A multimillionaire businessman murdered a woman after paying her up to £10,000 a month to be his exclusive escort, a jury has been told.
Farmer and property developer Peter Morgan, 54, allegedly strangled Georgina Symonds, 25, and used his Porsche to take her body to a hiding place.
Morgan took Symonds to spa days, put her up in plush hotels and once took her on a helicopter ride from a castle that he owned, Newport crown court in south Wales heard. Other gifts included riding lessons and expensive liposuction, the court heard.
William Hughes QC, prosecuting, told the jury the murder was carefully planned. He said Morgan made a ligature in his workshop before going to his victim’s home to kill her, equipped with duct tape and plastic sheeting to wrap her body in, as well as a metal pole to help him lift it. Hughes told the court: “That metal pole fitted perfectly inside the boot of his Porsche Cayenne.”
Symonds was reported missing after failing to collect her five-year-old daughter from school.
Morgan, a married father of two from Llanellen, near Abergavenny, denies murder.
Hughes said: “The murder of Georgina Symonds was premeditated and well-planned by Peter Morgan. After killing Georgina he went to great lengths to move her and conceal her body and cover his own tracks for some time.
“Peter Morgan was a very successful and wealthy businessman with a large property portfolio. He made his money through farming before moving into property development and by his own words was a millionaire many times over.”
The jury of eight men and four women heard Symonds, who trained as a beautician, was working as a pole dancer and then as an escort when she met Morgan. At first she would see other clients and he would use other escorts. Hughes said: “But the relationship developed from being a professional one to something a bit more than that. He would lavish her with gifts and spend a lot of money on her.”
He told the jury: “There came a point when he did not want her to see other clients and began paying her between £7,000 and £10,000 a month and put her up to live in a property he owned.”
After her disappearance, Morgan was questioned by police and admitted he killed Symonds, the jury heard.
Hughes said: “He planned and decided to kill Georgina … He said he attended her address with the items required to assist him in the disposal of her body.
“In post-arrest interviews he said he made a ligature from twine at his workshop. He went to her home address to kill her and he took duct tape, plastic sheeting to wrap her body [in] and a metal pole to lift and assist him in carrying her body.”
Morgan plotted to kill Symonds after suspecting she was about to break off their arrangement, the court heard. Known to her friends as “Rich Pete”, he became “increasingly controlling” and “obsessive”, it was claimed. He allegedly installed a secret listening device, disguised as an adaptor, in her home. It was fitted with a sim card and recorded her phone calls, allowing Morgan to listen in, it is alleged.
The court was told he killed her after hearing her tell another man on the phone that she would leave Morgan once he signed over his bungalow to her.
Hughes said: “Morgan told police he heard her mention … she was going to leave him and carry on working as an escort … He did not want her seeing other clients. He wanted her exclusively. His increasing wish was to monitor her, to the point of obsession.”
Morgan is alleged to have told police he had killed Symonds after they traced her mobile phone to his Porsche, parked at his farmhouse, saying: “I strangled her this morning. I took her body to Beech Hill Farm. I love her so much.”
He then allegedly told police that he locked her body in an outhouse, and refused a lawyer after he was arrested, saying: “I done it. So there’s no point.”
The court heard Morgan had separated from his wife, Helen, and divorce proceedings were ongoing.
Symonds, from Allt-yr-yn, Newport, was found dead in January. The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.