David Morris, the man convicted of the Clydach murders, has died in prison, it has been confirmed.
Morris murdered three generations of the same family in Kelvin Road, Clydach, in the Swansea Valley in 1999.
He has has spent 22 years behind bars for the killings of Mandy Power, her two young daughters – Katie, aged 10, and Emily, aged eight – and her 80-year-old mother Doris Dawson. He was being held at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire.
Read more : Man admits raping woman in sex attack near Swansea city centre
A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Long Lartin prisoner David Morris died on August 20. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.” The cause of death is now said to be a matter for the coroner.
The brutal killing prompted one of the biggest murder investigations ever by a Welsh Police force. The investigation led to the conviction of local man Morris on two occasions – firstly at Swansea Crown Court in 2002, a verdict which was overturned on appeal, and then subsequently following a retrial at Newport Crown Court in 2006.
In 2018 a bid to take his case to the Court of Appeal was rejected by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
But Morris and his family have always maintained his innocence – even though Ms Power’s former husband has said he agreed with the trial verdict.
They have campaigned for potential new evidence to be re-examined by the police and the CPS. Some of that evidence featured in a recent BBC documentary in which possible new witnesses came forward.
Wales Matters delivers the best of WalesOnline’s coverage of politics, health, education, current affairs and local democracy straight to your inbox.
Now more than ever this sort of journalism matters and we want you to be able to access it all in one place with one click. It’s completely free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
To subscribe, click , enter your email address and follow the simple instructions.
A book was also published by solicitor John Morris (no relation) that raised serious doubts about the convictions.
Morris, who had been having an affair with Mandy Power, had been drinking at The New Inn in Craigcefnparc on the night of the murder, w he had drunk around eight pints, and taken amphetamine. Mandy Power arrived home with her two daughters just before midnight, having been babysitting.
Evidence suggested Doris had been killed first, and that a light bulb had caused the electrics in the house to fuse, but the killer had gone downstairs to repair the fuse.
Morris was said by witnesses to have left the pub at 11.30pm. Lawyers for Morris suggested he would not have had enough time to walk the 15 minutes to Kelvin Road from the pub, murder Doris and change the fuse before Mandy arrived home with her daughters at around ten minutes to midnight.
T are also questions over whether someone who was angry, drunk and high on drugs would have been able to calmly and methodically repair a fuse box.
A neighbour said they heard a car pull up outside Kelvin Road on the evening of the murder, and someone entered the property and turned on lights enabling the neighbour to see the shape of a person’s head. Despite a police appeal for the man and driver, no-one was ever identified.
After Mandy was killed she was defiled, her body washed in a bath, and a watch may have then been placed on her wrist. Was that the action of someone drunk and high on drugs? This is another question that has been raised about the case.
A former taxi driver claimed he remembered seeing two men in Clydach after dropping off a fare in the early hours. He said he believed he later saw pictures of them in a newspaper. He claimed he told police but was not interviewed and did not give evidence at either trial. In addition, a woman driving home from work also claimed she identified a man in Gellionnen Road, near Kelvin Road, carrying a bundle, in the early hours. She picked the man out at an identity parade and and e-fit was produced but not released to the public. She did give evidence at the trial however. Another man also reported seeing a man carrying a bundle near Kelvin Road.
A gold chain covered in blood was recovered from one of the bedrooms which prosecutors said had been pulled from Morris’s neck during a struggle. But analysis of the chain suggested t was no damage to it to suggest it was pulled from the neck. The chain only had DNA from Mandy Power on it.
An expert has argued that an impression of Dai Morris’s handprint does not match that of one found on the carpet of the living room floor, while a white sports sock was recovered from the house covered in blood, and it is thought it was worn as a glove. A sample was taken from the inside of the sock to test for DNA, but it has been suggested that the blood stain pointed to the sock having been worn inside out. Further testing on the other side of the sock could yet recover a DNA sample, it is claimed.
A partial male DNA sample, identity unknown, was recovered from the murder weapon – a metal pole. Forensic experts have suggested testing the centre of the pole, along with further tests on the DNA sample.
Also, neither jury knew police had four separate profiles of the killer, and Morris didn’t fit the profile in one report. The other three are not available to the current defence team, and it is not known if Morris fitted any of the other profiles.
In January South Wales Police opened the way for a review of fresh claims raised by lawyers for Morris. South Wales Police reiterated its confidence in Morris’s conviction but said it would appoint an independent investigating officer and an independent forensic scientist to oversee a forensic review of the specific areas raised by Morris’s legal representatives.
But the family’s efforts hit a setback last month when, following an independent investigating officer’s consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service over potential new evidence, it was “determined that this evidence did not undermine the conviction of Mr Morris’.
However investigations into forensic issues challenged in the BBC documentary into the crimes have yet to be completed.
The original investigation took more than 4,500 statements, received 1,500 messages from members of the public to the incident room, and more than 3,700 exhibits were seized for examination. But it has been claimed that much was not made available to the defence team. Public Interest Immunity was used by the prosecution, which enables it to suppress relevant material in a trial, which helps the prosecution and suppresses the defence. PPI are usually used in cases of national security.
After the decision in July, Janiene Morris, one of David Morris’s two daughters, said: “This is another massive blow to dad’s case and as a family we just don’t understand it.”
She said the evidence of a taxi driver who had sighted unidentified people near the murder scene had been discounted. In all she said t were three witnesses that had placed others near the murder scene on the night of the killings.
“We’ve never met them and don’t want to because we want to do things properly. These witnesses have no involvement with anyone in the case and have absolutely no reason to lie. I cannot express how angry and frustrated we are right now. It is so frustrating but we’re not going to take it lying down,” she said.
In July the family were told they finally had permission to visit Morris at HMP Long Lartin. They had not been able to visit him since December 2019 – just before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Janiene said then: “He is up and down. He has good days and and bad days. Sometimes he is just exhausted with everything that is going on. We are looking forward to seeing him.”
Reacting to the news of Morris’s death, Michael O’Brien, one of the Cardiff Newsagent Three who spent 11 years in prison for a murder they did not commit, and has been campaigning for Morris’s name to be cleared for 20 years, said: “This is absolutely devastating news. The worst nightmare is that a miscarriage of justice victim dies before their name is cleared.
“This will not be the end of the campaign, which will continue until Dai Morris’s innocence is accepted.”
Clydach councillor Gordon Walker, who was working as a firefighter at the time of the murders, did not attend the fire that was started at the house following the killings, but helped to clean the firefighting equipment afterwards and said recently a lot of his colleagues were affected by it very badly.
He said today: “Hopefully the family of the victims can get on with their lives and have some closure. It’s brought up every other year and they have to relive it and go through all the rigmarole.”
To get all the latest breaking news from WalesOnline sent straight to your email inbox click .
Source: Wales Online