1. ITV Report

Millionaire murderer who strangled escort 'loved her'

Peter Morgan strangled Georgina Symonds on the 12th of January this year.

Peter Morgan was a successful businessman and property developer, he had a fortune worth an estimated £20million.

But on January 12th this year, he strangled 25-year-old Georgina Symonds.

Morgan - who was married and has two grown up children - had been paying her up to £10,000 a month to work as his escort.

Peter Morgan was paying Georgina Symonds £10,000 a month to work as his escort. Credit: Gwent Police

She was living in a bungalow in the grounds of Pencoed Castle,a property he owned near Newport. During the course of the three week trial, Newport Crown Court heard how Morgan, 54, had become besotted with Miss Symonds after meeting her in 2012, paying for her to have piano and riding lessons, and taking her on expensive shopping trips.

He'd acknowledged that she was only with him for money, but believed 'she loved what they did together.'

But the relationship soured after Georgina Symonds' partner - and the father of her child - took his own life last November. The jury heard how she blamed Peter Morgan, sending him a string of abusive messages, often under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.

Peter Morgan denied knowing her whereabouts when questioned by police.

Towards the end of last year, the court was told, Morgan had a listening device installed at the bungalow where Ms Symonds was living. The device - accessed by dialling into a number - was listed as 'Isobel' in his mobile phone.

In January this year, Morgan said he overheard a conversation using the device, during which Ms Symonds told her lover that she planned to 'do over' her wealthy client, using intimate pictures to blackmail him. She also revealed plans to move to London and take other clients.

The court heard Morgan resolved that he wouldn't "give into blackmail." On January 12th he visited Ms Symonds at home. He wrapped a length of baleing twine around her neck and strangled her - later claiming he stopped twice to give her the opportunity to withdraw her threat. Afterwards, he took her body to his former family home outside Usk and hid it in a workshop.

Peter Morgan admitted to police in an interview that he strangled her.

Later that day, Miss Symonds was reported as missing. Morgan originally told police he knew nothing about her whereabouts, before later saying: "I can't take it. I strangled her. I love her so much."

The trial heard evidence from a medical expert, Professor Baron-Cohen,who told the jury that Morgan suffered from Asperger's, an autism spectrum disorder.

Prof. Baron-Cohen said the defendant showed "an attitude consistent with someone with low empathy" and a tendency towards "binary thinking" when faced with a pressured situation.

This is a tragic case that resulted in the death of Georgina, the loss of a mother, daughter, sister and friend to many. The actions of Peter Morgan were calculated and he committed the act without emotion. Hopefully this conviction will bring some closure to the family in terms of the criminal justice process but we are in no doubt that Georgina’s family and friends will continue to mourn and grieve for the rest of their lives. Our condolences remain with those who have suffered her loss.

– Detective Superintendent Roger Fortey, Gwent Police
Georgina Symonds' mother says Peter Morgan's sentence will never compensate for their loss. Credit: Gwent Police

The death of my daughter Georgina has been a devastating tragedy for the whole of our family. Her beautiful daughter has been left without a mum. Georgina has left a hole in our lives that will never be repaired.

All of our happy memories will be kept forever in our hearts. We respect the decision of the jury and whatever sentence is handed to Peter Morgan will never compensate for our loss. We would now like to be left to grieve as a family in privacy. The family would like to express our sincere thanks to Gwent Police who have been excellent throughout our ordeal.

– Deborah Symonds, Georgina's mother

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