• Brian Healless, 18, murdered Alex Davies, also 18, in Parbold, Lancashire 
  • He tried to set up similar outdoor meetings with four other men after the murder 
  • Healless was unanimously convicted of murder by a jury at Preston Crown Court

teenager who used dating app Grindr to lure a ‘gentle, kind-hearted’ sales assistant to a remote beauty spot on a date and stabbed him to death has been locked up for a minimum of 24 years.

Brian Healless, 18, murdered Alex Davies, also 18, in Parbold, Lancashire. He stabbed him 128 times.

Healless, from Chorley, tried to set up similar outdoor meetings with four other males on Grindr in the days after the killing, Preston Crown Court heard.

He had told openly gay Mr Davies, from Skelmersdale, he was ‘not out yet’ and suggested a ‘discreet spot’ halfway between their two homes for their first meeting.

The defendant stabbed him 128 times at the top of Parbold Hill and dragged the Home Bargains worker face down by his collar in the mud, while still alive, and covered his body with branches and leaves.

Healless was then captured on CCTV on the afternoon on April 29 last year calmly riding away from the scene on his mountain bike with his victim’s rucksack on his back.

Sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Mark Brown, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, told him: ‘Alex was a kind-hearted, gentle and hard-working young man who would never have harmed anyone.

‘You lulled him to his death and executed the killing in a savage way. You were undoubtedly setting him up to kill and you are a manipulative, calculating and devious person.

‘It is extremely fortuitous that you were arrested before anyone else suffered the same fate.’

Psychiatrists who examined Healless, who came to England from his native Lithuania at the age of seven, agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

But jurors rejected his defence that his responsibility for the killing was diminished by his mental state and unanimously convicted him on Monday of murder.

Judge Brown told Healless: ‘I am satisfied that such was the planning, premeditation and the nature of the killing that your culpability is not reduced significantly.’

Mr Davies’s mother Beverley said: ‘We as a family would like to thank the police and the prosecution for all their diligence and continued support throughout the trial.

‘We would also like to thank the judge, and also with his persistence in seeing the trial through at this very difficult time due to the coronavirus.

‘We are so relieved that the jury came to the right decision and common sense prevailed.

‘Although the verdict won’t bring back Alex, he was much loved by us all. A kind and gentle boy, the antithesis of his murderer who we believe should never be released and will always be a danger to society.’