Life Sentence For Babysitter Murderer

A man who murdered a teenage babysitter he targeted in a "malicious web of deception" has been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years behind bars.

Black belt karate-teacher Tony Bushby, 19, created four sinister fake Facebook identities to convince naive church-goer Catherine Wynter to trust him and like him.
 
At the same time he was viewing pornographic and rape websites and carrying out Google searches in which he asked chilling questions such as : "How long does it take to dig a grave by hand?" and "How long does it take to burn a human body?"
 
Today at St Albans Crown Court Bushby was found guilty of Catherine's murder.
 
Judge Andrew Bright QC sentenced the teenager today (Weds) after reading a psychiatric report about the teenager.
 
The judge has passed a life sentence on Bushby with a minimum term of 25 years in prison before he can even be considered for parole.
 
Catherine, who was known as Katy, was found in a pool of blood by her nephew and niece - aged 3 and 4 - in the kitchen of her sister's house in Beech Drive, Borehamwood, Herts on the morning of December 27 last year.
 
When her mother, Joy Davis, called to check on them the children ran down the stairs of the house saying: "Grandma, Grandma Katy's dead."
 
The art student, who also used the name Katy Briscoe, was stabbed in a frenzied attack on Boxing Day night, the jury at St Albans crown court was told.
 
Pathologist Dr Nat Carey said the immediate cause of death was a severe wound to the neck that penetrated both her jugular veins and a stab wound to the stomach that penetrated her vital organs. There were 13 significant stab wounds and 23 in total - some of which were defensive injuries that 19-year-old Katy suffered as she tried to protect herself.
 
The murder weapon was never found.
 
Three days earlier Bushby, who had met Katy at West Herts College in Watford, had lured her to a field on the outskirts of the town claiming they were to meet one of his fictional friends called Cyn Darwin. When nobody turned up Katy and Bushby left
 
Opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Michael Speak said: "Why did he trick her into meeting in a muddy field in the cold and dark in Borehamwood? Could it be that he had planned to kill her then but something went wrong? Why go to such bizarre lengths to get her to come out late at night, pretending another woman would be there."
 
Mr Speak went on "Katy would be contacted by the fictitious characters and, believing them to be real, she would talk to them on Facebook. In reality she was caught in a web of malicious deception created and controlled by this defendant for purposes of his own."
 
Computer experts discovered that all four Facebook names - Cyn Darwin, Dan Tress, Shane Pleuon and Krystal Stanguard - had been created Bushby's IP address.
 
Mr Speak said: "He systematically tricked Katy over a period of time into believing that she was in contact with the defendant and with a small circle of his friends. In fact, this small circle of Facebook friends was entirely fictitious. He had set up those false Facebook accounts. He created them, he controlled them all. Katy did not know this.  The defendant manipulated the false identities to make Katy believe they were real people. He used them to say things about him to gain her trust. They said flattering or impressive things about him to get her to like him."
 
A friend of Katy's, Kien Minh Voong told the jury she had fallen in love with Bushby and would travel to a clearing in a wood to meet him. She contacted him through Facebook, phone calls and texting. She said said she would meet him in this place in the forest in a clearing and just talk and kiss."
 
Bushby, who was working at the Holiday Inn in Borehamwood,  claimed that Katy's blood was found on his own front door because he had been given a pair of bloodied gloves by a man called Dan Tress on the night of the killing. He said he had been sitting in a car with Tress and he had given him the gloves because his hands were cold.
 
Infact, Tress was another of his fictional Facebook puppets.
 
Detectives made searches of income tax records, criminal data bases and the DVLA, but nobody of that name existed.
 
Bushby, who often called himself Loki - a character from Norse mythology - said he knew Tress through Karate clubs. Inquiries were made of clubs, but nobody of that name was found.
 
The name Dantress is a character in a fantasy book called Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton.
 
Computer experts discovered that all four Facebook names - Cyn Darwin, Dan Tress, Shane Pleuon and Krystal Stanguard - had been created Bushby's IP address.
 
At one point he posted a questionnaire on Facebook called "Are you a murderer?"
 
Bushby used the character Pleuon to tell Katy that Bushby "sorts people out" and that he had a sexual relationship with Cyn. He told her that Borehamwood was a "forbidden zone for me and the gang." That, said the prosecutor, allowed Bushby to explain to Katy where she never saw his friends.
 
Mr Speak said: "When a police analyst examined Mr Bushby's computer he looked in the recycle bin and lo and behold there were photographs he had downloaded from the internet to make false Facebook profiles. We do not know who these people are they were randomly selected by him."
 
After Katy was murdered - some time between 9.15 and twenty to ten on Boxing Day night - Bushby repeatedly looked at her Facebook account for the next hour. He typed into Google: 'How to permanently delete your Facebook account.' He also made inquiries to Facebook about removing an account.
 
Mr Speak said: "Having got home he tried to suppress evidence that might incriminate him."
 
Bushby damaged his mobile phone in an attempt to prevent contact between him and Katy being uncovered. He disposed of blood-stained clothes and shoes in a bulky bin bag which he was seen on CCTV carrying through Borehamwood. He left the bag by bins that were collected in Aycliffe Road that morning. They and the murder weapon were never recovered.
 
Bushby of Digswell Close, Borehamwood denied murder but was convicted unanimously by the jury
 
Mr Speak said: "We will probably never know precisely why he murdered Katy. We will probably never know how far in advance he intended to kill her. "

Following the sentencing, her family have released the following statement:

"Katie was a loving daughter, sister and auntie and we are all so very proud of her. The last few months have been unbearable; losing her has left a hole in our lives which can never be filled.

"Katie had so many friends and everyone who knew her, knew just how wonderful and unique she was. There aren't enough words to describe what she meant to us and what kind of person she was but she was bright, bubbly, talented and intelligent. She was respectful and kind to anyone she met, she never lost her temper and for those who knew her we are confident you would have felt honoured. She was one in a million and is irreplaceable.

"Katie had such a bright future which was brutally taken away from her for no reason. We will never forgive this monster for what he has done, he is pure evil.  We question every day how he could have done what he did to our beautiful Katie and knowing that there were children in the house.

"His sentence is nothing less than he deserves however, at the end of it he will have his life. Not only do we struggle to get through every day without her he has ruined every Christmas for our family in the future as well. We as a family have been given a life sentence by him."

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