Bristol Post

Inquest Man told police of murder fantasies before killing teacher

- Adam MAY & Jessica MERCER bristolpos­

ABRISTOL man who murdered a teacher during their first date told police and doctors he found sexual gratificat­ion in thoughts of killing people months before, an inquest was told.

On Wednesday an assistant coroner ruled that “mistakes were made” in the way public agencies – including Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset mental health services – handled Carl Langdell’s case.

Teacher Katie Locke was killed by Langdell in 2016 after initially meeting via the dating website Plenty of Fish.

The two met for drinks in an east London pub on December 23, 2015.

They then went to the four-star Theobalds Park Hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordsh­ire, where Langdell murdered Katie before sexually assaulting her body and dumping her corpse in the grounds during the early hours of Christmas Eve.

He had previously lied to Katie, telling her he had his own law firm, and she was unaware he had been given a suspended prison sentence after making threats to kill two other women just three weeks before they met.

Langdell pleaded guilty to murdering Katie in June 2016 and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 26 years.

He died in February this year at Wakefield Maximum Security Prison in West Yorkshire having been found with a seriously injured throat.

Over the nine months before Katie’s murder, five different organisati­ons – Avon and Somerset Police, Hertfordsh­ire Police, mental health services in Somerset and Hertfordsh­ire and the Probation Service – came into contact with Langdell, but there was a lack of “joined-up thinking or management” and sharing of informatio­n, the court heard.

The inquest was told that “none of the organisati­ons managing Mr

Langdell knew the full story” and that “none of them knew what each other knew about him”.

Delivering her findings of fact, determinat­ion and conclusion at Hatfield Coroners Court, assistant coroner Alison McCormick told the court: “Katie Locke – a self-confident, fearless, energetic, reliable and kind young woman – was the innocent victim of a shocking murder.

“The evening before her killing, Katie had done what many young women do and gone out on a first date with a man she had met on an internet dating site a couple of weeks earlier.

“Even if the date did not work out, Katie should have returned safely to her family home.

“Carl Langdell bears responsibi­lity for the murder of Katie. He lied to her and deceived her, just as he had others in the chain of events which ended in Katie’s death on Christmas Eve 2015.”

At the time of her death Katie, a Southampto­n University graduate, was working as a history teacher at Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, east London.

In February 2015, the court heard that postgradua­te Langdell, who was 25 at the time, was living in Bristol with the family of his then-girlfriend, while his family home was in Hertfordsh­ire.

On March 20, Avon and Somerset Constabula­ry received a call from the Intensive Support Team (IST) reporting that Langdell had made a threatenin­g phone call to a community psychiatri­c nurse where he said he wanted to cut the throat of his girlfriend’s sister, a threat which the nurse said was believed.

When Langdell heard his threat had been reported to police he made a further call to the IST in which he threatened to slit the throat of the nurse.

He then called Avon and Somerset Constabula­ry from outside his girlfriend’s address and threatened to kill someone. Officers attended the address and detained him under the mental health act.

The court was then told that a mental health assessment was conducted on March 20 and, in a detailed letter four days later, which was sent to Langdell’s GP in Hertfordsh­ire, it was recorded that Langdell told the doctor he found sexual gratificat­ion in thoughts of killing people, had thoughts of wanting to kill since he was 16 and that these thoughts were getting stronger all the time.

The doctor assessed the risk Langdell presented to others as high – noting him as ‘+++’ – but the letter wasn’t shared with any of the public bodies in Herts before Katie’s murder.

In a briefer witness statement by the same doctor and written to police on March 20, 2015, the doctor was very concerned that Langdell’s threat to kill women was real and that he had full capacity to understand what he was saying, and had no mental illness.

This statement, however, was

only seen by one consultant at Hertfordsh­ire Partnershi­p University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), and not until September 2015.

Langdell was eventually not detained as a result of the mental health act assessment but instead immediatel­y arrested by police and was remanded in custody to Bristol Prison.

At Bristol Crown Court on April 15, 2015, Langdell pleaded guilty to the threat to kill his girlfriend’s sister and the sentencing was adjourned. He was granted bail with conditions, including wearing a tag and living at his parents’ house in Hertfordsh­ire, on April 23.

Avon and Somerset Constabula­ry didn’t notify Hertfordsh­ire Constabula­ry that Langdell had been bailed to their area.

“Had they done so, Hertfordsh­ire Constabula­ry would have been aware of his conviction and bail conditions when it was subsequent­ly reported to them on two occasions by HPFT that further threats to kill had been made and this may have provided an opportunit­y for Langdell to be returned to the criminal justice system,” said the assistant coroner.

Langdell was admitted to the Swift Ward at Kingfisher Court in Kingsley Green Hospital under the care of HPFT between June 23 and July 6, and had been transferre­d to the trauma unit of a London hospital after a serious suicide attempt.

