Teen girl ‘laughed as she attacked and tortured’ father-of-two in Cardiff park

·3 min read

A teenage girl was among a trio who laughed as they “viciously attacked and tortured” a father-of-two in a Cardiff park, a court has been told.

Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, was violently assaulted in Bute Park in the early hours of July 20 2021.

The consultant psychiatrist suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later on August 5.

Jason Edwards, 25, Lee Strickland, 36, and a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are on trial for his murder at Merthyr Crown Court in South Wales.

Opening the case on Tuesday, Dafydd Enoch, prosecuting, said the attack was “motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence”.

He told the court the three defendants had been “in search of vulnerable gay men who were in the park for sex” to rob.

He said they set upon Dr Jenkins, who pleaded for his life.

The teen, who was 16 at the time, was described by witness Lewis Williams – who tried to intervene to stop the beating – as “evil” and “sadistic”, Mr Enoch told the court.

Mr Enoch said audio of the assault, recorded by a nearby CCTV camera, captures the girl shouting “money” before all three defendants laugh as they repeatedly punch and kick Dr Jenkins.

“He pleads over and over again until he cannot speak no more,” the prosecutor said while describing the recording, which will be played to the jury.

“He then moans and grunts as he’s cruelly beaten and the life is kicked out of him.”

He added: “Edwards says, ‘Stamp on his head, stamp on his head’. There’s homophobic abuse.

“[The youth] at the end is heard saying, ‘Yes, I needed that’.”

“These defendants were indulging in sport.”

Mr Enoch said the girl was filmed on city centre CCTV cameras meeting her co-defendants.

After going to buy alcohol at the nearby Esso garage in Cathedral Road, the three entered the park via the Castle Road entrance and sat by the Summerhouse Café located inside.

Another man who will give evidence during the trial, Owen Hill, described being lured by the three around the back of the café with the suggestion of a sexual encounter with Strickland. However, sensing something was wrong, he left.

The court was told Dr Jenkins, who was bisexual, became estranged from his wife and moved back to Cardiff from London around six years ago.

Dr Jenkins was open about his sexuality, Mr Enoch said, and habitually went to the park at night “looking for sexual contact with other men”.

On the night in question, Dr Jenkins was said to have finished work at around 5pm, gone for food in Canton, a city neighbourhood, then in to the city centre for drinks before entering the park.

The jury was shown images of a bloodied and bruised Dr Jenkins, taken while he lay in intensive care after the assault.

All three defendants have accepted being present during the attack, which took place just before midnight, and pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and robbery of Dr Jenkins and the assault of Mr Williams.

Strickland’s defence team is expected to argue for diminished responsibility due to him being intoxicated at the time, Mr Enoch said.

Edwards and the girl, who were seen hugging each other after the attack, are to claim they did not mean to seriously harm Mr Jenkins, the court was told.

The girl told police she took part in the attack out of fear of the two men, a claim Mr Enoch called “an insult to our intelligence”.

“Not one scintilla of remorse has been shown by these defendants, who left (Dr Jenkins) for dead on his own, in the dark, in the park,” Mr Enoch said.

“As they punched and kicked the pleading and begging Dr Jenkins over a period of 13 minutes or more, shouting at him and humiliating him, we don’t think they intended to give him a black eye or bruise. There can only be one sensible conclusion, we say.”

The trial continues.

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