Vigil in memory of murdered consultant Dr Gary Jenkins held in Cardiff

  • By ITV News Correspondent Dean Thomas-Welch

A vigil was held on Sunday for murdered NHS Consultant Dr Gary Jenkins. Dr Jenkins was brutally beaten during a homophobic attack in Cardiff's Bute Park in July 2021.

He was found unconscious and died in hospital 16 days later. 

Earlier this week, three people were found guilty of the 54-year-old's murder. 

Lee Strickland, 36, Jason Edwards, 25, and Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, admitted manslaughter but were convicted of Dr Jenkins murder by a jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court. 

They will be sentenced on 25th March. 

Owner of Queer Emporium in Cardiff Yan White

Attending the vigil, Owner of Queer Emporium in Cardiff Yan White said: "There is quite a lot of fear sometimes with cases like this but really it's more of a coming together and a showing of resistance.

"We are a strong community and we are definitely not going to stand for anything like this happening."

"There is still a long way to go and I think the community is going to keep pushing forwards and coming together to show how strong we are when we collectively act."

Those attending the vigil described the vigil as "moving" and paid tribute to Dr Jenkins.

South Wales Police tweeted: "Our thoughts continue to be with Gary Jenkins and his family.

"Cardiff has a long and proud tradition of recognising, celebrating and protecting equality and diversity.

"We are a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ communities and champion their rights through everything we do."

During the trial prosecution barrister, Dafydd Enoch QC, was criticised for suggesting Dr Jenkins being in the park for sexual contact with "like-minded men" was to be his "undoing".

Mr Enoch later said he had not intended to blame the victim. The Crown Prosecution Service apologised for the comments saying "The only people responsible for this horrific crime were those convicted today by the jury. The suggestion that Dr Jenkins was in any way to blame is completely wrong."

Despite the CPS apology, many in the LGBTQ+ community have been worried by some of the language used during the trial.

"How can we expect any LGBTQ+ person to report a crime of discrimination against them if that's what the prosecution, who work for them, are saying," Chair of LGBTQ+ Cymru Bleddyn Harris said."What trust have we got in the system now? It was fragile to begin with."

Director of Stonewall Cymru, Davinia Green

Director of Stonewall Cymru, Davinia Green, feels comments made by the prosecution during the trail were "deeply damaging." 

She added: "They were insulting and really insensitive to the memory of Dr Jenkins and to his family. Worryingly, we know 85 per cent of people from the LGBTQ+ community, if they face a hate crime, they won't report it to the police.

"So when we hear comments such as the one made during the trial I think it further erodes the trust the LGBTQ+ community has in the justice system and I'm worried it may deter people from going forward and making reports about crimes in the future in fear of being victim-blamed."