Corby murderer returned to prison after police find him with kitchen knife in George Street

Lee Morrissey was responsible for one of Corby's most brutal murders 14 years ago

By Kate Cronin
Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 8:53 am
Lee Morrissey (inset) and the scene at the Open Hearth the morning after the murder
Lee Morrissey (inset) and the scene at the Open Hearth the morning after the murder

A Corby killer who viciously kicked his friend to death in 2006 has been returned to jail after police officers found him with a kitchen knife in George Street.

Scott Munro was just 24 when he was savagely beaten by Lee Morrissey and Andrew Mullen in Gray's Close, Corby, before his body was cruelly stuffed in a wheelie bin and left behind the Open Hearth pub a hundred metres away in Studfall Avenue.

Murderer Morrissey was jailed for life after admitting his part in the killing at a court hearing in 2007 and his co-defendant Mullen, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection, with a parole board tasked with making a decision on when he should be released.

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Scott Munro lost his life in the brutal killing in Corby

Morrissey, who was 31 at the time of the killing, was said by a crown court judge to have kicked Scott Munro with 'savage force' when he was already lying on the ground, dying.

He was jailed for life but was deemed fit for release from prison recently on licence. He was warned that if he broke the terms of his release he would be returned to jail.

But at 3am on September 6 of this year, police officers went to the benches near the taxi rank in George Street to check on a man who appeared to be sleeping.

There, they found Morrissey, of Sarrington Road, Corby, with a large kitchen knife and carrying cannabis.

The Evening Telegraph on Monday, November 17, 2006

He was arrested and taken into custody, where officers realised he was a convicted killer. He was charged and appeared at Northampton Magistrates' Court using a different spelling of his surname, initially admitting a charge of being in possession of a class B drug but denying the knife possession charge.

Evenutally, on October 27, the 45-year-old, represented by solicitor Andrew Gibson, pleaded guilty to both offences.

Magistrates told him to serve 12 weeks in prison and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £128 and a fine of £200.

But because he had previously been given a life sentence for Scott Munro's murder, he was still on as life licence so has now been recalled to prison to serve a further sentence.

Lee Morrissey and Andrew Mullen killed Scott Munro following a night out

It is thought that Morrissey may have to wait another two years before a parole board will consider him for release again.

Recalls to prison are made for the purpose of public protection and offenders are recalled if their behaviour suggests there will be an increased risk of serious harm to the public.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the government department would not comment on Morrissey's specific case, but said: "Serious offenders are closely monitored by the probation service and can be returned to prison if they breach strict conditions.

“Those on life licence will be released when approved by the independent Parole Board.”

The men admitted killing Mr Munro, avoiding the need for a lengthy trial. Their guilty pleas afforded them less sentences.

A HORRIFYING CRIME THAT SHOCKED CORBY

Scott Munro was just 24 when he went on a night out in Corby on November 25, 2006, with two people he considered to be friends.

None of them could have realised that the evening would end with one of them dead and the other two behind bars.

Andrew Mullen and his then girlfriend had left their toddler at home in Gray's Close with their pal Lee Morrissey.

Mullen and his partner went for a drink at the Kingfisher pub, where they bumped into their old pal Scott Munro, of Lincoln Way, Corby, and at about 11pm invited him back to their house to continue drinking.

A taxi driver later told police he witnessed the start of an argument during which Mr Munro accused Mullen of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

When they arrived back at Gray’s Close, they listened to music, drinking, while downing tablets of Valium.

But then the row erupted again and Mr Munro swung a punch at Mullen, which didn’t connect.

At their sentencing hearing in July the following year, Northampton Crown Court was told by Ann Cotcher QC, prosecuting, that Mullen's girlfriend 'tried her best to calm things down.'

“She saw her boyfriend hit Mr Munro. He was then on the floor lying in the foetal position. Mr Morrissey kicked him two or three times in the head.

“She said there was blood everywhere, coming from his nose.”

Mr Munro had been attacked with a golf club two weeks earlier and surgeons had had to reattach his nose to his face using 70 stitches. Immediately after Mullen, 27, struck just two blows to his face, his nose wound re-opened.

Miss Cotcher went on: “Both the defendants took him into the garden and left him on the grass.

“Morrissey was shouting abuse but Mullen had calmed down."

Mullen's girlfriend tried to get Mr Munro up but his eyes were shut and he appeared dazed.

“It was then that Morrissey delivered the fatal blow, kicking Mr Munro on the right side of his head which caused his head to hit the ground," said Miss Cotcher.

Mullen's girlfriend then fled the house with her young son, before Morrissey and Mullen, realising Mr Munro was dead, stuffed his body in a wheeled bin and took it to the Open Hearth pub in Studfall Avenue.

They dumped his body and pushed the bin back to Gray's Close. After trying to get into Mullen's sister's house, the pair returned home and continued drinking.

At about 9am on Sunday, November 26, Morrissey arrived at his mum’s home in Sarrington Road saying Mr Munro had ‘started on him’ but he had hit him only once.

His mother then found Morrissey’s blood-stained clothing stuffed in a cupboard and told him to hand himself in.

When Mr Munro’s body was discovered at about 9am the day after the attack, he had 54 injuries, his nose was almost completely detached and the bone broken, the soles of his feet were bloodstained and he had bruising on both sides of his skull.

When Morrissey was arrested by a team led by Detective Superintendent Larry Ennis at about 12.20pm the day after the murder, he tried to wipe bloodstained clothing discarded on the stairs with his feet.

Mitigating for Morrissey at the 2007 sentencing was eminent barrister and former MP Sir Ivan Lawrence QC. He has defended in 85 murder trials, representing the notorious Kray twins at their gangland murder trial, the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, a Brink's-Mat gold bullion money-laundering defendant and Russell Bishop who was falsely accused of the Babes in the Wood murders.

Sir Ivan Lawrence told the court at the time: "The fact Mr Munro started the brawl does not justify or excuse what happened to him. Morrissey is grievously ashamed of what he did that night and wants Scott’s family to know how deeply sorry he is.”

For Mullen, who lived at Hazelwood Road, Andrew Bright QC said: “Mullen punched Mr Munro twice and they resulted in the nose re-opening. These two jabs were the limit of his involvement.

“He.. is ashamed he took any part at all in causing his friend’s death.”

Presiding Judge Charles Wide QC said to Morrissey: “A seriously aggravating feature is that you put Scott Munro’s body in a wheeled bin and walked it through the streets of Corby and dumped it outside a pub.”

“The particular act that caused the death was kicking Scott Munro when he was on the ground in the face so that his head went back and hit the ground.

“Scott was on the ground and vulnerable when you kicked him with the savage force that’s been described.”

Morrissey was sentenced to life, to be considered for parole after twelve years, and Mullen was told he must serve at least two years and ten months before being considered for release.

After the sentencing hearing, Scott Munro's mum Elizabeth said: "The whole family is devastated by Scott’s death.

“He was a good boy. He was a good son to me and a good brother to his brothers."

The town was sickened by the brutality of the murder, Corby's third that year. Lead investigator DS Larry Ennis, of the Homicide and Major Crime Team described the crime scene as 'very disturbing'.

MORRISSEY ‘PREPARING FOR MANAGEMENT ROLE' SHEN KILLING TOOK PLACE

Lee Morrissey was revealed as a bad apple in a “good family” at his 2007 sentencing at Northampton Crown Court.

The court was told how the 31-year-old had an immediate family with no criminal convictions.

But Morrissey had several convictions featuring the use or threat of use of weapons, including a prison term for ABH.

In the months before he murdered Scott Munro, he had been working for the local authority as a lathe operator.

He had passed two City and Guilds engineering courses and had completed four years of study.

He was preparing for a further year of work in an attempt to take him off the shop floor and into management. While on remand for the murder he learned musical instruments and completed GCSEs.

His co-defendant Mullen was convicted of a lesser-charge and only threw two punches during the attack. But he had the more serious criminal history of the pair, with a vicious past and a violent criminal record stretching back to his teens, which included convictions for robbery.

He was a former drug addict and alcoholic and had known Scott Munro for about 10 years. Five months before the murder he had been freed early from a 54-month sentence for robbery.

Just before he killed Mr Munro, police had caught him with a screwdriver illegally in his possession and were in the process of sending him back to jail to serve the remainder of his original sentence.

But in the months before the killing he made efforts to improve his life, starting his own business as plasterer.

While on remand, Mullen was said to be a “trusted prisoner” after impressing warders.