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CELINE BEAST CAGED FOR LIFE; Killer faces quiz on other deaths.

A sex killer who raped and strangled French hitchhiker Celine Figard was jailed for life yesterday.

Now trucker Stuart Morgan is to be quizzed over similar murders.

Police from all over Britain have met to discuss the unsolved killings of young women.

One fear was that they had become victims of a serial killer who travelled Britain's motorways.

Morgan will be questioned by officers from several forces.

Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Latham said: "What you did caused revulsion in the minds of all right-thinking people.

"You are a dangerous man and I will so report to the Home Secretary."

His remarks mean Michael Howard now has to decide how long Morgan must spend in jail.

A jury at Worcester Crown Court unanimously found Morgan, 37, of Poole, Dorset, guilty after an 11-day trial.

The tattooed trucker had given a lift to Celine, who was 19, at Chieveley service station on the M4 on December 19 last year.

Just hours later she was dead.

Morgan had bound her hands with adhesive tape, raped her on a bunk in the back of his lorry cab, then battered her over the head and strangled her.

Her body lay in the back of his pounds 70,000 white Mercedes truck for 10 days.

Meanwhile he calmly celebrated Christmas with his family, including wife Glynda and his son.

No one suspected anything - and he even coolly sat with them to watch TV programmes about Celine's murder.

His mother, Juliana Morgan, 71, said: "He seemed quite normal, not nervous or upset. We all saw the murder on the TV news and the photofit.

"I thought it looked familiar and mentioned it to my daughter, who said it looked like Stuart.

"But we didn't phone the police as we couldn't believe it was him."

Morgan even gave away as Christmas presents the two rare bottles of champagne Celine had carried from her home in France.

On December 29, Morgan finally dumped her naked body in woodland near Worcester, 100 miles from where she was last seen alive, getting into a white truck.

In February, a fellow driver told police about his similarity to the photofit.

Morgan at first denied ever meeting Celine. Then, when picked out in an ID parade, he claimed she willingly had sex with him and he'd last seen her safe and well.

But specks of her blood were found in his lorry cab - and some of her belongings and the blood-soaked mattress from his cab bunk, were found hidden behind a wall in his garage.

The verdict and life sentence was the end of an ordeal for Celine's parents, Bernard and Martine.

They had come from their farm near Besancon, in eastern France, to attend the whole of the trial.

Student Celine had set off from there to spend Christmas with a cousin who was working at a hotel in Hampshire.

Bernard, 49, said: "Celine was very popular with lots of friends. She was full of confidence but her fault was she was too trusting."

They thought Celine was taking a bus after being dropped off by a family friend going to England.

Bernard said: "We would not have let her go if we'd known she was hitch hiking.

The Figards rue the terrible luck that delivered her into Stuart Morgan's clutches.

"Ten minutes, even five minutes either way would have changed everything. That truck wouldn't have been there. It was that close."

He was opposed to the death sentence but hoped that a life sentence meant life in jail for Morgan.

Bernard added: "This type of monster is not capable of being cured."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 17, 1996
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