A man has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 18 years after he murdered his fiancee at their home before ordering drugs and eating takeaway food next to her body.
Madog Rowlands, 23, waited 35 hours before alerting emergency services after he strangled “terribly vulnerable” 21-year-old Lauren Griffiths and then wrapped her in clingfilm and bin bags.
On Friday, a judge told Rowlands his behaviour between April 29 and 30 2019 “defies belief” and described him as a “sullen and self-obsessed manipulator” who harboured thoughts of killing her for more than a year.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Ms Griffiths had survived a previous attempt on her life by Rowlands in March 2018, again by strangulation, after she refused to cave into his demands to enter into a suicide pact with him.
Ms Griffiths forgave him and they remained together after she decided against pursuing a prosecution.
But by 2019 they found themselves in debt and fell into a “low mood”, by which time, Judge Daniel Williams said, Rowlands’ thoughts of killing Ms Griffiths had “resurfaced”.
Judge Williams said: “As you well knew, Lauren saw hope in her life and did not want it to end. I am sure that you had thoughts of murdering her for a long time, well over a year, before you did.
“In March 2018 when you strangled Lauren, she got away from you. In the following April, you were to give her no chance.”
A neighbour said Ms Griffiths seemed “subdued” when she had a cigarette in the early hours of April 29 before going to bed, but there were no suggestions of any argument or falling out between the couple.
Rowlands claimed to the court he had strangled Ms Griffiths in defence after she attacked him at their flat in Glynrhondda Street, Cardiff, with the court told he had Googled “how to show remorse” before his trial.
But Judge Williams said: “I reject entirely your account as to how Lauren died. I’m sure you decided then to carry out your long-held, intermittent desire to kill her.
“You put your hands around her throat and strangled her to death, intending to kill her.”
Over the next 35 hours Rowlands ordered drugs to the flat and paid with cash taken from both his and Ms Griffiths’ account, as well as a takeaway sandwich which he ate while sitting next to her body on their mattress.
Judge Williams said that Rowlands, after consuming cannabis, MDMA and whisky, then “had thoughts of getting rid of Lauren’s body”, wrapping her in clingfilm and bin bags, and binding her ankles with tape, before abandoning any attempt.
Judge Williams said: “What you did for the 35 hours after you had murdered Lauren defies belief.”
The court was told Ms Griffiths’s traumatic childhood led to her developing a dissociative disorder which made her “terribly vulnerable”, but was said by friends to “always have a smile on her face”.
She had moved to Cardiff from Wrexham with Rowlands so she could attend university in the Welsh capital.
Judge Williams said: “She was kind natured, she didn’t have a bad bone in her body. She couldn’t do enough for others, whose problems she put above hers.”
Sentencing Rowlands to life, the judge told him he would serve a minimum of 18 years in custody, less the 485 days he has already spent on remand, before a parole board would be able to consider his release.