London

Naomi Hersi death: Sex and drug binge murderer jailed

Jesse McDonald Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Jesse McDonald met his victim on a swingers' website when "looking for excitement" online, jurors were told

A university dropout who murdered a woman after a three-day sex and drugs binge has been jailed.

Jesse McDonald, 25, drugged Naomi Hersi, 36, before stabbing her to death in a hotel near Heathrow Airport in March.

McDonald met his transgender victim on a swingers' website when "looking for excitement", jurors were told.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years for murder.

An extra 30 months was handed to him to run concurrently for perverting the course of justice.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Naomi Hersi lived in London as an openly transgender woman, the court was told

'Ultimate injustice'

After the killing, McDonald hid in his room as he waited for his 18-year-old girlfriend Natalia Darkowska to help clean up, jurors were told.

But the plan to dispose of the body was scuppered when police found the victim lying half-naked, partly covered by a rug on the small bathroom floor.

Former London School of Economics undergraduate McDonald denied murder, claiming he acted in self-defence.

He and Darkowska, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, both denied perverting the course of justice following the killing between 14-18 March.

Judge Mark Dennis QC rejected the defendant's claims he was drugged, raped and held in a "death grip" by the victim.

The judge said: "This was a dreadful assault on someone who it would appear will have been in no position to respond to an attack by you using a weapon."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption McDonald's girlfriend Natalia Darkowska will be sentenced on 16 November

In a victim impact statement, Ms Hersi's family described her as a "sweet and trusting" person who was "funny and carefree".

Father Mohamed Duale described the murder as the "ultimate injustice".

"Our lives will never be the same. The grief has swallowed us up. It's consumed us. Maybe one day it will not be so painful but the violence of [the] death haunts us", he said.

Darkowska will be sentenced separately on 16 November.

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