South Wales Police has announced an independent review of the brutal murders that took place more than 20 years ago of a disabled grandmother, a mother and her two little girls. In 2002, David Morris was convicted of the so called Clydach murders by a unanimous verdict at Swansea Crown Court.
His conviction was overturned on appeal. A retrial was held at Newport Crown Court in 2006 and Morris was convicted for a second time. He was sentenced to life and is currently at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire.
The killing of Mandy Power, her 80-year-old mother Doris Dawson, and Mandy’s children Katie, aged 10, and Emily, aged eight, in the small village of Clydach outside of Swansea was shocking and prompted one of the biggest murder hunts in the country.
Brian Thornton, a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a Justice Gap contributor, has been reinvestigating the case for more than a decade (here). His application was rejected by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2018.
Morris has always protested his innocence and the campaign to overturn his conviction has been building in momentum. In November last year, the family’s lawyers contacted South Wales Police requesting the release of various exhibits from the investigation for further assessment by their forensic scientists.
That development followed a BBC Wales Investigation (The Clydach Murders: Beyond Reasonable Doubt) which featured interviews with two potential witnesses – one of whom said he had never spoken to police and the other said he contacted police to report what he had seen but nobody ever called him back. The investigation explored other suspects, including serving South Wales Police officers.
Talking to the Justice Gap, Thornton welcomed the news that South Wales Police have agreed to carry out an independent review of the forensic evidence. ‘There are so many unanswered questions in this case that need to be addressed,’ he commented. ‘What is required is an open and transparent investigation to finally get to the truth of what happened. I believe that what has been announced could be the start of that process.’
‘Over the past 20 years, there have been some very significant questions raised over the handling of the original investigation by South Wales Police,’ the journalist continued. ‘The recent BBC Wales programme on the case has only heightened anxieties in the community about the safety of David Morris’s conviction. In order to fully address these concerns, South Wales Police must ensure that the review is truly independent and scrupulously transparent.’