Officers made a gruesome discovery at the home of a woman who contacted the police when a man she met on an online dating app refused to leave.
The woman had no clue that 23-year-old David Iwo had only 24 hours previously battered retired lawyer Martin Decker to death using a hammer after conning his way into the 69-year-old’s property.
Liverpool Echo reports that Iwo, who was homeless, had posed as a sex worker online advertising services to gay men – while in actual fact, he had “made the conscious decision” to kill them and steal their money.
It later came to light that the deranged murderer had also tortured and killed up to 30 cats in the Norwich area, which had earned him the nickname of the ‘NR3 Cat Killer’ before he was arrested for murder.
Moments before the hearing he sacked his legal team and told a judge he had “nothing to say” in his defence before being sentenced.
The court heard unsuspecting Mr Decker, who was single and lived alone, offered Iwo £250 for a two hour appointment at his flat in Vyner Croft, Prenton, and welcomed his killer inside on the evening of Saturday March 6 this year.
As Iwo later told detectives in interview, Mr Decker shook his hand and offered him a drink, then turned his back to go and fetch the cash he had promised.
The moment the victim turned around, Iwo said he launched a ferocious, determined and frenzied attack with the hammer, striking the defenceless Mr Decker to the head around nine times.
A pathologist noted that the lack of defensive wounds to Mr Decker’s hands suggested he had not even had time to raise them to try and block the blows.
Iwo stole the cash alongside electrical items before fleeing the scene and heading back to a property in March Road, Anfield that he had been sleeping in, attempting to sell a bottle of alcohol he had stolen from Mr Decker to a newsagent along the way.
The court heard Iwo had been speaking to others online, and arrived at the home of a woman in Neptune Walk, Dartford, on the Sunday evening after leaving Liverpool by train from Lime Street Station.
Prosecutor Alan Kent, QC, told the court: “Police were called to reports that a woman had met a man online, who then asked to stay at her address.
“He had arrived the night before and she stated that she was scared and he was refusing to leave.”
Officers arrived at the scene and found Iwo, who gave the name Jessie King, which the court heard was an alias he had used previously.
At this stage he had not been identified as the suspect in the murder, and after speaking to police he agreed to leave and was allowed to go on his way.
Iwo returned to London and checked into a hotel.
The court heard that by March 10, extensive CCTV enquiries had led to Iwo being identified and police closed in on the hotel, arresting him in his room, where they found Mr Decker’s watch and laptop.
A search warrant was obtained for the woman’s address in Neptune Walk, and police returned where they made a chilling discovery.
Underneath a cushion on a couch, Iwo had hidden a claw hammer with visible bloodstaining on the head and handle.
DNA testing confirmed the blood was Mr Decker’s, while Iwo’s DNA was also present on the handle.
Iwo was transferred back to Liverpool and during interviews with detectives at Copy Lane custody suite admitted to killing Mr Decker.
He described how he did not see Mr Decker as human when he attacked him, instead viewing him as “an objective”.
Iwo was later assessed by psychiatrists and told them he believed the killing was a “progression” from his “hobby” of torturing and killing cats.
He also claimed he would never have stopped killing and robbing gay men until he was caught, and said he was surprised it had happened after his “first murder”.
Passing sentence, Judge Mr Justice Jacobs told Iwo: “Martin Decker was a distinguished lawyer and civil servant. Prior to his retirement he worked for the Crown Prosecution Service, carrying out the vital public service performed by that organisation.
“His hard work over the years had entitled him to an enjoyable retirement during which he would have continued to care for his mother, now in her 80s, as he had with the assistance of other family members over many years.
“At the time that you murdered him, in the most brutal fashion, he was 69-years-old and in no position to defend himself from an attack which had no forewarning.
“He leaves behind grieving family members and I have read moving statements from his mother, his brother Jeremy who will have to live forever with the trauma of finding his brother lying dead in his home and then having to tell his mother what had happened, and his sister-in-law Carole and his two nieces Anna and Charlotte.
“Their statements describe the sadness, numbness, anger and mental devastation of all the family whose lives have forever been changed by your senseless brutality.”
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