US & Canada

Google yacht death: 'Prostitute' pleads not guilty to executive's manslaughter

Alix Tichelman appears in court on 16 July 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police say Ms Tichelman finished a glass of wine, tidied up and lowered a blind before leaving Hayes's body behind

A woman described by US police as a high-priced prostitute has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges over the death of a Google executive on his yacht.

Alix Tichelman, 26, is alleged to have injected him with heroin and then left him to die of an overdose.

She appeared in court in California over the 23 November death of Forrest Hayes, 51.

Ms Tichelman is also charged with great bodily harm and a drugs count.

Police say CCTV footage from inside the yacht shows her gathering her belongings, finishing a glass of wine, and tidying up after he died before leaving the yacht.

Mr Hayes was found the next day.

Image copyright Reuters

Police in Santa Cruz say Ms Tichelman did not render first aid or call an ambulance after Mr Hayes fell unconscious on board the yacht, Escape.

Ms Tichelman was arrested on 4 July after police said a detective enticed her back to the Santa Cruz area by posing as a potential client and reaching agreement on a price of more than $1,000 (£584).

Police have said Tichelman met her clients through the website,, which says it connects wealthy men and women with attractive companions.

Authorities have argued Ms Tichelman - who holds dual US and Canadian citizenship - was preparing to leave California when she was taken into custody.

A judge later denied her request for release without bail and instead set her bail at $1.5m.

On Wednesday, Larry Biggam, a lawyer for Ms Tichelman, said she had no reason to kill Mr Hayes because he was paying her a lot of money.

"This case is about two adults who engaged in mutual, consensual drug usage in the context of a sexual encounter initiated and encouraged by Mr Hayes," he said.

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