Pensioner found guilty of hiring hitman to kill wife 43 years ago

Jun 21, 2024 IDOPRESS
Allen Morgan, now 73, had his spouse Carol hacked to death so he could start again with a new lover

Carol and Allen Morgan: he paid for her murder in 1981

Credit: SBNA

A pensioner who hired a hitman to kill his wife 43 years ago so he could start again with a new lover has been found guilty of plotting her murder – but the woman with whom he was having the affair has been cleared.

Allen Morgan,73,was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring to murder Carol Morgan,who was hacked to death with an axe or machete,so he could continue “a passionate but forbidden” love affair with a new woman,Luton Crown Court was told.

Morgan has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on July 31. His now-wife Margaret Morgan,75,who was then his illicit lover,was found not guilty of the same charge and told she was free to go.

Carol Morgan,who was 36 at the time,was attacked and killed on Aug 13 1981 at a convenience store she ran with her husband,then 31,in Linslade,near Leighton Buzzard,Bedfordshire.

Her body was found by Morgan when he returned from the cinema in Luton,14 miles away,with her two children Dean,14,and Jane,12,giving him a “cast-iron” alibi for the murder and robbery of Carol,the prosecution said.

Morgan pictured outside court with his wife Margaret

Credit: Hyde News & Pictures

At the time,detectives believed Carol had been the victim of a burglary that had gone wrong,but a cold case investigation which began in 2018 uncovered a star witness who revealed that Morgan had wanted to find a hitman to kill Carol.

Jane Bunting,now aged 60,met Morgan in the Dolphin pub in Linslade a few months before the murder.

She told the jury she was 17 at the time and was “appalled” and “horrified” when Allen asked if her ex-boyfriend knew anyone who could kill.

She said: “He’d say,‘I hate Carol’,‘I don’t want to be married to her’,‘I wish she’d die’,‘wouldn’t an accident be nice?’.”

She said they had discussed insulin poisoning,a car accident – and Morgan said: “You can always pay someone.” She said she got up and left.

Carol and Morgan met at a single parents’ group in Swindon and married in March 1977.

About a year before the murder,Morgan and Margaret Spooner,as she was then known,who was a mother of two,began an affair.

Pavlos Panayi KC,prosecuting,said: “The two defendants wanted to be together,but could not be together while Allen remained married to Carol Morgan. He could not divorce his wife.

“These two individuals were involved in a passionate,but forbidden and adulterous love affair.”

When Carol’s body was found,there was no sign of a break-in at the shop and the family’s Labrador-Collie had been shut in one of the bedrooms in the flat above.

Carol Morgan was hacked to death with a machete or axe

Credit: Police

A sum of £400 was taken from a desk that had “a secret mechanism”,meaning it would not open unless another middle drawer was moved into an exact position,and £35 was also snatched from the till,along with 1,400 cigarettes.

The prosecutor added: “The killer had some inside information before entering premises. The obvious conclusion was that the killer was told by Allen where he would find the cash which may well have constituted part-payment for the murder.”

Unexplained cash withdrawls had been made in the days leading up to the murder. On the day of the killing,Allen had told the police he was asleep when he was seen at a branch of Nationwide withdrawing £250.

On the morning after the killing,the court heard that Allen allegedly knocked on Margaret’s door and said: “She’s dead and I have been robbed – all for £500. She has been murdered. They smashed the side of her head in. I didn’t want it this way.”

Det Supt Carl Foster,the senior investigating officer,said: “Over the last four decades,methods of gathering evidence have changed and improved but the key in this case has been a change in people’s allegiances and loyalties.

“As a result,the re-investigation relied on good old-fashioned detective work,retracing the evidence obtained in 1981 and revisiting numerous witnesses.

“Carol was effectively erased from all memory,including those of her own two children,who have grown up without their mother,being raised by the man responsible for her death.

“In the absence of a confession,we may never know who carried out the physical act of murdering Carol. However,we will do all in our power to secure new evidence and bring them to justice.”