Shocking Death of Young Woman
A hairdresser walking her pet dog was murdered in an “explosion of violence” by a teenager wielding a heavy-duty barbell, a jury was told yesterday.
Kelly Hyde, 24, of New Road, Ammanford, was walking on a remote stretch of bridle path when she was smashed to the ground in a brutal attack, Swansea Crown Court heard.
The jury was told Miss Hyde’s whippet Scrappy ran off after the attack and was seen running loose “as if on a mission” in the Pantyfynnon area of Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.
The dog was found a day later by police after being alerted by Kelly’s neighbours.
Patrick Harrington QC, opening the prosecution case, said there appeared to be no motive for the attack other than “a complete loss of temper and a display of outrageous anger”.
The youth, now 17, and from the Ammanford area, cannot be identified because of his age. Accompanied by his mother in the dock yesterday, he denies murder.
Mr Harrington said: “Kelly left her home to drive the short distance to Brynteg Garage in Pontarddulais with her dog Scrappy.
“After checking her car in for an MoT she walked back home, declining the offer of a lift because she wanted to walk her dog.
“Her route took her eventually to Mill Terrace, Pantyfynnon, Ammanford, then to a bridle path where she could let her dog off the lead.
“Here she was attacked by the defen-dant. Precisely what happened next is known only to him.
“However, what is clear is that he beat her to death using primarily as a weapon a weight taken from a set of weights he had at his home.
“The violence used was gross in the extreme and the majority of the violence was directed to the head, the most vulnerable part of her body.
“The defendant, his young age notwithstanding, acted in a dreadful and brutal fashion.” The prosecutor added that the defendant, who was 16 at the time, used uncontrolled anger and terrible violence.
He said: “The attack was brutal and sustained. Many of the blows were very hard. They did terrible damage to her head.”
The jury was shown a photograph of the large circular barbell used in the attack.
Mr Harrington said machine markings on its side had left an imprint on Kelly’s face.
He said the youth, wearing a hoody-type top, which he later changed, dragged Kelly’s body down an embankment to a stream and tried to hide it with foliage.
“What the defendant did was drag the body down the embankment and place it face down in the stream, obviously hoping the flowing water might conceal or remove forensic evidence,” Mr Harrington said.
He said the teenager also used stones to weigh down his victim’s coat in the water.
He added that later, police found Scrappy’s lead in the attic space at the defendant’s home and discovered blood stains on trainers he had been wearing.
Kelly, who was single, worked as a barmaid in the Wetherspoon’s pub in the centre of Llanelli and had recently finished training as a hairdresser.
Members of her family sobbed in the public gallery yesterday as a picture of her with Scrappy was shown on television screens in the court.
Mr Harrington said the youth’s attempt to hide Kelly’s body was ultimately unsuccessful.
Her disappearance sparked a major missing persons hunt until her body was found three days later.
The spot where she was discovered, in Pantyffynnon, has since been turned into a memorial of floral tributes by friends and family.
Mr Harrington said that when the murder inquiry was launched, a “formidable” case was built against the youth.
He said: “The defendant was seen on a bridle path very close in distance to where Kelly was murdered and close in time to when she was murdered.
“Forensic evidence shows blood and DNA of the deceased on a number of items of clothing and particularly footwear belonging to the defendant.”
The jury was also shown pictures of the defendant’s bloodstained Lonsdale-brand trainers and his hooded top.
Mr Harrington suggested to the jury there may have been two episodes of violence visited on Kelly.
He said it seemed unlikely the youth, who was walking his dog, would have been carrying the barbell with him when the two initially met on the bridle path.
And he said there would be evidence from a pathologist that Kelly may not have died soon after being first attacked.
Mr Harrington also told the jury: “With every case involving a young woman the question hangs in the air of a motive.
“We contribute none, except a complete loss of temper and explosion of gross violence.
“There does not seem to have been any overt sexual motive and no evidence of sexual interference was found when her body was examined.”
The court heard Kelly was third of four children born to her parents Barbara and Andrew.
She went to Cross Hands Primary School then Gwendraeth Comprehensive and later Tre-Gib Comprehensive School in Llandeilo.
After leaving school she worked in Leekes of Cross Hands but later trained at college in Llanelli for two years to become a hairdresser.
After leaving a job at Hair Express in Llanelli, at the time of her death she had a bar job at the Wetherspoon pub in Llanelli.
A short time before she died she left her parents’ home in Ammanford to live with two female friends in the town.
Mr Harrington said the jury would hear from Vincent Leach who was painting his parents’ home in Pantyfynnon and who described seeing “pretty” Kelly walk by with her dog.
The court will also hear from riding instructor Sarah Jane Williams who talked to the defendant close to the stream where Kelly was found on September 27 last year, the day of the attack.
The case continues.