A man charged with the murder of a doctor in Bute Park has told police he fled because he had drugs on him, court hears

A man charged with murdering a doctor in a downtown park has insisted he ran away from police because he had drugs on him, a court has heard.

Father-of-two Dr Gary Jenkins, 54, was ‘beaten, robbed, tortured and left for dead’ by two men and a teenage girl in Cardiff. Bute Park in what prosecutors allege was murder motivated by ‘greed, homophobia and a direct taste for violence’

Dr Jenkins suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack in the early hours of Tuesday July 20 last year and later died at the University Hospital of Wales Thursday, August 5.

Jason Edwards, 25, and Lee William Strickland, 36, both from Cardiffand a 17-year-old girl who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny the murder and stand trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Edwards, of Litchfield Court, RiversideStrickland, homeless, and the youngsters each admitted charges of manslaughter, purse theft and assault causing actual bodily harm.

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On Monday, jurors heard excerpts from some of Edwards’ police interviews – who initially told officers ‘I don’t know anything’ about Mr Jenkins’ death.

And when an officer asked him where he was, he said he was “at my friend’s… having a drink” in Mackintosh Place.

Edwards refused to tell the officer the house number, nor would he say the name of the person who drove him there – or the type of car he got into.

The officer then questioned Edwards about the events of July 19 – the day before the assault at Bute Park.

Gary Jenkins, who died on August 5 following an assault in Bute Park, Cardiff, in July 2021. Mr Jenkins, 54, from Cardiff Bay, had been in life-threatening condition since the incident in the early hours of Tuesday 20 July. Photo: South Wales Police/PA Wire

Edwards told the detective he spent the day in Cardiff drinking alcohol – Stella, Jack Daniels and vodka – adding that he had only drunk alcohol once in a moon blue – and said he had not taken cannabis or crack.

During this interview, he also denied committing a crime to buy drugs, saying his use was funded by benefits and his nan.

However, jurors heard evidence from a later interview with Edwards. When the officer mentions CCTV audio from the Summerhouse Cafe in Bute Park, the accused said he remembered being chased by plainclothes police in the early hours of the morning.

He said he fled from the police because he had cannabis on him and didn’t want to get caught, and hid in an apartment building before returning home.

When asked why he hadn’t mentioned this incident before, Edwards replied, “It just keeps coming back to me.” The defendant says cannabis affects his memory and he is addicted to it, calling it his “medicine”. Edwards also described his crack use as a “hobby.”

Much of Bute Park was cordoned off after the attack
Much of Bute Park was cordoned off after the attack

And in another interview, which was read to the jurors, further questions were asked over an audio recording from the CCTV Summerhouse Cafe.

The officer said a man could be heard on the recording repeatedly shouting ‘leave me alone’, and he asked the defendant if he was in the park at the time – Edwards said replied “No comment”.

The officer said a man could be heard shouting “stamp on head”, and asks Edwards if it was him – the defendant replies “No comment”.

The officer asked if the accused had done the stamping – the accused replied, “No comment”.

The officer said a male voice can be heard on the recording shouting “Jason”, and he asks the defendant if that person was calling him – the defendant replies “No comment”.

The three defendants deny the murder. The trial continues.

Judge Daniel Williams, prosecutes.

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