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Killer, 18, Sentenced to 24 Years for Gay Man's Brutal Killing

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 25, 2020

An 18-year-old British man has been handed a 24-year sentence in the brutal slaying of a victim he lured via Grindr, media reports say. The convicted killer reportedly contacted four other men after the murder, perhaps in an attempt to repeat the crime, the BBC reports.

Brian Healless had made contact with his victim, 18-year-old Alex Davies, using the popular dating app. Healless said that he was "not out yet," and asked to meet Davies at a place midway between their respective residences. But once there, media accounts said, Healless beat Davies, striking him in the head, and then knifed him, inflicting 128 stab wounds, UK newspaper The Guardian reported.

After that, Healless dragged Davies along the ground face down, even though Davies was still alive. Healless then covered Davies with leaves and branches.

Healless stole the victim's backpack and rode off on his bicycle. Surveillance cameras captured him on the bike, wearing the stolen backpack.

Healless told the court that "a voice in his head" had warned him of imminent harm during his meeting with Davies, and that he acted in what he believed to be self-defense. Court psychologists found that Healless suffers paranoid schizophrenia, but the jury found him guilty all the same. Noting that Healless had contacted four other young men via Grinder after killing Davies, the judge in the case said:

"Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.

"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 you were arrested before anyone else suffered the same fate."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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