Page last updated at 19:04 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 20:04 UK

Model's murderer jailed for life

Ricardo Morrison
Ricardo Morrison has convictions for assaulting other women

A man jailed for life for murdering his model girlfriend is "dangerous beyond words", a judge has said.

Ricardo Morrison, 22, from Birmingham, must serve a minimum of 24 years for killing Amy Leigh Barnes, 19, in Farnworth, near Bolton, last November.

Manchester Crown Court heard Miss Barnes was stabbed nine times and found bleeding to death by her father.

Sentencing Morrison, Mr Justice MacDuff said he was an "evil man" with a history of abusing women.

Face slashed

"You had controlled and abused Amy Leigh Barnes over many months," added the judge, ordering him to serve at least 24 years before being eligible for parole.

"Yours was a sustained campaign of prolonged physical, emotional and psychological abuse."

"Those of us who listened to her last anguished shouts in that 999 emergency call recording will never be able to forget it. You were unable to listen to it yourself.

"You slashed open her pretty face. What went through her mind when she saw you coming in through that back door with that knife is unimaginable."

Mr Justice MacDuff said Morrison did not face an easy task in ever convincing a parole board he should be released in the future.

Amy Leigh Barnes
Amy Leigh Barnes called her mother in tears shortly before her death

"I make the comment now - for consideration in 24 years' time - you are dangerous beyond words. There needs to be a sea change before you can be considered for release."

Morrison's mother, Pc Melda Wilks, 50, who let him wash his bloodstained clothes at her home, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.

But she now faces an internal disciplinary inquiry by her force, West Midlands Police.

Morrison, who has previous convictions for assaulting ex-girlfriends, stabbed Miss Barnes nine times and slashed her face, before fleeing and leaving her to die, jurors heard during the three-week trial.

Speaking after the hearing, Amy's mother Karyn Killiner said: "Ricardo Morrison stole our daughter and destroyed our lives.

"Amy was a beautiful person inside and out she had her whole life ahead of her. She was trying to find a way to get away from Morrison when he killed her."

Mrs Killiner said Morrison had been "cocky and arrogant" despite it being clear from the start that he was responsible for her daughter's death.

She said seeing him jailed helped the family know he could never hurt another woman in the way he hurt Amy, but she added: "No punishment could ever be enough."

Harrowing call

Earlier, when the guilty verdict was returned, Morrison, clutching a bible, bowed his head, put one hand to his face and appeared to begin weeping.

Described as a "bully" and "profoundly two-faced man" by Stuart Driver, prosecuting, Morrison was caught on CCTV punching two girls in the face and headbutting another in a nightclub five weeks before he killed Miss Barnes.

The model, who had appeared in Hollyoaks and modelled for Cosmopolitan, dialled 999 after the attack, telling the operator, "I'm dying. He's stabbed me to death. I'm dying. Please help me."

The operator asked who had stabbed her and she said, "My boyfriend", the court was told.

Amy's mother welcomed the sentence but said it "will never bring back our little girl"

Shortly after the attack, her father, Andrew Barnes, arrived to find his daughter curled in the foetal position, flitting in and out of consciousness.

The court heard Morrison attacked her after the couple had a row that day, one of many during their stormy nine-month relationship.

The young model had grown scared of her killer, the court heard, and had called her mother asking to being picked up after Morrison had locked her in her grandmother's house.

Tragically, her father arrived minutes too late, finding his daughter in agony on the floor.

The jury heard that Mr Barnes saw the back door had been left open and a next-door neighbour saw a man fitting Morrison's description clean his hands in a puddle behind the house.

After stabbing her to death he bought a sandwich before catching a coach to Birmingham.

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