Husband guilty of conspiracy to murder shopkeeper wife in 1981

 (Bedfordshire Police)
(Bedfordshire Police)

A man has been found guilty of conspiracy to murder his wife over 40 years ago after being accused of hiring a hitman.

Carol Morgan’s body was found lying in a storeroom at the couple’s Bedfordshire grocery store following a brutal attack in 1981.

At the time of the 36-year-old’s death, there was not enough evidence to charge anyone in connection with the case.

Now, after decades of unanswered questions, her husband, Allen Morgan, 74 has now been found to have plotted to kill his wife.

Allen, of Stanstead Crescent, Woodingdean, Brighton, had been at the cinema with Carol’s two children at the time of her murder, providing him an alibi and exempting him as a suspect.

Morgan went on to marry Margaret Morgan, 75, whom he was having an affair with at the time, and moved to the coast with Carol’s children.

Allen Morgan plotted to kill his wife (Bedfordshire Police)
Allen Morgan plotted to kill his wife (Bedfordshire Police)

Carol’s murder remained unsolved until detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit re-opened the case in 2018.

After re-visiting witnesses who had since “changed their allegiances”, the police were able to arrest and charge Allen with conspiring to kill Carol in 2023.

During a nine-week trial, the court heard how Allen would not only be free to set up a new life with his lover if Carol died, but he would also benefit financially from her death.

Margaret, who also stood trial alongside Allen at Luton Crown Court for conspiracy to murder, was acquitted.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Margaret Morgan, 74 and Allen Morgan, 73 appearing at Luton Crown Court, (Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Margaret Morgan, 74 and Allen Morgan, 73 appearing at Luton Crown Court, (Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)

Crucially, one witness who gave evidence recounted a conversation that Allen had with her about getting rid of Carol, asking her if she knew anyone they could hire to kill her.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Carl Foster has continued to lead the investigation despite retiring before it reached trial. He said: “Carol was killed in a frenzied and sustained attack, suffering horrific injuries which cruelly cut short her life.

“Over the last four decades methods of gathering evidence have changed and improved, but the key in this case has been a change in people’s allegiances and loyalties.

“As a result, the re-investigation relied on good old-fashioned detective work, retracing the evidence obtained in 1981 and revisiting numerous witnesses.”

Carol Morgan (Bedfordshire Police/PA Wire)
Carol Morgan (Bedfordshire Police/PA Wire)

Det Supt Foster added: “Carol was effectively erased from all memory, including those of her own two children, who have grown up without their mother, being raised by the man responsible for her death.”

During the trial it was also revealed that the killer, who has never been identified, had stolen cash from a secret drawer in the office, suggesting they had been given inside knowledge, and the money was part of the payment for the murder.

“In the absence of a confession, we may never know who carried out the physical act of murdering Carol. However, we will do all in our power to secure new evidence and bring them to justice,” Det Supt Foster said.

He added:“Allen Morgan has had more than 40 years of freedom that Carol will never have. He has today finally faced justice for the role he played in her murder.”