This is the teenager who brutally murdered a "gentle, kind-hearted" young man at a Wigan beauty spot

A teenager who lured a "gentle, kind-hearted" sales assistant to a remote beauty spot on a date and stabbed him to death has been locked up for a minimum of 24 years.
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Alex Davies, 18, was murdered in Parbold, Lancashire, by Brian Healless, also aged 18, after they agreed a rendezvous through the dating app Grindr.

Healless, from Chorley, tried to set up similar outdoor meetings with four other males on Grindr in the days after the killing, Preston Crown Court heard.

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He had told openly gay Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, he was "not out yet" and suggested a "discreet spot" halfway between their two homes for their first meeting.

Killer Brian HeallessKiller Brian Healless
Killer Brian Healless

The defendant stabbed him 128 times at the top of Parbold Hill and dragged the Home Bargains worker face down by his collar in the mud, while still alive, and covered his body with branches and leaves.

Healless was then captured on CCTV on the afternoon of April 29 last year calmly riding away from the scene on his mountain bike with his victim's rucksack on his back.

Sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Mark Brown, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, told him: "Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.

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"You lulled him to his death and executed the killing in a savage way. You were undoubtedly setting him up to kill and you are a manipulative, calculating and devious person.

"It is extremely fortuitous that were you were arrested before anyone else suffered the same fate."

Psychiatrists that examined Healless, who came to England from his native Lithuania at the age of seven, agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

But jurors rejected his defence that his responsibility for the killing was diminished by his mental state and unanimously convicted him on Monday of murder.

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Judge Brown told Healless: "I am satisfied that such was the planning, pre-meditation and the nature of the killing that your culpability is not reduced significantly."

Following the verdict, Beverley Davies, Alex’s mum, said: “We as a family would like to thank the police and the prosecution for all their diligence and continued support throughout the trial.

“We would also like to thank the judge, and also with his persistence in seeing the trial through at this very difficult time due to the Coronavirus.

“We are so relieved that the jury came to the right decision and common sense prevailed. Although the verdict won’t bring back Alex, he was much loved by us all. A kind and gentle boy, the antithesis of his murderer who we believe should never be released and will always be a danger to society.”

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Det Insp Tracey McMurdo, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said:“On April 29th last year Brian Healless carried out the brutal and frenzied murder of an entirely innocent teenager.“When Alex Davies went out that day he had no reason to believe he wouldn’t be returning home. His mum had no reason to think that she would not see him that evening, or ever again. She, and the rest of Alex’s family and friends, have been left utterly devastated and heartbroken by his death.

“Alex’s family have shown nothing but dignity throughout the investigation and trial and I hope now this process is over they can begin to deal with their grief privately.“It is no exaggeration to say this has been one of the most harrowing cases myself and my colleagues have ever dealt with. The scene that confronted officers at Parbold Hill last May was shocking, and the professionalism and dedication shown by every single officer involved cannot be understated. They have worked tirelessly to gather evidence and to build a case against Healless.

“This crime happened in a small close knit community and I would like to thank the people of Parbold for their help and patience during this investigation. I would also like to thank the hundreds of people who responded to our appeal for information and CCTV. Their help was invaluable in piecing together what happened to Alex and to ensure the swift arrest of Healless.

“I am pleased that the sentence handed to Healless today reflects the gravity of this offence and will ensure he is not released until he is no longer a risk to others. I would also like to thank the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence throughout his trial in particularly difficult circumstances.

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“It became very clear to us early on in this investigation that Alex had been a trusting, open and friendly young man, and Healless took advantage of this to lure him to a remote location to carry out his sadistic attack.

“Today a dangerous individual has been taken off the streets.”