Killer husband brought to justice 40 years later thanks to ‘dynamite’ new witness

Killer husband brought to justice 40 years later thanks to ‘dynamite’ new witness

Allen Morgan Morgan will be sentenced for conspiracy to murder Carol Morgan on July 31 (Pictures: PA)

A pensioner faces dying behind bars after finally being found guilty of plotting his wife’s killing.

Allen Morgan, 73, got away with murder for more than 40 years after Carol Morgan, 36, was bludgeoned to death in the corner shop she co-owned in Bedfordshire in August 1981.

Detectives believed she was the victim of a robbery gone wrong after spotting cash and cigarettes missing, while Allen appeared to have a ‘cast iron’ alibi for his whereabouts at the time.

But jurors at Luton Crown Court were told the bloodbath was no random act of violence.

Morgan was ‘involved in a passionate, but forbidden and adulterous love affair’ with Margaret Morgan, 75, who was cleared of conspiracy to murder.

Mrs Morgan, then Margaret Spooner and married with two children, would welcome Morgan into her home while her husband was out and he was pretending to be at the shops.

The court heard the Morgans were living hand to mouth under crippling debts and Allen felt he could not divorce Carol because of the money he had piled into their business.

‘The two defendants wanted to be together, but could not be together while Allen remained married to Carol Morgan. He could not divorce his wife,’ prosecutor Pavlos Panayi KC said.

‘That problem was solved by the death of Carol Morgan.’

Carol and Allen Morgan (Picture: PA)

Court artist sketch of Margaret Morgan, 75, and Allen Morgan, 73, appearing at Luton Crown Court (Picture: PA)

The court heard Allen would walk away with a significant sum of money if his wife died because an insurance policy covered the remaining £5,000 loan on the shop.

‘Money is a powerful motivator, perhaps only second to love,’ Mr Panayi added.

A cold case investigation in 2018 unearthed a new witness who told detectives Allen had been looking for a hitman to kill Carol.

Jane Bunting, now aged 60, met the couple in the Dolphin pub in Linslade a few months before the murder.

She said Allen would tell her ‘I hate Carol’, ‘I wish she’d die’, and ‘wouldn’t an accident be nice?’.

After discussing possible poisoning and staging a car accident, he remarked: ‘You can always pay someone.’

Ms Bunting, then just 17, said she was ‘appalled’ and ‘horrified’ when he asked about a man she knew, saying: ‘He’s a bit of a criminal – wouldn’t he know someone?’

The convenience store that Carol Morgan, then aged 36, ran with her husband (Picture: Bedfordshire Police/PA)

On the night of the murder a few weeks later, Allen took the ‘highly unusual’ decision to go to the cinema with his wife’s children despite ‘not having a strong relationship with them’.

They found Carol’s body lying dead when they returned home at about 11pm.

More than 1,000 cigarettes were missing, along with £35 from the till and another £400 from a desk drawer that had ‘a secret mechanism’ only the shop owners knew.

Mr Panayi said: ‘The killer had some inside information before entering premises.

‘The obvious conclusion was that the killer was told by Allen Morgan where he would find the cash which may well have constituted part-payment for the murder.’

Speaking after Allen’s conviction, Detective Superintendent Carl Foster said: ‘Carol was effectively erased from all memory, including those of her own two children, who have grown up without their mother, being raised by the man responsible for her death.’

An appeal poster issued at the time for information into the murder (Picture: Bedfordshire Police/PA)

He told The Times Ms Bunting’s account was ‘dynamite’.

‘When we got in touch her response was “I’ve been waiting for this for 40 years”,’ he said.

‘We knocked on her door, she said she needed to tell us what had happened.’

Mr Foster added: ‘Allen Morgan has had more than 40 years of freedom that Carol will never have. He has today finally faced justice for the role he played in her murder.’

Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Prickett, who led the original investigation for Bedfordshire Police between 1981 and 1983, said: ‘Carol Morgan’s murder was vicious, and the image of the scene will remain etched in my memory forever.

‘The fact this case remained undetected for over four decades has remained a thorn in the side of all the officers who worked on the case.’

Morgan will be sentenced on July 31.

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