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If only Pudsey and Twinkie could talk. Those cats know who killed Joyce; Argument rages over tapes made covertly in home of alleged killer.

Byline: Antony Stone

A PENSIONER who was allegedly caught confessing murder to his two cats claimed yesterday he believed the pets, named Pudsey and Twinkie, know who the real killer is.

Police secretly bugged the car and home of David Henton, 72, when they suspected he was the killer of long-term partner Joyce Sutton, 65.

The widow and mother of one was found bludgeoned to death in bed at home in Neath, in January 2006.

Henton took the stand in his defence yesterday as the murder trial at Swansea Crown Court approached the end of its fifth week.

Elwen Evans, QC, for the defence, immediately asked him if he had killed Mrs Sutton, to which he replied, "No, definitely not."

Over the previous two days the jury had listened to recordings of Henton's conversations at home and in the car, often spoken to his pet cats.

The sound quality of much of the material, however, has meant the prosecution and the defence has differed markedly over what was being said.

In one excerpt recorded at Henton's homein January 2007 he is said to say out loud "I hit my Joyce".

The defence, however, claims he is saying "I miss my Joyce".

In another section, the prosecution claims Henton is caught saying, "They know I did it see.

Aye."

The defence contest that interpretation and highlight how the recording is heavily muffled by the loud volume of a TV which appeared to be showing a Western at the time.

It contends that all that can be heard is Henton saying, "Know I did it see."

As so much of what Henton is heard to say in the police recordings appears to have been said to his cats Pudseyand Twinkie, Ms Evans questioned him for some time on his relationship with the cats yesterday.

Henton explained, "To me, Joyce's heart is still in those cats."

He said that he looked after them every day and described them as "indoor cats" that liked to say inside.

He said they were given the run of the house and were allowed to sleep on the bed in cold weather.

Ms Evans asked, "We have heard you say in the covert police recordings 'if only the cats could talk' - what did you mean by that?"

Henton replied, "They would say what happened that night.

"I have said it before. If only those cats could talk."

Henton was then questioned at length about his domestic arrangements with Mrs Sutton.

He explained that despite a relationship of 30 years they had decided to keep separate addresses in the same area.

He would visit her every day and bring her breakfast in bed.

On the day she was discovered he claims to have arrived as usual and found the backdoor smashed in. He called the police after finding her body.

Henton, a former lorry driver, denies murder. The defence claims that someone else is responsible.

The trial continues.

CAPTION(S):

TRIAL David Henton, above, told the jury he spoke to his cats because 'Joyce's heart is still in them'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 29, 2008
Words:510
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