A 17-year-old girl and two men have been given life sentences for the sadistic homophobic murder of a consultant psychiatrist described by his family as a “kind soul”.
The three tortured Dr Gary Jenkins, a father of two, by kicking and punching him and stamping on his head for up to 28 minutes as he begged them to stop.
During the ferocious attack and robbery in Bute Park, Cardiff, Jenkins, 54, was subject to homophobic abuse and the three left him partially clothed. Afterwards, Dionne Timms-Williams, who was 16 at the time and had not met her fellow attackers before, said: “I needed that.”
Sentencing the trio at Cardiff crown court, Judge Daniel Williams said Jason Edwards, Lee Strickland and Timms-Williams went to the park looking for a gay man to rob. Williams said the attack was homophobic and each was equally to blame.
Paying tribute to Jenkins, the judge said: “The world is drabber for his passing, it’s less kind, less colorful. He gave his professional life to relieve suffering of others and he went the extra mile for his patients. ”
Edwards and Strickland will each serve a minimum term of 33 years in prison before they are eligible for parole. Timms-Williams, 17, will serve 18 years before she can be considered for parole. They will spend the rest of their lives on license.
In her victim impact statement, Jenkins’ wife, Maria, said he would never have hurt anyone. “Gary was smart and funny, the heart and soul of every party,” she said. “He was an incredibly generous and creative man with only good intentions. The reality of his torture and death has hit us hard. ”
She said Jenkins ‘young daughters’ lives had been “massively” affected. “They are struggling in areas where they were thriving, such as their education and emotional state. All of us have nightmares and daytime flashbacks. ”
She added: “The loss of many more years and happy times Gary could have had with his daughters has been very distressing. Gary had so much more of his life to live.
“Gary’s private life being put on display has only intensified the impact. It has been horrible to have to listen to the details of what happened. Gary’s death has also had an impact on his patients. He was a dedicated and hard-working doctor. He always went the extra mile. He is greatly missed by his colleagues and patients. There are no winners in this case, only losers. ”
Louis Williams, a passerby who went to Jenkins’ aid, said in his impact statement that he regretted not being a better fighter so he could have done more to help. He said he now feared for his family’s safety, and that Timms-Williams’ involvement had made him question whether there was something wrong in society.
Caroline Rees QC, for Timms-Williams, said she had experienced trauma that had led to drug and alcohol dependence. She denied she was homophobic and said she had shown remorse. Rees said the girl, who lived with her mother in a village in the Vale of Glamorgan, had not met the two male attackers before and was vulnerable. The court heard she received a bail in 2019 for possessing a blade.
Edwards has 35 previous convictions and Strickland 58, though neither had been found guilty before of serious violence. Both had drug and alcohol issues and the judge said neither had shown remorse.
The case caused an outpouring of grief and concern, with campaigners pointing out that the murder of Jenkins, a bisexual man, was an example of a string of hate crimes that coincided with release from lockdown.
There was also anger at how the prosecution presented the case, telling the court that the victim’s “sexual predilections would be his undoing”.
The jury heard that Jenkins had separated from his wife six years before his murder and moved back to his home city of Cardiff.
He was in the park in the early hours of 20 July last year when the three, who had been drinking, attacked him. Audio of part of the attack was picked up by a CCTV camera in a shuttered cafe.
He could be heard crying out: “Please help me” and repeatedly calling out: “Stop it” and “Why?” One of the men could be heard subjecting him to homophobic abuse and one urged: “Stamp on his head.”
After the attack, Edwards and Timms-Williams embraced. Strickland bought a bottle of whiskey using a card stolen from Jenkins. The girl appeared cheerful, contacted her mother to say she did not need picking up and stayed the night with a friend.