A Leeds man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of a young gay student who was dumped under railway arches.
Richard Dennis Langdon Danter, a 31-year-old Leeds man, savagely beat and stamped on the former student, Billy Makelow, 20, until he was unconscious, before dumping his half naked body on the 25th April (2015).
The pair had met in the gay bar Viaduct Show Bar near Leeds train station and were seen leaving the venue together at 2.44am.
The student, who had been studying social sciences, was then subjected to an attack which the surgeons who worked to save the young man, said they never seen so much trauma, which was completely focused on the head and facial area.
The Recorder of Leeds Peter Collier QC said,
“Such was the savageness and brutality of your focused attack on his head, I am driven to conclude that at that moment your intention was to kill him.”
After the first attack Danter, who described himself in court as bisexual, returned to the nightclub for another drink, where he told people he had just killed someone. Later he returned to the scene and moved a brutalised Mr. Mankelow to a more secluded area.
Mr Collier continued,
“You left him where you had assaulted him, helpless and dying, and went back to the nightclub. Later you went back and moved his body further into the arches, no doubt intending to make it more unlikely that he would be discovered.
“You also removed and disposed of his mobile phone, whether or not he would have been capable of calling for help himself I can never know.”
Two men who had taken a wrong turning found Mr. Mankelow. They saw a man dragging what they suspected was a body into one of the arches. They discovered Mr. Mankelow, who was unconscious and notified the emergency services and taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he was placed on life support in intensive care.
Mr. Mankelow’s life support was turned off on the 26th April, with his family present.
According to an official statement by the British Transport Police,
“Officers attended the Viaduct bar and spoke to staff and viewed CCTV which led them to Danter. He was arrested at 1pm on Sunday, 26 April close to his home address in Queens Road, Leeds.
“Follow up enquiries also revealed that directly after the incident, Danter returned to the Viaduct bar and spoke to a number of members of staff stating he had just killed someone, a confession he also relayed to a friend a short while later.”
TRAGIC WASTE OF YOUNG LIFE
Detective Chief Inspector David Shipperlee of British Transport Police’s major investigation team said:
“Billy, an innocent, caring and popular young man, died as a result of serious head injuries received during a sustained and what we believe to be, totally unprovoked attack. He received more than 20 blows to his head, the majority of which were as a result of being kicked and stamped on.
“After he assaulted him, Danter dragged Billy into an alcove in the railway arch, presumably to conceal his body, and left him for dead.
“His death is such a tragic waste of a young life, a life taken by a violent, evil and dangerous man, who has a history of previous convictions for violence and sexual offences, who is now where he belongs, behind bars.”
SENSELESS AND UNNECESSARY
A statement from Billy’s family read,
“Billy loved life and had lots of friends. He was independent and motivated and went to study at Leeds University in 2013. Billy loved Leeds, a place where he made a life for himself and had lots of friends.
“Billy would always make time to come back to Kent in the holidays to spend time with his family.
“At the time of his death Billy had been working for Capita and had passed his training course and was due to start his new role only two days after his death.
“Billy’s family and friends are all distraught at the way Billy died; which was so senseless and unnecessary. Billy was simply out with friends having a good time with his life ahead of him.
“We as a family will never get over the way he died, we have lost a person of exceptional kindness and good nature.
“Billy’s tragic loss will be felt by everyone who knew him for a long time.”