Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Barman jailed for girl's sex murder

Sasha Marsden was stabbed in the head, face and neck
David Minto, 23, has been found guilty of the murder of Sasha Marsden (Lancashire Police/PA Wire)

A hotel barman has been jailed for a minimum of 35 years for the "sexually motivated" murder of a 16-year-old girl who was stabbed to death and then set on fire in an alleyway.

David Minto, 23, lured college student Sasha Marsden on the pretence of giving her a job as a cleaner at the hotel in Blackpool owned by his girlfriend.

When the youngster rebuffed the advances of the sexual predator, she was ferociously attacked from behind with a kitchen knife as she tried to escape.

The defendant stabbed her 58 times to the head, neck and face and then sexually defiled her as she lay dying or was already dead.

In a bid to dispose of any evidence that connected him to Sasha, he set her on fire in an alley behind the murder scene at the Grafton House Hotel in Kirby Road on January 31. He had wrapped her body in carpet underlay, a duvet cover and a bin liner and set her alight before he returned inside to clean the hotel of blood.

The injuries of the teenager, from Staining, near Blackpool, were so severe she had to be identified by DNA from her toothbrush.

Minto denied her murder and told a jury at Preston Crown Court he last saw Sasha leaving the hotel and that she must have returned while he was upstairs and met her death at the hands of a mystery assailant. He did admit moving the body in a state of shock but did not set her alight, he claimed.

His version of events was rejected by the jury after less than three hours of deliberation.

Sentencing him to life, the Recorder of Preston Judge Anthony Russell QC said: "At your hotel you murdered her in the most brutal fashion. It was a ferocious and sustained attack. You have throughout the investigation not only lied but sought to cover your tracks and then tailor your account. You have shown a degree of low cunning but it was easily seen through."

He read out part of the victim impact statements from Sasha's parents Gary and Jayne in which they said "each wound you inflicted upon Sasha has stabbed at the heart of each and every one of her family". The manner of her death "will haunt us for the rest of our lives", added her parents.

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