Bute Park: Three guilty of homophobic murder of doctor

Published
Media caption,
Bute Park murder: CCTV footage tells story of attack

Two men and a 17-year-old girl have been found guilty of murdering a doctor in a homophobic attack in a park in the centre of Cardiff.

Lee Strickland, 36, Jason Edwards, 25, and Dionne Timms-Williams killed Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, in Bute Park in July 2021.

All three had admitted to manslaughter, but were found guilty of murder after a trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

They will all be sentenced on 25 March.

Following the verdicts, LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said there will be a vigil for Dr Jenkins on the steps of National Museum Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.

Dionne Timms-Williams, from Creigiau, who was 16 at the time of the attack, can be named for the first time after the judge in the case lifted reporting restrictions.

Speaking after the verdict, Dr Jenkins' family said in a statement: "Gary was such a kind soul who would never hurt anyone. He was an incredibly generous and creative man who had only good intentions."

They added he was one of "the most humane, kind, compassionate doctors one could ever come across".

Homophobic attack

Image source, Dimitris Legakis | Athena Pictures
Image caption,
Strickland and Edwards were on trial with Timms-Williams, who they had met on the evening of the attack

Members of the jury were told Dr Jenkins had been married and had two daughters but separated from his wife and was openly bisexual when he moved back to his home city of Cardiff about six years ago.

The prosecution, led by Dafydd Enoch QC, said the attack had been "motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence" and that the defendants had been "in search of vulnerable gay men who were in the park" to rob.

He also revealed that a piece of evidence, which had not been put before the jury, was a statement from Strickland's ex-girlfriend saying he had targeted gay men in the park regularly.

Witness Louis Williams said he had seen a man on the floor with three people around him, pulling at his bag and kicking and punching him.

Image source, South Wales Police
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Timms-Williams was interviewed at Cardiff Bay Police Station after her arrest

He said the three were "egging each other on, laughing and aggressive".

"Their tone was bullying, it was like they were having fun, they think it's funny, it was just enjoyment for them," he told police in an interview.

He told the court he had crouched down and tried to create a barrier around Dr Jenkins, but the three defendants then turned on him.

CCTV evidence was key

CCTV footage from around the city played a key role in the prosecution's case, building up a picture of Gary Jenkins' movements before the attack, as well as the defendants'.

It shows Dr Jenkins spending the afternoon and evening of 19 July in pubs around the city.

He visited a restaurant in the Canton area, before walking through Sophia Gardens on his way to Bute Park.

This is where he would come into contact with the three defendants.

Image source, South Wales Police
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CCTV footage shows the moment the three defendants met, with Timms-Williams offered a can of cider by Edwards

CCTV footage shows Timms-Williams being offered a can of cider by Edwards on Queen Street at about 23:00 BST - the first time she had met the other two.

Prosecutors also used audio recorded on a security camera at the Summerhouse Cafe in Bute Park, which picked up the sound of the attack, lasting 15 minutes.

Image caption,
Dr Jenkins was attacked near the Summerhouse cafe in Bute Park

In the recording, Dr Jenkins can be heard repeatedly shouting "leave me alone" and "get off me".

A female voice, identified as Timms-Williams, shouts "money" and "now", then says: "Hit him again."

A male voice says: " Stamp on his head. Stamp on his head too."

A different male voice adds: "Oh, let me stamp on him again."

Dr Jenkins is then heard pleading "why?" and "please, stop it".

At the end of the attack, the girl is heard saying: "Yeah, I needed that."

Image caption,
A large area of park was cordoned off after the attack

Dr Jenkins was "deeply unconscious" when medics arrived at the scene and symptoms suggested he had a severe brain injury.

He was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he remained in intensive care for 16 days before he died.

A post mortem examination gave Dr Jenkins' cause of death as blunt head injury including including subdural haemorrhage, or bleeding on the brain.

CPS apologises

Media caption,
"He was very warn and full of humanity"

Dr Jenkins was a consultant for the NHS for 20 years and had been due to retire.

Following the case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "The level of violence from all three defendants was truly shocking, with the evidence showing they appeared to enjoy the cruelty of what they were doing.

"Throughout the court process our thoughts have remained with the family and friends of Dr Jenkins, who is so clearly missed."

Prosecutor Mr Enoch had been criticised for comments made at the start of the trial, which suggested the fact the victim had been in the park for "sexual contact with like-minded men" was to be his "undoing".

Image source, Family Photo
Image caption,
Dr Gary Jenkins died 16 days after the attack last July

The CPS apologised, saying: "The only people responsible for this horrific crime were those convicted today by the jury. The suggestion that Dr Jenkins was in any way to blame is completely wrong.

"We apologise for inappropriate and insensitive remarks made during the opening statement."

Also speaking after the verdicts, Det Insp Stuart Wales, of South Wales Police, said: "The attack upon Dr Jenkins by the three defendants was cowardly and senseless in the extreme.

"The degree and duration of unnecessary violence inflicted upon him, together with homophobic abuse - all captured on audio, was both sickening and staggering. He did nothing whatsoever to warrant this.

"Nothing will fill the void in the lives of those who loved Gary and have suffered the heartbreak of losing him in the most devastating circumstances."

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