A ‘jealous’ man who beat his friend to death after catching him having sex with his ex-girlfriend in a children’s playground has been pictured.
Kyle Morley, 29, was high on Class A drugs and had spent the night drinking with David Bettison, 43, when at 2am on February 24 as he walked home, found his friend having sex with his ex-lover in a park in Hugglescote, near Leicester.
Morley flew into a jealous rage and punched his ex-girlfriend Katie Lamb, 23, unconscious, before fatally attacking Bettison by kicking and stamping on the father – who did not fight back.
Yesterday, Morley was jailed for life for murder and grievous bodily harm following a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Speaking out after the conviction, for which Morley will serve a minimum term of 18 years and six months, the family of Mr Bettison, known as Did, said they are ‘living a nightmare’.
Mr Bettison’s 15-year-old daughter, Gracie Mae Brown, said: ‘I know my dad was not perfect, but he didn’t deserve what happened to him and neither do his family.
‘He was taken from us so cruelly and way too soon and we now have a lifetime of living without him.’
Mr Bettison’s mother, Jackie Haines, said: ‘When Did died something inside me died with him. There is no pain like a mother losing a child. Only people who have gone through this devastation can really understand how it feels.’
She revealed her devastation that none of them were able to say goodbye because of the ‘brutal and tragic’ way he was killed, which continues to ‘haunt’ her.
She admitted: ‘I have restless nights imagining his last moments and what he went through. I have nightmares and I wake and wish this whole thing was just one big nightmare, but it’s not, we are living the nightmare.
‘As a family we have tried to pull together at the worst time of our lives but this past nine months have been very difficult.
‘There have been a lot of tears and grief and we know there are so many more years of heartache and missed milestones to come. Every future family occasion will be tainted with sadness, and we will have to learn to live with that.’
Mrs Haines added that since the death of her son, ‘it has become clear’ how many friends Mr Bettison had. She expressed her thanks to her community, saying the family were ‘overwhelmed with support’ which has brought ‘some comfort’ during the ‘horrendously difficult’ time.
In the lead up to Morley’s conviction, the court heard how he had been out for drinks with Mr Bettison and two other friends before the night of the murder on February 24.
Shortly before 1am, Morley’s ex-partner arrived in Hugglescote and the pair had been arguing and fighting.
For nearly an hour, along with Mr Bettison, the three were in the area of Crescent Road and Fairfield Road before the two victims headed into the park at around 1.45am.
A few minutes later Morley walks in the same direction. He is known to be in the park for around 10 minutes briefly leaving the park and then returning minutes later.
Morley charged at them, the court heard, and punched 23-year-old Ms Lamb in the face, ‘knocking’ her out.
He then attacked Mr Bettison, who made no attempts to fight back at the time.
Morley repeatedly ‘punched, kicked and stamped’ on Mr Bettison causing severe facial injuries.
Police were called just after 2am after a resident close to the park in Ashburton Road was woken by the sound of a woman in distress.
Officers responded and discovered Morley standing over the 23-year-old woman and Mr Bettison unresponsive nearby – both had significant facial injuries.
They immediately began CPR while urgent calls to the ambulance service were made. But due to the severity of his injuries, Mr Bettison was pronounced dead at the scene.
The official cause of death was detailed as ‘blunt force trauma to the face.’
Ms Lamb suffered severe bruising and swelling to her face as a result of the attack but was discharged from hospital after treatment.
Following his arrest, Morley gave Leicestershire Police a prepared statement in which he said he accepted assaulting Mr Bettison but denied intending to cause him serious injury.
He added in his statement that he was ‘heavily intoxicated’ and had been taking class A drugs.
Prosecutor Michael Brady KC previously told the jury: ‘The defendant ran to them and punched her with sufficient force she was rendered unconscious.
‘She remembers being on the ground, watching the defendant punching David Bettison, who was also on the ground. Mr Bettison was not fighting back and his face was covered in his blood.
‘She heard David Bettison making ‘rattling noises’ which, from her experience working in an old folks’ home, made her think that he was going to die.’
The jury in the case had been sent out to begin deliberating on Friday and returned their unanimous guilty verdict on Tuesday morning, finding Morley guilty of murdering Mr Bettison.
After the jury foreman announced the guilty verdict, Morley, of Whitwick, near Coalville, sat with his head in his hands, sobbing loudly.
Judge Timothy Spencer KC sentenced Morley to a lifetime in jail, with a minimum term of 18 years and six months.
DI Parish said: ‘When discovering the two victims together Morley punched his ex-partner in the face, knocking her to the floor, before carrying out a sustained attack on Mr Bettison. Unfortunately, his injuries were so severe he never regained conscious and died at the scene.
‘In the initial few days officers worked around the clock to gather as much information and evidence as possible in order to be able to charge Morley with both offences.
‘Since this time our work to build a strong a case as possible has continued and I am pleased that the strength of the investigation has helped to secure a conviction at court.
‘At the heart of this investigation is a family who continue to grieve the loss of a loved one and a victim who is still dealing with the trauma of the events of that night.
‘My thoughts remain with those affected by the actions of Morley and I hope they can now take steps to move forward knowing the man responsible faces many years in prison.’