Family say Exeter grandmother was 'forgotten' during trial of manipulative murderer

The family of Exeter woman Lorna England say she has "been forgotten" during the trial of Cameron Davis, who has today (July 9) been convicted of her murder. They say they have been "living a nightmare" ever since their beloved mum, grandma and wife was killed as she walked home from the shops.

The jury was sent out yesterday and returned their verdict just before 1pm today, finding Cameron Davis guilty of murdering Lorna. Davis, 31 from Exmouth, had admitted killing the 74-year-old woman but denied murder, saying he was mentally ill at the time.

During the trial, which lasted nearly three weeks, the jury was told that Davis had made threats to kill a "random stranger" on the day of the murder if he was not sectioned. In the weeks leading up to the attack, he had also become fixated with his housing support worker and threatened to "smash her head in".

He had been assessed by two psyciatrists on January 28, 2023 after saying he would kill himself or someone else but he was not sectioned. On February 16, he was given notice to leave his accommodation, a guesthouse in Exmouth.

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Davis called police at 4:40am on February 18, telling them to arrest him otherwise he would kill himself or set fire to the guesthouse. He was taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital by ambulance to be assessed but it was decided that he did not need to be admitted to hospital. He left the hospital at 12:49pm.

That afternoon he purchased a number of items, including alcohol and a knife, before spending time in a doorway at the Wonford Sports Centre. He then followed Lorna, who had just been to Lidl, into a wooded area of Ludwell Valley Park, where he attacked her with a knife. She sustained a fatal wound to her chest, a non-fatal wound to her neck and self-defence wounds on her hands.

Despite the best efforts of members of the public who rushed to help Lorna and emergency services, the fit and active 74-year-old was pronounced dead at 4:44pm.

Davis left the scene and made several stops at pubs in the Heavitree and Wonford areas, before heading into the city centre later that evening. He was spotted by CCTV operators on Exeter High Street at was arrested at 9:30pm.

The prosecution said that Davis was angry and manipulative, a state which was worsened by his use of alcohol and drugs, but not psychotic. The defence said he was suffering from a severe schizoaffective disorder.

Lorna's family were in attendance at Exeter Crown Court to hear the verdict and breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that Davis had been found guilty of murder. In a statement outside court, Lorna's son Richard said listening to the trial had been a "traumatic and difficult" ordeal.

Lorna England's family outside Exeter Crown Court on July 9, 2024 after Cameron Davis was found guilty of her murder -Credit:Mary Stenson/DevonLive
Lorna England's family outside Exeter Crown Court on July 9, 2024 after Cameron Davis was found guilty of her murder -Credit:Mary Stenson/DevonLive

He described Davis as "an angry and manipulative liar, an individual who reacts aggressively when he does not get his own way" and said he had shown no remorse for his actions. Richard also said the family felt that Lorna had been forgotten and paid heartfelt tribute to the "loving, young-at-heart, beautiful, gentle, fun-loving and kind lady".

He said: "Our family has been devastated by the brutal murder of our much loved Lorna. We've been tormented by the violence, pain and suffering inflicted by Cameron Davis on Lorna from such a mindless and brutal knife attack.

"We will never be able to come to terms with losing Lorna in this truly horrific and evil way. After enduring 16 months of waiting for the trial, we are now slightly closer to understanding what happened on that day.

"It has been traumatic and difficult to sit through the trial and listen to all the evidence. We still have to live with the knowledge that we may never know or understand the reasons for this callous attack on a defenceless, kind and beautiful lady.

Lorna England
Lorna England -Credit:Devon & Cornwall Police

"Was this attack a result of threats made by Cameron Davis earlier in the day, saying he wanted to kill a random person? If only we knew why you did this to Lorna.

"We were relieved and overcome to hear today's verdict of murder and the knowledge that Cameron Davis will be in prison, where he belongs. Our loss will continue as nothing will bring Lorna back.

"Cameron Davis is an angry and manipulative liar, an individual who reacts aggressively when he does not get his own way. Throughout the process, we have seen no evidence of any remorse or taking responsibility for his actions that day.

"It's been incredibly distressing and upsetting that throughout the process, it has all been about Cameron Davis. It feels to us as if Lorna has been forgotten. She has become lost in the process. This is soul-destroying and heart-breaking. Lorna is the victim here and that's why we feel it's important that we tell you how lovely and loved she was.

"Lorna was married to David for 52 years with two children, Richard and Jackie. She was a mother in law to Sarah and Matt, a grandma to Sophie, Jake, Lewis and Harry, an eldest sister too to Wendy, Liz, Belle, Mike, Sue, Ally, Graham and Mark, an auntie to many, a cousin and a friend to so many people. She was robbed of her future and denied the opportunity of ever becoming a great grandma.

"Life without Lorna is lonely and empty. The family home misses her presence, her love, her laughter and her voice.

"This has had a profound and lasting effect on all the family and friends. Every single second of every day we miss Lorna, and we're living a nightmare. If you ever met Lorna, you felt privileged to spend time with the most loving, young-at-heart, beautiful, gentle, fun-loving and kind lady. She would light up a room with her presence and such a beautiful smile.

"There are many agencies and people that our family would like to thank for all their incredible hard work and support, to Devon and Cornwall Police Major Crime Investigations team, our family liaison officer and all the team that have been involved in this massively complex case, the prosecution's legal team to the emergency services team who tried in vain to save Lorna's life.

"We'd also like to say a special thank you to the witness who saw and spoke to Cameron Davis immediately after the attack and was brave enough to risk her own life and, finally, to everyone who came forward to the police to provide statements and footage."

Cameron Davis has been found guilty of murder
Cameron Davis has been found guilty of murder -Credit:Devon & Cornwall Police

Speaking on behalf of Devon & Cornwall Police, Detective Inspector Dave Egan said the force believes it could have been anyone who was attacked that day.

He said: "Today Cameron Davis was found guilty of the brutal murder of Lorna England who was stabbed to death in Exeter last year. Her death shocked the community and left an irreplaceable hole in her family.

"Lorna England left her home one February afternoon to pop to the local shop and never returned home. Cameron Davis launched a violent and entirely unprovoked attack on Lorna, stabbing her multiple times before leaving the scene.

"Members of the public rushed to Lorna's aid, staying with her while officers and paramedics arrived. Despite desperate efforts from everybody at the scene, Lorna died from her injuries.

"Our belief is that it could have been anyone he attacked that day but sadly for Lorna and all who knew and loved her, it was her who he chose and only he will ever truly know the reason why. The swift identification of Davis, his charge and conviction are testament to the thorough and extremely detailed investigation carried out by officers. We would like to thank the family for their incredible courage and support shown throughout this investigation.

"As a force, we are committed to tackling violence against women and knife crime. These acts and acts like these will not go unpunished as we work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice."