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Millionaire told police he felt no guilt after killing escort, court hears

Published 01/12/2016

Georgina Symonds was killed in January (Gwent Police/PA)
Georgina Symonds was killed in January (Gwent Police/PA)

A multi-millionaire property developer told police he felt "no remorse" after he strangled his escort girlfriend, a court heard.

Peter Morgan, 54, is accused of murdering Georgina Symonds, 25, after discovering she planned to "fleece him", leave him and work for other men.

The father-of-two, from Llanellen, near Abergavenny, lavished Miss Symonds with expensive gifts and paid her up to £10,000 per month to be his personal escort.

Newport Crown Court heard Morgan strangled Miss Symonds in a bungalow which he owned and where she lived rent-free in Llanmartin, Newport, on January 12.

Jurors watched police interviews with Morgan, who denies murder on grounds of diminished responsibility, recorded after he admitted the killing.

Morgan told officers Miss Symonds blamed him for the suicide of her ex-boyfriend, Peter Deem, and a meeting with social services about her five-year-old daughter.

"I said to her 'look, we have to sort out what and where we are going'," Morgan told police.

"We didn't row but she just was blaming me and again saying it was all my fault and she wished she had never met me.

"I just put the cord around her neck and strangled her. I didn't mean to do it, I love her.

"I done it. I planned it. I had thought about it the night before but I didn't know I would be able to do it.

"Once I had done it I didn't really feel any remorse.

"I just held the thing until she stopped breathing. Then I wrapped her in the plastic sheet which I had.

"I put her in the boot of my car."

Morgan allegedly wrapped Miss Symonds' body in plastic sheeting, tape and rope which he attached to a metal pole to carry her.

He drove to Beech Hill Farm in Usk, Gwent - the home of his estranged wife and two daughters - and left the body in an outbuilding.

The businessman went back to work until the alarm was raised when Miss Symonds failed to collect her five-year-old daughter from school.

"The worrying thing is I didn't feel any guilt at the time," he told police.

"I love her, she is my life. I just don't feel anything. I don't know why I done it. It is a crime of love, a crime of passion."

The court heard Miss Symonds left Mr Deem to be with Morgan, who paid her £10,000 per month to be his exclusive escort.

He reduced this to £7,000 when she moved into the bungalow in August 2015. Mr Deem died in November that year.

"I was quite happy for her to have as long as it would take for her to grieve and get over it," Morgan told police.

"She would ring me up and blame me saying she wished I was dead, she wished he had killed me before he killed himself, she hated me.

"I just wanted her to stop doing that."

Miss Symonds began drinking and taking cocaine following Mr Deem's death, and the suicide of her father in March 2015, the court heard.

She had a meeting with social services about the welfare of her daughter after medical professionals found out about her drug use.

"Once she told me [about the meeting] and it being my fault I just lost it really," Morgan told police.

"I gave up everything for her and I gave her everything she wanted. She was my life but I hated what she was going through."

Morgan told police he had been unable to sleep recently but had slept well in his police cell following the killing.

The court previously heard that Morgan, who described himself as Miss Symonds' "sugar daddy", planted a listening device disguised as a white plug adapter in the bungalow.

He dialled in to the device - listed as "Isobel" in his phone - 514 times for up to two hours at a time from November 2015 until her death.

On January 10, Morgan overheard Miss Symonds tell love interest Tom Ballinger she planned to leave and blackmail him.

In the early hours of the following morning, he wrote a list on his iPhone of items allegedly used in the killing.

It read: "String, 02, poly, glove, snip, handle, tape, Special K, starter, rag, adapter".

Friends of Miss Symonds nicknamed Morgan, with whom she was in a relationship for three-and-a-half years, "Rich Pete".

She threatened to tell Morgan's family how they had met and had a photograph of him with other escorts at his marital home.

Morgan, who is worth £20 million, promised to transfer the bungalow to Miss Symonds and took out a £1 million life insurance policy to be paid to her on his death.

He paid for trained beautician Miss Symonds, who had two breast augmentations at the age of 18 and 21, to have liposuction costing £8,000.

In police interviews, Morgan accepted that he confessed to killing Miss Symonds and directed police officers to her body.

A post-mortem examination found she died from strangulation.

Morgan told police: " I don't think I was shaking, I don't think I was crying, I was just calm.

"I don't know how long it went on for. I haven't cried at all. I still love her, I still want her.

"Why haven't I got any emotion towards her? I can't believe I done it, why did I do it?"

The trial, in front of Mr Justice Garnham, continues.

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