In the Media

Landlord hid customer's corpse to stay open for the weekend

PUBLISHED October 29, 2012

Jason Chidgey, 29, found the body of pub regular Mark Howells dead in the gentlemen's lavatory on a Friday night.

But a court heard Chidgey feared police would close down his pub for their investigation and he couldn't afford to lose his weekend business.

Chidgey enlisted the help of pub cleaner Audra Rees to hide Mr Howell's body in a first floor bedroom of the Boot Hotel in Aberdare, South Wales.

His pub opened as normal over the weekend. Chidgey arranged for the customer's corpse to be found the following Tuesday.

Prosecutor Owen Williams said "He did so to trade over the busy weekend period.

"He didn't want the body to be found until after the weekend was over.

"From Friday to Monday Chidgey carried out his business as if nothing untoward had occurred.

"He deflected friends' concerns about Mr Howells not being seen by saying he had spoken with him recently and that he was okay."

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard father-of-two Childgey almost got away with his scheme.

But on the day of Mr Howell's funeral, cleaner Mrs Rees could no longer live with the lie.

She went to police and made a full statement about the night of January 28 when Mr Howell was found dead at the busy town centre pub.

The court heard Mrs Rees was "suffering nightmares" about the customer's body in the upstairs room of the pub.

Chidgey, of Parc Glas, Aberdare, was jailed for 15 months after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Judge Richard Twomlow told him: "You showed no respect for Mr Howells.

"Your response to the probation officer is one that shows not a shred of real remorse.

"All you seem to have been concerned about is making things less serious for yourself."

The court heard Mr Howells, 48, died of natural causes due to alcohol poisoning.

After the case Mr Howell's family thanked police and the courts for giving them the justice they deserved.