Teenager stabbed ‘more than 100 times’ by stranger he agreed to meet in woods

A teenager was stabbed more than 100 times by a man who concealed his body in a remote woodland spot, a court has heard.

Alex Davies, 18, was killed on Parbold Hill in Lancashire where he had agreed to meet Brian Healless for the first time on April 28. The pair exchanged messages but an hour later Healless, 18, was seen on CCTV cycling away from Parbold carrying the victim’s rucksack, Preston Crown Court was told.

The prosecution say Healless, who denies murder, attacked his target with a kitchen knife before partly burying his body and riding to his home in Chorley on a mountain bike.

Opening the case today, David McLachlan QC told jurors Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, was openly gay and the defendant had been in contact with him and other gay men.

The victim’s body was found on May 1 when a gamekeeper spotted an arm under a pile of broken conifers.

Police found the body piled under branches, and his face was covered by a black dressing gown.

Mr Davies clothes and personal documents were also found nearby, along with a black-handled knife hidden in the ground, the court heard.

A post-mortem examination found he died of multiple stab wounds and asphyxiation as well as noting that he had been beaten around the head dragged, face down through the mud.

Mr Healless was arrested on May 3 and the deceased’s headphones, wallet and spare phone were found in his bedroom.

Mr McLachlan told the jury the defendant accepts he killed Mr Davies.

He said: ‘We may never know why he did it but the painstaking police investigation means that the finger points fairly and squarely at Brian Healless.

‘And the police were right to point the finger at him as he now admits to the unlawful killing of Alex Davies.

‘To be clear, the issue for you will be whether this is a case of murder or a case of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

‘You will have to determine whether or not Brian Healless was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning at the time of the killing which substantially impaired his ability to understand the nature of his conduct or to form a rational judgment or to exercise self-control.’

He said the jury would hear evidence from psychiatrists who had examined the defendant.