South East Wales

Iris Owens murder: Son gets life for chainsaw killing

Iris Owens Image copyright Gwent Police

A man who killed his mother with a chainsaw after a row has been jailed for life for her murder.

Robert Owens, 47, attacked 75-year-old Iris Owens as she was putting out washing at their family home in Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly county.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the retired history lecturer sustained five separate contacts with the chainsaw and was also strangled and kicked.

Owens who admitted murder, must serve a minimum of 12 years, six months.

The court heard Owens was cutting some firewood in May this year when he claimed his mother "went mad" and the pair argued.

She pushed him, he said, and he pushed her back before attacking her with the chainsaw.

Owens called for an ambulance and told the operator: "I was chainsawing some wood and my mother went mad. I've got to give her the kiss of life'."

He later told police: "I was chopping wood and she just went ballistic on me. She pushed me and I pushed her back. Why did this have to happen?"

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption The court heard traces of heroin and cocaine were found in Owens' blood after the murder

Sentencing him on Tuesday, Judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies told Owens: "You accept that what you have done was 'a terrible thing'. This was the tragic and senseless murder of a good mother by her son.

"There is only one sentence and that is life in prison."

"For your mother this would have been a terrifying ordeal. I accept that you are genuinely remorseful for the brutal acts you inflicted upon your mother."

Mrs Owens was described as a "very well-educated" woman who had achieved a first-class degree in English when she was 64 years old.

She was a published author, volunteered for several charities and was a bilingual tour guide at Llancaiach Fawr Manor.

She and Owens were "very close" and he moved into her home following a divorce in 2006.

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