‘I just want to be with Nikitta Grender’ - murdered Newport teen’s pal admits arson

South Wales Argus: ANGUISH: Luke Morgan told a court he committed arson because he wanted be with his pal, Nikitta Grender ANGUISH: Luke Morgan told a court he committed arson because he wanted be with his pal, Nikitta Grender

A DISTRAUGHT friend of murdered Newport teenager Nikitta Grender torched his home in a bid to die and be with her, a court was told. NATALIE CROCKETT reports.

THE best friend of murdered pregnant teenager Nikitta Grender set fire to his house while he was inside because he wanted to die to be with her, a court heard.

Luke Morgan, of Broadmead Park, started the fire after returning home from a night out in the early hours of October 18, 2012. An hearing at Newport Crown Court on November 1, heard Morgan was upset after recent arguments with his mother and started to feel down when looking at photos of Miss Grender, 19.

He later told police: “I don’t want to be here, I just want to be with Nikitta.”

Morgan, 21, lit a coat hanger using a cigarette lighter and put it in a recycling box, which ignited around 5.04am.

He planned to stay in the house, the court heard, but as the fire spread Morgan panicked and woke a neighbour who called emergency services.

The court was told Morgan was very upset by Miss Grender’s death and was fed up after arguing with his mum. The family dog, which was in the house at the time, died as a result of the blaze.

The fire was an “extensive one” and there was smoke damage throughout the house, particularly in the downstairs bedroom.

Asked by police if he wanted to kill himself, Morgan, who has previously taken anti-depressants, said yes, adding he “didn’t want to be here anymore”.

He later expressed remorse for his actions when he realised the blaze could have spread to other houses on the estate.

The court heard this was the second time he had set fire to the house, having been given a 12-month community order for arson in August 2011.

On that occasion he set fire to his bedroom curtains when his mother and young brother were in the house.

They all got out safely.

Morgan pleaded guilty to one count of arson, being reckless as to whether life would be endangered at a hearing at Newport Crown Court on Friday. He denied a second count of arson with intent to endanger life. This was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service who said they did not wish to proceed to trial on the matter and asked for it to remain on Morgan’s file.

Sue Ferrier, defending, said doctors had assessed Morgan and had expressed significant concern about his mental state.

She said they were of the viewhe should be detained to a psychiatric unit rather than a prison, if the court imposed a custodial sentence.

The case was adjourned for sentencing until January 25, and Morgan was remanded in custody.

‘I’ll stand by him for Nikitta’

MISS Grender’s father Paul Brunnock, 40, told the Argus after a previous court hearing in November that he would stand by Morgan, just as his daughter would have wanted.

He said: “I have known Luke for a long time and they [he and Nikitta] were really close. What he has done is absolutely terrible but you just don’t know how things like this affect people.

“I didn’t like the fact that he said that [Miss Grender’s death] was why he did it, but I am there for him.

“At the end of the day he was a good friend of Nikitta’s and I think she would want me to be there for him.”

Murderer was branded ‘very dangerous’ by appeal judges

MISS Grender was raped and murdered by Carl Whant on February 5, 2011. Her unborn child Kelsey-May was also killed.

He then set fire to her home to cover his tracks and returned to a house party where her boyfriend and his cousin Ryan Mayes was and lied about where he had been.

Whant, 28, of Bettws, Newport, was jailed for life, with a minimum tariff of 35 years in March 2012.

He appealed against his sentence last November (2012), claiming it was too long and that the killing of Kelsey-May should not have been considered an aggravating factor. This was rejected by three high court judges who dubbed him “a very dangerous man”.

Morgan was a close family friend of Miss Grender and organised a collection following her death to buy a floral wreath.

He paid tribute to her at her funeral, recalling how the pair used to sing Britney Spears songs and spoke of how the mum-to-be had always been there for him when no-one else was. He told hundreds of mourners: “I’ll be thinking of you this year, next year and every year. We will never forget such a beautiful, fun-loving, up-for-everything girl like you. Can’t believe you have been taken away from us so soon.”

After Miss Grender’s death, Morgan had also appeared as a witness in a high-profile Newport trial after Richard Glyn Carslake, 48, was found dead at his flat in Jeddo Street, Pill, in April 2011.

Two men were later found guilty of Mr Carslake’s manslaughter and robbing him.

