A British 18-year-old is accused of stabbing a gay teenager more than 100 times after meeting him through dating app Grindr.
Brian Healless allegedly killed Alex Davies, 18, in a remote location in the county of Lancashire on April 29 last year, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Davies’ body, left in a secluded woodland and covered in branches and a dressing gown, was discovered by a gamekeeper on May 1, Preston Crown Court heard.
An autopsy determined he had died from a mixture of stab wounds and asphyxiation, had been beaten on the head, and dragged face down through mud. A kitchen knife with Davies’ DNA was found near his body.
On May 3, police arrested Healless, and found Davies’ phone, headphones, wallet, and bank card in Healless’ home. They also found a set a knives matching that of the murder weapon.
Investigators also discovered internet searches on Healless’ computer in the days prior to the attack including, “How strong is the back of the skull?” and guides for resetting a Samsung phone — similar to that owned by Davies.
Davies’ phone — one of two he owned — had been reset, but it had been traced to Healless’ home prior to being wiped.
According to BBC News, Healless accepts that he killed Davies, but denies murdering him.
Prosecutor David McLachlan QC told the jury that the “finger points fairly and squarely at Brian Healless.”
“The issue for you,” he said, “will be whether this is a case of murder or a case of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.”
Jurors were told that Davies and Healless agreed to meet on April 29, after establishing contact through Grindr the day before.
Healless asked if they could meet in a secluded area, after telling Davies that he was “not out” and preferred “discreet” hookups.
“We can cuddle, just not in public, go to a more discreet spot,” Healless wrote. “I’m not out yet and like to be discreet about it.”
Davies, who was openly gay, met Healless near the village of Parbold. At 2:30 p.m., their last message was exchanged when, after failing to locate one another, Healless sent: “I will come and get you.”
An hour later, Healless was captured on CCTV cycling from the location where Davies’ body was discovered. The bicycle was later found to contain traces of Davies’ DNA, as was clothing in Healless’ home.
McLachlan told the court that in the days between Davies’ death and Healless being arrested, Healless had contacted four other men on Grindr.
On May 2, Healless asked one of the men, referred to as Matt, what type of cellphone he owned, claiming that he was planning to upgrade his own — echoing messages he had sent Davies prior to their meeting.
Police then discovered Healless had searched for information on how to reset the model of phone owned by Matt — again echoing searches conducted prior to Davies’ death.
Healless’ trial is expected to continue, though could face delays due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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