News24

Facebook killer jailed for life

2010-03-08 21:42

London - A 33-year-old man was jailed for life on Monday after admitting the kidnap, rape and murder of a teenager he met on the Facebook social networking site.

Convicted sex offender Peter Chapman had cultivated his victim, Ashleigh Hall, 17, by pretending to be a student.

Chapman was told by Judge Peter Fox, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, he would serve a minimum of 35 years in prison, the Press Association reported.

The body of the childcare student was found dumped in a farmer's field near Sedgefield, County Durham, last October.

Hall, from Darlington, had been strangled.

Prosecutor Graham Reeds told Tesside Crown Court that Chapman had posed as a fictitious 19-year-old boy called "Peter Cartwright" on Facebook to befriend the college student.

After becoming her Facebook friend and chatting on other social networking sites he arranged to meet her on the evening of October 25 last year.

Alter-ego

Knowing she was expecting to meet a teenage boy and not a 33-year-old, Chapman led her to believe that Peter Cartwright's father would pick her up.

"The defendant used this handsome alter-ego to entice 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall into meeting him," Reeds said.

"When she met him on October 25 last year, he kidnapped, raped and murdered her."

Judge Fox said Chapman had carried out a "significant degree" of planning and pre-meditation in snaring Ashleigh.

"This was an evil scheme very carefully brought, and with considerable detail, to trap your victim," he told Chapman.

"She was particularly vulnerable because of her age."

Chapman, who has a history of sexual offending, changed his plea to guilty just as his trial was about to start.

He was the subject of several sexual assault investigations, beginning when he was 15. In 1996, then 19, he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for raping two prostitutes at knifepoint.

He was released in 2001.