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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK


Police informant jailed for life

The jury took three hours to convict Morrison

A "truly evil" police informant convicted of the torture, murder and mutilation of a 74-year-old woman has been jailed for life.

[ image: After she was killed knives were stuck into Alice Rye's eyes]
After she was killed knives were stuck into Alice Rye's eyes
Alice Rye was bound, gagged and sexually tortured before being stabbed to death at her home in Spital on The Wirral on 10 December 1996.

After she died a kitchen knife was pushed into each eye.

Morrison, 60, formerly of the Pinsold Centre, in Toole, near Nantwich, Cheshire, was branded "a truly evil man" at Liverpool Crown Court by judge Mr Justice Douglas Brown.

Sentencing the divorced father of three, the judge said: "The jury have convicted you of a wicked murder. It was obviously planned and carried out in a cruel and ruthless manner.

"You are a truly evil man and you are also in my view, on the evidence given, very dangerous."

The jury, which took three hours to reach a guilty verdict, heard how Morrison went to the police in May 1998 claiming an associate, Keith Darlington, had confessed to the killing four days later.

'Pack of lies'

Mr Darlington, from Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, told the court Morrison's accusations were "a pack of lies".

Robert Fordham, QC, prosecuting, described the murder as "brutal", "wicked" and "horrific".

He said Morrison tortured Mrs Rye when she refused - or was unable - to give him the PIN number of her bank card.

Morrison was a lunatic, a sexual oddity, a "circuit not properly wired".

Mr Fordham said the defendant found his prey after looking on the Electoral Roll for a woman living alone.

He told the jury they had seen Mr Darlington and they "might think him more familiar with a sausage roll than the Electoral Roll" and he suggested he would have been unable to stalk or reconnoitre Mrs Rye's house.

Knickers mystery

Morrison's semen was found on a pair of women's knickers which police later recovered from a lock-up garage he rented in Ellesmere Port.

Mr Fordham said the knickers belonged to Mrs Rye and had been taken from the house as a trophy.

Morrison told the trial he had bought them for his daughter at a flea market and ended up wearing them himself because he was short of money.

Forensic evidence has shown that one pair of knickers found in lock-up contained female DNA with a one in 69 million chance of not belonging to Mrs Rye.

Morrison, who had part of a finger on his right hand amputated in 1996, told the trial he would have found it difficult to hold a knife sufficiently well to stab Mrs Rye.

After the verdict Detective Superintendent Dave Smith, who led the investigation, said: "The victim's family have been absolutely superb. They have offered support and encouragement throughout this investigation.

"The result is a testimony to the family, the people of Wirral and the Merseyside police working together to ensure the safety of the community."

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