London

Hersi Hersi death: Man guilty of sex and drug binge murder

McDonald Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Jesse McDonald met his victim on a swingers website when "looking for excitement" online, jurors were told

A university dropout who murdered a woman after a three-day sex and drugs binge has been found guilty.

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

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

He was also unanimously found guilty at the Old Bailey of perverting the course of justice.

His girlfriend Natalia Darkowska, 18, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Naomi Hersi lived in London as an "openly transgender woman", the court was told

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said McDonald had planned to dispose of Ms Hersi's body with the help of his girlfriend, but the victim was found half-naked, partly covered by a rug on the floor of the small bathroom of the hotel.

McDonald accepted causing the fatal injuries between 14-18 March but denied murder, claiming he acted in self-defence.

He alleged that he had stabbed Ms Hersi up to 40 times in a frenzy, believing she was about to smother him with a pillow.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Jesse McDonald claimed he had stabbed Ms Hersi up to 40 times in a frenzy, believing she was about to smother him with a pillow

The Old Bailey heard Ms Hersi, whose legal name was Hersi Mohamed Hersi, was an openly transgender woman.

McDonald, who grew up in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, met Ms Hersi, of Mill Hill, north-west London, on a website called Fabswingers.com before spending four days with her.

'Cold and calculated killer'

Giving evidence, the Brighton-born defendant said he had contacted Ms Hersi online "because I'm a complete idiot".

He said: "Clearly I was looking for something, I wanted to get out. I don't know, it is not uncommon for me to have done something like this in the past. I'm disappointed in myself.

"At the time I felt open-minded, liberal-minded, whatever you want to call it."

Following his conviction, Det Insp Tom Dahri, said: "From day one of this murder, McDonald has spun lie after lie and tarnished the name of the victim by calling her some of the vilest names in front of her family.

"McDonald completely fabricated that he was kept against his will at Naomi's address and there was no evidence whatsoever that he had been raped by her, either.

"This was all just smoke and mirrors to make himself look like a victim, when in fact he is a cold and calculated killer who dragged his girlfriend in to help him clear up his mess.

"We are very pleased the jury saw through his tissue of lies."

McDonald was remanded into custody to be sentenced on 1 November.

Darkowska, who was granted bail, will be sentenced separately on November 16 to allow time for a probation report to be compiled.

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