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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Philip Dewey & Nick Tyrrell

Doctor brutally beaten to death in park during 15 minute 'torture' campaign

A Liverpool man stands accused of murder after a dad-of-two was "beaten, robbed, tortured, and left for dead" in a park.

Jason Edwards is on trial in Cardiff for the murder of Dr Gary Jenkins last summer in what prosecutors described today as an attack that amounted to "torture - pure and simple".

Edwards, 25, is being tried along with Lee William Strickland, 36, and a 17-year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after the 54-year-old consultant was found seriously injured in the city’s Bute Park in on July 20 last year.

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All have admitted charges of manslaughter, robbery of a bag, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the attack on July 20 but denied murder, our sister title Wales Online reports.

Dr Jenkins later died at the University Hospital of Wales on Thursday, August 5.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Edwards, 25, is originally from Liverpool but had been living in Wales when the two men and one teenager allegedly launched a brutal and sustained attack on Dr Jenkins.

The court heard they targeted him in the park after he went there to meet a man for sex and subjected him to an extensive attack, robbed him and left him for dead.

Dafydd Enoch, prosecuting, said they were motivated by "greed, homophobia, and a straightforward liking for violence".

He said the brutal beating lasted almost 15 minutes.

Mr Enoch told the jury: “The man at the centre of this case encountered the worst traits of humankind and despite the best efforts of one person he could not find the protection.”

Mr Enoch added: “Dr Gary Jenkins was a 54-year-old consultant psychiatrist living and working in Cardiff. On July 20 last year in the early hours of the morning was in Bute Park in Cardiff where he was viciously beaten, robbed, tortured and left for dead by these three defendants in the dock.

“It was a beating apparently motivated by greed, homophobia, and a straightforward liking of violence. All three defendants accept that they all were present when Dr Jenkins was attacked.”

The court heard that CCTV from a nearby café captured audio in which Dr Jenkins could be heard pleading for his attackers to stop.

Yet they carried on despite a witness, Lewis Williams, trying to intervene.

Mr Enoch said: "It was torture – pure and simple.

“The tall one, said Mr Williams, had a Liverpool accent – that’s Mr Edwards. He said he was punching and kicking him all over while the other man and the girl aimed kicks towards his body and his head as well as punching him.

“When Mr Williams intervened all three attacked him physically and three have pleaded guilty to an unlawful assault on him.

“When he fought back [the youth] protested, saying: ‘I’m a girl’. Mr Williams told police: ‘She clearly was no victim, she’s f****** evil, sadistic’. That’s what he described [the youth] doing. Not a normal 16-year-old."

He said Edwards had been in Cardiff for some time before the incident.

He said: “Mr Edwards was a 25-year-old man from Liverpool and while living in Cardiff he stayed in a hostel and a council flat. He seemed to hang around Cardiff with homeless people. One of those was Lee Strickland who was considerably older than Mr Edwards. He was of no fixed abode at the time of this incident.”

Mr Enoch said each of the three defendants had the required intent to commit murder.

He said Edwards had tried to change his story multiple times before finally admitting manslaughter.

Mr Enoch said: "He said he was at a friend’s house until 1am. During the course of his interviews when CCTV was played he decided it would be better to make no comment.

“In further interviews he said he knew the witness Lewis Williams and there may have been some problem between them. He denied being present at the attack.

“But in the run-up to the trial his position shifted. He said he was with his co-defendants in the park but he took no part in it. He was aware there was an incident involving the other two.

“What’s his position now? He’s shifted yet again because yesterday he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery of Dr Jenkins and an assault on the witness who tried to intervene, Lewis Williams.

“He must be accepting that he participated in the attack and robbery and must have, like Mr Strickland, foreseen the risk of some harm to Dr Jenkins.. The single issue in this case is whether he intended serious harm. The prosecution’s evidence would say this is clear and compelling. He does not attempt to run any sort of medical defence of diminished responsibility.”

The court heard Strickland argued he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and so was not capable of the intent to kill while Edwards first tried to say he wasn’t even at the park before later changing his story.

Of that defence, Mr Enoch said: “A drunken intent is still an intent and there can be no suggestion he didn’t know what he was doing having been transported to a parallel universe. That will be torpedoed. He was the author of his own actions at all times.”

He added that the youth, who cannot be named due to legal restrictions, was by no means a bystander in the attack.

Mr Enoch said: “[The youth] was 16 at the time and lived at home with her mother. She was no ordinary 16-year-old. She was to take a proactive and enthusiastic role in what was to occur in that park.

“We ask you not to make the mistake in this case in assuming that 16-year-old was because of her age and sex was some sort of wilting flower caught up in something not of her making.

“The reality is a million miles from that scenario. There’s no doubt that for her to have acted in the way she did must mean she is a very troubled young woman but that doesn’t absolve her or provide her with a defence. It perhaps explains why she wasn’t behaving like you would expect a normal 16-year-old girl to behave.

“She participated enthusiastically and proactively right at the front of this attack.”

Dr Jenkins was born and bred in Cardiff but later moved to London and met his wife at medical school and went on to have two daughters, Mr Enoch told the court.

He said: "He remained devoted to those two daughters up to the time of his death. He became estranged from his wife and moved back to Cardiff six years ago.

“Dr Jenkins was bisexual and when he moved back to Cardiff this particular side of his character came to the fore. He was open about it and colleagues were well aware of his bisexuality.

“Dr Jenkins was in the habit of attending Bute Park in Cardiff at night looking for sexual contact with like-minded men and would drink heavily as well. He was thought of as fit and healthy and was proud of his appearance. He had no financial difficulties.

“His sexual proclivities were to be his undoing. By engaging in that activity he rendered himself hopelessly vulnerable and was an easy target as he wandered about Bute Park. By its nature the activity he engaged in was risky.”

Gary Jenkins was described as a devoted father to his two daughters. Photo: South Wales Police/PA Wire (PA)

However, Mr Enoch highlighted the sustained and extreme nature of the assault on Dr Jenkins and said he had ultimately been a victim of a trio who had subjected him to a brutal attack then left him for dead.

Concluding his opening Mr Enoch said: “It’s difficult to fathom the depths to which we can sink but the unlikely combination of these three defendants produced a lethal powder keg which sadly for Dr Jenkins detonated right in front of him.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him – he was a much-loved and admired individual .

“Not one scintilla of remorse has been shown by any of these defendants who were prepared to leave him for dead on his own in the park.”

The prosecutor said each of the defendants were guilty of murder and “there can only be one sensible conclusion”.

The case, which is expected to last four weeks and is being heard in front of Judge Daniel Williams, continues.

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