Glastonbury murder trial: Landlady guilty of killing lodger as jury reject self defence story

Watch Robert Murphy's report

A yoga teacher has been convicted of murdering her lodger in her Glastonbury home after telling a friend she planned to stab him.

53-year-old Dawn Lewis stabbed Glenn Richards five times following an argument on Easter Monday this year.

The court heard she planned the attack, even stabbing her own leg to make it seem as if her injuries were defensive.

The moment Dawn Lewis was arrested police Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

But the jury did not believe her story after hearing that hours before the attack, she had FaceTimed a friend, claiming she could kill him and then claim self defence.

Glenn Richards had suffered five serious stab wounds. Officers arrested his landlady, Dawn Lewis, who had called 999 after her attack.

She was already claiming she had used the knife in self-defence.

She told a call-handler: "I don't know really what happened. He's a lodger, I wanted him out, but now...

"I went to the door, he's stabbed me in the leg, I took the knife off him, I stabbed him. He fell down the stairs, I stabbed him again because he was trying to take the knife off me."

Dawn Lewis told the court she had stabbed Glenn Richards when he attacked her

Dawn Lewis told the jury she knew Glenn Richards had admitted the manslaughter of his wife 20 years earlier. He had served a decade in prison.

The two had become friends and he later became her lodger.

But in the months leading up to Easter Monday, Lewis claimed he became more aggressive.

Detective Inspector Neil Meade from the Major Crime Investigation Team said "There's really good evidence to show that Glenn Richards was a changed man, or was at least trying to changed himself.

"He's certainly offered no violence to Dawn that we can see and I don't perceive that he was threat to Dawn at the time that he was killed."

The court heard Dawn Lewis was taken to Yeovil District Hospital where the doctor who examined her thought three cuts seemed self-inflicted.

Days later, a friend contacted police with a lead which added weight to the doubt in the landlady's story.

The friend said Lewis had told him she wanted Mr Richards to move out of her house and described a video call just hours before the incident in which she’d showed him a knife.

He described how, during the video call, Lewis spoke of stabbing Mr Richards in his bedroom before stabbing herself so she could claim self-defence.

Detectives also uncovered aggressive voicemails left by Lewis and text messages between the pair that cast doubt on her version of events.

Dawn Lewis stabbed Glenn Richards at her cottage in Glastonbury

Detective Inspector Neil Meade, the senior investigating officer said Lewis had "concocted a plan she thought would allow her to get away with his murder.

“She perhaps thought the witness who she revealed her plan to wouldn’t tell us of their conversation out of loyalty, but this belief was misguided.

“The witnesses’ evidence, along with that of the doctor who treated Lewis at hospital, and the picture the text messages between her and Mr Lewis painted of their relationship, was compelling.

“The jury had no choice in my mind but to reject Lewis’ lies and find her guilty of murder.”

Glenn Richards was murdered the week before he was due to see his sons Jamie and Daniel for the first time since he had killed their mother 20 years earlier.

DI Meade added “Mr Richards had been estranged from his sons for a number of years but had recently begun to reconnect.

“They were due to meet up in the near future but Lewis’ actions robbed them of this opportunity.

“Specially trained family liaison officers have kept them informed throughout and our thoughts continue to be with them.”