A coroner today said there was no “joined up thinking” in the way public agencies handled a psychopathic fantasist who went on to murder a young woman history teacher.
Carl Langdell, a bogus lawyer, met 23-year-old Katie Locke through the ‘Plenty of Fish’ dating site.
When she went back to a hotel with him, on Christmas Eve 2015, she was unaware he had talked of murdering a woman and having sex with her dead body.
Three weeks earlier he had received a suspended sentence for making two threats to kill and over the previous nine months had been ‘managed’ by five different organisations – Avon and Somerset Police, Hertfordshire Police, Mental Health Services in Somerset and Hertfordshire and the Probation Service.
After murdering Katie in a room at the four-star Theobolds Park Hotel in Hertfordshire, Langdell dumped her body under a bush in a ditch near a skip in the 55 acres grounds.
At Hatfield Coroner’s Court Hertfordshire’s Assistant Coroner Alison McCormick said: “Katie Locke was the innocent victim of a shocking murder.
“It is clear none of the organisations managing Mr Langdell knew the full story. None of them knew what each other knew about him. There was very little information sharing and no joined up thinking or management.”
The inquest was held after an application was made by Katie’s parents Bill and Jennifer from Buckhurst Hill, Essex. She was the youngest of their three daughters and lived with them.
Katie’s father Bill told the coroner she had “lived life to the full” and “was a generous person who cared for other people and put them first.”
She loved being part of a team, was a Brownie, a Guide and loved water sports, becoming a kayak instructor. Katie studied history and politics at Southampton University, had volunteered at the London Olympics and worked with underprivileged children in the US.
“She was self-confident and fearless and an energetic and beautiful person,” he said. His wife said she herself “died” on the day Katie died.
At the time of her death Katie, a Southampton University graduate, was working as a history teacher at Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, east London.
Pathologist Charlotte Randall found the cause of death to be compression of the neck. She said: “There is little doubt it was a forceful and prolonged assault and was accompanied by serious sexual violence.”
Langdell, then 26, pleaded guilty to murdering Katie and in June 2016was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 26 years.
In February this Langdell, who was aged 30 and from Cheshunt, Herts, died in Wakefield Maximum Security Prison, having been found with a seriously injured throat.
The coroner said before his death Langdell had been contacted about giving evidence to the inquest, but had not responded.
Announcing her findings the coroner said: “The murderer, who had been diagnosed with unstable personality disorder with narcissistic and antisocial traits, was known to two police forces, two NHS Mental Health Trusts and the Probation Service. Each of whom had information relevant to his risks to women.
“There were, however, significant gaps in the information available to each public body, and there was insufficient sharing of the available information between agencies to enable a fully informed assessment of his risks.
“Three weeks before the killing the murderer had been given a suspended sentence with a Mental Health Treatment Requirement, having been convicted of making threats to kill two other women. Whilst it is not possible to say what sentence the judge would otherwise have given, a fully informed picture had not been placed before the Crown Court.”
She recorded that Katie had been unlawfully killed.