The community of Clydach has been absorbing the news of the death of David Morris, the man convicted of murdering three generations of the same family.
Morris spent two decades behind bars for the killings of Mandy Power, her two young daughters – Katie, aged 10, and Emily, aged eight – and her 80-year-old mother Doris Dawson, at Kelvin Road, Clydach in 1999.
The 59-year-old died while at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire, a prison spokesperson confirmed on Friday. The cause of death is now said to be a matter for the coroner.
By Saturday morning, news had quickly circulated around the Swansea Valley community with many expressing their shock at the sudden death, and others reflecting on the deep divisions that still continue in the village to this day.
Read more: Clydach murderer David Morris who killed three generations of the same family dies in prison
David Morris, convicted of the murder of three generations of a family at Clydach, Swansea, has died in prison
(Image: PA/South Wales Police)
Jordan Sullivan, 25, from Clydach said: “It (the news) was a huge shock in the village. It’s been 21 years. Dai Morris, I believe he is innocent. It was shocking to hear the news last night on Swansea Online. It is disappointing news. We have got to find out who has actually done it.”
Another resident, Phillip Jones said: “My personal opinion, I feel he was in the right place. There has been many accusations made through the years, but fair play to the Clydach community, people in Clydach didn’t react and kept quiet about it.”
Another resident explained how the sensitive nature of the brutal killings remains a very sensitive subject to this day.
“I think people don’t want to talk about it. It is not something that is brought up in public and conversations tend to happen behind closed doors,” one man said.
Supervisor at Boo store in Clydach, Nia Roderick said: “I think it’s going to be much like the initial response to it, some were angry and upset he was jailed and was not released and feel that justice was not served, whilst others won’t mind so much and think he was guilty. It has split the community of Clydach in half. It is going to be a case where people talk about it to people they know, like their close friends and family.”
Another shopkeeper, who asked not be named, said: “I think people will be relieved, I suppose. When there are appeals it keeps dragging it back up and this is closure in a sense. Personally, I do think he was involved, but there is more to it, it is more of a tangled web. There is more to it on that night. I would say people will be talking about this behind closed doors rather than in public.”
Another shopkeeper added: “It’s just sad, very sad, after all those years trying to prove his innocence. It’s heart breaking for his family. I hope they can get closure to it, and I’m hoping it will help people heal.”
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The brutal killing prompted one of the biggest murder investigations ever by a Welsh police force. The investigation led to the conviction of Morris on two occasions – firstly at Swansea Crown Court in 2002, a verdict which was overturned on appeal, and then subsequently following a retrial at Newport Crown Court in 2006.
In 2018, a bid to take his case to the Court of Appeal was rejected by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. But Morris and his family have always maintained his innocence – even though Ms Power’s former husband has said he agreed with the trial verdict.
They have campaigned for potential new evidence to be re-examined by the police and the CPS. Some of that evidence featured in a recent BBC documentary in which possible new witnesses came forward. A book was also published by solicitor John Morris (no relation) that raised serious doubts about the convictions.
In January, South Wales Police opened the way for a review of fresh claims raised by lawyers for Morris. It reiterated its confidence in Morris’s conviction but said it would appoint an independent investigating officer and an independent forensic scientist to oversee a forensic review of the specific areas raised by Morris’s legal representatives.
But the family’s efforts hit a setback last month when, following an independent investigating officer’s consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service over potential new evidence, it was “determined that this evidence did not undermine the conviction of Mr Morris”. However investigations into forensic issues challenged in the BBC documentary into the crimes have yet to be completed.
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