Carol Morgan murder: Man, 74, found guilty of plotting killing of wife in 1981 to start new life with lover

A man has been found guilty of plotting to murder his then-wife to start a new life with his lover more than 40 years ago.

Allen Morgan, 74, had been having an affair when his wife Carol was found hacked to death at the convenience store they both ran in Linslade, Bedfordshire, on 13 August 1981, his trial heard.

Morgan, of Brighton, was in an illicit relationship with his current wife Margaret Morgan, 75, but felt he could not divorce Carol because of financial issues, the prosecution said.

The killer, who has never been identified, used a heavy weapon to hack at Carol, causing fatal injuries to her body and skull, Luton Crown Court was told.

Morgan was unanimously convicted by a jury of conspiracy to murder.

He was on trial alongside his current wife, who was also charged with conspiracy to murder but was acquitted.

Mrs Morgan, who was then called Margaret Spooner, left her husband and moved in with Morgan after Carol's death.

The couple later married and have been together ever since, the court heard.

At the time of Carol's death, there was not enough evidence to charge anyone in connection with the case and her husband was not considered a suspect, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.

The case was reopened by detectives from Bedfordshire Police in 2018 following a review by a police cold case team.

The jury heard that a witness, who was 17 at the time of the murder, came forward in 2021 and told police Morgan had asked her whether she knew anyone who could help him kill his wife.

Over the nine-week trial, it was revealed that the killer had stolen cash from a secret drawer in the shop's office, suggesting they had been given inside knowledge and the money was part of the payment for the murder, Bedfordshire Police said.

In a statement, retired Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Prickett, who led the original investigation for Bedfordshire Police between 1981 and 1983, said: "Carol Morgan's murder was vicious, and the image of the scene will remain etched in my memory forever.

"The fact this case remained undetected for over four decades has remained a thorn in the side of all the officers who worked on the case."

Detective Superintendent Carl Foster, of Bedfordshire Police, said: "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."

He added: "Allen Morgan has had more than 40 years of freedom that Carol will never have.

"He has today finally faced justice for the role he played in her murder."

Lawyer Shan Saunders, of the CPS, said: "For decades, Allen Morgan hid the truth about how Carol died.

"However, when an investigation into her unsolved murder was reopened almost 40 years later, a thorough review of the evidence gathered by the original inquiry team together with new evidence from a witness was sufficient to link him to Carol's death, enabling us to charge him with conspiring to murder her.

"With no CCTV or forensics available, we relied almost exclusively on testimonies from dozens of witnesses during the trial.

"The strength of their evidence was enough for us to prove that Morgan had plotted to kill Carol, and for the jury to subsequently convict him."

Morgan will be sentenced on 31 July.