The case of McDonald’s worker Andrew Russell, who slit the throat on an online love interest after she flew to Northampton, should serve as a stark warning to internet daters - the lead detective in the case says.
Earlier today, David Russell, aged 25, formerly of Emilion Close, Duston, was sentenced to 14 years for attempting to murder an American teenager he met online.
The two first came into contact in 2009.
Northampton Crown Court today heard how the two began communicating every day on social media and on Skype, but eventually the victim discovered that Russell had a girlfriend and was leading a double life.
She sent a message to Russell’s girlfriend through Facebook telling her that they had been speaking to each other.
On 1 April, 2011 the victim flew into the UK. She landed at Heathrow and made her way to Northampton. Russell met her at Northampton train station and they got a taxi to Harlestone woods, where heslit her throat with a carving knife before stabbing her, hitting her with a piece of wood and strangling her.
She only escaped by revealing she had left his name with border officials in the UK. When he fled, she retraced her steps out of the woods to a nearby house.
Nick Gray, from Northamptonshire Police, who led the initial investigation, said the case should serve as a reminder to anyone who meets an online love interest in person.
“This is a truly horrifying case of an online romance that took a dark and sinister turn of events,” he said.
“The victim travelled from America to the UK in what she believed would be an enjoyable experience. Russell instead planned and executed a horrifying plot in which he tried to kill her.
“Thanks to her quick thinking, and reference to his details being given to immigration, it gave her the opportunity to escape and that is what undoubtedly saved her life. Russell, who refused to give his account in court, has made the victim relive this terrible experience again during trial, five years on from when it happened. Hopefully, now she can move on with her life.
“This crime should serve as a reminder to people who engage in online dating or relationships. While the majority of these tend to be safe, people should always be cautious and if they are going to meet up with someone, make sure they let people know where they are going and who they are meeting.
“Always meet in a public place and keep in contact with friends and relatives whether in the country or abroad.”