August 20, 2022

Anthony Russell is expected to be jailed for life for the crimes on Friday

A man who murdered three people during a six-day killing spree has been convicted of raping his final victim – who was five months pregnant – before strangling her with her own legging and dumping her by a river with twigs, leaves, and a piece of wood stuffed in her mouth.

Anthony Russell killed Julie Williams, 58, and her 32-year-old son David, before subjecting Nicole McGregor, 31, to a shocking sex attack and murdering her as well.

On Thursday, Russell, 39, was convicted of raping McGregor at Warwick Crown Court. He had earlier admitted murdering her – so she couldn’t complain to police about the rape – along with his other two victims.

The heroin addict is expected to be jailed for life on Friday.

Warwick Crown Court was told Russell, of Coventry, went on his “callous and calculated campaign of crime” between October 25 and 29 last year.

First, he murdered David at his flat in Coventry by strangling him with a lanyard and leaving him with 81 external injuries before attacking his mum 24 hours later. Julie was also strangled – this time with a cable from a broken fan – and she succumbed to 113 separate injuries after being brutally battered to death.

The body of Nicole was discovered in woodland in Newbould Comyn Country Park in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, near the banks of the River Lea on October 29.

She had been lured there by Russell, who befriended her while on the run for the other killings, then raped and murdered her.

See also  Rishi Sunak wants to crack down on degrees that don’t make students rich

Nicole suffered blunt force injury to her head and face as well as a bleed to the brain and died from “external neck compression as a result of ligature strangulation”.

Hours before she was killed, Nicole had proudly shown Russell her baby scan during the chance encounter which led to her death.

Russell even callously helped David’s mum and Nicole’s partner look for their missing loved ones in a bid to cover his tracks despite knowing they were dead.

He was arrested in the village of Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffordshire, after one of the biggest manhunts in the history of West Midlands Police.

Chilling footage released on Thursday showed Russell walking alone with Nicole at 7.45pm on October 29 just minutes before he took her life.

The callous killer can be seen in further CCTV footage helping Nicole’s boyfriend Christopher White look for his partner after he had already murdered her.

He can also be seen walking through Coventry with David on the day he was killed with the pair joking around with a shopping trolley and drinking together.

The court was told during the trial how all the victims were killed after receiving “savage blows to the throat”.

Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC told the court previously: “Anthony Russell embarked on campaign of crime.

“He murdered three people and raped one of his victims before killing her. He attacked another leaving that person with serious injuries and robbed two other people. All were vulnerable. “All the acts of violence were in order to get what he wanted.”

See also  Just Stop Oil protestors glue themselves to Van Gogh painting in climate change protest

The body of David was discovered the day after Julie was found dead at her flat in Riley Square, Coventry on October 25.

David had been missing for six days when his body was found and Russell killed Julie after she came to him asking whether he had seen her missing son.

Police then found Nicole dead 11 miles away and her body was covered in scratches after being dragged into the undergrowth.

Russell also went on to rob two people – one a 71-year-old woman – to get money for drugs before being arrested by Staffordshire Police officers in a stolen car.

Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, of West Midlands Police, said after the case: “This was an appalling series of violent attacks.

“At the heart of this are three people who have lost their lives and another three people who were subject to violent robberies.

“Each one of these were vulnerable, either due to mental health due to illness or age.”

Edwards said police believe David was killed due to Russell’s “mistaken belief that he was in a relationship with his girlfriend”.

Related links: