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Ex youth rugby player, 29, faces jail for brutally murdering 76-year-old pensioner

A one-time talented rugby player has been convicted of murdering a pensioner in a savage killing after going to his home to 'exchange sex for alcohol'.

Former Ospreys youth player Tom Carney was behind a 'vicious, sustained, and brutal attack' on pensioner David Phillips who suffered 27 rib fractures. His head was left unrecognisable.

The body of 76-year-old Mr Phillips was found in his home in the Cimla area of Neath on Valentine's Day 2019.

Carney murdered the pensioner by repeatedly stamping on his head in a 'violent rage'. The 29-year-old denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

On Tuesday his trial at Swansea Crown Court heard closing speeches from both the prosecution and defence barristers ahead of the jury being sent out to consider its verdict.

Prosecutors said Carney agreed to go to Mr Phillips' flat to perform sexual favours in return for alcohol.

Prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC opened his speech by telling the jury: 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is murder. Tomas Carney deliberately inflicted the most vicious, sustained, and brutal attack on his victim, and by so doing - in a controlled manner and fuelled by anger - chose to end another person's life.'

Mr Harrington added: 'He [Carney] does not seem to accept his culpability, seeing himself more as a victim than a killer. But he is a killer. He has only admitted what has been proved anyway.'

During his trial Mr Harrington told the jury: 'The fact is Thomas Carney has thrown his life away. Thrown away a career as a rugby player where he could have achieved great things. He has the discomfort of knowing he is one of those "might-have-beens"..'

Carney maintained that Mr Phillips was his sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous and had offered to help him after a relapse by weaning him off alcohol. The defendant said that once he got to the flat Mr Phillips 'abused his trust' by drugging and raping him.

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