Life for 'devastated' man who murdered his mother with chainsaw in 'few minutes of anger'

A son who murdered his "loving and supportive" mother in their garden with a chainsaw has been jailed for life.

Life for 'devastated' man who murdered his mother with chainsaw in 'few minutes of anger'

A son who murdered his "loving and supportive" mother in their garden with a chainsaw has been jailed for life.

Robert Owens kicked, strangled and attacked Iris Owens, 75, with a power tool in Ystrad Mynach, near Caerphilly, Wales, on May 3 this year.

The 47-year-old, who admitted murder, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 12 years and six months at Cardiff Crown Court.

In a statement issued through police, the daughter of Mrs Owens described her as a "fantastic mum and grandma" who was caring and positive.

"Iris crammed so much into her life and into every waking moment but there was always something new and exciting that she wanted to do," she said.

"Sadly, we won't find out what new direction she may have chosen and what new lovely friends she would have made along the way.

Iris Owens.

Iris Owens.

"Her family and friends can just give thanks for the life that she led and for the positive impact she had on so many of the people that she met and who loved her for the amazing person that she was."

Prosecuting, Christopher Clee QC said the fatal attack happened in the garden of the home where Mrs Owens lived with her son.

The pair had lived together following the death of Mrs Owens's husband Haydn in 2004 and the break-up of Owens's marriage in 2006.

Neighbours saw Mrs Owens, a mother of two, hanging out her washing at about 5pm on May 3.

One, David Harding, heard a loud "oi" or "ah" sound and a chainsaw starting in the garden.

Owens dialled 999 at 5.21pm, telling the operator: "Yeah, my mother just went mad. I was chainsawing some wood.

"She's in the garden now, please help her. She's gone mad, she's not breathing, she went f****** mad.

"I've got to give her the kiss of life but she ain't doing nothing."

Paramedics arrived at the property at 5.40pm, finding Owens agitated and with blood on his hands and clothing.

They found Mrs Owens lying on her back near a tree stump in the rear garden, with a cut to the left side of her neck.

She was pronounced dead at 5.42pm.

Owens told a paramedic his mother had "gone berserk", adding: "I'm going to jail".

When asked about his medical history, Owens said he was a heroin addict and had last taken the drug at midnight.

Tests later revealed morphine, heroin and cocaine in his system.

Owens admitted strangling his mother and breaking her ribs by kicking her.

"The precise sequence won't ever be known," Mr Clee added.

A post-mortem examination found Mrs Owens, who was 5ft 3in, died from trauma to her head and neck.

Representing Owens, Simon Laws QC said his client was remorseful.

"This was a close, loving and supportive relationship, so to sit where he does today having done what he did is a very terrible thing," Mr Laws said.

"He is devastated by what happened in those few minutes of anger in the garden."

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies previously described the murder as a "tragic and unusual case".

Speaking after the sentence, Detective Superintendent Ruth Price, from Gwent Police, described Mrs Owens as "an inspirational person".

"She was very well respected and loved by her many friends and family, and this made an impact on everyone who worked on this inquiry," she said.

"Despite having very recently had more information from the defendant about how all Iris Owens's injuries were caused, we still don't know precisely what happened on 3rd May, or exactly why, and that made the investigation more challenging.

"Robert Owens's guilty plea and sentence bring the matter to an end for the team who dealt with the case and concludes the formal legal process, but for Iris's family it will not ease their sense of loss and our thoughts are with them, as well as all those who knew her and will remember her kindness, energy and love for life."

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