Thu, Feb 08, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Former soldier found guilty of murdering grandmother

The Guardian

A former soldier has been found guilty of murdering his grandmother by smothering her with a pillow after his mother gave the elderly woman a cocktail of crushed tablets and whisky.

Barry Rogers, 33, and his mother Penelope John, 50, face life sentences for the murder of retired nurse Betty Guy, 84, at her home in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales.

Details of the plot emerged five years after the murder when a former girlfriend of Rogers told police he had admitted killing his grandmother in 2011.

Police arrested him and his mother in 2016, installed listening devices in her home and heard the pair discussing the killing.

A jury at Swansea Crown Court heard that after Guy’s death, John telephoned 999 to say her mother had had bowel and stomach cancer and had died in bed.

However, medical records showed Guy was never diagnosed with cancer, and a doctor who John claimed had told her Guy was terminally ill said the conversation never took place.

No postmortem was carried out on Guy and her daughter had her body cremated days after her death.

John told the jury that her relationship with her mother had been “amazing” and that her ashes had been scattered in her garden that she visited every day.

She said that she had inherited only a washing machine and a tumble dryer, and that the recorded confession had been a “joke.”

Asked about a mercy killing pact, she said: “I would never agree to that. My mother was my life.”

In the secret recording, John was heard telling her son that she had been arrested for murder and Rogers replying: “But I did it.”

Rogers was also heard saying: “No, honestly, you have got nothing to worry about, it’s me that’s done the act. There’s nothing to worry about. Nothing to worry about. Keep our story the same.”

Prosecutor Paul Lewis said the exchanges showed that mother and son had plotted to murder the elderly woman.

“Covert recordings such as these are not common. In this case it provided compelling evidence for the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] to present to the jury, demonstrating that the killing of Betty Guy was deliberate and planned,” said Gemma Vincent, a senior crown prosecutor with CPS Cymru-Wales.

“Ms Guy’s life was cut short by her own daughter and grandson — our thoughts and sympathies are with those affected,” she said.

Another of Guy’s daughters, Lorraine Matthews, said her family had been “shocked and horrified” to learn the truth about her death.

“Seven years after my mother’s death, my brothers, my sons, myself and other members of the family, were shocked and horrified to learn from the police that my mother, Betty Guy, may not have died from natural causes and that my sister and her son were to be charged with her murder,” she said in a statement released through Dyfed-Powys police.

“Now that the case has drawn to a close we are satisfied that justice has prevailed and now we can close this very sad chapter in our lives,” she added.

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