Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Murder of Transgender Woman | criminality
A man has been jailed for at least 20 years for the murder of a transgender woman during a sex and drug frenzy. Jesse McDonald, 25, contacted Naomi Hersi, 36, through dating site Fabswingers.com, Old Bailey has learned.
After days together, McDonald drugged and stabbed the hotel worker to death with a knife and a broken bottle at a hotel near Heathrow Airport, where he was staying.
He hid in his bedroom while waiting for his 18-year-old girlfriend Natalia Darkowska to help him clean up, jurors said. But the plan to dispose of the body fell through when police found the victim lying half-naked, partly covered with a rug on the bathroom floor.
McDonald has denied the murder, claiming to have acted in self-defense. He and Darkowska, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, have both denied perverting the course of justice following the March murder.
The couple cried and kissed on the dock as they were convicted of the charges following a trial at Old Bailey in October. McDonald was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 20 years for murder with 30 concurrent months for the second offense.
The judge, Mark Dennis QC, dismissed the accused’s claims that he had been drugged, raped and held by the victim in a “deadly grip”. He stressed his ability to mix fact and fiction, claiming that McDonald’s had complete contempt for anyone except himself.
The judge said: “This was a terrible assault on someone who, it seems, would not have been able to respond to an attack from you with a weapon.”
In a victim impact statement, Hersi’s family described her as a sweet and confident person, funny and carefree. Her sister Amina, a hospital doctor, was the first to hear the news of her death while she was working. His father, Mohamed Duale, called the murder “the ultimate injustice”. He said, “Our lives will never be the same again. Sorrow has engulfed us. It consumed us.
McDonald’s parents, who attended the trial, sent a letter to the judge expressing their sadness.
The lawsuit learned how McDonald, who grew up in West Sussex, turned to drug trafficking and bitcoin trading after dropping out of the London School of Economics. In mitigation, Michael Turner QC said McDonald’s had a “promising college career” which was cut short when his drink was spiked in 2014.
On March 12, he contacted Hersi within 45 minutes of returning to the Heathrow Palace hotel in Hounslow after visiting his girlfriend.
He went to the victim’s home in Mill Hill, north-west London, where he stayed for three days before they both returned to the hotel room in Hounslow. Throughout the period, McDonald’s reportedly ignored his girlfriend’s increasingly frequent attempts to get in touch with him.
But on March 16, he texted her saying, “Baby, I was ****** dumb. Another read: “I love you so much. Not fooled x. I became addicted to a bad drug that I had never encountered before. He then told her that he had “a fat drug dealer” lying on his floor, adding, “I won’t wake up… a fat black man.”
While the defendants were cleaning up, McDonald called his mother and claimed he had been shackled for days, drugged with GHB and raped several times.
McDonald alleged he stabbed Hersi up to 40 times in a frenzy, believing she was about to suffocate him with a pillow. His mother called the police after the conversation with her son. The defendant also offered its owner a designer watch if he cleaned his room before confessing that he had killed someone, jurors heard.
Ten minutes after his last call, police arrived and found Hersi’s body and the murder weapon. The accused were found at a hotel in Teddington and arrested. During his interview with the police, McDonald continued to claim that he was tied up and raped.
During his testimony, the accused said he contacted Hersi online because he was “a complete idiot”.
Darkowska will be sentenced at a later date.