Homophobic murderers of Dr Gary Jenkins in Cardiff's Bute Park sentenced to life in prison

Two men and a teenage girl have been sentenced to life in prison for the homophobic murder of a consultant psychiatrist in a Cardiff park last summer.

Jason Edwards, 26, Lee Strickland, 36, and Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, were found guilty by a jury at Merthyr Crown Court on February 3rd.

Edwards and Strickland were both given a sentence of 32 years and 123 days.

Timms-Williams was told she would serve a minimum of 17 years and 125 days.

On Friday March 25 in Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Daniel Williams said:

"You chose [Gary] as the victim of this homophobic attack. The three of you took an equal part in beating Dr Gary Jenkins to death.

"For as long as 28 minutes, you three beat Gary to death. You ignored his desperate pleas to stop. His agonised pleas just prompted homophobic insults. 

“You left him partially clothed as a final indignity”, more proof - the judge said - that it was homophobic attack.

Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, was fatally attacked by the trio in Bute Park during the early hours of July 20 last year.

The father-of-two suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later.

The charity Stonewall Cymru said the incident represents the "tip of the iceberg" of homophobia and hate crime faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

During the trial, the jury was played a 15 minute audio clip of the fatal attack, taken from a nearby CCTV camera. Credit: Media Wales

'Motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence'

In a highly-charged hearing, the court was read a statement from Dr Jenkins' wife, who said "no words can express" the hurt his family are feeling.

“When the family learned of the awful attack on Gary, our world fell apart. He was such a kind soul who would never hurt anyone. We are all finding it incredibly hard to find some sense of normality.

"As a family we are relieved that justice has been done. We hope to put the pieces of our lives back together again and find some peace".

Prosecutors said the killers were "motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence" and that all three of them had been "in search of vulnerable gay men" to rob.

During the trial, jurors were played a 15 minute audio clip of the attack, taken from a CCTV camera on the nearby Summerhouse Cafe.

Prosecutors said the recording was of the minutes during which Dr Jenkins was "cruelly beaten, robbed, tortured and left for dead."

From ITV Wales reporter Hamish Auskerry who was at Cardiff Crown Court

Family members of Dr Gary Jenkins filled a portion of the public gallery. The defendants, flanked by five members of prison staff, confirmed their names to the court from the dock.

Nathan Williams, a school friend of Dr Jenkins, walked to the witness box to read a statement.

Composing himself, he began "Gary was a caring sensitive and compassionate person.  He made life interesting, fun and varied".

Mr Williams told the court that Gary's death will leave a “void in my life” and said he had not been able to walk through Bute Park since the attack.

After barristers for the defendants outlined what they said were mitigating factors in the case, Judge Daniel Williams began to summarise.

"It’s time now to focus on the life of Gary Jenkins", he said. "He was kind, compassionate and humane. He was a much-loved husband, father, uncle, brother and friend... He went the extra mile for his patients." 

The Judge looked up from his laptop to make eye contact with the defendants in the dock. Strickland was wearing a navy t-shirt and black jacket. Alongside him, Edwards wore a grey t-shirt and a Covid mask around his mouth and chin.

Timms-Williams, wearing white blouse and black blazer, stood up to hear her sentence.

"It was Gary Jenkins’ tragic misfortune to cross your paths that night.

"The three of you bought alcohol and went to Bute Park. You did not go there just to drink, you could have stayed where you were.... Edwards told police it was a 'dirty park'. The three of you went into that park to find a homosexual man to rob."

The judge outlined to each of them that their sentences are minimum terms before they are allowed to apply for parole.

Concluding, the Judge said each of them had shown no genuine remorse.

"Take them down please", the Judge said.

Stonewall Cymru expressed their sympathy for Dr Jenkins' family.

"This is obviously a very sad and distressing case for many", Iestyn Wyn, the charity's Campaigns, Policy and Research Manager said.

"I do feel this is the tip of the iceberg because the majority of the LGBTQ+ community who face hate crime incidents don't report it to anyone.

"And that's very worrying because then we don't have the date, evidence and knowledge to know what the reality of life for LGBTQ+ people is in Wales".