CW: Graphic content
A judge in the north of England has sentenced Brian Healless, aged 18, to a lifetime in prison for the killing of Alex Davies, also 18. The murderer had met his victim on LGBT+ dating app, Grindr. Healless had told Davies that he was not yet out of the closet, so they arranged to meet in seclusion at a ‘discreet spot’ halfway between their two homes.
They met at Parbold Hill, a woodland walking trail in county Lancashire, England. It was here that Healless stabbed Davies 128 times, severely injuring him, before dragging him through the mud and covering him in branches and leaves. It is understood that Davies was still alive throughout this ordeal.
CCTV captured Healless cycling away from the scene shortly after. He had Davies’s rucksack on his back. In the days following the attack, Healless had tried to set up meets with a further four men.
In sentencing, Judge Mark Brown, the honorary recorder of Preston, said: “Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.
“You lured 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.”
Psychiatrists who examined Healless confirmed that he had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing.
However, jurors rejected the defence that his mental state clears him of any responsibility for the killing. On Monday March 23, they unanimously convicted him of the murder.
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 […] although the motive will never be known it seems you were intent on having his hi-spec phone.
“You made a Google search about the phone before the meeting and stole it immediately after the killing.
“You took the other phone and Samsung Galaxy watch, a set of headphones and a leather wallet, a rucksack as well. And not long after you had returned home, you re-registered and factory reset the two phones.”
Davies’s body was discovered last May by a gamekeeper. A post-mortem indicated that he had died from multiple stab wounds and asphyxiation. He had also been beaten on the head and face.
Davies’s mother, Beverley, said: “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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