A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to murdering a woman he met on an online dating site.
Carl Langdell admitted killing 23-year-old Katie Locke on their first date at a hotel in Waltham Cross, when he appeared at St. Albans Crown Court.
Langdell, 26, met Ms Locke, a teacher, through the online dating site Plenty of Fish.
He had lied that he was a lawyer with his own firm. In reality over the previous two years he had increasingly suffered from mental illness and had spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
They went on their first date on December 23, 2015. After spending the evening in London, the pair went back to the Theobalds Hotel in Cheshunt.
Her body was discovered in the grounds the following day. She had been strangled.
When Ms Locke failed to return home, her family identified Langdell through internet searches and contacted him through Facebook.
He had replied saying Ms Locke had left in a taxi and he did not know where she was.
The family then found his address and Ms Locke’s father went there desperate to locate his daughter.
When he arrived, he was told Langdell had just admitted to his mother that he had killed Ms Locke.
Langdell, 26, was charged with her murder on Christmas Day, and will serve a minimum of 26 years.
Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie, who helped lead the investigation, said: “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.”
Ms Locke’s family said in a statement: “Katie was a beautiful person, both inside and out, completely irreplaceable and for us, as a family, life will never, ever be the same again.
“Katie’s loss has robbed so many people, the friends who loved her, the workmates who relied upon her, the children she taught and those she would have gone on to teach in what promised to be a successful career.
“We will never forget Katie. She was a bright, funny, loving young woman. She was also trusting, caring and always tried to see the best in everyone which, sadly, has been her downfall.
“Today’s result changes nothing, Katie is never coming home. All we can do is warn other young women to be careful in the hope that no other family ever has to go through the pain and trauma we have suffered.
Ms Locke’s mother said: “I’m grieving for my beautiful daughter. For the happy child she was. For the lively, beautiful noisy teenager. For the lovely young adult and mostly for the woman I’ll never know.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Langdell is clearly an extremely ruthless, calculated and violent man.”
Police have released video of Langdell being questioned after his arrest. He says little, but it does reveal details of how he denied knowing where Ms Locke was after he had killed her, when he was questioned on social media.
And it also reveals his exchanges with his mother after he had told her he had killed Ms Locke.