Comments (25)

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10:33am Mon 7 Jan 13

let em swing says...

would give him the benefit fo the doubt for the first fire, but for this second one he should get 5 years.
would give him the benefit fo the doubt for the first fire, but for this second one he should get 5 years. let em swing
  • Score: 0

11:40am Mon 7 Jan 13

On the inside says...

let em swing wrote:
would give him the benefit fo the doubt for the first fire, but for this second one he should get 5 years.
Half right in my view. Endangering the lives of others cannot be an action of no consequence but this lad is clearly not right. A hospital order would seem the more appropriate sentence. Before anyone jumps on my head I have visited regional secure units and they are no holiday camp but at least appropriate care and long term support is involved.
[quote][p][bold]let em swing[/bold] wrote: would give him the benefit fo the doubt for the first fire, but for this second one he should get 5 years.[/p][/quote]Half right in my view. Endangering the lives of others cannot be an action of no consequence but this lad is clearly not right. A hospital order would seem the more appropriate sentence. Before anyone jumps on my head I have visited regional secure units and they are no holiday camp but at least appropriate care and long term support is involved. On the inside
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Me, Me, Me! says...

Poor show blaming his actions on Nikkita's death. Obviously needs help.
Poor show blaming his actions on Nikkita's death. Obviously needs help. Me, Me, Me!
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Mon 7 Jan 13

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

What a Muppet !
What a Muppet ! kalwales@hotmail.com
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Michael Weedall says...

I am a heartless cold person but this guy is in need of help and does not need a trial on here with a barrage of abuse and SWA you should not allow it to happen.
I am a heartless cold person but this guy is in need of help and does not need a trial on here with a barrage of abuse and SWA you should not allow it to happen. Michael Weedall
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Mon 7 Jan 13

rhinestine says...

Idiot........
Idiot........ rhinestine
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Mr Bump. says...

He seems to be close to a lot of Murder/Arson enquiries.
He seems to be close to a lot of Murder/Arson enquiries. Mr Bump.
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Mr Bump. says...

He seems to be close to a lot of Murder/Arson enquiries.
He seems to be close to a lot of Murder/Arson enquiries. Mr Bump.
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Mon 7 Jan 13

richie55 says...

I happen to know this young man and basically he is a good person. He obviously has problems and need help not punishment.
I happen to know this young man and basically he is a good person. He obviously has problems and need help not punishment. richie55
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Mon 7 Jan 13

SUNSHINE ON A CLOUDY DAY says...

Dont know the boy but I do know that kids don`t deal with traumatic events in the same most adults do and I have no doubt that Nikitta`s death affected him probably more than anyone realised.
He also said that she was there for him when no-one else was so doesn`t seem to me that he has a good family background.
I hope he is given help and support to enable him to come to terms with what happened.
and no i`m not saying what he did was right
Dont know the boy but I do know that kids don`t deal with traumatic events in the same most adults do and I have no doubt that Nikitta`s death affected him probably more than anyone realised. He also said that she was there for him when no-one else was so doesn`t seem to me that he has a good family background. I hope he is given help and support to enable him to come to terms with what happened. and no i`m not saying what he did was right SUNSHINE ON A CLOUDY DAY
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Ljt7271 says...

I actually know this person very well. He is an awesome friend who has been through a lot in his short life - he is only 21 and has had his best friend who he grew up with raped and murdered, and has also had to testify in another murder trial. How many of us have been through things like that? And for people to comment on here and call him "muppet" or "idiot" is sick and they are the muppets! Don't comment on things when u don't have a clue about the facts and all you gave read us a report in a minor newspaper where the reporter hasn't even got his name correct!
I actually know this person very well. He is an awesome friend who has been through a lot in his short life - he is only 21 and has had his best friend who he grew up with raped and murdered, and has also had to testify in another murder trial. How many of us have been through things like that? And for people to comment on here and call him "muppet" or "idiot" is sick and they are the muppets! Don't comment on things when u don't have a clue about the facts and all you gave read us a report in a minor newspaper where the reporter hasn't even got his name correct! Ljt7271
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Mon 7 Jan 13

ianzemma says...

what a load of codswhallop! using her death as an excuse is rubbish!
what a load of codswhallop! using her death as an excuse is rubbish! ianzemma
  • Score: 0

6:02pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Dai Rear says...

"torched his home" which, I suspect, belongs to us. I wonder whether he'd have "torched" it if he'd had to work to pay for it. Guess we'll never know....
"torched his home" which, I suspect, belongs to us. I wonder whether he'd have "torched" it if he'd had to work to pay for it. Guess we'll never know.... Dai Rear
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Mon 7 Jan 13

crosskeysgirl18 says...

