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A hitman allegedly hired by a cheating husband and his married lover to kill his shopkeeper wife must have had ‘inside knowledge’ about the premises, a court heard today.

Carol Morgan, 36, was brutally hacked to death with an axe or machete in the store room of her corner shop by an unknown assailant more than 40 years ago.

Her husband Allen, now 73, told police at the time that £400 in cash had been taken from a desk, as well as £35 from the till and 1,400 cigarettes, suggesting she was the victim of a burglary gone wrong.

But the desk had a ‘secret mechanism’ for security – involving opening another drawer to a specific position – which he likened to a ‘Chinese puzzle’ that he allegedly said only he and his wife knew how to open.

Addressing the jury today, prosecutor Pavlos Panayi KC said: ‘How did a random intruder know where the money was and how to access it?

‘The killer had some inside information before entering the premises. The obvious conclusion was that the killer was told by Allen Morgan where he would find the cash, which may well have constituted part-payment for the murder.’

Hitman ‘hired’ by cheating husband and his mistress to murder his shopkeeper wife while she worked over 40 years ago was told how to open secret ‘Chinese puzzle’ drawer only couple knew about, jury heard

Carol Morgan, 36, (pictured) was brutally hacked to death with an axe or machete in the store room of her corner shop by an unknown assailant more than 40 years ago

The shop in Linslade open today in 2024, more than 40 years after Carol Morgan died after being repeatedly struck with a sharp and heavy weapon at her shop on Finch Crescent

The shop in Linslade open today in 2024, more than 40 years after Carol Morgan died after being repeatedly struck with a sharp and heavy weapon at her shop on Finch Crescent

Allen Morgan (pictured)

Margaret Morgan (pictured)

Allen and Margaret Morgan (pictured) who are on trial for conspiracy to murder. Allen’s first wife, Carol Morgan, was murdered in 1981 

A photo of an efit issued in an appeal for information into the murder of Carol Morgan

A photo of an efit issued in an appeal for information into the murder of Carol Morgan 

Opening the case yesterday, Mr Panayi said Allen had taken several large cash withdrawals out from the bank in the weeks leading up to his wife’s death, despite the fact a ‘cash business’ usually didn’t need to take out money.

The prosecution claim he was seen withdrawing £250 from a Nationwide branch on the day of the killing when he told police he had been asleep.

Allen Morgan and his current wife Margaret, 75, who the court was told were 14 months into a ‘passionate but forbidden and adulterous affair’ when Carol was murdered, deny conspiracy to murder.

The couple, from Brighton, are said to have planned the crime because they wanted to be together but faced problems, including financial difficulties which could be ‘solved’ with Carol’s death.

She had funded a large chunk of the purchase of Morgans Food Fayre in Linslade, on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, with her proceeds from the sale of the marital home after the end of her first marriage.

There was also a policy that would pay off the remaining £5,000 of a loan taken out to cover the rest of the purchase if she died.

‘The murder of Carol Morgan was no random attack. It was planned and paid for by the two defendants in the dock,’ Mr Panayi said.

Margaret Morgan (pictured) as a young woman

Allen Morgan pictured at the time of his wife's death, then aged 31

The married couple (pictured) are on trial accused pf arranging the murder of Carol Morgan over 40 years ago 

Allen and Margaret Morgan, aged 73 and 74, who are on trial for conspiracy to murder. Allen's first wife, Carol Morgan was murdered in 1981, in Leighton Buzzard

Allen and Margaret Morgan, aged 73 and 74, who are on trial for conspiracy to murder. Allen’s first wife, Carol Morgan was murdered in 1981, in Leighton Buzzard

An appeal poster issued at the time for information into the murder of Carol Morgan

An appeal poster issued at the time for information into the murder of Carol Morgan 

A cold case review had led to the couple (pictured) being charged in August 2023

A cold case review had led to the couple (pictured) being charged in August 2023

A witness will tell the jury how they overheard a man in a pub in Dunstable bragging about how he got £500 and between 500 and 1,000 cigarettes ‘for a job in Leighton Buzzard, the prosecutor added today.

The woman allegedly saw Allen talking to the man twice in the town.

Details were also given of a letter Allen is said to have written to Margaret in 2019, after they had been arrested, which said: ‘Trust works on both sides. If I didn’t trust you, you wouldn’t be here – and I would not.’

Secret police recordings of the couple were also played to the jury when they were taken in for questioning.

Margaret was heard to say ‘Shush’, indicating they thought they were being taped. Allen replied: ‘I am sorry… I don’t want to say anything because they might have…’

In another recording on their way to a police station in July last year, Margaret warned her husband that ‘they are probably listening in’, prompting him to reply: ‘I ain’t done nothing. Neither of us have.’

She responded: ‘Well, they must have something.’

A court artist sketch of Margaret Morgan, 74 and Allen Morgan, 73 appearing at Luton Crown Court, where they are charged with conspiracy to murder in connection with the death of Carol Morgan in 1981

A court artist sketch of Margaret Morgan, 74 and Allen Morgan, 73 appearing at Luton Crown Court, where they are charged with conspiracy to murder in connection with the death of Carol Morgan in 1981

Margaret and Allen Morgan appeared in court this week accused of plotting the brutal murder of the man's first wife 42 years ago

Margaret and Allen Morgan appeared in court this week accused of plotting the brutal murder of the man’s first wife 42 years ago

Margaret and Allen Morgan appeared in court accused of plotting the brutal murder of the man's first wife 42 years ago, so that the pair could continue their 'passionate but forbidden' love affair

Margaret and Allen Morgan appeared in court accused of plotting the brutal murder of the man’s first wife 42 years ago, so that the pair could continue their ‘passionate but forbidden’ love affair

Mr Panayi added: ‘The defendants planned and agreed the murder of Allen’s first wife, Carol.

‘They were tied to each other. Each with the power to bring the mutual destruction of a criminal prosecution on each other.

‘There was an unbreakable bond on their joint responsibility for the killing of Allen Morgan’s former wife.’

Divorced father-of-two Allen, who had not kept in contact with his children, met his lover during grocery delivery rounds for the shop he ran with his late wife, Luton Crown Court has been told.

On the night of the murder on August 13, 1981, he made the ‘highly unusual’ decision to take Carol’s two children from her first marriage to the cinema, despite ‘not having a close relationship with them’ and never haven taken them out alone before.

They found Carol lying in a pool of blood when they returned home after a double bill.

Jurors have also been told they will hear from a witness who was present in a pub when her then boyfriend, a ‘known criminal’ was asked by the Morgans ‘if he knew anyone who could kill Carol’.

They also discussed giving Carol a fatal dose of insulin or tampering with the brakes on the family car, it is alleged.

‘We don’t know who they eventually found to commit that murder and that man may never be brought to justice,’ Mr Panayi said.

‘But in Jane Bunting’s evidence, you’ll hear first-hand what the defendants were planning to do to rid themselves of Carol Morgan.’

The trial continues.  



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