A Welsh man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for brutally killing his mother with a hammer and leaving her body to rot for two months.

Dale Morgan, a 43-year-old from Pembrokeshire, committed the crime in the weeks before Christmas last year. He had been stealing from his mother, Judith Rhead, and bludgeoned her 14 times with a hammer after she found out about the robbery.

After killing the 68-year-old, Morgan left her body to decompose in the bloodstained bedroom of her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock, while he continued to live there. He told the deceased's friends and neighbours that she was either isolating at home because of Covid-19, was ill, or in hospital, and that he was taking care of her, reports The Sun.

The victim's body was discovered in a decomposed state on February 20, two months after her death, when police visited her home after being alerted by her concerned friends. A post-mortem examination of the victim concluded that she had died from blunt force trauma head injuries.

Though the exact date of the murder could not be ascertained, prosecutor Paul Lewis QC said that the evidence suggests she was killed between December 11 and 18. "It is plain the defendant bludgeoned his mother repeatedly with a hammer. She was slumped in a kneeling position against the bed and her right hand and forearm were on the bed and she was partially clothed, and a plastic bag had been placed over her head and had been tied in place with an electrical cable," he told the court.

"There was bloodstaining on the bed and at the foot of the bed officers found a hammer. It was clear to the officers that the body of Mrs. Rhead had been there for some time and her body had started to decompose," Lewis further revealed.

The prosecutor also mentioned a note by the deceased that made it clear that she had concerns about the defendant taking money from her. The note read, "Huge lies ie car, work had been furloughed, stealing money, stealing medication. ? drug addiction, opiates."

Bank records also show that the convict had transferred £2,878 in 11 transactions from his mother's accounts to his own between December 3 to February 11, and withdrew the money in cash shortly after. He has pleaded guilty to the charges against him but has refused to reveal the date of the murder nor his motive behind it.

The prosecutor said, "Only the defendant knows why he killed his mother, and he has never ventured an account. Another possible theory is that his mother confronted him because he was stealing, and in order to prevent her from taking steps, he killed her. We simply do not know."

Meanwhile, a relative of the mother-son duo described the deceased as a "devoted" mother who loved her son and stuck up for him throughout his life. Her niece Gemma Phillips said, "We cannot believe her son, who she was so close to, has hurt her, let alone kill her. He betrayed her in the most horrendous way. What Dale did to Judith was evil. We will never understand why he did this."

Judge Paul Thomas QC jailed Morgan for life and told him he would serve a minimum of 21 years and six months before he is eligible for parole. While announcing the sentence, he said to the convict, "You were your mother's only child. She adored you, she stuck up for you even when you stole from her on a previous occasion. She tried to help you with your problems. She worried about your substance misuse, and she let you live with her despite the disruption and anxiety your presence in the house no doubt caused her."

"In short you were pretty much her life. You repaid those 43 years of devotion by bludgeoning her to death with a hammer. Not once, not twice, but no fewer than 14 times to the head, intending to kill her. She was, on that day, when you had that hammer in your hand, entirely at your mercy. Although she probably begged you for it, you showed none. It was a savage, sustained attack on a defenceless, vulnerable woman - your own mother," the judge added.

He also rebuked Morgan for not even allowing his mother a timely burial and leaving her body to decompose while lying to those concerned about her.

Crime Scene
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON