Man jailed for life for dating site murder - Cheshunt

03/06/2016

A man appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Friday, 03 June 2016, and was jailed for life and to serve a minimum of 26 years for the murder of a woman in Cheshunt last December.

Carl Langdell, aged 26, from Roundmoor Drive, Cheshunt, was sentenced today after pleading guilty on Friday, 18 March 2016, at the same court, to murdering 23-year-old Katie Locke.

Langdell met Katie, a teacher, through the online dating site Plenty of Fish. They went on their first date on 23 December 2015. After spending the evening in London, the pair went back to the Theobalds Hotel in Cheshunt, Waltham Cross. Katie's body was discovered in the grounds of the hotel the following day, Christmas Eve 2015. She had been strangled.

Langdell was subsequently arrested on the morning of Christmas Eve in Lee Valley Park, where he had taken his dog for a walk after killing Katie. He was charged with her murder on Christmas Day.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of 23-year-old Katie Locke by Carl Langdell in Waltham Cross last December.

"After chatting on the dating site 'Plenty of Fish,' for about two weeks, Katie agreed to meet Langdell on Wednesday, 23 December 2015, in London for their first date of dinner and drinks. Langdell had told Katie that he was a lawyer and had his own firm, which were lies. The truth was that over the previous two years he had increasingly suffered from mental illness and had spent time in psychiatric hospitals. At the end of this first date and in the early hours of 24 December, Katie agreed to go back to a hotel in Waltham Cross with him. At the hotel, Langdell strangled her in the hotel room before dumping her body in a ditch in the hotel grounds. Langdell is clearly an extremely ruthless, calculating and violent man.

"On the morning of Christmas Eve, realising that Katie had not returned home, her family and friends made a concerted effort to identify Langdell. Through internet searches they identified him and contacted him through Facebook. Langdell replied saying Katie had left in a taxi and he did not know where she was. They established an address in Waltham Cross he was associated with and Katie's Father travelled there desperate to locate his daughter. On arrival, he was shocked to learn that Langdell had just admitted to his Mother that he had killed Katie, so he called the police and Langdell was located and arrested.

"Despite telling the police where to locate Katie's body when he was arrested, Langdell answered 'no comment' during police interviews, but was evidentially linked to the murder. On 18 March 2016, at St Albans Crown Court, due to the strength of evidence against him, and recognising that justice had caught up with him, he pleaded guilty to murdering Katie.

"We have worked closely with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Katie back to her family and friends, but we hope that the conviction and today's sentence bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit led the investigation and said: "Katie Locke was a much-loved, professional young lady, who had her whole life ahead of her.

"Her death has understandably had a hugely devastating impact on her family, friends and everyone who knew her. Losing a loved one in such horrendous circumstances is so cruel, especially given the time of year she was murdered. Our thoughts remain with Katie's family and friends at what continues to be an extremely difficult time.

"I want to be clear that Carl Langdell is a dangerous, evil, manipulative and controlling individual, who knew exactly what he was doing that night.

"He painted a picture of being a decent person, including claiming to be a lawyer which he wasn't, and had refined his ways of dating to lure women into his trap.

"Whilst I am pleased that he has been handed a substantial prison sentence, I fully understand that no sentence will be enough to ease the pain and suffering he has caused Katie's family.

"I would like to take this opportunity to remind people to be vigilant when using online dating sites and apps. It is growing increasingly popular and can be a great way to meet that special someone, but it is important to remember that they are still a stranger when you meet up with them for the first time, and, unfortunately, things do sometimes go wrong. The safest plan is to meet somewhere public and stay somewhere public."