Brutal Telford murderer starts life sentence

Murderer Kevin Hyden was today starting a life sentence for killing Telford woman Davinia Loynton in her own living room.

Murderer Kevin Hyden and victim Davinia Loynton
Murderer Kevin Hyden and victim Davinia Loynton
Murderer Kevin Hyden

Hyden must serve a minimum of 32 years before being considered for release.

The battered and bloodied body of Miss Loynton, 59, was found rolled up in her living room rug at her flat by distraught friends and colleagues after she failed to show up for work at the office she had run for 30 years.

Drug addict Hyden, 35, had burst into the flat in Telford when she answered the door to him on September 20 last year.

Davinia Loynton

Speaking after the verdict, Detective Inspector Mark Bellamy, of West Mercia Police, said: "Throughout this investigation, nobody has a had a bad word to say about Davinia Loynton.

"It is clear she was a kind and caring person who touched the lives of many people.

"Her life was ended in the most brutal way by a vicious man who had no respect for life.

"In every way, as a person, Hyden was the opposite of Davinia.

"We would like to thank Davinia's family for their support through what has been an unimaginably traumatic time for them. Our thoughts are with them today and now that justice has been served, I hope they can start to rebuild their lives and remember Davinia for the kind and caring person she was."

Prosecutors at Stafford Crown Court said Hyden tortured his victim to reveal the PIN numbers to her bank cards before smashing her skull in and cutting her throat.

The court heard he then withdrew more than £2,700 from her bank accounts in just two days, using the cash to buy hundreds of pounds worth of cocaine.

Hyden, of Glebe Street, Wellington, had denied murdering Miss Loynton at her flat in St John Street, Wellington. But he was found guilty yesterday after a trial at Stafford Crown Court.

He claimed throughout the case he had found Miss Loynton's bag containing her purse and mobile phone in a bag in a nearby field.

Hyden's partner, Emma Lucas, 39, of Keats Avenue, Stafford, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by providing Hyden with a false alibi. She had denied the charge at Stafford Crown Court.

Lucas has been released on bail while a pre-sentence report is prepared.

A post-mortem revealed Miss Loynton's injuries included a fractured skull and extensive fractures to the cheek, nose, jaw and eye socket.

A pathologist likened her injuries to those that would be expected of a car crash victim or someone who had fallen from a great height.

Shocked neighbours today paid tribute to a woman who was known affectionately as Dink.

Leonard Corbett, a friend who also lived in St John Street, said: "I must have seen the man who killed her walking around and that is a really horrible thought.

"She was just a really nice woman. I've lived here for 33 years so I know a lot of people around this area. Everyone called her Dink and she bought her home with her mother some years ago. They were both very nice people and had a kind word for everybody."

Miss Loynton worked at Serchem Ltd in Telford for almost 30 years. Paul Arnold, sales director at Serchem, issued a tribute to her at the time of her death, saying: "Davinia was a much-loved and valued member of our team who undertook her duties with true professionalism and vigour.

"She was a very giving and generous person who would always offer her opinion in all business matters she undertook, which were always focused and level-headed.

"Davinia has left a very big void in all staff members' hearts."

Police activity at the block of flats in St John Street, Wellington

It had been shaping up to be a normal Saturday for Davinia Loynton – a quick nip down the shops before settling down on the sofa for a quiet read of the newspaper.

But her peace was shattered by a knock at the door of her Telford flat.

The man on the other side was Kevin Hyden, the drug addict desperate for a fix.

Hyden lived near to Miss Loynton and knew she had money. He admitted to police he had burgled her flat, almost opposite his in St John Street, Wellington, nine months before she was murdered, taking a laptop, tablet and jewellery box worth more than £1,000.

Now, on September 20 last year, he wanted more – and would stop at nothing to get it.

The motive for murder was simple.

In the words of prosecutor Miss Deborah Gould: "The motive was the oldest one in the world – money. He had a serious drug addiction and was desperate for money to buy drugs."

A family statement said: "Our family has lost a wonderful sister, aunt and great aunt. Dink was hard-working, highly independent, kind-hearted and generous.

