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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Kelly-Ann Mills & Milica Cosic

Yoga teacher jailed for life for murdering lodger who killed wife decades before

A yoga teacher who murdered her lodger has today been jailed for life - as it emerged the victim previously killed his wife in front of their two young sons.

Landlord Dawn Lewis, 54, was told she would serve a minimum of 20 years for stabbing former police officer Glenn Richards, 61, to death at her home because she wanted to evict him.

The jury rejected her claim she acted in self-defence, as a judge described the murder as "pre-meditated".

The trial, held at Bristol Crown Court, heard 61-year-old Mr Richards moved to Glastonbury, Somerset, after being released from prison for killing his former wife in 2011.

Prosecutors heard the pair lived together and would often argue. Mr Richards would complain about 53-year-old Lewis' noise.

Giving evidence during her trial, Lewis told jurors she feared for her life as she and Mr Richards became embroiled in a 'struggle' involving a knife, claiming the lodger had tried to kill her.

But after nearly nine hours of deliberations, the jury rejected her claim that she was only defending herself when she carried out the fatal stabbing in April.

The guilty verdict on Lewis was a majority one with 11-1 finding her guilty.

Dawn Lewis murdered her lodger (Avon and Somerset Police/ SWNS)

The court previously heard how Mr Richards suffered five large stab wounds, two of which were 'not survivable.'

Lewis suffered three cuts to her thigh but one doctor told the trial her injuries "did not appear to fit the description of the attack" and appeared "self-inflicted."

As part of the trial CCTV footage was shown of the moment Lewis was arrested in her home on 18 April while Mr Richards was "unconscious" and dying of his injuries.

The trial heard Mr Richards had been convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility in 2002 for the killing of his ex wife.

Prosecutor Eloise Marshall told the jury they must decide if Lewis acted in self-defence as per her emergency call "or whether her account was a lie to cover a planned attack and set the scene to pretend she'd been acting in self-defence?"

Lewis had said she had become increasingly alarmed about her lodger's behaviour as he started talking "in a different manner" about the killing of his wife.

Glenn Richards was killed (Avon and Somerset Police/ SWNS)

She said: "He started fantasising about how he would do it differently. He would just come out with it.

"I was terrified he was going to jump out and stab me."

Lewis said on the day of the killing she was confronted and claimed he had 'lunged at me' with a knife after she said she'd call the police.

She added: "He lunged at me and I saw he had a knife. I grabbed his arm. Then I bit him, he dropped the knife.

"He was going to kill me.

"I picked up the knife. I think at the time I thought I'd stabbed him in the stomach, but he was still holding on to me.

"I know I stabbed him, it was me, nobody else, I have to own that."

Lewis told the jury he then tried to stab her again during a struggle and she shoved him with her foot and he fell down the stairs.

Lewis' arrest was caught on bodycam (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

She told the court: "I wanted him to break a leg or be unconscious. I wanted him away.

"He was sitting at the bottom of the stairs looking up with a knife still in his hand. He was conscious and had the knife in his hand. He then slouched and the knife dropped. He cried out "help me".

"He grabbed my ankle and I fell on my knees. He went for the knife but didn't get it. So I grabbed it and stabbed him."

Lewis phoned 999 to report the incident and the call was played to the jury.

When asked to say exactly what had happened by the call handler, she responds: "Right, I don't know really what happened. He's a lodger, I wanted to get him out. He said no.

"I went to the door, he stabbed me in the leg, I took the knife off him, I stabbed him.

"He fell down the stairs - I stabbed him again, as he was trying to take the knife of me. and I called you."

Video footage played to the jury also showed the moment of her arrest as she screams to cops while being restrained on the floor: "Check my friend. I'm wounded but I'm not **** dead."

She called police after the stabbing (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

Son 'robbed of a chance of closure'

Before sentencing was passed today, a tearful victim impact statement was read out by the victim's son Jamie Richards, who said it brought back horrific memories of what he witnessed as a boy.

Jamie told a court he felt 'robbed of a chance at closure' as he was just weeks away from seeing his dad for the first time since witnessing his mother's bloody death as an 11-year-old back in 2001.

He said: "In 2001 Glenn Richards killed my mother in front of me and my brother. I was just 11 at the time - that was the last time saw I saw Glenn Richards alive.

"Since Glenn's death I have been taken back 21 year to that scared 11 year old boy unaware of what the future will hold.

"I listened to the details of what Glenn did to my mum and found myself back there in the kitchen, making apple crumble when Glenn burst through the door with a knife screaming 'where is your mother?'

Footage released by Avon and Somerset Police shows cops approaching the cottage, running to the door and showing off a taser (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

"It brought back everything, a new wave of emotion that left me feeling confused and emotionally exhausted.

"I felt in moments Glenn deserved what happened, but I have my mum's heart and no-one, not even Glenn should have their life taken from them.

"Because of Dawn Lewis, I have had to start another grief process because of the murder of another parent all over again."

Jamie told the court he had spent years building up to the meeting with his dad that was due to take place just weeks after his murder.

He said he thought it was a "sick joke" after hearing of his dad's murder, adding: "I was angry. I was believing in my head he was in hell. I couldn't believe he had done something again to jeopardise our meeting.

"I assumed he had tried to kill someone again.

"I then spent the next few months wondering if it was the case, which was a constant reminder of what he did to mum"It turns out this was not the case - and I learnt that Glenn had changed to some degree.

"He was ill at the time he killed mum - that will never excuse what he did and I will never forgive.

"I will always hate him for taking my mum away from him. He also took himself away from my life."

Police went to the home they shared (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

Jamie went on to tell the court: "He knew he wasn't going to hear nice things and what we were planning to say would have been hurtful. But he was prepared to sit down and listen and take it like a man.

"The opportunity to say the impact it had on my growing up was taken away from me by Dawn Lewis.

"I will never get to say those things to him. It is true what they say, time is a healer however pain only numbs - it never heals."

In the victim statement, Jamie tearfully said that if he had met Glenn "as planned", he could have "walked away and gained closure," saying: "I feel like I needed Glenn to live out his days alone having heard the harsh realities of what he did to me growing up.

"Moving to different homes, I was angry, hurt, scared, and felt an outcast and different from my peers. I wanted Glenn to hear the truth from my mouth and not the sugarcoated version he would have heard from social services.

"I will never know what would have come from our meeting. Because of Dawn Lewis I will never know."

The court went on to hear that Glenn had moved in with the Mr Richards in August last year, but would often argue and he would complain about her noise.

Sentencing her at Bristol Crown Court today, judge His Honour William Hart said she had tried to cover up her murder by playing on her fear she could have been another victim.

Prosecutors said Lewis would often argue with Mr Richards who would complain about her noise (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

He said: "Glenn Richards was jailed for life for stabbing to death Karen Richards on 7 May 2001 in front of their two young sons - Jamie and Daniel.

"He was forever marked by the burden of guilt for what he had done - and rightly so - but he was genuinely contrite."

The judge said that she had become "increasingly intolerant" of him, "deciding" that Glenn Richards had to be "removed" from her life, saying: "You pre-mediated his killing and how you might get away with it."

He continued that she added colour to his events by trying to paint him as an imminent danger to him.

But he added: "Your actions were attributed to anger rather than terror. You armed yourself with a knife, went upstairs, forced entry and he was repeatedly stabbed by you.

"You then inflicted minor incise wounds to your thigh to make it look like you were the victim. The disparity between his wounds and yours were telling."

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