Woman accused of Linslade murder plot 'confessed to affair'

Historic images of Allen and Margaret Morgan
Allen and Margaret Morgan deny conspiracy to murder [BBC]

A woman accused of plotting with her lover to murder his wife told her own husband she wanted to end the affair, a jury has heard.

Michael Spooner said he was "shocked" and "disappointed" to learn of his wife Margaret's affair with Allen Morgan.

He said he confronted Mr Morgan in the Bedfordshire shop where the latter's wife Carol was later found dead.

Mr Morgan, now 73, later married Margaret Morgan, now 75, and the pair deny conspiracy to murder.

Prosecutor Pavlos Panayi KC told Luton Crown Court the couple had "a passionate, but forbidden and adulterous love affair" and hatched a plot to murder Carol Morgan, 36.

A killer, who has never been caught, used an axe or machete to attack her in the storeroom of the Morgans' Food Fare store in Linslade, near Leighton Buzzard, before escaping with cash and cigarettes on 13 August, 1981.

It is alleged the killing was carried out by a hitman, hired by Mr and Mrs Morgan, of Stanstead Crescent, Woodingdean, Brighton.

Mr Spooner, now 75, told the court he went to the store in Finch Crescent in June 1981 after his wife told him "she wanted to end it" with Mr Morgan.

"We were having marriage difficulties and she told me openly she had been unfaithful," he said.

"I went round to his shop and told him in no uncertain circumstances that he was not to see my wife any more."

The prosecution alleges that during a year-long affair, Margaret had been having sex with Mr Morgan at her home while Mr Spooner was at work.

It said the couple wanted to be together, but Mr Morgan feared he could not divorce his wife because he would be unable to support himself and Margaret.

Historic photo of store on Finch Crescent, Linslade, Bedfordshire
The court has heard the killer had “inside knowledge” about where money was kept in the couple's shop [BBC]

Mr Spooner said when he confronted Mr Morgan, Carol was not in the shop. "He (Allen) said very little at all. He seemed surprised I knew all about it," he said.

But four weeks later, he said, Margaret went to the shop to talk to Mr Morgan.

'I was not happy'

He said they agreed that if Mr Morgan could free himself from his wife and sell the shop, she would live with him.

"I was not happy with the situation and decided to spend a week on my boat," he said.

"When I returned she said things had changed and said she preferred to live with me as I could offer more security than Allen could.

"We tried to get on with our lives and to try to put our marriage right. From what I remember, I felt she was going to try to stand by what she said."

However, before Christmas 1981, about four months after the alleged murder, Margaret left Mr Spooner and moved in with Mr Morgan.

Mr Spooner was granted a divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Mr Spooner said Mr Morgan rang Margaret at their home to tell her of Carol's death.

"I was shocked. It came as such a surprise," he said.

"I was thinking now Carol was no longer there Margaret would leave me and go off with him. The obstacle had been removed."

He told the court that before the murder Margaret had made withdrawals of £50 or £100 from their joint accounts, amounting to £200 to £300.

The case continues.

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