This guy needs psychiatric help rather than a prison sentence. He admitted that he started the fire. And he woke up and smelt the coffee when it was too late and thats why he alerted a neighbour. Its abit obvious he loved her as a best friend would. Its the case of a down and a depressed man looking for attention. Im sure he's not a real harm to the community and I bet all of you posting horrible comments know that he's totally regretting what he done. So if you want to say something, take the positives from the negatives not the other way around!
This guy needs psychiatric help rather than a prison sentence. He admitted that he started the fire. And he woke up and smelt the coffee when it was too late and thats why he alerted a neighbour. Its abit obvious he loved her as a best friend would. Its the case of a down and a depressed man looking for attention. Im sure he's not a real harm to the community and I bet all of you posting horrible comments know that he's totally regretting what he done. So if you want to say something, take the positives from the negatives not the other way around! crosskeysgirl18
  • Score: 0

7:17pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Ljt7271 says...

Well said cross keys girl 18. People shouldn't be commenting on this when they don't know all the facts and the real circumstances that have driven Luke to do wot he did. Dai Rear Luke does work so ur comment is a load of crap! Why don't u stop and think about wot this feels like for the friends and family of Luke who have to read this **** from u lot of knobs on here who think they r being smart by commenting on something they know nothing about. Wot Luke did was a cry for help and he needs support , not abuse from narrow minded bigoted people who think they are clever putting stupid comments on here. Those who really know Luke are very supportive of him and love him very much as a friend or family member. The judge in the hearing accepted that his actions were not in any way malicious with an intent to hurt anyone but himself! And if the S Wales Argus was a good newspaper they would monitor comments on here and block any such stupid comments by narrow minded people that could affect Luke further and upset his family and friends who are already going through loads when someone they love is in jail instead if getting the psychological support that he needs!
Well said cross keys girl 18. People shouldn't be commenting on this when they don't know all the facts and the real circumstances that have driven Luke to do wot he did. Dai Rear Luke does work so ur comment is a load of crap! Why don't u stop and think about wot this feels like for the friends and family of Luke who have to read this **** from u lot of knobs on here who think they r being smart by commenting on something they know nothing about. Wot Luke did was a cry for help and he needs support , not abuse from narrow minded bigoted people who think they are clever putting stupid comments on here. Those who really know Luke are very supportive of him and love him very much as a friend or family member. The judge in the hearing accepted that his actions were not in any way malicious with an intent to hurt anyone but himself! And if the S Wales Argus was a good newspaper they would monitor comments on here and block any such stupid comments by narrow minded people that could affect Luke further and upset his family and friends who are already going through loads when someone they love is in jail instead if getting the psychological support that he needs! Ljt7271
  • Score: 0

8:15pm Mon 7 Jan 13

gordelpus says...

crosskeysgirl18 wrote:
This guy needs psychiatric help rather than a prison sentence. He admitted that he started the fire. And he woke up and smelt the coffee when it was too late and thats why he alerted a neighbour. Its abit obvious he loved her as a best friend would. Its the case of a down and a depressed man looking for attention. Im sure he's not a real harm to the community and I bet all of you posting horrible comments know that he's totally regretting what he done. So if you want to say something, take the positives from the negatives not the other way around!
This is his second arson and a very risky 'cry for help'. Setting a fire because he's 'down and depressed' makes him risky to those who live around him. Disposal via a hospital order in this case is not the best or safest option. There needs to be an element of reparation in the sentence. The public need protection.
[quote][p][bold]crosskeysgirl18[/bold] wrote: This guy needs psychiatric help rather than a prison sentence. He admitted that he started the fire. And he woke up and smelt the coffee when it was too late and thats why he alerted a neighbour. Its abit obvious he loved her as a best friend would. Its the case of a down and a depressed man looking for attention. Im sure he's not a real harm to the community and I bet all of you posting horrible comments know that he's totally regretting what he done. So if you want to say something, take the positives from the negatives not the other way around![/p][/quote]This is his second arson and a very risky 'cry for help'. Setting a fire because he's 'down and depressed' makes him risky to those who live around him. Disposal via a hospital order in this case is not the best or safest option. There needs to be an element of reparation in the sentence. The public need protection. gordelpus
  • Score: 0

11:08am Tue 8 Jan 13

rhinestine says...

