An ‘evil’ and ‘sadistic’ teenage girl is among three people jailed for life for the homophobic murder of a consultant psychiatrist in a Cardiff park.
Dr Gary Jenkins, who was described as ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’, was subjected to a horrendous assault in Bute Park, in the city centre, in the early hours of July 20, 2021.
The 54-year-old father-of-two suffered multiple severe brain injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales 16 days later, on August 5.
Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, Jason Edwards, 26, and Lee Strickland, 36, have been sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court following their convictions for murder last month.
Prosecutor Dafydd Enoch QC told jurors the attack had been ‘motivated by greed, homophobia and straight-up violence’.
They heard the trio had been ‘in search of vulnerable gay men who were in the park for sex’ to rob.
Dr Jenkins had been married and had two daughters living in London. He separated from his wife and moved back to his home city of Cardiff around six years before his death and became openly bisexual.
Friends of his were aware Dr Jenkins often went to the park at night looking for sexual encounters with other men.
Timms-Williams, who was a 16-year-old schoolgirl at the time, is believed to have only met her co-defendants that night.
After meeting them in Queen Street and accepting a can of cider, she walked with them to the Esso garage in Cathedral Road, where she paid for more cans of alcohol.
They then entered Bute Park and spent time in the seating area outside the Summerhouse Cafe, opposite the Millennium Bridge.
Jurors heard a harrowing audio recording of the attack taken from a CCTV camera located inside the café, in which Dr Jenkins was ‘cruelly beaten, robbed, tortured and left for dead’.
Beginning just before 1am, a man identified as Dr Jenkins can be heard repeatedly yelling ‘Leave me alone’ and ‘Get off me’.
A female voice – Timms-Williams – shouts ‘Money’ and ‘Now’, before homophobic slurs are used by one of the male defendants, believed to be Edwards, who has a Liverpool accent.
Dr Jenkins makes repeated pleas for his life, asking ‘Why?’ and saying ‘Please, stop it’.
His moans of pain become quieter before he is unable to speak any more.
Timms-Williams can be heard saying ‘Get down’, ‘Do it all over again’, ‘Do it’ and ‘Hit him again’.
Another male voice at one point says: ‘Stamp on his head. Stamp on his head too.’
Another says ‘Keep going’ and ‘Oh, let me stamp on him again’.
The attack lasts for 15 minutes, after which Timms-Williams can be heard saying: ‘Yeah, I needed that.’
Witness Louis Williams can be heard throughout, attempting to intervene, before the three defendants turn and assault him.
He told police that he attempted to lie on top of Dr Jenkins to shield him from the repeated kicks and punches.
Mr Williams said the three defendants laughed and shouted as they carried out the violence, and he thought Timms-Williams was ‘evil’ and ‘sadistic’.
‘I couldn’t understand why they were hurting him so much,’ he said.
In an emotional tribute, read to the court on her behalf, Dr Jenkins’ wife said: ‘He was an incredibly generous and creative man with only good intentions.
‘The reality of his tortured death has hit us hard.
‘After seeing Gary in hospital unconscious and unrecognisable, we’ve all had to face up to the nightmare of what happened.
‘The loss of many more years and the happy times that Gary could have had with his daughters has been very painful and distressing to bear.
‘We cannot bring Gary back. There are no winners in this case, only losers, but as a family, we are relieved that justice is done. And through this process, we hope to rediscover our trust in humanity.’
The court heard Timms-Williams had a caution for possessing a blade in 2019.
Caroline Rees QC, mitigating on her behalf, said her client was ‘sorry’ for what she had done and asked that Timms-Williams’ vulnerability to exploitation due to historic ‘trauma’, and her psychiatric reports, be taken into consideration.
Edwards was said to have 35 previous convictions and Strickland has 58, however none were for incidents of serious violence which their counsel said showed the assault on Dr Jenkins was for them ‘entirely out of character’.
Sentencing the three defendants on Friday, Judge Daniel Williams said of Dr Jenkins: ‘All those who knew and loved him have been left with a void in their lives which will never be filled.
‘The world is all the more dimmer for his passing. It’s less kind. It’s less colourful, with less humour, music and energy.
‘I have no doubt it will be of some comfort to those who most keenly feel his loss to reflect on the good that he did in his 54 years and not the terrible injustice of his last moments.’
Turning to Dr Jenkins’ attackers, Judge Williams said he was not convinced any of them had shown true remorse for their actions.
He said: ‘The three of you took an equal part in beating Gary Jenkins to death. Each of you punched, kicked and stamped on him and encouraged each other to do so.
‘For as long as 28 minutes it may be that the three of you beat Gary Jenkins. There are no words to describe the audio recording of the attack. You ignored his desperate pleas to stop even after his pleas turned to groans as his life ebbed away.’
The judge sentenced Edwards and Strickland to serve a minimum term of 32 years and 123 days.
He sentenced to Timms-Williams to a minimum of 17 years.
All three were sentenced concurrently for the offences of robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.