A jilted boyfriend who lay in wait for his ex earlier than kidnapping and drowning her in a woodland stream has been jailed for life.
Andrew Pearson, 45, stalked Natalie Harker, organising camp near a secluded path she cycled alongside to get to work. He took images of the scene and even carried out a dry run earlier than ambushing her on October 9 final 12 months.
After forcing the 30-year-old into the woods, close to Colburn in North Yorkshire, he violently held her head underwater earlier than carrying her lifeless physique again to his camouflage tent, stripping her garments off and having intercourse with her as she lay both useless or dying.
Pearson, of Catterick Garrison, was convicted of homicide and kidnap at Teesside Crown Court and jailed for life with a minimal time period of 24 years.
After the assault, the court docket heard Pearson messaged a good friend in the US, saying: ‘Goodbye, I have killed Natalie, I’m going at hand myself in.’
He then spent 42 minutes chatting to them on a FaceTime name whereas Ms Harker’s bruised physique lay subsequent to him underneath a sleeping bag.
Despite his message, Pearson by no means confessed to the killing.
Instead, round 12 hours after abducting Ms Harker he tearfully phoned 999 claiming she had fallen right into a stream and he had collapsed after dragging her out and making an attempt to present first help.
The court docket heard the couple had cut up weeks earlier than the homicide and Ms Harker, a preferred and conscientious medical centre cleaner, had advised household and pals she was fearful of her ex who was pestering her by textual content.
Just two days earlier than she died she advised folks at her church she was frightened she was being adopted.
Judge Stephen Ashurst mentioned she tragically didn’t take their recommendation to contact the police, including: ‘I tend to take the view that’s more likely to be as a result of Natalie thought the very best of individuals.
‘She was trusting and naïve.’
Prosecutor Chloe Fairley advised jurors Pearson knew Ms Harker’s routine of biking to work and that she was terrified of the actual part of path the place he lay in wait.
He had taken images on his telephone days earlier than of keys websites and had arrange a hidden woodland camp throughout a subject from the kidnapping website.
Jailing Pearson, Judge Ashurst mentioned solely he knew exactly what occurred when he killed her by holding her underwater whereas compressing her neck.
He mentioned: ‘What occurred thereafter was extraordinary.
‘You took her lifeless physique into the tent, stripped her of her garments which you then folded and took into one other a part of the tent.
‘Whether she was still breathing or not, you thought only of yourself, not just in the shock of the moment, but for hour after hour.’
He added: ‘I am persuaded that the sexual intercourse took place when Natalie was not conscious and may very well have been dead or dying at the time.’
The homicide was aggravated by the actual fact she was a susceptible girl with some studying difficulties and that he had stalked and kidnapped her.
In statements learn out in court docket, Ms Harker’s brother Alistair and mother and father John and Deborah expressed the massive affect her homicide had had on their tight-knit household.
Mr Harker, a college bus driver from Colburn, mentioned: ‘Was she calling out for me, was she in ache?
‘These are questions I always ask myself.’
He mentioned the household named a star after her, including: ‘Each night we would look up and look for her.’
Her brother Alistair added: ‘I feel totally lost without Natalie, completely alone and abandoned.’
He mentioned the household had been overwhelmed by the variety of native folks who advised them they knew his sister and handed on form phrases about her.
Outside court docket, Detective Inspector Steve Menzies, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Investigation Team, mentioned: ‘The household have and proceed to endure probably the most unimaginable ache and sense of loss.
‘I reward them for the dignity and restraint that they’ve proven all through the investigation and the trial.
‘No outcome at court can bring Natalie back to them and our hearts continue to go out to them.’
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