Dawn Lewis: Moment killer yoga teacher, 53, was arrested covered in blood and sentenced to life in prison


After shocking footage of her being arrested while covered in blood was shown to the court, a yoga teacher was sentenced to life in prison for murdering her ex-police officer lodger – two decades after he killed his wife.

Dawn Lewis, 53, was convicted of stabbing Glenn Richards, 61, to death at her home in order to evict him and will now serve at least 20 years in prison.

The trial heard that Mr Richards moved to Glastonbury after being released from prison for the murder of his former wife in 2011. She moved in with the defendant in August of last year, but prosecutors learned they frequently argued and he complained about her noise.

Dawn Lewis
Dawn Lewis

Lewis testified during her trial that she feared for her life during a “struggle” with the knife and that he tried to kill her. The jury, however, rejected her claim that she was only defending herself when she carried out the fatal stabbing in April after nearly nine hours of deliberation.

Before the sentence was handed down today, the victim’s son Jamie Richards read a tearful victim impact statement, saying it brought back horrific memories of what he witnessed as a child.

Jamie told a court he felt ‘robbed of a chance at closure’ as he was just weeks away from seeing his dad for the first time since witnessing his mother’s bloody death as an 11-year-old back in 2001.

He said: ‘In 2001 Glenn Richards killed my mother in front of me and my brother. I was just 11 at the time – that was the last time saw I saw Glenn Richards alive.

‘Since Glenn’s death I have been taken back 21 year to that scared 11 year old boy unaware of what the future will hold.

‘I listened to the details of what Glenn did to my mum and found myself back there in the kitchen, making apple crumble when Glenn burst through the door with a knife screaming ‘where is your mother?’

‘It brought back everything, a new wave of emotion that left me feeling confused and emotionally exhausted.

‘I felt in moments Glenn deserved what happened, but I have my mum’s heart and no-one, not even Glenn should have their life taken from them.

‘Because of Dawn Lewis, I have had to start another grief process because of the murder of another parent all over again.’

Mr Richards had previously told the court that he had five large stab wounds, two of which were ‘not survivable.’ She had three cuts on her thigh, but one doctor testified at the trial that her injuries “did not appear to fit the description of the attack” and were “self-inflicted.”

CCTV footage was shown during the trial of the moment Lewis was arrested in her home on April 18 while Mr Richards was ‘unconscious’ and dying from his injuries.

Mr Richards was convicted of manslaughter in 2002 for the death of his ex-wife due to diminished responsibility, according to Bristol Crown Court.

Dawn Lewis: Moment killer yoga teacher, 53, was arrested covered in blood and sentenced to life in prison
Glenn Richards

Sentencing her at Bristol Crown Court today, judge William Hart said she had tried to cover up her murder by playing on her fear she could have been another victim.

He said: ‘Glenn Richards was jailed for life for stabbing to death Karen Richards on 7 May 2001 in front of their two young sons – Jamie and Daniel.

‘He was forever marked by the burden of guilt for what he had done – and rightly so – but he was genuinely contrite.’

He said rather than being fearful of him, as she had claimed, she had become ‘increasingly intolerant’ of him.

‘You decided Glenn Richards had to be removed from your life. You pre-mediated his killing and how you might get away with it.’

The judge said she added colour to his events by trying to paint him as an imminent danger to him.

But he added: ‘Your actions were attributed to anger rather than terror. You armed yourself with a knife, went upstairs, forced entry and he was repeatedly stabbed by you.

‘It was a savage attack.

‘You then inflicted minor incise wounds to your thigh to make it look like you were the victim. The disparity between his wounds and yours were telling.’

Lewis previously said she had become increasingly alarmed about her lodger’s behavior and begun carrying a knife as he started talking ‘in a different manner’ about the killing of his wife.

She said: ‘He started fantasising about how he would do it differently. He would just come out with it. I was terrified he was going to jump out and stab me.’

As part of the trial CCTV footage was shown of the moment Lewis was arrested in her home on April 18 while Mr Richards was 'unconscious' and dying of his injuries

Lewis said on the day of the killing she was confronted with the defendant and claimed he had ‘lunged at me’ with a knife after she said she’d call the police.

She added: ‘He lunged at me and I saw he had a knife. I grabbed his arm. Then I bit him, he dropped the knife. He was going to kill me. I picked up the knife. I think at the time I thought I’d stabbed him in the stomach, but he was still holding on to me. I know I stabbed him, it was me, nobody else, I have to own that.’

Lewis told the jury he then tried to stab her again during a struggle and she shoved him with her foot and he fell down the stairs.

She told the court: ‘I wanted him to break a leg or be unconscious. I wanted him away. He was sitting at the bottom of the stairs looking up with a knife still in his hand. He was conscious and had the knife in his hand. He then slouched and the knife dropped. He cried out “help me”.

‘He grabbed my ankle and I fell on my knees. He went for the knife but didn’t get it. So I grabbed it and stabbed him.’

Lewis phoned 999 to report the incident and the call was played to the jury.

When asked to say exactly what had happened by the call handler, she responds: ‘Right, I don’t know really what happened. He’s a lodger, I wanted to get him out. He said no.

‘I went to the door, he stabbed me in the leg, I took the knife off him, I stabbed him.

‘He fell down the stairs – I stabbed him again, as he was trying to take the knife of me. and I called you.’

Video footage played to the jury also showed the moment of her arrest as she screams to cops while being restrained on the floor: ‘Check my friend. I’m wounded but I’m not **** dead.’

Following the verdict, Lewis was remanded into custody pending a sentencing hearing at 10.30am today.

The court heard during the trial that detectives became suspicious of her story after the doctor who treated her leg wounds suggested they appeared to be self-inflicted.

Lewis’ associate then told officers that she’d told him she wanted Mr Richards to leave her house and described a video call with her just hours before the incident in which she showed him a knife. During the video call, Lewis mentioned stabbing Mr Richards in his bedroom before stabbing herself to claim self-defense.

Detectives also discovered hostile voicemails left by Lewis, as well as text messages between the two, casting doubt on her version of events.

After hearing all of the evidence over the course of three weeks, jurors rejected Lewis’ story and concluded she had planned to murder Mr Richards.

‘Dawn Lewis claimed she feared Glenn Richards and was worried what he’d do to her as his mental health deteriorated,’ said Detective Inspector Neil Meade, the senior investigating officer, after the case.

‘After deciding she no longer wanted him to stay with her, she devised a plan that she believed would allow her to get away with murder. She may have assumed that the witness to whom she revealed her plan would not tell us about their conversation out of loyalty, but this assumption was incorrect.

‘The witnesses’ evidence, along with that of the doctor who treated Lewis at hospital, and the picture the text messages between her and Mr Lewis painted of their relationship, was compelling.

‘The jury had no choice in my mind but to reject Lewis’ lies and find her guilty of murder.’

DI Meade added: ‘Mr Richards had been estranged from his sons for a number of years but had recently begun to reconnect.

‘They were due to meet up in the near future but Lewis’ actions robbed them of this opportunity.

‘Specially trained family liaison officers have kept them informed throughout and our thoughts continue to be with them.’