"She was the type of person who would willingly do something for you and never expect anything in return. Her death has left a huge hole in the hearts of friends and family. She will be greatly missed.

"We are truly thankful that Kevin Hyden has been found guilty.

We are grateful to the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the jury and everyone who gave evidence for all that they have done to bring Dink's murderer to justice."

  • See also: Neighbours remember a lovely lady

Armed with a weapon, probably a hammer, and some tape to bind her wrists, Hyden forced his way into the flat and tied her up in her own living room.

He then proceeded to torture her until she gave him what he wanted – the Pin numbers to her bank cards.

Once he had those, Miss Gould said, Miss Loynton was "no longer required", a "liability".

Hyden brutally murdered her, using the hammer or whatever weapon he had brought with him to cave her skull in before grabbing a kitchen knife and cutting her throat.

She was wrapped in a rug and callously dumped behind the sofa she had been sitting on just moments before.

It took until the Monday – two days later – for family and friends to make the gruesome discovery of her body.

Colleagues at Telford-based Serchem, where she had worked as an office manager for nearly 30 years, became suspicious when they received a text message from her phone suggesting she was in Falmouth on holiday.

Company director Paul Arnold instantly suspected it was fake and informed the police. His suspicions were well-founded. The message had been sent by Hyden, who had fled the flat on Saturday afternoon after killing his victim in cold blood for her phone and bank cards.

He had been busy. Barely an hour after her death, he was plundering her account. Stafford Crown Court heard he also used Miss Loynton's phone to play Angry Birds after he had killed her.

Hyden was captured on CCTV on his way to withdraw money using the stolen bank cards.

In the three days following Miss Loynton's murder, Hyden withdrew a total of £2,770 from her accounts, spending hundreds of pounds on cocaine and other drugs and using her phone to arrange purchases from his dealer.

Davinia Loynton's body was discovered behind her settee at her flat in St John Street, Wellington

After the call to police, her body was discovered at the flat and a murder investigation was launched.

The evidence against Hyden was overwhelming.

The bank cards and Miss Loynton's smashed-up mobile phone were found in the block of flats in Glebe Street, Wellington, where Hyden lived. The pieces of the phone were found in Hyden's bin.

Police searching the flats also found a carrier bag in a wheelie bin containing the victim's bank and store cards, car keys, house keys and a lottery ticket. Hyden's fingerprints were on the back of that ticket along with a piece of black sticky tape. Police found a roll of tape at Hyden's flat with an end piece torn off.

A neighbour of Miss Loynton and Hyden came forward to say he had seen Hyden outside the door of Miss Loynton on the day she was murdered. He told police it looked to him like Hyden was locking the door.

And yet, despite the mountain of evidence against him, Hyden continued to protest his innocence throughout.

In six separate interviews, Hyden told police he was not the murderer. He insisted he had found Miss Loynton's brown suede handbag in a field on September 20 last year before using her bank cards for cash to fuel his drug habit.

He got his girlfriend Emma Lucas to provide a false alibi and she was also found guilty by the jury of perverting the course of justice. But for the jury at Stafford Crown Court, his story didn't wash.

Judge Paul Glenn said the fact Hyden used Miss Loynton's stolen mobile phone to play Angry Birds was "callousness which beggars belief".

The judge told him: "You killed her for money, you were dependent on heroin and cocaine. You described the latter as making you feel like you were 21.

"Against that background you planned to obtain money from a near neighbour who you knew had money, because you had burgled her home that January. You had seen her come and go, you knew the pattern of her life. She was targeted and the timing of the attack was not coincidental.

"You struck when she returned home from shopping.

An attack took place in the vicinity of the lounge.

"You took weapons to the scene, a hammer-type weapon and tape to bind her. She was plainly subjected to some degree of torture to obtain Pin numbers to her cards which involved a barbecue fork to her throat and the threat of boiling water. You knew she would have been able to identify you. To avoid detection you had to kill her.

"You subjected her to a ferocious attack. The act of torturing her in her own home must have been truly horrific for her.

"You are a highly dangerous man – there is no mitigation in this case."

Today Hyden is starting a long stretch behind bars.

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