South East Wales

Millionaire businessman 'strangled his personal escort'

Georgia Symonds Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Georgina Symonds had a five-year-old daughter

A millionaire Monmouthshire businessman who paid a dancer up to £10,000 a month to be his personal escort, murdered her after he heard she was going to leave him, a court has heard.

Peter Morgan allegedly strangled Georgina Symonds, 25, in January after using a listening device in her home.

The married father-of-two, 54, had been in a three-year relationship with Ms Symonds, Newport Crown Court heard.

The property developer, of Llanellen, near Abergavenny, denies murder.

Jurors were told trained beautician Ms Symonds, from the Allt-yr-yn area of Newport, was being paid between £7,000-a-month and £10,000 a month by Morgan to work as his exclusive personal escort.

Image copyright Wales News Service

She had worked as a burlesque dancer and later as a high end prostitute but Mr Morgan had paid her to stop seeing other men, the prosecution said.

The court heard he lavished her with gifts including a car, paid for full-body liposuction, treated her to spa days, put her up in plush hotels and took her on a helicopter ride from a castle he owned.

Mr Morgan - known to Ms Symonds' friends as "Rich Pete" - became "increasingly controlling" and "obsessive" and installed a secret listening device - disguised as a plug adaptor - in her home to check on her behaviour, jurors heard.

The prosecution told how he killed her after hearing her tell another love interest on the phone she would leave Mr Morgan after he signed over his bungalow to her.

Ms Symonds was reported missing on 12 January.

The court was also told Mr Morgan, who had separated from his wife Helen and divorce proceedings were ongoing, was later questioned in connection with her disappearance and admitted to police he had killed her.

Prosecutor William Hughes QC said: "In post arrest interviews he said he made a ligature from twine at his workshop. He knotted both ends and used the homemade ligature to kill Georgina.

"He went to her home address to kill her and he took duct tape, plastic sheeting to wrap her body and a metal pole to lift and assist him in carrying her body.

"That metal pole fitted perfectly inside the boot of his Porsche Cayenne motor vehicle."

Mr Hughes told the court records showed Morgan had been listening to Georgina's phone conversations from November 2015, right up until the morning of the day she was murdered.

Jurors heard he admitted murdering Ms Symonds to police officers after they traced the missing woman's mobile phone to his Porsche parked at his farmhouse.

He first tried to say he had confiscated her phone to stop her buying drugs, but then admitted killing her.

He allegedly told police: "I strangled her this morning. I took her body to Beech Hill Farm. I love her so much."

The court heard he also told police he had locked her body in an outhouse, and refused a lawyer after he was arrested, saying: "I done it. So there's no point."

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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