Ljt7271 wrote:
Well said cross keys girl 18. People shouldn't be commenting on this when they don't know all the facts and the real circumstances that have driven Luke to do wot he did. Dai Rear Luke does work so ur comment is a load of crap! Why don't u stop and think about wot this feels like for the friends and family of Luke who have to read this **** from u lot of knobs on here who think they r being smart by commenting on something they know nothing about. Wot Luke did was a cry for help and he needs support , not abuse from narrow minded bigoted people who think they are clever putting stupid comments on here. Those who really know Luke are very supportive of him and love him very much as a friend or family member. The judge in the hearing accepted that his actions were not in any way malicious with an intent to hurt anyone but himself! And if the S Wales Argus was a good newspaper they would monitor comments on here and block any such stupid comments by narrow minded people that could affect Luke further and upset his family and friends who are already going through loads when someone they love is in jail instead if getting the psychological support that he needs!
Yes, they would remove your comment for a start for calling everyone a k**b!!

If he did not want comments why talk to the paper then?? Of course we don't know Luke! but thats the freedom of speach, people can say what they want within reason and everyones point of view is different.

So, get off your high horse, if you think setting fire to a house is normal or a cry for help, your deluided.

With all the help on-line and doctors etc, he could have gone and seen someone rather than set fire to his council house, who the tax payer will have to cough for to get it repaired!!
[quote][p][bold]Ljt7271[/bold] wrote: Well said cross keys girl 18. People shouldn't be commenting on this when they don't know all the facts and the real circumstances that have driven Luke to do wot he did. Dai Rear Luke does work so ur comment is a load of crap! Why don't u stop and think about wot this feels like for the friends and family of Luke who have to read this **** from u lot of knobs on here who think they r being smart by commenting on something they know nothing about. Wot Luke did was a cry for help and he needs support , not abuse from narrow minded bigoted people who think they are clever putting stupid comments on here. Those who really know Luke are very supportive of him and love him very much as a friend or family member. The judge in the hearing accepted that his actions were not in any way malicious with an intent to hurt anyone but himself! And if the S Wales Argus was a good newspaper they would monitor comments on here and block any such stupid comments by narrow minded people that could affect Luke further and upset his family and friends who are already going through loads when someone they love is in jail instead if getting the psychological support that he needs![/p][/quote]Yes, they would remove your comment for a start for calling everyone a k**b!! If he did not want comments why talk to the paper then?? Of course we don't know Luke! but thats the freedom of speach, people can say what they want within reason and everyones point of view is different. So, get off your high horse, if you think setting fire to a house is normal or a cry for help, your deluided. With all the help on-line and doctors etc, he could have gone and seen someone rather than set fire to his council house, who the tax payer will have to cough for to get it repaired!! rhinestine
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Dee-Gee says...

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA, "help on-line"... oh, dear me... "gone and seen someone"... oh, rhinestine, you are a comedian.

Either that, or you're a hateful human being without a drop of empathy in the withered, empty space where your heart should be... and absolutely *no* experience of serious mental health issues, or realisitic expectations of the kind of care that's actually available, let alone an understanding of how capable people are of taking up such help when their in that situation.
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA, "help on-line"... oh, dear me... "gone and seen someone"... oh, rhinestine, you are a comedian. Either that, or you're a hateful human being without a drop of empathy in the withered, empty space where your heart should be... and absolutely *no* experience of serious mental health issues, or realisitic expectations of the kind of care that's actually available, let alone an understanding of how capable people are of taking up such help when their in that situation. Dee-Gee
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Tue 8 Jan 13

lixygirl91 says...

I know Luke very well and have done for a very long time, yes what he done was very wrong and to have done it twice is awful but that only proves how much help he really needs and for all those who say he's just using Nikitta's death as an excuse well that just prove's that you do not know him at all as Luke was devastated over her death and what had sadly happened to her, it made a big impact on his life as it did to many other people, yes i do think what he did was wrong but he needs help and support not judgement and cruel comments really no one could say or do anything to make him feel any worse than he already does trust me this lad is already paying for what he did. As for the comments about tax payers paying for the house he burnt he was working, you have a problem about that dont write about it on here write to our so called government about that they are the only people that will answer YOUR problem about that.
I know Luke very well and have done for a very long time, yes what he done was very wrong and to have done it twice is awful but that only proves how much help he really needs and for all those who say he's just using Nikitta's death as an excuse well that just prove's that you do not know him at all as Luke was devastated over her death and what had sadly happened to her, it made a big impact on his life as it did to many other people, yes i do think what he did was wrong but he needs help and support not judgement and cruel comments really no one could say or do anything to make him feel any worse than he already does trust me this lad is already paying for what he did. As for the comments about tax payers paying for the house he burnt he was working, you have a problem about that dont write about it on here write to our so called government about that they are the only people that will answer YOUR problem about that. lixygirl91
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Tue 8 Jan 13

portia 21 says...

