Lancashire

Alex Davies stabbing: Teen guilty of Grindr date murder

Alex Davies Image copyright POLICE HANDOUT
Image caption Alex Davies had never met his killer before

A teenager has been convicted of the murder of a sales assistant who he stabbed more than 100 times and left in a remote woodland location.

Brian Healless attacked Alex Davies, 18, on Parbold Hill, Lancashire, after they agreed through the dating app Grindr to meet at a "discreet spot".

Healless, also 18, dragged him through the mud while he was still alive and covered his body with branches.

Healless, of Chorley, will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday.

The jury convicted him of the April 2019 murder after deliberating for less than an hour.

The judge thanked the jurors for being "truly fantastic" amid the coronavirus pandemic. They had to sit further apart than normal, with half in the well of the court and the others in the jury box.

They had heard that Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, was openly gay and the defendant had been in contact with him and other men.

'Manipulative and dangerous'

Healless had mentioned meeting for "some outdoor fun" but took a knife to the top of Parbold Hill on the afternoon of 29 April 2019.

After the killing, he rode off on his mountain bike.

Three days later, a gamekeeper working on the hill spotted an arm under a pile of broken conifers, leading police to Mr Davies's body.

The court heard Healless had made searches on eBay for a military-style folding spade, a shovel and a pickaxe.

Prosecutor David McLachlan suggested to the jury that this was evidence of Healless preparing for his next victim.

Defence lawyers argued the teenager was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time, but Mr McLachlan described Healless as a "calculating, cunning, manipulative and dangerous young man".

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