South East Wales

Andrew Saunders jailed for killing Cardiff Matalan couple

Lee Simmons and Zoe Morgan Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Lee Simmons and Zoe Morgan were found dead near Matalan on Cardiff's Queen Street

A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend and her new partner outside the Matalan store where they worked has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmons, 33, were found stabbed near Cardiff's Queen Street store on 28 September, 2016.

Andrew Saunders, 21, of no fixed abode, researched methods of killing in the days before the attack.

He previously admitted their murders at Cardiff Crown Court.

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Media captionCCTV footage shows Saunders' movements moments before he stabbed the couple

The court heard Saunders was jealous of the couple who started a relationship in July 2016 after he and Miss Morgan split up.

After making threats to kill the pair in the weeks before, he waited for them outside the Matalan store before launching his attack at about 05:50 BST.

Witnesses saw him attack Mr Simmons first, stabbing him "in a frenzy" as he pleaded for him to stop.

He then moved on to Miss Morgan telling her "I'm coming for you next" as she tried to help her boyfriend.

He chased her down the street, eventually catching up with her outside the Boots store where he stabbed her several times.

Image copyright Matthew Horwood
Image caption Andrew Saunders pleaded guilty to murdering Zoe Morgan and Lee Simmons on 19 December

Sentencing Saunders, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies described the killing as "savagely violent conduct".

She said: "Whatever your mental state, you took the lives of two people. You robbed the families of Lee Simmons and Zoe Morgan of a much-loved son and a much-loved daughter."

She added there was a "significant degree of planning" before the killing as he bought the two knives he used and a rifle in the days before the attack and searched the internet for ways to kill.

Afterwards, he phoned his mother telling her what he had done and sent a text message to his father saying: "Thanks for being a pathetic, useless father. Just killed two people, cheers."

When he was arrested, he confessed to officers: "I'm sorry, you know sometimes, you just snap."

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Media captionKelly Huggins, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the murder was "brutal, unprovoked and premeditated"

Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Mark O'Shea, of South Wales Police, said Saunders was a "cold, calculating" killer who had planned his crimes over a number of weeks.

He added he deserved to spend the majority of his life in prison where he could reflect on the gravity of his offences.

Kelly Huggins, from the Crown Prosecution Service, described the killing as a "brutal, unprovoked and premeditated attack" and said Saunders showed no concern for witnesses who were subjected to a "frightening scene of violence".

In a statement, Miss Morgan's family said their lives had been changed forever by their daughter's murder.

It read: "I hope that every day Saunders is thinking about what he has done to us and what he has done to our beautiful daughter. We will think of Zoe for the rest of our lives."

Lee Simmons's family said no sentence or punishment would ever compensate for the loss of his life and they would never be able to forgive Saunders for "selfishly taking Lee away from us".

Both families added they were disappointed with the length of sentence given to Saunders.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Zoe Morgan's family described her as "beautiful, bright, fun and hard-working"

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