❝ Katie Locke – a selfconfid­ent, fearless, energetic, reliable and kind young woman – was the innocent victim of a shocking murder

Alison McCormick

He was discharged from inpatient care on July 6 and remained under review of the community mental health team. On July 27, it was reported to Herts Police by the team that Langdell had allegedly threatened to cut the throat of his then-girlfriend’s brother.

Chief Inspector O’Keefe had previously told the inquest that the report was investigat­ed but Langdell’s girlfriend was unwilling to support the police and the matter was recorded as a non-crime domestic abuse incident.

“There is no evidence that officers from Hertfordsh­ire Constabula­ry checked the Police National Database to inform themselves. CI O’Keefe told me that, with hindsight, this incident should have been recorded as a crime and that today a similar incident would be reviewed by a more senior officer to decide what steps to take,” the assistant coroner said.

On August 1, 2015, Langdell was admitted to the Swift Ward for a second time after a suicide attempt.

The court heard his “behaviour to women, fire setting, lying” and “threatenin­g” way of speaking to people were a concern, and there was alleged sexual misconduct.

On August 10 a recommenda­tion was made for a detention under the Mental Health Act, and Langdell was later transferre­d to the all-male Owl Ward in order to protect vulnerable females from him.

He remained there as an inpatient until September 20 and was formally discharged on October 2.

But on September 17, Langdell made a fourth threat to kill someone. He was recorded as shouting at a staff nurse: “When I leave or I am discharged I will kill someone, document that, I will kill someone when I leave, you must document that.”

Hospital staff reported this threat to Herts Police but it wasn’t formally recorded by the police as a crime, and the doctor said the threat was “probably made” in the context of Langdell being anxious about the discharge meeting scheduled for the next day.

On December 2, 2015, Langdell was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after having already pleaded guilty to the two charges of threat to kill.

He was given a ninemonth prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a mental health treatment requiremen­t (MHTR) for 12 months and a rehabilita­tion activity requiremen­t for up to 15 days.

The assistant coroner told the court how “a fully informed picture was not placed before the judge” but, in any event, it’s not possible to say what sentence the judge would have handed down “if he had been given the full picture”.

After sentencing, Langdell was seen on December 3, 10, 17 and 21 by his offender manager, who didn’t see Langdell as presenting a risk to her.

On December 11, Langdell visited his GP and “tried to persistent­ly pressurise” the doctor into prescribin­g two months of medication, although she would only prescribe one month due to his history of suicidal behaviour.

However, the inquest heard that, while the doctor had the discharge report from March 2015 and the discharge summary from the community mental health team in October 2015, “she had no communicat­ion with the justice system” so wasn’t aware of his sentence.

On December 23, Langdell then went on a date with Katie having met her through dating app Plenty of Fish around two weeks before.

He murdered her by forceful and prolonged compressio­n of the neck before sexually assaulting her, wrapping her body in bedclothes and dumping it in the hotel grounds.

He was arrested and charged for her murder, and a consultant forensic psychiatri­st concluded that Langdell suffered from emotional unstable and dissocial (psychopath­ic) personalit­y disorders, and that Katie’s murder was likely to be “sexually motivated”.

His dating behaviour was also assessed and, while another woman had notified Herts Police that she had been on dates with Langdell and one had even been taken to the same hotel as Katie, there was no evidence of any other women reporting violence or sexual assault, barring a previous caution for battery in 2009 over a former girlfriend.

Following a guilty plea, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Katie with a minimum of 26 years.

Summing up after a two-week inquest, held after an applicatio­n from Katie’s family, assistant coroner Alison McCormick said: “Lack of informatio­n sharing is a constant theme throughout the management of Mr Langdell.

“Mistakes were made but, as I said at the beginning of my findings of fact, Mr Langdell is the only person responsibl­e for Katie’s death.”

The assistant coroner, who ruled that Katie had been unlawfully killed, praised Katie’s family for their courage during the hearing and added: “As Mr Locke [Katie’s father] told me, Katie would’ve said: ‘Everyone makes mistakes – reflect, acknowledg­e and move on.’

“I think that’s very good advice.”

When I leave or I am discharged I will kill someone, document that, I will kill someone when I leave, you must document that Carl Langdell

 ??  ?? Carl Langdell died at Wakefield Maximum Security Prison in Yorkshire in February after being found with a throat injury while serving a life sentence for the murder of Katie Locke
Carl Langdell died at Wakefield Maximum Security Prison in Yorkshire in February after being found with a throat injury while serving a life sentence for the murder of Katie Locke
 ??  ?? Katie Locke was murdered by Carl Langdell in 2015 after they went on a date after meeting on dating website Plenty of Fish
Katie Locke was murdered by Carl Langdell in 2015 after they went on a date after meeting on dating website Plenty of Fish

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