London

Dating site murderer Miles Donnelly jailed for life

Miles Donnelly Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Miles Donnelly pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial

A man who murdered a single mother he met on a dating website has been jailed for life.

Miles Donnelly admitted strangling Usha Patel, 44, at the home she shared with her five-year-old son in Cricklewood, north-west London, in October 2015.

The 35-year-old, from Paddington, then fled to a west London house where he attacked another woman when she refused his advances.

At the Old Bailey he was told he would serve a minimum of 23 years.

The court heard he and Ms Patel had met on the dating site seven months before she invited him back to her home on 7 October.

After putting her son to bed, the pair stripped naked and Donnelly attacked her in a "drunken rage".

Image copyright Met Police/PA
Image caption Usha Patel was killed in the London home she shared with her five-year-old son

Ms Patel was found on the sofa the following morning by her father who was due to to take her son to school.

When he arrived at the flat, the little boy told his grandfather: "Mummy's not well".

The single mother had been stabbed 13 times with a large bread knife, punched in the head several times, and strangled.

The prosecution said the five-year-old still has nightmares and keeps asking his family when his mother will return.

The Old Bailey heard that after the killing, Donnelly hid from police at the home of Rosie Ferrigno, 43, abandoning his underpants, socks, T-shirt, hoodie and keys in Ms Patel's flat.

He spent 36 hours in the property and while there, told Ms Ferrigno he was sexually frustrated and made advances towards her.

'Ferocious' attack

When she refused, he hit her on the back of the head with a stool that had a nail sticking out of it.

On 11 October, Donnelly telephoned the police and told them where he was, ending a manhunt for him.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC told the court the pair had swapped texts saying "I love you" on the day of the murder.

But he said Donnelly would have known he was a "significant and serious danger to women" who was "driven by compulsions to drink, take cocaine and have sex".

During sentencing, Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said Donnelly had murdered Ms Patel in "a particularly ferocious and violent attack".

She said the case was "a stark warning to anyone who plans to meet anyone after limited internet contact" and warned people not to invite a stranger into their home.

The judge called Ms Patel "an extremely vulnerable woman" who was "clearly anxious to meet a new partner".

"She paid for this invitation with her life," she said

Donnelly was also given an 18-month sentence for the assault on Ms Ferrigno to run concurrently with the life term.

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