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‘Naive’ college student lied to police to protect killer of Dr Gary Jenkins in Bute Park

07 Apr 2022 4 minute read
Dr Gary Jenkins. Picture by South Wales Police/PA.

A “naïve” college student in “awe” of a teenage girl convicted of murdering a man in a Cardiff park was manipulated into lying to police about her whereabouts, a court has been told.

Lewis Newman, 18, of Ventnor Place, Mynachdy, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after he falsely told detectives Dionne Timms-Williams had stayed at his home on the night of the fatal assault on Dr Gary Jenkins in Bute Park.

Dr Jenkins, a consultant psychiatrist and father-of-two, was “cruelly beaten” and “tortured” during a prolonged homophobic attack by Timms-Williams and two men in the early hours of July 20 2021.

He never regained consciousness and died 16 days later on August 5.

Timms-Williams, who was 16 at the time, Jason Edwards, 26, and Lee Strickland, 36, all denied murder but were convicted after a trial and sentenced to life in prison last month.

Timms-Williams will be expected to serve a minimum of 17 years before being eligible for parole.

On Thursday, Cardiff Crown Court was told Timms-Williams contacted Newman hours after the assault to ask if he would lie and say she had stayed with him that night should anyone ask.

Newman claimed Timms-Williams was “vague” and only told him she had been involved in a “serious incident”.

After Timms-Williams was arrested, police contacted Newman, who was 17 at the time, and he recounted the lie.

Prosecutor Nicholas Gedge said: “Initially, the investigation was not for murder because Dr Gary Jenkins didn’t die until August 5.

“It started as an investigation into an attempted murder and robbery. And on July 28, following the arrest of Dionne Timms-Williams, Mr Newman provided a statement to South Wales Police.

“He said he had been with Miss Timms-Williams between around 5pm and 9pm on July 19 in the area around Maindy Leisure Centre. He said they parted company at about 9pm and that he went home and the next time he saw her was at his home address at 2am the next morning.

“He told police he had been sleeping at home and heard a knock on the door. On him opening the door, she asked if she could stay the night. The following morning, she thanked him for allowing her to stay the night and said she had made his bed for him.”

‘Easy target’

In his statement to police, Newman gave the name of another friend of Timms-Williams and said he believed she visited her after leaving his house.

Two days later, when police officers interviewed the friend, she told them Timms-Williams had actually turned up at her house in the early hours and made incriminating statements about being with two homeless men and getting into “a fight” in Bute Park.

Sue Ferrier, defending Newman, said: “He was a naïve 17-year-old who had always been a shy, introverted, young man who didn’t have a wide circle of friends.

“When he went to college, he was befriended, on the face of it, by Miss Timms-Williams and introduced to a wider group of friends.

“Perhaps, to an extent, he was in awe of this young woman. Perhaps he was a bit of an easy target.

“There was some misplaced loyalty from this young man, not realising at the time how serious the offence had been.”

Ms Ferrier said Newman’s statement did not divert police attention or change the course of the investigation.

She said her client had never been in trouble with the police before and his mental health had been severely affected.

“He was totally shocked as time past by the atrocities his friend was capable of. He was perhaps blinded by her. Perhaps many people were,” Ms Ferrier said.

“He has bitter feelings of regret that he didn’t tell the truth and he’s genuinely remorseful for doing what he did.”

Judge Daniel Williams said: “You had fallen out with her some time before and you say you were trying to make up with her by helping her out in this way.

“I am satisfied you were a young 17-year-old and could not believe she’d be involved in the assault.

“Miss Timms-Williams was younger than you but was more streetwise and, in this context, more manipulative.”

He sentenced Newman to six months in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay a £128 victim surcharge.

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