Two men and teen girl sentenced to life for murdering doctor in ‘cowardly’ and ‘sickening’ homophobic attack
Dr Gary Jenkins died 16 days after the brutal attack and his murderers have now been sentenced
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Two men and a 17-year-old girl have been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of a psychiatrist in a homophobic attack.
Jason Edwards, 26, Lee Strickland, 36, and Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, murdered Dr Gary Jenkins in July 2021.
Edwards and Strickland will serve minimum terms of 32 years and Dionne Timms-Williams will be detained for at least 17 years.
The consultant psychiatrist, was violently assaulted in Bute Park, in Cardiff city centre, in the early hours of 20 July, 2021.
Jason Edwards, 25, Lee Strickland, 36, and Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, who can now be named for the first time, admitted taking part in the assault on Dr Jenkins and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery
They also pleaded guilty to assaulting another man who tried to protect the victim.
But all three were convicted of murder after an eight-day trial at Merthyr Crown Court in South Wales.
The 54-year-old father-of-two, who spent most of his career working for the NHS, suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later, on 5 August.
Dr Jenkins was bisexual, he had been married and had two daughters living in London. He separated from his wife and moved back to his home city of Cardiff around six years before his death .
The prosecution, led by Dafydd Enoch QC, said the attack had been “motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence”.
The court heard that the three defendants had been “in search of vulnerable gay men who were in the park for sex” to rob.
What have his family said?
In a statement after the three were convicted, Dr Jenkins family thanked two people who tried to come to his aid. And they paid tribute to Dr Jenkins saying he was “kind and compassionate”.
In an emotional tribute, read to the court on her behalf, Dr Jenkins’ wife said: “As a family we were devastated to learn about what happened to Gary as he was such a kind soul who would never hurt anyone.
“He was an incredibly generous and creative man with only good intentions.
“The reality of his tortured death has hit us hard.
“After seeing Gary in hospital unconscious and unrecognisable, we’ve all had to face up to the nightmare of what happened.
“The loss of many more years and the happy times that Gary could have had with his daughters has been very painful and distressing to bear.
“We cannot bring Gary back. There are no winners in this case, only losers, but as a family, we are relieved that justice is done. And through this process, we hope to rediscover our trust in humanity.”
What did the judge say?
Sentencing the three defendants on Friday, Judge Daniel Williams said of Dr Jenkins: “All those who knew and loved him have been left with a void in their lives which will never be filled.
“The world is all the more dimmer for his passing. It’s less kind. It’s less colourful, with less humour, music and energy.
“I have no doubt it will be of some comfort to those who most keenly feel his loss to reflect on the good that he did in his 54 years and not the terrible injustice of his last moments.”
Turning to Dr Jenkins’ attackers, Judge Williams said he was not convinced any of them had shown true remorse for their actions.
He said: “The three of you took an equal part in beating Gary Jenkins to death. Each of you punched, kicked and stamped on him and encouraged each other to do so.
“For as long as 28 minutes it may be that the three of you beat Gary Jenkins. There are no words to describe the audio recording of the attack. You ignored his desperate pleas to stop even after his pleas turned to groans as his life ebbed away.”
Judge Williams said aggravating factors in the case were that the murder had been for gain, that it happened during the course of a robbery, and that the attack was homophobic and motivated by Dr Jenkins’ sexual orientation.
What happened the night Dr Jenkins was killed?
Timms-Williams, who was 16 at the time, is believed not to have known her two co-defendants before that night.
After meeting them in Queen Street and accepting a can of cider, she walked with them to the Esso garage in Cathedral Road, where she paid for more cans of alcohol.
The trio then entered Bute Park and spent time in the seating area outside the Summerhouse Cafe, opposite the Millennium Bridge.
A key part of the prosecution’s evidence was an audio recording of the attack taken from a CCTV camera located inside the cafe.
Before the clip was played, members of the jury and others in the courtroom were warned about its disturbing content, which gave an account of how Dr Jenkins was “cruelly beaten, robbed, tortured and left for dead”.
Beginning just before 1am, a man identified as Dr Jenkins can be heard repeatedly yelling “Leave me alone” and “Get off me”.
A female voice – Timms-Williams – shouts “Money” and “Now”, before homophobic slurs are used by one of the male defendants, believed to be Edwards, who has a Liverpool accent.
Dr Jenkins makes repeated pleas for his life, asking “Why?” and saying “Please, stop it”.
His moans of pain become quieter before he is unable to speak any more.
Timms-Williams can be heard saying “Get down”, “Do it all over again”, “Do it” and “Hit him again”.
Strickland was captured on CCTV using Dr Jenkins bank card at a garage just before 1.30am.
Why did the CPS apologise?
Dr Jenkins was known by his friends and colleagues to go to the city centre park at night to participate in consensual sex with other men.
During the trial some of prosecutor Dafydd Enoch QC’s remarks attracted public criticism.
During his opening speech Mr Enoch told the jury: “(Dr Jenkins’) sexual predilections would be his undoing.
“By engaging in that activity he rendered himself hopelessly vulnerable and he was an easy target as he wondered around Bute Park.
“By its nature the activity he engaged in was risky.”
Some have said the comments amounted to “victim blaming” or “biphobia”.
Wales’ education minister Jeremy Miles tweeted: “He was not ‘undone’ by his ‘sexual proclivities’. He was brutally attacked and died. We have a long way to go.”
Singer-songwriter Bronwen Lewis wrote: “I have sent an email to Dafydd Enoch about his blatant homophobia and victim blaming during this trial.”
In his closing argument, Mr Enoch addressed some of the concerns raised on social media and said: “Let me say a word in passing about the concept of victim blaming.
“Gary Jenkins was in no way to blame for what happened to him.”
A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesperson said: “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.”
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