Lethal First Date: Katie Locke Strangled To Death

Lethal First Date: Katie Locke Strangled To Death

Scary dating app stories litter our news and, sadly, aren’t an anomaly. Katie Locke took all the necessary precautions when going out with Carl Langdell, a man she met on the “Plenty of Fish” dating app. She could have been any of us. Much to everyone’s horror, her strangled, disfigured body is proof that danger lurks in every ordinary corner, and no amount of caution is ever enough sometimes.

A Good Catch

In December 2015, like many of us, 23-year-old Katie was scouring different dating websites searching for a date. “Plenty of Fish” is one of the many dating apps used in the UK, a popular option for those who want something more meaningful than what Tinder promises.

She happened on the profile of one 30-year-old Carl Langdell. Contrary to typical scary dating stories, his profile wasn’t shady at all. Carl apparently owned a legal practice, and his resume showed that not only had he done a degree in Communications but had also done an internship at The Independent. He also had a blog titled “ordinarydecenthuman”, highlighting human rights concerns and centering resistance against inequality.

These are supposed to be green flags; a somewhat thorough google search corroborated the information. Everything seemed to check out. Finally, Katie decided to take the initiative and started talking to Carl. Little did she know that by responding to him, she had signed her death warrant.

Carl, by every definition, was a “good catch”. They both talked for two weeks, getting to know each other. Katie clearly didn’t only want to fool around on the dating app, and being careful of risks, finally decided to schedule their first date for December 23, 2015. That would be her last day alive.

Manipulated Into Being Murdered

Katie Locke.

Carl had effortlessly portrayed himself as a reasonably wealthy man on the dating website; keeping up with that pretense, he took Katie out to a hip East London pub. They both were having a decent time. Despite that, Katie, well aware of the potential horror of dating stories, took his picture and sent it to her friend. That was still not enough to save her.

She also messaged her friend that they were having a good time. However, the night was soon going to take a turn for the worse. Carl drank himself into a vomiting stupor that night, and Katie, worried, decided to accompany him to the four-star Theobalds Park Hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Carl Langdell.

When the cab arrived at the hotel, Katie, with the receptionist’s help, accompanied Carl to his room. Carl was still not feeling well, and Katie stayed with him like any well-meaning human. She wanted to make sure that he was healthy enough to take care of himself. The receptionist also remembers being called to hand a pair of toothbrushes to their room. That was the last that was ever seen of Katie.

Sometime during the night, Carl strangled Katie to death. It is not a simple story of violent murder- Carl sexually assaulted her dead body. He was twisted enough to take pictures of her dead assaulted body, a keepsake of his “conquest”. Pathologist Charlotte Randall commented:

“There is little doubt it was a forceful and prolonged assault and was accompanied by serious sexual violence.”

Acting as if nothing was amiss, Carl went back to bed. He slept in the same bed as Katie’s dead, mutilated body and discreetly disposed of it. The following day, on December 24, Carl went about his routine. He went back to his parent’s house and took the family dog out for a walk.

Meanwhile, Katie’s family was getting worried. Katie hadn’t made it to the morning appointment, and that was very unlike her. But, thanks to the ever-intelligent precautionary step of sending Carl’s picture to the friend, her father soon arrived at Carl’s parent’s house.

Carl’s psychopathic tendencies can be detected in what followed after. It is chilling to imagine such a man hiding in plain sight. When Carl’s father contacted him to ask about Katie, Carl didn’t come up with any lies. He didn’t deny the truth. Instead, he casually told his father that he had murdered Katie.

His response stupefied everyone. Katie’s father couldn’t wrap his head around this bone-chilling truth. Keeping his wits, he called the police on Carl. He wanted the man behind bars; after all, his daughter was no more.

Her father, on a public memorial for Katie, read from a painfully penned letter. He talked about what Katie had meant for their family. He said:

“Everyone loved her, and she was a happy, beautiful soul. She lived a full life. She was self-confident and fearless and an energetic and beautiful person. My wife has asked me to say that on the day Katie died, she also died.”

A History Of Violence

A still from Carl’s confession video, admitting to killing Katie.

It turns out Carl had a history of violence and sexual assault. Sentenced to a minimum of 26 years in June 2016 by St. Albans Crown Court, the court hearings uncovered a history of ignored symptoms of a man who cheated the system and put everyone’s life in danger.

In 2009, Carl attempted to assault one of his girlfriends. Another red flag of a severe mental illness plaguing him was that he assaulted his brother in 2014 and threatened to kill his girlfriend’s sister and a mental health worker in 2015.

He was only released from the mental facility in September 2015. During his time there, he had told a psychiatric nurse that his deepest fantasy was to cut a girl’s throat and to have sex with her afterward. Horrifying as it is, Carl made sure to make his fantasy come true. But, unfortunately, the cost of it was Katie’s life.

Nick Armstrong, the lawyer representing Katie’s parents, said:

“Carl was dating multiple women across multiple websites and had used the hotel at least once before and had lied about who he was.”

This man was clearly a danger to everyone around him and had been allowed to roam free, and institutions casually ignored his red flags. Katie’s death was a failure of the police, court, and mental health facilities that hadn’t caught onto the red flags earlier.
Lethal First Date: Katie Locke Strangled To Death
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