Saturday 17 August 2019

Man admits murdering couple outside clothes shop they worked in

Zoe Morgan. Pic via PA
Zoe Morgan. Pic via PA

Rod Minchin

A man has admitted murdering a couple who were stabbed to death outside the shop where they worked.

Andrew Saunders, 20, pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court to killing Matalan employees Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmons, 33.

The couple were found dead close to the fashion chain's store in Queen Street in Cardiff city centre on September 28.

Saunders, of no fixed address, spoke only to confirm his name before entering guilty pleas to the two charges he faced.

Judge Eleri Rees, the Recorder of Cardiff, remanded Saunders into custody.

The defendant, who had short brown hair and a beard and wore a blue hooded top, will be sentenced next year by Mrs Justice Nicola Davies.

Judge Rees said: "The defendant will be produced for sentence on a date to be fixed. I do not anticipate it being before mid-January."

She also ordered the Crown to produce for the court copies of the prosecution case, key evidence and submissions on the minimum term for the inevitable life sentence ahead of the next hearing.

Floral tributes are left outside the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff. Photo Benjamin Wright/PA Wire
Floral tributes are left outside the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff. Photo Benjamin Wright/PA Wire

Prosecutor Michael Jones said Mrs Justice Davies would have to watch "disturbing" CCTV of the incident.

He told the court: "The footage is disturbing but it is important evidence be seen by the judge."

Judge Rees questioned whether a psychiatric report would be of assistance to the court ahead of the sentencing.

Hilary Roberts, defending, said a report had already been produced for the defence.

"It is a report that only look backwards and I don't think it will be of much assistance to the court," he added.

The judge replied: "I would have thought that her ladyship would in any case like to have a psychiatric report. It is a matter for you..."

Miss Morgan, who worked as a window dresser, had only recently graduated from the University of South Wales with an honours degree in fashion marketing and retail design.

Following her death, her family said: "She was taken away from us tragically, too soon, and has left a massive hole in our lives that will never be filled. Zoe will always be in our hearts forever and always. We are all broken-hearted."

It is believed Miss Morgan and Mr Simmons struck up a romance while working together at Matalan and had been dating for four months.

Their bodies were discovered in the street outside the store at around 5.50am on September 28.

Police later said they believed the couple had died after suffering stab wounds.

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