Saturday, 10 Jun 2023

Grindr killer who lured teen on date and stabbed him 128 times jailed

A Grindr killer who lured a “kind-hearted” sales assistant on a date and fatally stabbed him 128 times has been jailed.

Alex Davies, 18, was murdered in Parbold, Lancashire, by Brian Healless, also 18, after they agreed to meet up.

Healless told openly gay Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, he was "not out yet" and suggested a "discreet spot" halfway between their two homes for their first meeting.

The defendant stabbed him 128 times at the top of Parbold Hill and dragged the Home Bargains worker face down by his collar in the mud, while still alive, and covered his body with branches and leaves.

Healless was then captured on CCTV on the afternoon of April 29 last year calmly riding away from the scene on his mountain bike with his victim's rucksack on his back.

Sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Mark Brown told him: "Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.

"You lulled him to his death and executed the killing in a savage way.

“You were undoubtedly setting him up to kill and you are a manipulative, calculating and devious person.

"It is extremely fortuitous that you were arrested before anyone else suffered the same fate."

Healless, from Chorley, tried to set up similar outdoor meetings with four other males on Grindr in the days after the killing, Preston Crown Court heard.

Psychiatrists who examined Healless, who came to England from his native Lithuania at the age of seven, agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

But jurors rejected his defence that his responsibility for the killing was diminished by his mental state and unanimously convicted him on Monday of murder.

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Judge Brown told Healless: "I am satisfied that such was the planning, premeditation and the nature of the killing that your culpability is not reduced significantly."

Mr Davies’ body was discovered on May 1 and Healless was arrested two days later.

Detectives found the victim's headphones, spare phone and wallet with the defendant's bank card inside – which the judge said were intended as trophies.

Healless told doctors that "a voice in his head" said he was going to be harmed on Parbold Hill and that he attacked Mr Davies in fear of his own life.

The defendant explained he had taken a knife to the scene for his own protection and then tried to contact other young men because he "just wanted to meet somebody".

He said he was sexually interested in men and women but had never had a relationship.

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Detective Inspector Tracey McMurdo, of Lancashire Police, said: "Alex was a young man known for being friendly, open and trusting, and at the age of 18 he had his whole life ahead of him.

"His family have been left utterly devastated by his death and they must be praised for conducting themselves with nothing but dignity throughout this investigation and trial.

"Although cases like this are extremely rare, Alex's death does highlight the dangers people can face when they arrange to meet up with strangers they've met online.

"While we know people will not be meeting socially at the moment, we would urge you – when normality resumes – to follow safety advice such as arranging to meet somewhere busy, telling a friend or family member where you are going and who you are going with, arranging to call a friend at a certain time so that they know you are safe, and sharing your GPS location with a trusted friend or family member via your smartphone."

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Mr Davies's mum Beverley added: "We as a family would like to thank the police and the prosecution for all their diligence and continued support throughout the trial.

"We would also like to thank the judge, and also with his persistence in seeing the trial through at this very difficult time due to the coronavirus.

"We are so relieved that the jury came to the right decision and common sense prevailed.

"Although the verdict won't bring back Alex, he was much loved by us all. A kind and gentle boy, the antithesis of his murderer who we believe should never be released and will always be a danger to society."

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