AN “exceptionally dangerous” young man who lured an American girl to Harlestone Firs where she was blindfolded, had her throat slit and then repeatedly stabbed was today starting life imprisonment.
David Russell, aged 20, must serve 17-and-a-half years in prison for the shocking and calculated kidnap and attempted murder of a 19-year-old woman from California, who he met through Facebook. Judge Charles Wide QC warned him he may serve much longer.
Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, said the day before the woman arrived in the UK, he searched the internet for subjects including ‘how to kill someone with bare hands, how to cut skin with a knife and the best knife to kill”.
Russell, of St Emilion Close, Duston, who admitted kidnap and attempted murder, met his victim through Facebook while using a pseudonym of a rock star in 2010.
On April 1, she arrived in the UK and travelled to Northampton, meeting him at the station, before he took her to Harlestone Firs.
Mr Donnellan said: “He said he wanted to take her to a place where his granddad used to take him when he was younger and they went to an area of woodland off White Lane.
“He asked her to sit down on a fallen tree trunk and said he was going to blindfold her and said she would get a surprise or a present. He stood behind her, blindfolded her, asked her to put her head back, and her arms up. She did so with her palms up, entirely trusting him. Although she did not see any implement because of the blindfold, the next thing she felt was her neck being sliced.”
The court heard that as Russell did it he shouted: “Why won’t you die? You’ve ruined my life. It’s all your fault.”
Mr Donnellan said: “She jumped up and the blindfold fell off. She turned and saw he was taking a knife from his backpack. She turned to run away but he caught up and stabbed her in the back.”
The victim was then stabbed three more times, hit in the face with a log, and headbutted.
Mr Donnellan said: “She said she gave his name and address to immigration upon arrival. It was true and it worked.”
Russell, of previous good character, then ran off home where he took a suspected overdose, while his victim staggered to a nearby house to summon help.
A search of Russell’s computer later revealed his sinister searches of the internet and police also found a deleted list of items on his iPhone which included ‘bin bags, knife, money, gloves and blindfold’, Mr Donnellan added.
Sentencing, Judge Charles Wide QC said Russell was “exceptionally dangerous” and had left his victim with lasting physical and psychological injuries
He said: “The features of this case are truly horrifying. When she was able to escape, you intended to kill her and must have come very close. It must have been utterly terrifying and it went on for an extended period.
“This is one case when a life sentence is the only appropriate sentence. There are so many aggravating features.
“You will only be considered for release when you have served 17-and-a-half years but you are so exceptionally dangerous that in my judgement, it may be a long time after that before you are released.”
Steven Crouch, mitigating, described the McDonalds worker as “borderline” autistic who and had never offended before.
He said: “This is clearly a tragic case. Tragic above all for the victim and tragic for Mr Russell who for 19 years until this offence led a blameless and hard-working life. He is a troubled young man, very young, who committed an act in bizarre circumstances, never to be repeated.”