Ex soldier and his mother jailed for at least 11 years for murdering gran, 84

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A former soldier and his mother have been jailed for at least 11 years each for the murder of his 84-year-old grandmother.

Barry Rogers, 33, smothered former nurse Betty Guy at her home in Pembrokeshire on November 7, 2011, after Penelope John, 50, had fed her mother a cocktail of pills and whiskey.

The pair, who were found guilty after a trial at Swansea Crown Court, nearly got away with the killing but came under suspicion in 2015 after one of Rogers’ ex-girlfriends reported him to the police.

It emerged that the former technician in the Royal Corps of Signals had told three former partners he had killed his nan by putting a pillow over her face.

Police arrested mother and son in November 2016 and placed a bug in John’s home which recorded them discussing the killing, including Rogers saying to John she had nothing to worry about because “it’s me that’s the one that’s done the act”.

Betty Guy death
Barry Rogers and Penelope John

Medics believed Mrs Guy had died from natural causes and her body was cremated days later but the trial heard there was no evidence she had cancer or had been terminally ill.

Sentencing them both to life with minimum terms of 11 years on Thursday, Mr Justice Lewis said: “Mrs Guy was not terminally ill.

“She did not have any form of cancer. Mrs Guy had mobility problems but she was not bedbound.

“She was in pain and had been prescribed a painkiller but there’s no evidence at all to suggest that Mrs Guy was suffering unbearable pain… you did not therefore kill Mrs Guy because she had, or you believed she had, a terminal illness.

“Again this was not a case where Mrs Guy was suffering or you believed she was suffering in unbearable pain and you wanted to bring that pain to an end… you believed Mrs Guy was old and ill and wanted to die and you believed that you should end her life.”

Earlier the court heard a victim impact statement from Mrs Guy’s daughter Lorraine Matthews who said her mother “loved life” and “loved a little giggle.”

The statement read by Jim Davis, for the prosecution, said: “We grieved once after her death and now we have to go through a different kind of grief.”

Ms Matthews said she was “shocked that a member of my own family is capable of committing such a despicable act on an old lady”.

She added: “My mother was in no way ill enough to warrant a mercy (killing).

“I had spoken to her doctor some months before and was reassured of her health… I find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that her life ended before it should have naturally.”

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