South East Wales

Millionaire 'led police to £10,000-a-month escort's body'

Georgina Symonds Image copyright Wales News Service

A millionaire confessed to killing a £10,000-a-month escort and led police to her bound body, a has court heard.

Peter Morgan, 54, of Llanellen, Monmouthshire, denies murder at Newport Crown Court.

Jurors heard on Tuesday he handed over keys to a farm workshop to officers investigating Georgina Symonds' disappearance.

"You will need those keys - she's locked in the outhouse," he is alleged to have told them.

The married father-of-two is accused of strangling Ms Symonds, 25, with orange baling twine in January after a three-year relationship.

The jury was told Mr Morgan said: "I lurched across and put the rope around her neck. I pushed against her head and wrapped it around her neck, anticlockwise."

He is accused of murdering the former burlesque dancer in the bungalow where she lived in the grounds of the castle he owned.

Listening device

Jurors were told Mr Morgan killed the mother-of-one after discovering she planned to "fleece him", leave him and work for other men.

He overheard the conversation through a listening device disguised as a plug adapter which he planted in her home, a jury was told.

The prosecution said Mr Morgan called the listening device 514 times from November 2015 until Ms Symonds' death on 12 January 2016.

He allegedly stored the number for the device in his mobile phone as a contact called Isobel and rang the bug for up to two hours at a time.

The court heard Mr Morgan overheard a phone call between Ms Symonds and her new boyfriend Tom Ballinger, which took place at 22:25 GMT on 10 January.

She was heard on a recording saying she wanted him to sign over the property to her and then planned to "fleece him".

Image copyright Wales News Service

Prosecutor William Hughes QC told the jury Mr Morgan created a note on his phone at 03:20 the following morning, reading: "SIM, gloves, snip, handle, tape, adapter."

"It was a list showing he was preparing the murder of Georgina. It is a document of real significance," he said.

The court heard he murdered Ms Symonds in the house in which she lived rent-free on 12 January and Mr Morgan carried her body to a metal pole so he could carry her to his luxury Porsche.

He is then said to have driven her body 15 miles (24km) from Pencoed Castle, Llanmartin, to Beech Hill Farm, near Usk, and wrapped it in plastic.

Mr Hughes also said Mr Morgan made an "unsolicited comment" to police officers.

"He said calmly: 'I can't take it. I need to tell you I strangled her this morning'."

Mr Hughes said police officers saw the plastic sheets when they searched the workshop.

"The officers were unable to see what was inside the sheeting so a small incision was made and once this had been undertaken the officers saw the feet of a human body," he told the court.

The trained beautician, from the Allt-yr-yn area of Newport, was being paid £7,000-£10,000 a month by Mr Morgan to work as his exclusive personal escort.

But jurors were told he feared she wanted to see other men and was "enraged" at her plans to move to London.

Ms Symonds was reported missing to police after she failed to collect her five-year-old daughter from school on the afternoon of 12 January.

The trial continues.

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