South East Wales

Pencoed man Mark Stephens jailed for murdering mother

Mark Stephens and the house where Rita Stephens was found Image copyright South Wales Police/BBC

A man has been jailed for life after stabbing his mother to death with a carving knife in Bridgend county.

Mark Stephens, 44, attacked Rita Stephens, 67, at their home in Pencoed on 19 June 2015 after a drinking session when she criticised the way he ran the family furniture firm.

He told Swansea Crown Court he "snapped" after an argument over business debts.

He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years.

The court was told Ms Stephens had 38 wounds and prosecutor Roger Thomas QC described the murder as "vicious and brutal".

"Mrs Stephens was a widow, a small, frail lady," he said.

"He claims to have little or no recollection at all of what happened after coming home, falling asleep and hearing his mother say 'get out'.

"There was no respect for his mother, dead or alive, and no thought for other members of his family."

Stephens told his family his mother was "sick in the toilet" when they phoned to check on her.

He told the court: "In my head I'm thinking 'I've lost everything because of you' and I stood up and we grappled and I snapped."

Stephens admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

Mr Justice David Holgate said: "You have shown only self pity for the situation you have found yourself in.

"From your evidence in court it's plain you still show no remorse at all for having killed your mother."

A statement from Ms Stephens' family said: "Rita was our mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister and aunt.

"She was a matriarch of the family and we will not allow the tragedy that has befallen us to break our family spirit. The family are united in grief for the loss of a beautiful person."

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