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A son who beat his mother to death with a hammer and left her decomposing body at home over Christmas for nearly two months has been jailed for life.
Dale Morgan, 43, killed Judith Rhead, 68, after she discovered that she had been stealing money from him.
Weeks before Christmas last year, Morgan hit her with a hammer 14 times and left her body in the bloody room of her house on Market Street, Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire.
Swansea Crown Court heard that Morgan later pretended to her mother’s friends and neighbors that she was isolated at home due to Covid-19, that she was ill or in the hospital.wikipedia
Ms. Rhead’s decomposing body was not discovered until February 20 when police went to her home after her friends who were concerned about her contacted her.
Paul Lewis QC, the prosecutor, said the evidence suggested Morgan killed her mother on a date between December 11 and 18.
Dale Morgan killed Judith Rhead after she found out he had been stealing money from her
“It is evident that the defendant struck his mother repeatedly with a hammer,” he said.
She was slumped in a kneeling position against the bed and her right hand and forearm were on the bed and she was partially clothed, and a plastic bag had been placed over her head and tied in place with an electrical cord.
‘There were blood stains on the bed and at the foot of the bed the officers found a hammer.
“It was clear to the officers that Ms. Rhead’s body had been there for some time and that her body had begun to decompose.”
A note written by Ms Rhead said: ‘Huge lies, i.e car, job, had been suspended, stealing money, stealing medicine. ? drug addiction, opiates’.
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Lewis said: “It is clear from the note that before his death he was concerned that the defendant would take money from him.”
Bank records show that from December 3 to February 11, Morgan transferred £ 2,878 in 11 transactions from his mother’s accounts to hers. Shortly afterwards he withdraws the cash.
Mr Lewis said: ‘Only the defendant knows why he killed his mother, and he has never ventured an account.
Another possible theory is that her mother confronted him because he was stealing from her and to prevent her from taking steps from her, he killed her. We just don’t know. ‘
Lewis described the attack as “fierce” and “sustained” and said it was made worse because Morgan left his mother’s body for two months and lied about her whereabouts.
Relatives of Mrs Rhead said she was ‘betrayed…in the most horrendous way’
A post-mortem examination found that he died from blunt trauma head injuries.
Morgan, of Honeyborough Green, Neyland, Pembrokeshire, had previously pleaded guilty to murder.
John Hipkin QC, in defense, did not offer any personal mitigation, but said Morgan should take credit for his guilty plea.
“During the past year, the defendant and his mother had spent a considerable period of time together and they both regularly performed tasks for each other,” he said.
“There was a mutual interdependence.”
In a statement on the victim’s impact, Ms Rhead’s niece, Gemma Phillips, said: ‘We cannot believe that her child, whom she was so close to, has hurt her, but only has killed.
Judith loved Dale and defended him throughout his life. She betrayed her in the most hideous way.
What Dale did to Judith was evil. We will never understand why she did this. We will never know the details of Judith’s final moments, but it’s something we constantly think about, and this will haunt us for the rest of our lives. ‘
Judge Paul Thomas QC jailed Morgan for life and told him that he would serve a minimum of 21 years and six months before he could apply for parole.
He said he believed Morgan killed his mother after she confronted him for stealing money.
You were your mother’s only child. She adored you, she defended you even when you stole from her on a previous occasion, ” the judge said.
Police and forensic teams at the flat in Market Street, Pembroke Dock, after the body was found on February 20
He tried to help you with your problems. She was worried about your substance abuse and let you live with her despite the disruption and anxiety that your presence in the house undoubtedly caused her.
In short, you were more or less her life. You paid for those 43 years of her devotion by beating her with a hammer to her death. Not once, not twice, but not less than 14 times to her head, with the intention of killing her.
“She was, that day, when you had that hammer in her hand, completely at your mercy.”
Although she probably begged you, you didn’t show any. It was a savage and sustained attack on a defenseless and vulnerable woman: your own mother.
Even after you killed her, your callous attitude continued, she tied a plastic bag around her head and left her lifeless body slumped in her bedroom.
You didn’t even give him the dignity of a timely burial. You let her decompose while others worried about her whereabouts.
“ To cover up what she had done, she wove a web of lies about her fate, deceived those who were concerned about her, and told various stories of her. ”
Dale Morgan Quick and Facts
- Dale Morgan killed Judith Rhead after she found he was stealing cash from her
- He hit her with a hammer 14 times and left her body at home in Pembrokeshire
- Her decomposing body wasn’t found until nearly two months after the attack
- Morgan, who admitted murder, jailed for a minimum of 21 years and six months