BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 16:59 GMT
Partner 'admitted murder to cats'
David Henton
David Henton 'tended to talk to his pets' the court was told
A man was arrested for murdering his long-term partner after police secretly taped him apparently confessing to his cats, a jury has been told.

David Henton, 72, who lived alone, was heard to say: "They know I did it, see," Swansea Crown Court was told.

Mr Henton, of Neath, broke a window in the back door of her home to make it look like a burglary, the court heard.

His defence questions the relevance of the tapes, and he denies murdering Joyce Sutton, 65, near Neath in 2006.

Mrs Sutton was bludgeoned to death in bed, and the court was told the investigation was a year old before police turned their attention to Mr Henton.

The couple had known each other for 30 years but lived at separate addresses. Paul Lewis QC, prosecuting, said detectives covertly installed devices in his home and his car.

He tended to talk to his pets and most of what he said was irrelevant, said Mr Lewis.

Joyce Sutton
Joyce Sutton was found lying bleeding in bed, the jury heard

But on 24 January 2007, he was taped telling them: "So, I don't know what's going on. I don't know if they can prove it or anything.

"What am I going to say if they find anything?"

He added: "I did this to mummy, up there."

The following day he was taped saying: "Hi Joyce. It's Dai. They know I did it, see."

Then he said: "I'm still under suspicion. Oh my Joyce. I will get a solicitor. They know it was me.

"They had my car in and they searched it. But they have taken it again now."

Elwen Evans QC, defending, interrupted the prosecution's opening speech to question the relevance of the recordings.

"We do not accept the accuracy of the interpretation taken by the Crown," she told the court.

Mr Lewis said detectives had already taken possession of footmats from Mr Henton's car, which revealed glass fragments from the back door of Mrs Sutton's home in Skewen.

Police outside Joyce Sutton's home
A major police inquiry followed Mrs Sutton's murder
A glass panel in the door had been smashed and Mr Lewis said it appeared at first that Mrs Sutton had been murdered by a burglar.

But, said the barrister, the fragments must have been transferred to the vehicle after the "break-in. "

"Mrs Sutton was not murdered by a random burglar but by a man she knew and trusted," he said.

Mrs Sutton recently developed depression and refused to get out of bed, the court heard, and Mr Henton ended up nursing her.

"Had she become a burden he could no longer bear?" asked the barrister.

The court was told that Mr Henton reported finding Mrs Sutton, a widow with one son, just after 0800 GMT on 11 January 2006.

Police found the back door was open and Mrs Sutton was lying bleeding in her bed.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Joyce Sutton was bludgeoned to death in her bed, the jury heard



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific