Trial starts in case of Northampton man accused of '˜slitting throat' of American teenager

A trial has started in the case of a Northampton man accused of attempting to murder an American teenager by '˜slitting her throat' after she flew to the UK to see him.

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 9th September 2016, 11:07 am
A Northampton man is accused of taking an American teenager to Harlestone woods and attempting to murder her

Northampton Crown Court heard David Russell, aged 25, Googled phrases such as “how to kill someone and get away with it”, “best knife to kill” and “how to knock someone unconscious” the night before a 19-year-old from California came to visit.

Russell denies charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent.

The court heard Russell had built up a relationship with the American online via social media websites including Facebook and MySpace.

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Northampton Crown Court heard Russell, who worked in McDonald’s, began talking to her in September 2009 as they both shared an interest in heavy metal music.

Russell called himself Ollie Sykes, the name of the frontman of the Sheffield-based band Bring Me The Horizon, and the American went by the alias Ruby Townsend, Ollie’s girlfriend at the time.

The court heard she agreed to come over to the UK on April 1, 2011.

Mr Donnellan said analysis of Russell’s computer revealed that at 11.30pm that day, when the American would have been flying to the UK, he used a series of search terms related to killing someone.

The jury was told he searched for ‘hand to hand contact’, ‘ways to kill someone with your bare hands’, ‘how to kill someone and get away with it’, ‘best knife to kill someone’ and ‘how to knock someone unconscious’.

On the day she landed in the UK, Russell met the woman at Northampton Railway Station at about 1.30pm and they got a taxi to a wooded area off Harlestone Road.

After being dropped off by the taxi, the pair walked into the woods and Russell then told the woman to sit down.

The court heard he then blindfolded her and said he was going to give her a “surprise or a present’.

Russell told the woman to put her head back and put her palms upward. She then felt her neck “being sliced”, Mr Donnellan told the court.

The woman then pulled away from Russell and attempted to get away from him before he stabbed her in the shoulder.

Mr Donnellan said the woman fell to the ground and she then remembers Russell sitting on top of her squeezing her neck.

He said the woman also reported she had been head-butted by Russell and hit with a piece of wood.

The jury was told that Russell is alleged to have said Why won’t you die?’ and You’ve ruined my life forever’.

Mr Donnellan said Russell left the scene after the American said she had given his name to immigration services at the airport and told him she would not tell anyone what had happened.

Mr Donnellan said the victim managed to run to a nearby house and emergency services were called to the scene.

A knife with a bent tip was later recovered from the woods.

Russell was arrested after armed police were sent to his house. He was later taken to hospital and treated for a suspected overdose.

In police interview, Russell said the woman had been blackmailing him and denied any intention to kill her.

Mr Donnellan said he told officers he just wanted to scare her by “scratching” her neck.

The jury heard that a deleted list on his iPhone contained the words binbag, knife, gloves, money and blindfold.

Mr Donnellan also addressed the jury on why the case had taken so long to come to trial.

He said: “You may be wondering why this case has taken so long to come to court.

“Although he was arrested and charged with attempted murder on the same day of the alleged attack and he had always admitted he harmed her, through no fault of his or the complainant there are legal reasons why this trial has to take place.

“The defendant should be able to properly challenge the evidence against him, something that did not happen as it should have done in 2011.

“You will also have heard that a trial in this case started earlier this year that had to be abandoned due to no fault of the defendant, complainant or any witness.

“As the jury you do not need to be concerned with the reason why there has been a time lapse. What you need to decide on is what his intention was when he strangled and cut the neck of the complainant.”

Russell denies a charge of attempted murder. The case continues.