed his own girlfriend.

He first met Amy Leigh Barnes on Facebook.

His new girlfriend spent a lot of time going to nightclubs frequented by footballers.

In fact a professional football contract from Birmingham City had been on the table for Morrison, then aged 17, but was suddenly withdrawn, sources say due to his "terrible attitude".

After the club released him in 2003 he dropped down the leagues but made no further impression, though he did coach children for a time.

Despite his mother being a well-respected community police officer, on his own MySpace profile Morrison boasted his heritage was "Yardy" (sic), his favourite films the violent gangster movies Goodfellas, Scarface and The Godfather.

He dressed "trendy and classy", wanted to "achieve" and to be his own boss, and listed his one weakness as women.

In February 2005 he was convicted of assault after he locked his then girlfriend in a car grabbed her by the throat and bit her on the face - puncturing her skin.

In fact his mother handed him into the police on that occasion and he received a police caution.

But six months later there was another row. His girlfriend asked him to leave so he slapped and punched her and was given a community order for common assault at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

Two months later he attacked her again. Again he bit her on the face, punched her and put his hand over her mouth.

Police were called. While officers were talking to his victim, Morrison sent a text to her saying: "Hope you die of cancer just like your dad."

Officers found him hiding in her shed. He was convicted of two assaults and harassment and given a community order, and a restraining order which he later broke.

Amy, who began dating Morrison in February 2008, would later tell friends of attacks with chilling similarities - locking her in rooms, punching her and putting his hands over her mouth so she could not breath.

Morrison, who described himself as a "woman pleaser", liked to give the impression of a successful young businessman, quiet spoken and self-assured.

"In my eyes, I think I have done well. I'm 22 and own two flats," he told the jury.

Morrison had bought two city-centre apartments in Birmingham, claiming to have £600,000 in equity.

In fact he was a "phoney" - mortgaged to the hilt and being chased by his bank. At the time he killed Amy the couple were living on a fold-up bed in the back bedroom of her grandmother's two-up, two-down terrace house in Bolton.

Stuart Driver, prosecuting, told the jury the defendant is a "profoundly two-faced man" and when he has a "little woman" before him, a bully.

Three weeks before Morrison stabbed Amy to death the couple were out in Zebrano nightclub in London's Soho to celebrate Amy's 19th birthday.

He stood blocking the way of a private booth being used by a party of five young women aged between 19 and 22.

When they asked him to move he punched two of the girls in the face and head butted another. He may also have used a bottle.

The attack was caught on CCTV but following his conviction for murder it may not now go to court.