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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 18:53 GMT
Murder jury hear cat 'confession'
David Henton
David Henton was secretly recorded over four days
Secret recordings of a pensioner talking to his cats, which police claim include a confession he hit his partner, have been played to a jury.

David Henton, 72, of Neath, denies murdering his long-term partner, Joyce Sutton, 65, from Skewen, in her bed.

Swansea Crown Court heard extracts of undercover police recordings in which, the prosecution claim, Mr Henton said to his cats: "I hit my Joyce."

But the defence insisted Mr Henton actually said: "I miss my Joyce."

The court was told detectives collected a total of more than 42 hours of secret recordings over four days in January last year.

The jury heard extracts of the first days of covert recording on Tuesday which, together with forensic evidence, lead to Mr Henton being charged with murder.

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

But the sound quality of large segments of the recordings was so poor, despite technical enhancement, much of what was played in court was inaudible.

As a result the jury had to rely on written transcriptions of the recordings.

They were also given a schedule containing contested passages where prosecution and defence interpretations were set out side-by-side.

'It's hurting me'

Sections of the text also showed Mr Henton to apparently be talking to his two pet cats.

At one point, according to the text, Mr Henton dismissed the police saying: "They're not professionals, they're amateurs. The bloody top bosses."

The defence version had him saying: "Tell their bloody top notches. It's hurting me. Got it wrong."

Later in the same excerpt the prosecution text claimed Henton finished by saying out loud: "I hit my Joyce."

A parallel defence version interpreted the same excerpt as saying: "I miss my Joyce."

At least 10 more recorded tracks remain for the jury to listen to, at least one containing, according to the prosecution, a clear confession.

Some of the transcriptions dealt with Mr Henton's reaction when officers seized his car a year after Mrs Sutton's death and provided him with a police car replacement.

According to the prosecution's interpretation, Henton is heard to say: "Good God alive. Don't panic now. Police car I got. Good God I don't believe I've done it."

A defence version of the same segment read: "Good God alive. Police car I got... come on now, I'm coming," and was interspersed with what it takes to be coughing, a clunk and road noise.

Mr Henton and Mrs Sutton, a widow, lived at separate addresses - despite having a long relationship - but saw each other every day.

Mrs Sutton was found beaten to death in her bed early on 11 January, 2006.

She had been battered around the head with a blunt object in what at first appeared to have been a break-in.

The trial continues.

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16 Jan 08 |  South West Wales

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