An 18-year-old man found guilty of murdering another 18-year-old after luring him to a secluded location via gay dating app Grindr, has been sentenced to a minimum of 24 years.
Brian Healless was found guilty Preston Crown Court of killing Alex Davies by stabbing him with a kitchen knife 128 times.
Healless had lured Davies to a remote area near Parbold in Lancashire after contacting him on Grindr in April last year.
After the stabbing spree, the murderer dragged his badly wounded vicitim through the mud, in which he suffocated, and covered his body with branches.
He then took both of Davies’s mobile phones and deleted their memory in the hope of removing any evidence of their encounter.
In the days after the murder, Healless conducted Grindr conversations with four other men, enquiring about the possibility of meeting with them.
It took jurors less than an hour to find Healless guilty of murder. The killer will serve a minimum of 24 years.
In sentencing him, Judge Mark Brown said: “Brian Healless, the sentence of the court for this dreadful crime of murder is that you will be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. The minimum term is one of 24 years, less the 324 days you have spent on remand in custody.”
He continued: “It was a planned and pre-meditated killing and although the motive will never be known it seems you were intent on having his hi-spec phone. You were messaging him on Grindr and Instagram for the purpose of meeting him at a remote location.
“You were undoubtedly setting him up to kill, and you are a manipulative, calculating and devious person.
“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.
“In my judgement you are a cold blooded killer and this was a most brutal murder.
“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 stabbed him to death with a knife at least 128 times and many of the wounds were inflicted when he was still alive.
“Many of the wounds caused damage to major blood vessels and internal organs. There were also 17 puncture wounds to his body as well.
“You punched him to his head and face, causing considerable bruising and multiple fractures to the nasal bone.
“You used considerable force to sever and fracture certain ribs.
“There was mud and vegetation in his nose and mouth, showing you dragged him face down by the collar when he was still alive, causing asphyxiation.
“Immediately after the killing you tried to conceal the body, covering it with fresh branches and leaves, though it was discovered a couple of days later by a gamekeeper.
“You stole Alex’s property, which included a leather wallet, and perhaps the wallet and the phone were intended as trophies.
“You returned home and discarded the rucksack and then, in the following days, you were messaging four other males on Grindr about having a meeting in a remote spot, and the males included somebody called Matt.
“You wanted to know about his phone, then made a search on Google about it.
“You were also making searches for a folding military spade, and it is no coincidence you tried to conceal Alex’s body.”
“There can be no doubt you were setting up the next victim to kill, and it is extremely fortuitous you were arrested before anybody else suffered the same fate.”
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