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Dropout 'murdered woman after sex and drugs binge'

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image captionNaomi Hersi's naked body was left lying on the floor of a hotel bathroom, the court heard

A university dropout murdered a woman he met online after a three-day sex and drugs binge, a court has heard.

Jesse McDonald, 25, is accused of drugging Naomi Hersi, 36, before stabbing her to death in a hotel near Heathrow Airport in March.

Mr McDonald met his victim on a swingers website when "looking for excitement" online, jurors were told.

At the Old Bailey, Mr McDonald denied a charge of murder between 14-18 March and perverting the course of justice.

His girlfriend Natalia Darkowska, 18, denies a charge of perverting the course of justice.

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image captionNaomi Hersi lived in London as an "openly transgender woman", the court was told

Ms Hersi was found half-naked, partly covered by a rug on the hotel room's small bathroom floor, the court heard.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said after the killing, Mr McDonald got bags and cleaning products before contacting Ms Darkowska, who joined him in the attempted clean-up.

"Each was thinking only of themselves and each other - without a care for the deceased, whom they believed was unlikely, because of her lifestyle, to be missed," he said.

image copyrightPA
image captionJesse McDonald's teenage girlfriend Natalia Darkowska is accused of perverting the course of justice

Mr Heywood said Mr McDonald would claim self-defence, telling jurors: "You will not have to decide whether there was a killing or who did it."

The Old Bailey heard Ms Hersi, whose legal name was Hersi Mohamed Hersi, was an openly transgender woman, although to her family, who are originally from Somalia, she remained a much-loved son.

Mr McDonald, who grew up in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, turned to dealing drugs after dropping out of the London School of Economics (LSE), it was said.

He met Ms Hersi, who lived in Mill Hill, north-west London, on a website called before spending four days with her, jurors were told.

"They passed time together, took drugs and had sex at her address, to which she had invited him," the prosecutor said.

'Help clear up'

Mr Heywood said after three days Mr McDonald took her back to the Heathrow Palace Hotel where he was staying.

"After a time, he drugged her, fought with her and eventually killed her, stabbing and cutting her multiple times with a broken bottle and knife and perhaps other things in order to achieve her death," the prosecutor said.

"When it was done, when she was dead, he tried to clean it up and avoid detection."

The jury was told that on 17 March Ms Darkowska travelled from her home in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, to the hotel in order "to help clear up".

Mr Heywood added: "Once she understood what had to be done, she went to buy the necessary things and tried to help and support him through it."

The trial continues.

Related Topics

  • Barnet
  • Trowbridge
  • Transgender people
  • Haywards Heath
  • Hillingdon
  • London Heathrow Airport

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