Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Corpse of Welsh career criminal Courtney Davies, 53, was mutilated, set on fire and left at a popular dog walking spot in Staunton, Gloucestershire

killers of a notorious gangster stabbed 70 times in a "frenzied and sustained attack", burned and dumped in Gloucestershire woodlands have not been caught despite a four-year manhunt, an inquest has heard.
The corpse of Welsh career criminal Courtney Davies, 53, was mutilated, set on fire and left at a popular dog walking spot in Staunton, Gloucestershire, in December 2004.Despite a number of arrests and a collapsed trial, no-one from the criminal underworld has been convicted of the murder, leading a coroner to record an open verdict.Malcolm Martin, 33, who is deaf, was due to stand trial for killing Davies, of Rumney, Cardiff, and hiding his body in the Forest of Dean scrubland. But the case was dropped due to an "unrealistic prospect of success", the inquest in Gloucester heard.Mr Martin, from Cardiff, always denied murdering Davies and leaving the charred body beside the A4136 road leading towards Monmouth.David Scaysbrook, of the Forensic Science Service, found blood on leaves but no signs of a "battering type" injury. The body had probably been superficially burned where it lay, he told the Shire Hall, Gloucester.Dr Stephen Leadbeatter, Home Office pathologist, said: "There were approximately 70 such injuries. Twelve of those were to the right side of the head and neck, 12 were to the right side of the chest and groin and some 40 were to the back. The majority were stab wounds."Acting Detective Superintendent Neil Kelly of Gloucestershire Police told the hearing: "Mr Davies lived alone in Rumney, had previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, drugs, violence and firearms. He was well-known among the criminal fraternity in South Wales and had served long custodial sentences for two armed robberies and supplying Class A drugs.Recording the open verdict, Gloucestershire Coroner Alan Crickmore said: "I'm not able to determine who in fact inflicted the injuries that caused Mr Davies' death. This was clearly a frenzied and sustained attack resulting as it did in the 70 stab wounds discovered by Dr Leadbeatter."But although it was more likely than not that Davies was murdered by underworld criminals of sound mind, without a suspect to bring to court there was always the chance that his killer could be insane, enough to rule out a verdict of unlawful killing.


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