Dad-to-be SIMON MORRIS has been convicted of attempted murder against his then-pregnant girlfriend.
Hammer attack father-to-be jailed for 25 years
Oct 14 2009 WalesOnline
A father-to-be was today convicted for trying to murder his heavily pregnant girlfriend so he could benefit from her will and start again with another woman.
Simon Morris, 37, attacked Nerys Price, 35, while she slept in bed at their home in Calthorpe Drive, Prestatyn, North Wales, in August 2008.
Morris, who denied attempted murder and attempted child destruction, hit his partner in the head with a hammer and covered it up to look like a burglary gone wrong.
Mold Crown Court had heard that the Denbighshire Council highways officer stood to land several hundred thousand pounds from Ms Price’s death.
In the run-up to the attack he was “the driving force” behind them changing their wills.
Her death would have made him the sole beneficiary.
He was tried in May but the jury failed to reach a verdict.
Today, a jury of eight men and four women found him guilty after a three-week trial.
Standing in the dock, Morris wiped away tears as Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told him he had committed a ``shocking'' crime.
The judge said: “The jury have convicted you on the basis of compelling evidence.
“To have tried to kill your partner within just a few weeks of her giving birth is, in my opinion, quite a shocking and aggravating feature.
“It was a wicked and callous attempt to rid yourself of a partner who was willing to have your child and who had done nothing but give you love and affection.”
Morris was jailed for 25 years for the attempted murder of Ms Price and a further 25 years, to be served concurrently, for the attempted destruction of his daughter.
He looked to the floor, shaking his head, as he was sent down.
'Devastation at betrayal'
In her victim impact statement, which was read to the court by Simon Medland, prosecuting, Ms Price spoke of her devastation at Morris's betrayal.
She said she considered herself fortunate to have been expecting his child and they had planned the baby together.
She added that she loved being pregnant and she loved “Bob” – the couple’s pet name for their unborn baby.
She said: “Now, when I see other pregnant women I feel cheated because my memories of that time are tainted because of Simon Morris’s deceit.
“I believed I had a loving and doting partner and bright future.
“I loved and trusted Simon implicitly and I had no doubts about the relationship.”
Following the attack Ms Price was taken to hospital, where she later gave birth by emergency Caesarean section to daughter Freya, now aged 14 months.
In her victim impact statement, she said: “I still can’t believe he was responsible for all this and I feel totally stupid.
“I feel angry that someone I loved so implicitly could do this to me and our unborn child.
“I worry for Freya’s future. How do I explain what her father did and tried to do?
“I worry that she will be bullied at school and that she will be an only child.
“I worry that one day she will want to meet him and he will tell her all sorts of lies and she will blame me.”
Morris, a former nightclub bouncer who is 6ft 6in and 15 stone, bowed his head as the jury at Mold Crown Court returned its unanimous verdicts following almost six hours of deliberations.
Relatives of Morris and Ms Price in the public gallery gasped when the verdict was read out by the jury foreman.
The trial heard that Morris hit defenceless Ms Price, 35, twice in the head with the sharp end of a bricklayer’s hammer when she was 38 weeks pregnant with his child.
She told the jury that when she woke up she asked Morris to call the police but remembered seeing sevens and nines on his phone as he attempted to dial 999.
"It appeared that he was trying to ring the police but was clearly missing the numbers," she said.
After calling the emergency services herself, she was taken to hospital where she later gave birth by emergency Caesarean section to daughter Freya once she had been treated for a fractured skull.
When she was released from hospital, Ms Price stayed at her father’s house and started to have doubts about Morris’s "peculiar behaviour", the court heard.
He was arrested on August 23 last year, eight days after the attack.
Ms Price, a £50,000-a-year human resources manager for a local building firm, and Freya have since made a full recovery, the jury were told.
Patrick Harrington QC, prosecuting, told the jury Morris attacked Ms Price for "two of the oldest motives known to us all".
He said the defendant planned to build a new life with another woman, Kate Christian, a mother of two he had met in a bar in St Asaph several months before the attack on Ms Price.
Mr Harrington said Morris planned to pay for it all with the cash he stood to inherit on the death of Ms Price.
Morris would have initially received about £145,000 in Ms Price’s service pension benefit and in total he would have landed hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The attack took place weeks after Morris was the "driving force" behind Ms Price changing her will, the prosecution said.
"Nerys Price thought he was her loving, doting boyfriend and father of her unborn child," Mr Harrington told the jury.
"For his own wicked reasons, he had determined to kill her.
"He had begun a new relationship with another woman. He wanted out of the relationship with Nerys Price."
Mr Harrington added: "Simon Morris is not only a wicked, violent man.
"He is a greedy and grasping man because there would be a financial motive for his behaviour.
"If Nerys died, he stood to inherit hundreds of thousands of pounds."
The court heard that at the same time Morris was involved with an unnamed woman on Facebook and he had emailed her a picture of himself naked except for a towel covering his genitals.
Morris admitted betraying Ms Price but said it did not make him capable of wanting to kill her and their unborn child.
His barrister Nick Johnson QC told the court that Morris’s "greatest sin" was deceiving Ms Price and said it had made him an "easy target" for police.
The defence said a possible explanation for the break-in was intruders wanting the keys to Morris’s £16,000 American Chevrolet Corvette.
"He isn’t the sort of man you would want your sister or daughter to go out with, there’s no avoiding that," the defending barrister told the jury.
Reading from a prepared statement after the sentencing, Ms Price said: ``I am relieved that this horrific ordeal is finally over.
"Clearly, justice has been done today.
"I can finally start to rebuild my life whilst ensuring that my daughter is secure, happy and surrounded by those who love her."
Ms Price thanked her family and friends for their care and support, the staff at the hospitals where she and her daughter were treated, and the police and legal teams who worked on the prosecution and trial.
She also thanked her daughter, saying: "Finally, and certainly not least, Freya, my gorgeous bonny daughter who has made this nightmare bearable."