A man who murdered his mother with a hammer and continued to live in her home with her body for two months has been sentenced to life in prison.
Dale Morgan, aged 43, of Honeyborough Green, Neyland, will serve a minimum of 21 years and six months after being sentenced at Swansea Crown Court for murdering Judith Rhead.
Her body was found in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock, on Saturday, 20 February 2021, with a plastic bag over her head.
She had been struck to the head 14 times with the hammer officers from Dyfed-Powys Police found on the floor near her body.
Morgan was arrested later that day and has been in custody since, pleading guilty to murder at a hearing on 31 August.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, said the investigation had seen departments across the force pull together to get justice for Judith and her grieving family.
“Judith Rhead was the victim of an horrific attack,” she said.
“The fact that it was at the hands of her own son and in her own home only adds to the cruelty and horror of what she went through.
“Our officers worked hard to apprehend her killer and bring him to justice, which was achieved promptly and professionally.
“This investigation was a major undertaking and I would like to thank everyone involved in reaching this conclusion today.
“From the officers who guarded the scene and carried out the house-to-house enquiries to the investigators, they should all be proud to have helped secure justice for Judith.”
Judith was last seen alive on 11 December and it is believed she was murdered before Christmas, with unopened gifts still in her home.
Morgan continued to live in his mother’s flat as he tried to conceal what he had done, walking her dog and lying to her concerned friends when they asked where she was.
Following his arrest, Morgan answered no comment at interview, and has still said very little to give any sort of an account of what happened or why.
However, on 23 February 2021, whilst awaiting a video link to court, the defendant commented “to be honest, it’s a relief that things are kind of out of my hands now” to an officer.
Although unable to find a definitive motive, investigators have been able to prove Morgan was using Judith’s bank account and that she believed he was taking her prescription drugs.
DS Butler added: “I would like to thank Judith’s family and friends for the honesty, patience and dignity they have shown throughout the enquiry.
“Our thoughts are with them and we hope this sentence will provide an element of closure and allow them to grieve her loss.”
“As a family, we cannot come to terms with what has happened to Judith and we never will.
“Judith was a well-respected woman in her community and with a wide circle of friends.
“She was such a gentle person, who did not deserve to die in such a horrific way.
“This is something that will haunt our family for the rest of our lives.
“As a family we ask for our privacy to be respected during this difficult time. Thank you.”