London

Naomi Hersi death: Teenager who helped killer avoids jail

Natalia DarkowskA Image copyright PA
Image caption Natalia Darkowska, 18, helped her boyfriend clean up after he murdered a woman during a drugs binge

A "besotted" teenager who helped her boyfriend clean up after he murdered a woman during a sex and drugs binge has been spared a prison term.

Natalia Darkowska, 18, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by aiding Jesse McDonald, 25, who killed Naomi Hersi in March.

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

Darkowska, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, was handed a suspended jail sentence at the Old Bailey.

She was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

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

McDonald told Darkowska that Ms Hersi, a transgender woman, was "a big drug dealer" who he had killed in self-defence.

After the killing, McDonald hid in his room as he waited for 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 bathroom floor.

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

In mitigation for Darkowska, Jemma Levinson said she had been a "model student" who was "studious and respectful" and had been "misled and lied to" by McDonald.

The court heard the offence was "totally out of character" and she was "besotted" with McDonald.

Ms Levinson said: "She still does believe the account she was given by Mr McDonald.

Judge Mark Dennis QC said McDonald was a "dominant" character and Darkowska had become "entranced by him".

The judge told her: "One of your references refers to this being a once-in-a-lifetime mistake. Make sure it is."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites