‘Cold blooded’ murderer who brutally executed his teen Grindr hook-up jailed for life
“Cold blooded” killer Brian Healless, who brutally murdered a teenager he met on Grindr by stabbing him more than 100 times, has been sentenced to life in prison.
On Monday, March 23, Healless was found guilty at Preston Crown Court of killing 18-year-old Alex Davies by stabbing him 128 times in the back, neck, chest, abdomen and left arm.
Healless has now been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 24 years less the 324 days he has already spent in custody.
The court heard that Healless, also 18, had met Davies on the gay hook-up app Grindr in April 2019, and had convinced his victim to meet in a secluded area near Parbold in Lancashire.
Healless had sent a message to Davies the day before they met in person, saying: “We can cuddle, just not in public, go to a more discrete spot… I’m not out yet and like to be discrete about it.”
However, he took a kitchen knife to the April 29 hook-up, and stabbed Davies more than 100 times – before dragging the still-alive teenager through the mud and hiding his body under a pile of branches.
Brian Healless stole both of his victim’s phones and wiped the memory from them, having researched how to do so before their meeting.
The court also heard that between April 30 and May 2, Healless started conversations with four other men on Grindr, adopting the same “calculating” tactics as he had with his first victim.
Healless’ defence team admitted the killing during the trial, but originally claimed that a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia meant that he had diminished responsibility and should be convicted of manslaughter.
But after less than an hour of deliberation, jurors dismissed the claim and convicted him of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison on the same day.
According to the Liverpool Echo, judge Mark Brown said after the sentencing: “It was a planned and pre-meditated killing and although the motive will never be known it seems you were intent on having his hi-spec phone.
“You were messaging him on Grindr and Instagram for the purpose of meeting him at a remote location.
“You were undoubtedly setting him up to kill and you are a manipulative, calculating and devious person… In my judgement you are a cold blooded killer and this was a most brutal murder.
“Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.”
Describing the brutal attack, Brown continued: “You lulled him to his death and executed the killing in a savage way. You stabbed him to death with a knife at least 128 times and many of the wounds were inflicted when he was still alive.
“Many of the wounds caused damage to major blood vessels and internal organs. There were also 17 puncture wounds to his body as well.
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“You punched him to his head and face, causing considerable bruising and multiple fractures to the nasal bone. You used considerable force to sever and fracture certain ribs.
“There was mud and vegetation in his nose and mouth, showing you dragged him face down by the collar when he was still alive, causing asphyxiation.”
The judge said that detectives had saved future lives by apprehending Brian Healless before he was able to meet the other young men he was already speaking with.
He added: “In my judgement you are an extremely dangerous person and although you have paranoid schizophrenia the illness did not reduce your culpability in any significant way.
“Alex Davies was a dearly-loved son to his mother, Beverley, to his brother Adam Deane and to his family and friends. He was someone who always put others first and had a great love of music.
“He had just been promoted at work and will never have the chance to fulfil his potential in life.”