A one-time promising rugby player who savagely murdered a pensioner by repeatedly stamping on his head has been jailed for life.
Former Ospreys youth player Tom Carney, 29, killed pensioner David Phillips in a Valentine’s Day murder motivated by “anger, revenge, and spite”.
On Thursday a judge at Swansea Crown Court ordered he spend at least 15 years and 10 days behind bars for what he described as a “savage, relentless, and merciless” murder.
The body of 76-year-old Mr Phillips was found in his home in Lime Grove in the Cimla area of Neath on February 14, 2019. He had suffered catastrophic injuries to his head and chest.
Carney killed the pensioner by repeatedly stamping on his head in a “violent rage” having earlier gone to the older man’s flat to perform sexual favours in return for alcohol. He denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
But jurors found Carney, of Llys Dur, Morriston, Swansea, guilty of murder and he now faces life behind bars.
During the sentencing hearing Judge Paul Thomas QC told Carney he had been “effectively prostituting yourself” for alcohol. But he said after getting his “reward” in the form of a bottle of vodka Carney felt “great self-disgust” which turned to “rage against Mr Phillips”.
That led to the defendant kicking his way back into the flat and launching a “savage, relentless, and merciless attack” up his victim.
The judge rejected any notion that Carney did not intend to kill Mr Phillips, saying he not only wanted to kill him but to make him suffer. He said the attack was one of “brutality and ferocity” which saw the “destruction” of Mr Phillips’ face, an attack on his genitals, and the use of weapons – not just shod feet but a heavy stereo and a stool.
Judge Thomas described Carney as a “conniving and devious individual” and said he has come to the conclusion the defendant still harboured a “simmering rage” and was likely to remain a serious threat to the public for the foreseeable future.
The judge said the only sentence for the offence of murder was one of life and balancing the mitigating and aggravating factors he ordered that Carney must serve a minimum of 15 years and 10 days before he can apply for parole.
He told the defendant: “That does not mean you will be released at that point – that will be a decision for the Parole Board to make. You may not be released for many years after that, if at all, if you are still considered a risk.”
Carney’s barrister, David Elias QC, had earlier told the hearing Carney was an extremely talented man and an intelligent man who could have achieved great things were it not for his alcoholism.
After the hearing South Wales detective inspector Stuart Prendiville, of the major crime investigation team, said: “Mr Phillips, a 76-year-old pensioner, was beaten to death in his home. Carney was known to the victim and had attended his address as a guest that day.
“However, having left the address, Carney returned and forced entry by kicking and destroying the front door of the property. He then set about a vicious and sustained attack on Mr Phillips.
“We appreciate the previous history of the victim may cause some strong feelings but the sentence imposed today reflects the viciousness and severity of the attack on him.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the witnesses in this case, some of whom who witnessed the most horrendous violence imaginable. I would also like to thank the local community in Cimla for their assistance during this investigation.”
After the hearing the first picture of victim Mr Phillips was released in a CCTV clip showing him shopping in a supermarket hours before he was murdered.
You can go here to read more about killer Carney’s violent past as well as details of his victim’s lengthy history of sexual offending while this link will let you recap the murder trial in full as it unfolded.
Recap the sentencing hearing in full:
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk