'Depraved' killer Carl Langdell jailed for first date murder

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Katie LockeImage source, South Beds News Agency
Image caption,
Teacher Katie Locke, 23, was strangled to death by Carl Langdell at a hotel in Hertfordshire on Christmas Eve 2015

A man who murdered a young teacher on their first date before sexually assaulting and taking pictures of her corpse has been jailed for life.

Katie Locke, 23, was strangled by Carl Langdell at Theobalds Park Hotel in Hertfordshire on Christmas Eve 2015.

Her body was found dumped in a bush in the hotel grounds.

Following a two-day sentencing hearing at St Albans Crown Court, Langdell was told he would serve at least 26 years in prison.

Judge Andrew Bright QC told him having sexual intercourse with Katie Locke's dead body "increased the depravity of the murder".

Image source, South Beds News Agency
Image caption,
Carl Langdell will serve a minimum of 26 years in prison

"I am firmly of the view that you pose a very great danger to women and young girls with whom you come into contact in the future and I note that you have described yourself to others as a monster and a psychopath because of what you did to Katie Locke," he said.

Langdell had met Ms Locke, from Buckhurst Hill in Essex, on an online dating site a couple of weeks before they met up for their first date.

He told her he had his own law firm but in reality he had spent the previous two years suffering increasingly severe bouts of mental illness.

After his arrest, Langdell described himself to a psychiatrist as a "monster".

Image source, Hertfordshire Police
Image caption,
Katie Locke was described as "beautiful and vibrant"

Nine months before murdering Ms Locke, Langdell had told a psychiatric nurse about his violent fantasies, the court heard.

He was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act and in March last year was given a suspended sentence for making threats to kill.

Ms Locke was unaware of his history when she agreed to meet him, said Ann Evans, prosecuting.

Described as "beautiful and vibrant", Ms Locke taught history and politics at Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, east London.

In her victim impact statement her mother Jennifer said: "Nothing could prepare her for meeting a monster. I shall miss her every minute of every day."

Image source, Hertfordshire Police
Image caption,
Hertfordshire Police released footage from interviews with Carl Langdell, during which he refused to answer questions

During police questioning, Langdell refused to answer questions put to him by detectives.

But the court heard he had admitted the murder to his mother saying he had strangled Ms Locke in a sex game which went wrong.

He told his mother: "I wrapped her in a quilt, I put her in a trolley and took her to the grounds."

The Crown Prosecution Service said Ms Locke's family made a "concerted effort to identify Langdell" after she did not return home on Christmas Eve.

Image source, Hertfordshire Police
Image caption,
The judge said the fact Carl Langdell had sexual intercourse with Ms Locke after she died "increased the depravity of the murder"

Adrian Foster, from the CPS, said friends and family searched the internet and contacted 26-year-old Langdell, from Roundmoore Drive, Cheshunt, via Facebook.

He told them Miss Locke had left in a taxi and he did not know where she was.

Speaking outside court, Ms Locke's family said she was "trusting, caring and always tried to see the best in everyone which, sadly, has been her downfall".

"For us as a family to realise that any fantasist or predator can lie and publically portray themselves as anything their warped personalities would like is shocking," they said.

"Katie is never coming home. All we can do is warn other young women to be careful in the hope that no other family ever has to go through the pain and trauma we have suffered."

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