Family of Pennie Davis tell of grief after murderer gets 32 years

Justin Robertson (left) and Ben Carr
Justin Robertson (left) and Ben Carr
  • Relatives of former Chichester supermarket worker see killer sentenced
  • Victim was killed as she tended horses in New Forest field
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The family of murdered mother-of-five Pennie Davis have expressed their anger towards the men who plotted to kill her.

One of her daughters, Georga Pead, 19, explained that she did not believe the convictions of Justin Robertson for murder and Benjamin Carr for conspiracy to murder had given them justice.

Pennie Davis

Pennie Davis

She said: “Carr has still got his mum and they will both still have people waiting for them outside.

“We have got to live here without her every single day. I don’t think that is justice at all.”

Mrs Davis, 47, a former Chichester supermarket worker who had moved to the New Forest shortly before she was killed, was found dead by her husband on September 2 in a field at Leygreen Farm in Beaulieu, Hampshire.

After the verdicts, Mr Davis, 50, said: “Even if they get 30 years in prison they will still get the chance to come out and have families.

We have got to live here without her every single day. I don’t think that is justice at all

Georga Pead

“This time last year we had just paid for the wedding and everything was looking forward to the end of next month.

“Now I just hate everything. Going down to the horses, seeing people holding hands, enjoying the sun, it hurts because that’s what me and Pennie used to do.

“And it is hard for the children too because they are all having their first birthdays without their mum and that is heartbreaking.”

Another of Mrs Davis’ daughters, Sophie Pead, 21, described what it was like to see Robertson in court.

“It was the hardest thing, seeing his face for the first time. We had no idea what he looked like until that moment,” she told the Southern Daily Echo.

Her sister, Georga, added that the experience was made worse by his behaviour in the dock and his decision to address them directly.

She said: “I think the way he acted was disgusting, absolutely vile. He looked me right in the eye, it was awful.

“It’s not right, he shouldn’t feel he has the right to do that. As if we haven’t been through enough he was putting us through more.”

Sophie explained how difficult it had been to cope with the loss of her mother.

“One of the most upsetting things about not having a mum is that you can’t hear stories about when you were little,” she said.

“She told us so many things, like who was the biggest baby and that’s the stuff that we are never going to hear again.”

She added: “We just want to thank everyone who has come forward and come to court to help our mum.

“We know it wasn’t an easy thing for many of them to come to court, but everyone who has come forward has helped the case.”

Robertson, 36, of no fixed address, was convicted of murder at Winchester Crown Court and given a minimum of 32 years in jail

Jurors heard that Robertson agreed to kill Ms Davis for Benjamin Carr, 22, the son of Mrs Davis’s ex-lover, to stop her telling police that he had allegedly sexually assaulted someone when he was 14.

Carr, of Edward Road, Southampton, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and was handed a life sentence. He will serve a minimum of 30 years in custody.

Co-defendant Samantha Maclean, 28, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, was found not guilty of the same charge.

Robertson’s girlfriend, Lian Doyle, 24, also of Beech Crescent, earlier pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after she disposed of his shoes, it can now be reported. She will be sentenced tomorrow.

Mrs Davis, who had only recently married husband Peter Davis, was alone in a small paddock in a field tending her horses when she was fatally stabbed.

The trial heard that Mrs Davis knew Carr because she had been in a relationship with his father Timothy from about 2006 to 2012.

Prosecutor Richard Smith QC said Benjamin Carr harboured a ‘’lasting hate and anger’’ towards Mrs Davis after she made a complaint to police about allegations of sexual assault against him when he was 14.

Mr Smith said police took no further action over the complaint and added that Carr ‘’strenuously and consistently’’ denied the allegations.

But the accusations left Carr with a ‘’lasting sense of animosity, hatred, towards Pennie Davis’’ which, according to prosecutors, didn’t ‘’wear off’’.

Mr Smith said Mrs Davis repeated the allegations against Carr in August last year after she found out that Timothy Carr was to marry his new partner, Alison Macintyre.

Mrs Davis sent Facebook messages to Ms Macintyre, saying one of the alleged victims of Carr would be making a statement to police.

She wrote in one message: ‘’Good luck, you will need it,’’ and in another: ‘’I can’t forgive him, all the s*** he gave me, I f****** hate him and all his family.’’

In passing sentence, Mr Justice Popplewell described the murder as a “contract killing”.

He said that Robertson was a “career criminal” with a string of convictions for theft and burglaries.

Carr persuaded him to kill Mrs Davies with the offer of £1,500 and “by a perversion of the allegations” being made by the victim, he said.

The judge explained: “Ben Carr told Justin Robertson that she was a paedophile, a nonce in Justin Robertson’s vocabulary, which Ben Carr knew would push a button with Justin Robertson because he hated nonces with a passion.

“In their twisted minds, this was a justification for killing.”

The judge said there were no mitigating features in Robertson’s case.

“The stabbing was brutal and ferocious, causing no doubt terror and physical suffering before she died,” he said.

He added that the killer’s conduct in the witness box was “deplorable” because of the way he addressed his victim’s family in the public gallery and threatening to kill Carr.

Mrs Davis’s family released a statement after the guilty verdicts which read: ‘’The people responsible for our mum’s brutal murder have been convicted but we cannot celebrate.

‘’It is not them, but us, Pennie’s family, who have been given the real life sentence. The life of someone precious to us as a mother, daughter, wife and sister has gone and can’t be replaced.

‘’We have attended court every day and have had to listen to many lies about Pennie, who has been robbed of her voice to defend herself.

‘’The Pennie presented in court by those who were desperate to try to justify their actions is not the Pennie we remember. For us she will always be our warm, loving, protective, determined, funny mum who loved her children more than anything.”

Mrs Davis, who had five children from previous relationships, suffered 13 stab wounds caused by 10 individual strikes.

Police linked Robertson to the murder scene after he dropped the keys to Maclean’s Vauxhall Zafira car in the field and they were later found by officers searching the area.

Analysis of phone records and geo-location technology, which locates phones from the masts that they connect to, showed that Robertson carried out reconnaissance missions before the killing.

Mrs Davis was followed from her work at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in her home town of Blackfield to the field near Beaulieu where she kept her horses.

Robertson later confessed to a friend and ‘’justified’’ his actions by saying that he believed his victim was a ‘’nonce’’.

He then went to stay with friends near Salisbury and with his brother in Gloucester before he handed himself in.

Maclean said in police interview that her phone, which had been used to contact Carr following the murder, had been lost and then later said she had lent it to Robertson and answered no comment to other questions.