There are many people in this world who suffer from great loss as well as coping with debilitating, distressing mental health problems and other tragic circumstances however they do not endanger the lives of others with their 'cry's for help'. For a person to commit arson not once but twice within a period of eighteen months without a thought for the danger he places those around him in , certainly speaks of the actions of a disturbed mind but also a very selfish one. I understand that some people's coping mechanisms are not as developed as perhaps they should be and that death or the idea of non existence presents an end to unimaginable suffering but ultimately that is a choice that they make and no one else , to place innocent individuals in danger for want of 'attention' is deplorable and has become somewhat of a habit with this young man and certainly needs to be addressed by the justice system before he kills someone with his attention seeking. As it is too late for the family dog!
There are many people in this world who suffer from great loss as well as coping with debilitating, distressing mental health problems and other tragic circumstances however they do not endanger the lives of others with their 'cry's for help'. For a person to commit arson not once but twice within a period of eighteen months without a thought for the danger he places those around him in , certainly speaks of the actions of a disturbed mind but also a very selfish one. I understand that some people's coping mechanisms are not as developed as perhaps they should be and that death or the idea of non existence presents an end to unimaginable suffering but ultimately that is a choice that they make and no one else , to place innocent individuals in danger for want of 'attention' is deplorable and has become somewhat of a habit with this young man and certainly needs to be addressed by the justice system before he kills someone with his attention seeking. As it is too late for the family dog! portia 21
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Sun 13 Jan 13

levo30 says...

listen here I am luke morgans auntie before everyone starts abusing him you all want to get all the facts before judging him and this isn't hel[ing his mum by reading this rubbish !
listen here I am luke morgans auntie before everyone starts abusing him you all want to get all the facts before judging him and this isn't hel[ing his mum by reading this rubbish ! levo30
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Sun 13 Jan 13

karinnluke says...

hi all to have left bad comments about son luke morgan im his mam n he needs loads of help n now hes geting it.there no need for the name calling n all yes he done wrong,he didnt blame kitta i no luke more than anyone else.as everyone got there on mind in what thay say.and most of what the argus wrote about luke is wrong.as i really need to let peopls no luke hes a really good person.and the first fire was with him playing with a lighter and curtin court fire.well im just sick and tired of people n what thay think but no one knows the real truth about how lukes mind works.i so really need to get my story to the argus as well as other people
hi all to have left bad comments about son luke morgan im his mam n he needs loads of help n now hes geting it.there no need for the name calling n all yes he done wrong,he didnt blame kitta i no luke more than anyone else.as everyone got there on mind in what thay say.and most of what the argus wrote about luke is wrong.as i really need to let peopls no luke hes a really good person.and the first fire was with him playing with a lighter and curtin court fire.well im just sick and tired of people n what thay think but no one knows the real truth about how lukes mind works.i so really need to get my story to the argus as well as other people karinnluke
  • Score: 0

6:02pm Sun 13 Jan 13

morgan1974 says...

im luke uncle, ur comments are so far from the truth. nobody children are gods little angels,what he did was wrong and he understands that. him and kitta were more like bro and sister, it devastated luke and the whole estate. people deal with this in many different ways, i love and will standby luke no matter what.
im luke uncle, ur comments are so far from the truth. nobody children are gods little angels,what he did was wrong and he understands that. him and kitta were more like bro and sister, it devastated luke and the whole estate. people deal with this in many different ways, i love and will standby luke no matter what. morgan1974
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Sun 13 Jan 13

morgan1974 says...

kalwales@hotmail.com wrote:
What a Muppet !
a silly comment from someone that doesnt know luke.
[quote][p][bold]kalwales@hotmail.com[/bold] wrote: What a Muppet ![/p][/quote]a silly comment from someone that doesnt know luke. morgan1974
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Sun 13 Jan 13

morgan1974 says...

Michael Weedall wrote:
I am a heartless cold person but this guy is in need of help and does not need a trial on here with a barrage of abuse and SWA you should not allow it to happen.
toally agree with you.
[quote][p][bold]Michael Weedall[/bold] wrote: I am a heartless cold person but this guy is in need of help and does not need a trial on here with a barrage of abuse and SWA you should not allow it to happen.[/p][/quote]toally agree with you. morgan1974
  • Score: 0

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