A teen who killed a sales assistant in a harrowing woodland attack is preparing to face a lengthy spell behind bars after being found guilty of murder.
Jurors took less than an hour to find Brian Healless guilty of killing Alex Davies after the pair met on dating app Grindr.
Prosecuting lawyer David McLachlan, argued Healless’s actions were planned and pre-meditated and described the 18-year-old as a “calculated, cunning, manipulative, dangerous young man”.
He met Brian through Grindr, a network made for gay, bi, trans and queer people.
They discussed meeting in person, with Healless telling Mr Davies: “We can cuddle, just not in public, go to a more discrete spot….I’m not out yet and like to be discrete about it.”
Detective Sergeant Ian Derbyshire told Preston Crown Court he believed the statement "I’m not out" was Healless explaining he had not told people he was gay.
Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, was openly gay, while the court was told Healless was interested in males and females.
They arranged to meet in Parbold on April 29, 2019 – 19 days after Healless searched Google for how much force was needed to break a skull.
The day before the murder, Healless asked Mr Davies what type of mobile phone he had – then researched how to wipe the data from that model.
He also sought information on how to create fake GPS locations.
The teenager then took a knife with him as he cycled from his Chorley home to Parbold, in West Lancashire.
When he found Mr Davies after initially struggling to meet him, Healless stabbed him 128 times in a horrific attack.
Forensic pathologist Dr Alison Armour told jurors several of the wounds were severe enough to have proved fatal, and many of them were inflicted while Mr Davies was still alive.
Mud found in his mouth suggested he was also still alive as he was dragged towards a row of trees, with a post mortem finding the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and asphyxia.
It emerged in the days after the killing that Healless had messaged four men on Grindr and discussed meeting each of them, Preston Crown Court heard.
He told two of them he could ride his bike to a rendezvous point halfway between their homes for "some outdoor fun" and mentioned finding a "discreet spot".
The killer searched on the internet for how to complete a factory reset of a phone belonging to one of the men after he had wiped the data off Mr Davies's phone.
Healless also made searches on eBay for a military folding spade, a shovel and a pickaxe.
David McLachlan QC, prosecuting, had suggested to the jury that this was Healless lining up his next victim.
Lawyers for Healless argued his responsibility for the killing was diminished because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time and that substantially impaired his ability to form a rational judgment and exercise self-control.
But Mr McLachlan said that – notwithstanding his serious illness, which was diagnosed after the event – Healless is a "calculating, cunning, manipulative and dangerous young man" who had planned the attack.
The jury agreed and unanimously convicted him of murder after deliberating for less than a hour.
Healless, who is being treated at a medium security hospital, will be sentenced on Tuesday.
- Knife Crime
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