Serial-killer obsessive who attacked woman and cut her into pieces in 'flat of horrors' murder jailed

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
Maynard-Ellis, left, was convicted of murdering Julia Rawson at his "flat of horrors". (PA/West Midlands Police)
Maynard-Ellis, left, was convicted of murdering Julia Rawson at his 'flat of horrors'. (PA/West Midlands Police)

A serial-killer obsessive has been jailed for life for murdering a woman and cutting her body into 11 pieces.

Former film student Nathan Maynard-Ellis, 30, killed Julia Rawson in “a culmination of years of pent-up fantasy and desire” in May 2019, a court heard previously.

After meeting her in a pub in Dudley, West Midlands, he brought her back to a flat in Tipton that he shared with his boyfriend David Leesley.

Described by prosecutors as a “flat of horrors” containing stuffed creatures, masks and axes, it was where the pair murdered Rawson on 12 May before leaving her body parts in different places. They were found in June 2019.

Maynard-Ellis was given a minimum of 30 years in prison while Leesley was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years at Warwick Crown Court on Monday.

Sentencing both, Justice Soole said he was sure both men attacked her head with weapons before carrying out a “cool, calm and thorough” cover-up.

Nathan Maynard-Ellis, left, and David Leesley have been found guilty of murder. (West Midlands Police)
Nathan Maynard-Ellis, left, and David Leesley have been found guilty of murder. (West Midlands Police)

During the two men’s trial, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Maynard-Ellis “harboured dark thoughts that have focused mainly on the sexual assault of women and their violent killing”, and that Leesley was aware of “these interests”.

He told jurors that Rawson’s murder “wasn’t enough”, so they dismembered her body, put her remains in black plastic bags and hid them in undergrowth by a nearby canal.

Her right kidney was missing, either from deliberate removal or decomposition, and her hands and feet were removed.

“We suggest that this scale of dismemberment points clearly towards the gruesome fantasy aspect of this case, rather than towards any practical necessity after the death,” Khalil said. Jurors were told Maynard-Ellis wanted to “re-enact” horror movies found at his flat.

Julia Rawson's body was found dismembered last year. (PA/West Midlands Police)
Julia Rawson's body was found dismembered last year. (PA/West Midlands Police)

Maynard-Ellis and Leesley also tried to get rid of evidence including a bloodstained sofa and burned clothing.

The former was seen behaving normally after the killing, celebrating his birthday days after the murder.

Maynard-Ellis was also convicted of four rape charges, one of attempted rape and one of making threats to kill in relation to a historical allegation made by a woman after he was arrested.

He collected newspaper clippings and books about serial killers, the court heard, and had told a psychiatrist about violent sexual fantasies.

A workbench, tools and doll's heads found at the home of Nathan Maynard-Ellis in Tipton. (PA/West Midlands Police)
A workbench, tools and doll's heads found at the home of Nathan Maynard-Ellis in Tipton. (PA/West Midlands Police)

Maynard-Ellis, who has been diagnosed with depression and Asperger’s, claimed he hit Rawson with a rolling pin after she made “moves” at him.

He claimed he “just wasn’t happy” after being bullied at school and stopped taking medication about a week before Rawson’s death.

However, jurors convicted him and Leesley – who said he had no part in Rawson’s death – of murder in November.

Justice Soole describing the decision to dismember and hide the body as a “terrible and comprehensive act of defilement and indignity”.

“Only you two know just what happened in the flat but neither has told the truth,” he told the pair.

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