It is hard not to feel great sympathy for Rhianne Morris, who appeared on this week’s Murder by the Sea.
She was the girlfriend of Barry Rogers, who, with his mother Penelope John, went to jail in 2018 for murdering his grandmother, Betty Guy.
It is clear Rhianne is still haunted by her time with Rogers, who was abusive to her. She would later come to discover that while they were together, Rogers and his mother concocted their callous plot to murder 84-year-old Betty, a former nurse.
Once again Murder by the Sea, presented by the eccentric Geoffrey Wansell, uncovered a dark side to a beautiful coastal area, this time Pembrokeshire.
Matricide is a rare crime. As this episode makes clear, however, for a mother and son to collude in the killing of the mother’s mother is even rarer.
Dysfunctional mother-son relationship
Why did they subdue Betty with booze and drugs so that Rogers could smother her? It wasn’t for the money. All Penelope got out of the crime was an old tumble dryer and washing machine.
Rogers and his mother claimed Betty suffered from bowel cancer, but there is no evidence of that, though she had various health issues. Had she become a burden for the murderous mother and son?
Theirs was certainly a dysfunctional relationship. Former soldier Rogers seemed to need his mother’s approval, while Penelope had been subject to an abusive relationship herself.
Rhianne pointed out they had a strange bond. Barry would slap his mother’s behind, she said, while Penelope would sit on her son’s lap.
Though she bravely testified at the couple’s trial, it is obvious Rhianne is still affected by her time with Rogers. This a reminder that while Betty was the most immediate victim of this senseless, grim murder, the grief and upset of such crimes remain with friends and loved ones for many years.