Two men and girl, 17, jailed for life for homophobic 'torture' and murder of doctor

25 March 2022, 19:46 | Updated: 25 March 2022, 20:56

Three people have been jailed for the murder of Dr Gary Jenkins (top)
Three people have been jailed for the murder of Dr Gary Jenkins (top). Picture: South Wales Police

By Daisy Stephens

Two men and a teenage girl have been handed life sentences for the "vicious" homophobic murder of a father-of-two in a Cardiff park.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Jason Edwards, 26, and Lee Strickland, 36, will serve minimum terms of 32 years and 17-year-old Dionne Timms-Williams will be detained for at least 17 years for the killing of Dr Gary Jenkins.

The consultant psychiatrist, who was described as "kind" and "compassionate", was violently kicked and punched to death by the trio in the early hours of July 20 2021.

During the assault the 54-year-old suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later.

Read more: Girl, 17, and two men guilty of homophobic murder and torture of doctor in Cardiff park

Read more: Manhunt after killer escapes from prison for a second time

Edwards, Strickland and Timms-Williams admitted manslaughter and robbery but were convicted of murder after an eight-day trial at Merthyr Crown Court in South Wales between January and February this year.

The jury was played audio of the attack captured on a nearby CCTV camera, during which Dr Jenkins pleaded for his life as the trio cruelly beat him and shouted abuse.

Timms-Williams could be heard laughing at Dr Jenkins and at the end of the assault, that it is believed may have lasted around 30 minutes, was heard saying: "Yeah, I needed that."

The schoolgirl, who was 16 at the time, is not believed to have known Edwards or Strickland, her co-attackers, before that night.

Dr Jenkins was described as an 'incredibly generous man with only good intentions'
Dr Jenkins was described as an 'incredibly generous man with only good intentions'. Picture: South Wales Police

Dafydd Enoch QC, prosecuting, told the court the three had been in the park looking for vulnerable gay men to rob and that the attack, which he said amounted to the "torture" of Dr Jenkins, was "motivated by "greed, homophobia, and a straightforward liking of violence".

Dr Jenkins 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 and became openly bisexual.

Friends of Dr Jenkins were aware he often went to the park at night looking for sexual encounters with other men.

Read more: Kyrell Matthews: Man jailed for life for murdering partner's two-year-old son

Read more: Revealed: Most children strip-searched by Met come from ethnic backgrounds

In an emotional tribute, read to the court on her behalf, Dr Jenkins' wife said: "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."

A vigil for Dr Jenkins was held in February
A vigil for Dr Jenkins was held in February. Picture: Getty
Judge Williams said the world was 'less kind and less colourful' without Dr Jenkins in it
Judge Williams said the world was 'less kind and less colourful' without Dr Jenkins in it. Picture: Getty

The court heard Timms-Williams had a caution for possessing a blade in 2019.

Caroline Rees QC, mitigating on her behalf, said her client was "sorry" for what she had done and asked that Timms-Williams' vulnerability to exploitation due to historic "trauma", and her psychiatric reports, be taken into consideration.

Edwards was said to have 35 previous convictions and Strickland has 58, however none were for incidents of serious violence which their counsel said showed the assault on Dr Jenkins was "entirely out of character" for them.

Read more: Whoopi Goldberg sparks fury by demanding royal family apologise for slavery

Read more: Shapps condemns ‘breathtaking arrogance’ of P&O boss and says he needs to resign

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."

The attack happened in Bute Park
The attack happened in Bute Park. Picture: Getty

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.

He sentenced Edwards and Strickland to serve a minimum term of 32 years and 123 days.

He sentenced to Timms-Williams to a minimum of 17 years.

All three were sentenced concurrently for the offences of robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.