Con artist ‘beat gay lover to death with a fire extinguisher’

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A convicted con artist beat his boyfriend to death with a fire extinguisher at a Travelodge hotel in 2007, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

The victim, Gareth MacDonald, 30, of Prestatyn, had become suspicious about his lover Glenn Rycroft’s past.

Rycroft, a former steward with British Airways, had previously pretended to have cancer in order to raise £200,000 to fund his ‘treatment’, which he then spent on travelling around the world.

MacDonald, who had started a relationship with Rycroft after meeting him over the internet, left his wife and three children for the man.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: “The defendant murdered Gareth MacDonald by hitting him twice over the head with a fire extinguisher.”

The court heard that the men had checked in at the Travelodge at Heston services after getting lost while driving to meet Rycroft’s uncle and aunt.

MacDonald was found face down on the bed the following morning, wearing only his underwear.

The prosecution alleged Rycroft had tried to cover up his crime by leaving the hotel at 7am, only to return shortly afterwards to ‘discover’ the body before running to the reception area and asking for an ambulance to be called.

The prosecution said: “There was blood everywhere as a result of two large, curved cuts to the back of Mr MacDonald’s head. The weapon was still close at hand. On the floor, by the side of the bed, was a blood-stained fire extinguisher.”

Aylett continued: “What happened in that hotel room would seem to be a culmination of a series of different factors, not least of which was the desire not to lose face in the eyes of his [Rycroft’s] aunt and uncle.”

Rycroft, 33, Rhewl, Holywell, denies murder. The trial was adjourned yesterday.