A COWARDLY killer spent two days living in the home of the woman he murdered after leaving her to bleed to death for hours.

Wayne Morris launched a “ferocious” attack on his partner Ruth Brown at her home in Collyer Avenue, Bognor.

The 47-year-old binman repeatedly struck her with a plastic tray which shattered in pieces which were covered in blood, Brighton Crown Court heard.

He cleaned up the crime scene and moved her body from her kitchen into her bed where she was put face down.

Then he spent a day going to the shops, drinking cider and smoking cannabis before ordering himself a takeaway.

His defence team say he took responsibility for the killing, but had no memory or intent to kill restaurant worker Ruth, who he claimed to love deeply.

The Argus: The scene in Collyer AvenueThe scene in Collyer Avenue

But Her Honour Judge Shani Barnes described Morris as “callous”, “cowardly” and “manipulative” over his refusal to explain what he had done and said his remorse was not genuine.

The judge sentenced Morris to life in prison, and he must serve a minimum of 17 years before he can be considered for parole.

In court it was revealed that Morris, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, had a troubled childhood, escaping from domestic violence and experimenting with drugs.

He started with cannabis and then abused solvents, and was previously admitted to psychiatric hospital for alcohol induced psychosis.

Riel Karmy-Jones QC, his barrister, told the court that Morris turned his life around but still suffered from depression. He spent as much as £10 per day on cannabis and was a heavy cider drinker.

The Argus: Wayne Morris and Ruth Brown in BognorWayne Morris and Ruth Brown in Bognor

Morris met pub worker Ruth, 52, because his daughter Skye Morris was friends with Ruth’s daughter Lauren Brown.

They may have argued over the coronavirus lockdown, as Ruth was vulnerable because of her lung conditions. She may not have wanted him to go back to his home to look after his daughter.

The judge said she was a “tiny” woman, only 5ft tall and barely weighing 6st, and she feared getting coronavirus.

Morris meanwhile is a “burly” binman who dwarfed her.

The judge said Morris had tried to buy himself time by spending two days living in Ruth’s home before going on the run to the Isle of Wight.

She said: “You have chosen, in my view, to refuse to reveal what you did as a way of controlling the situation as best you can so that you don’t have to deal with the detail.

The Argus: Wayne Morris is a convicted murdererWayne Morris is a convicted murderer

“Your behaviour is inexplicable. Nothing can possibly justify how you raised your hands in anger towards Ruth Brown, nothing can justify picking up a weapon and lashing out at her head again, and again, and again.

“This was a ferocious attack.

“She was unconscious and bleeding on the floor. You would have thought that what you would have done would be to call an ambulance. You didn’t. I don’t believe you went to bed and left her unconscious, taking hours to die with her terrible injuries.

“Her skull fractures and traumatic brain injury are inconceivable. For a man who claims he is calm and reasonable, you should have called an ambulance.

“In your panic and shock you were more concerned for yourself.

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“It is quite difficult to break plastic, let alone shatter it to pieces. It was covered in blood. She died slowly over those hours while you tried to work out what you were going to try to do.

“Carrying her upstairs and leaving her lying face down on her bed defies explanation.

“What on earth were you thinking? You cleared up the evidence, and did not make a sophisticated job of it. You went out shopping, ordered yourself a takeaway, and lived in her house for two days.”

The Argus: Ruth Brown was murdered in BognorRuth Brown was murdered in Bognor

Before going on the run, Morris spent a day with his daughter Skye Morris, but did not tell her what he had done.

Then after fleeing, Morris sent messages to Lauren Brown telling her to call the police to her mother’s home and stating: “Your mum’s in a bad way.”

Lauren went to the home, and her partner Sam Hunter found Ruth’s body.

The judge said: “You didn’t have the courage to tell Skye Morris what you had done and why. Then and now. You left those frightening messages to Lauren Brown sending her into complete meltdown.

“When she saw the message about her mum being in a bad way, she must have exploded with terror.

“Nobody should ever have to go through that, but you put them through that because you were too cowardly to apologise and explain.

“It shows how manipulative you were from beginning to end.”

Morris, of Larch Close, Bognor, is now in prison.