Teenager found guilty of the murder of Skelmersdale sales assistant

A teenager has been found guilty of the murder of a sales assistant who he lured to remote woodland and stabbed more than 100 times.

Brian Healless, 18, exchanged messages on dating app Grindr with Alex Davies, also 18, and suggested the pair meet at a "discreet spot" in Parbold, Lancashire, midway between their two homes.

The defendant took a knife to the scene at the top of Parbold Hill on the afternoon of April 29 last year and attacked Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, who he had never met before.

Healless dragged his victim face-down through mud while he was still alive, and covered the body with branches before he calmly rode off on his mountain bike.

Inquiries led police to arrest Healless several days later and a search of his family home in Rylands Road, Chorley, recovered the victim's headphones, mobile phone and wallet containing Healless's bank card.

It emerged in the days after the killing that Healless had messaged four males 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".

Credit: ITV News

He 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.A post-mortem examination concluded the cause of death was stab wounds and asphyxiation.

Healless also made searches on eBay for an 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.